PINETOP — The Arizona Game and Fish Department will be stocking a hybrid trout new to Arizona, in two Arizona Rim Country lakes this week, just in time for Memorial Day weekend. Willow Springs Lake and Woods Canyon Lake will each be stocked with catchable size (8-10 inch) tiger trout the week of May 23.
The tiger trout is a brown-brook trout hybrid. As a result of this hybridization, the tiger trout will be sterile, or unable to reproduce. As tiger trout grow, their worm-like pattern becomes more distinct.
Last summer, the AZGFD obtained around 18,000 tiger trout fingerlings (3-6 inches) from Utah Division of Wildlife Resources. The trout were raised at the Tonto Creek Hatchery near Payson until they grew to a catchable (at least 8 inch) size.
In addition to Woods Canyon and Willow Springs Lake being stocked with tiger trout, Becker Lake and Carnero Lake were stocked with tiger trout earlier in May. In all of these lakes, tiger trout are being stocked in addition to rainbow trout.
At Woods Canyon Lake and Willow Springs Lake, the standard bag limit of six trout in any combination applies.
At Becker Lake and Carnero Lake, special regulations apply. Becker Lake is catch-and-release only, artificial fly and lure only, and a single barbless hook. At Carnero Lake, there is a two trout daily bag limit, in any combination, and only artificial fly and lure only can be used.
“People typically fly fish for tiger trout,” said Mike Lopez, AZGFD aquatics program manager. “They’re probably more like a brown trout, so lures and flies should work well, because they actively look for prey.”
Lopez also suggests that fishing in the early morning or late in the day will be the most successful because the tiger trout will be most active at those times.
These four lakes were chosen because they are currently managed for rainbow trout sport fishing. Adding tiger trout to the lakes will add diversity and expanded opportunities to the Arizona fishing experience. Because the tiger trout are sterile, the fish won’t establish downstream and potentially impact native fish.
See more information about fishing in Arizona.