Most trout stockings involve hard-working hatchery personnel, a hatchery truck, and an exciting ride down a stocking pipe for those trout! However, sometimes native trout need to get into remote areas to have the best chance for survival. And for that we have creative biologists and dedicated volunteers who hike heavy buckets of cold water and trout into steep canyons to return those fish to their native streams.
On Saturday, November 3, 2018, AGFD biologists from Pinetop Region, with huge help by volunteers from Backcountry Hunters and Anglers, Trout Unlimited and committed Arizona anglers hiked 10 miles to put Gila trout into Raspberry Creek near Alpine, AZ and the Blue River Primitive Area. Raspberry Creek is a tributary to the Blue River, barely a stone’s throw from the New Mexico border. After the Frye Fire in 2017 wiped out the two best Gila trout populations in Arizona, AGFD and the Mora National Fish Hatchery have been working hard to get Gila trout back into their native waters and spread throughout the state so another fire can’t do the same level of damage. This Raspberry Creek stocking represents the first Gila trout back in the Pinetop Region since 2011, and biologists anticipate it’s the first of many more successful stockings to come!
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Arizona volunteers packing Gila trout into Raspberry Creek