Due to the wildly fluctuating water levels and temperatures in Arizona’s waterways, the fish population doesn’t exactly thrive. And when fish don’t thrive, they don’t reproduce.
Enter fish hatcheries, like the one along Tonto Creek on the Mogollon Rim. Here, and at several others like it around the state, conditions are controlled to give fish a prime breeding ground.
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Tonto Creek Hatchery raises rainbow trout from eggs to stocking size – roughly ten inches. It takes the better part of a year for the fish “graduate” from incubator to tank to the raceways shown below. When they’re big enough for stocking they’re relocated to lakes and streams around Arizona’s rim country.
The Tonto Hatchery raises approximately 15% of the state’s rainbow trout.