The White Mountains-Show Low to Springerville
The White Mountains Fishery of Arizona West entry at Show Low is located in the East central part of Arizona about 175 miles NE from Phoenix up Hwy U.S. 60 at the junction with Hwy SR 260. The Fishery lies between the town of Show low at N34.24068 W110 05806 and Springerville to the East at N34.13298 W109.28598, a distance of about 60 miles. The land and water is a combination of U.S. Forest land (Apache Sitgreaves National Forest) , private land, and White Mountain Indian Reservations.
Amid the beautiful mountains, tall pine trees and wildlife of the White Mountains lies the creeks, streams and lakes of the fishery. The area is home to the White Mountain Apache Tribe which controls a lot of the fishery area along with the National Forest lands. If you are fishing on reservation land, you will need a permit from the tribe.
Within the area are several lakes and streams which have both native Apache trout and stocked trout. The dominant species is rainbow trout and brown trout but you will also find bass, sunfish, and crappie. If you are interested in fishing for native Apache trout or completing your Arizona Game and Fish Department Trout Challenge, click this link.
The following is a list of some of the lakes and streams in the Fishery area;
Fools Hollow, N34.2687 W110.07155
Little Mormon Lake, N34.28342 W109.96878
Rainbow Lake, N34.15012 W109.98521
Greer on the Little Colorado N34.03696 W109.43776
East Fork of the Black River, 33.761260, -109.356949
Black River, 33.703806, -109.453108
These are some of the better places and better known places to fish but there are several more. The Black River in particular is a special place. It is considered one of the Blue Ribbon Fisheries in the U.S. for fly fishing. Accessibility is not particularly easy but it is worth it. Four wheel drive vehicles are usually required to reach it. The fishable length is 8 miles and the elevation is 7500 ft to 7900 feet. Some sections of this area do require an White Mountain Apache Indian permit.
The Blue river offers 10 fishable miles and an altitude of 4200 to 5200 feet. Location is on FR 567 between Alpine and Hannigans Meadow. Rainbows and Browns populate the area.
Reservation Creek has 6 fishable miles at an altitude of 7000 to 10000 feet. It is located near Reservation Lake and will require a bit of a hike. Species include Browns, Brooks, and Rainbows, small but wild.
The White Mountains provide not only fishing but hunting, hiking and camping as well. The area is so pretty, that bus tours are given just to go look at the country side.
The town of Show Low is on the West side of the fishery and has plenty of lodging, restaurants, and other stores. The population is around 10,000 people. The altitude is 6400 feet. Outside of Show Low is Hon-Dah, a gambling casino center on the Indian reservation. Located just down the road there is one of the best fishing tackle stores you could find anywhere and prices are reasonable. They also sell fishing permits for the reservation areas.
Fools Hollow Lake is literally right in Show Low and has good fishing and a boat ramp plus plenty of parking. This is just an example of how easy it use the lakes and streams. On the other hand, if you want to get into wilderness, it is here in abundance.
At the East end is the town of Springerville. This picturesque place has about 6000 people in the area including the adjoining town of Eagar. These are historic ranching areas and home to the early cowboys of Arizona and New Mexico. While not as large as Show Low, it boasts all the amenities including a fine hospital and medical facility. In between Springerville and Show Low lie some very small communities and outposts including the Sunrise Ski slopes which hosts summer and winter activities for the whole family.
You can go for a day hike or camp out for a week. Rough it, bring your RV, stay in a motel, the possibilities are all here. The area has available motels, lodges, resorts, bed & breakfasts, and cabins. You can spend a month and fish a different place every day.
We have not defined size as such because of the variety of waters in the area. Geographically, The Fishery covers about 60 miles from East to West and about thirty miles North to South.
Spring and summer are most magnificent. The cool days and nights are please with most days sunny and clear. Rain is not overly common but you do get the usual summer storms.
Fall finds the weather crisp and nights turning cold. It is still great fishing and fun to visit.
Winter brings chill weather and snow. Fishing is possible but not productive. Some areas are closed to entry. Always check ahead on the weather.
The White Mountains Fishery lends itself very well to both fly fishing and spin casting tackle. Generally the fish will run from 8 inches to 14 inches and weigh less than a pound. There are of course exceptions, but, the rule is generally light tackle.
For fly fishing, a 3 wt to 5 wt works well. On the lakes, long rods for long casts do well while the creeks call for shorter rods due to trees and brush. For example, parts of the Little Colorado at Greer can be so brushy you literally need to just whip cast a line of about 6 to 10 feet at the most. Working the hatches does well in this area but plain old small caddis flies along with dark bead head emergers will do the trick.
Spin casters will do well on casting out on the lakes from shore or in watercraft. Fishing the streams usually means letting the bait drift down with the currents.
Please be aware that many waterways do not permit the use of live bait and crawfish can never be transported alive. Check local regulations.
Arizona's fishing seasons are open all year. Seasonality in Arizona has more to do with the weather than anything else. In the White Mountain, Spring, Summer and Fall are all time you can fish. Winter finds the area closed because of snow and the Fish And Game Department stops stocking the water ways.