EVER WONDER WHERE ALL THOSE
TROUT COME FROM?
If you enjoy fishing have we got a deal for you! And it's free
too! Thousands of trout right in front of you!
Every year, more and
more people enjoy one of America's greatest outdoor sports - fishing. In
the White Mountains of Arizona, those people are interested in trout.
Because of increasing fishing pressure, lakes and streams are no longer able to
maintain natural stocks of trout. Only by supplementing those waters with
additional trout can a high quality fishery be maintained. This is the
responsibility of the Alchesay and Williams Creek National Fish
Think this is just boring stuff? Guess again!
As an avid fisherman, I can tell you I was more than surprised by
the dedication of our U.S. Fish & Wildlife service and the scientific means
utilized in their endless effort to provide quality fish for anglers throughout
the southwest. You too can see the "life cycle" of these fish in nearly every
stage! Enjoy the ambience of ponderosa pine forests in this secluded canyon,
bring a picnic lunch, and watch other forest wildlife as well. Here you can not
only learn about- but understand - the trout species while you experience a
"terrific" day trip! You will find a visit to Alchesay & Williams Creek
National Fish Hatcheries in the heart of Arizona's White Mountains - fun and
Each year, approximately 350,000 rainbow, brown,
brook, or Apache trout fingerlings are brought to the Alchesay Hatchery from
the Williams Creek Hatchery. These trout are reared in water supplied from an
underground flow of the White River.
All trout at Williams Creek
begin life as fertilized eggs received primarily from other National Fish
Hatcheries which specialize in the production of trout eggs. Eggs are shipped
by air from as far away as Massachusetts, West Virginia, and Montana.
Eggs for incubation are "stripped" and fertilized from specially selected brood
stock. Immediately after receipt, eggs are disinfected to prevent the possible
spread of disease from other hatcheries and placed in incubator trays where
they are hatched. The trout embryo develops from a "germinal disc" of cells on
the surface of the yolk. In 21 days the head and tail have formed. Until the
embryo's eyes begin to show, the eggs are very delicate and cannot be moved.
When the egg is about to hatch, the young fish becomes very active and its
wriggling movements help to break the thin shell.
have a yolk sac on their abdomen which provides nourishment for about 16-21
days. After the yolk sac is completely absorbed, the fry swim to the surface of
the holding tank and begin to feed on specially prepared granular diets.
Once hatching is completed and yolk sacs are absorbed, the fish are
transferred to indoor concrete tanks. Here they are fed until they reach a size
of approximately two inches long. They are then transferred to outside concrete
holding units called raceways.
As the fish grow and begin to over-crowd their new home, they are
separated by length groups and placed in other raceways or one of the earthen
ponds located in series below the raceways. Here they are cared for until they
have reached the proper size for stocking.
When the fish have grown
to an average length of eight inches, they are taken from the ponds and
raceways and stocked according to plans worked out by a fisheries management
biologist located on the station.
What do trout eat while at the Hatchery?
The food used to rear our trout is scientifically developed and
tested in U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service laboratories to produce maximum growth
while maintaining fish health and stamina. The high protein diet is composed of
animal and vegetable meals and oils plus vitamin and mineral supplements. It is
fed as dry granules or pellets.
How are fish stocked?
When the fish are ready for stocking, they are
sample counted to determine the number of fish per pound. A predetermined
weight of fish, representing the required number to be stocked, is loaded into
a mechanical fish conveyor which moves the trout from the raceway or pond into
an awaiting delivery truck. The trucks are specially designed to maintain cold
water temperatures. Pure oxygen is injected into the holding tanks and mixed
with the water by electric pumps. This insures that trout reach their
destination in a vigorous and healthy condition.
You can see all of this and more at.. Alchesay & Williams
Creek National Fish Hatcheries
Initial construction of Williams Creek began in 1939
and was completed in 1941. This marked the beginning of a highly successful and
continuous trout rearing operation. The Alchesay National Fish Hatchery was
authorized in 1959 and named for the famous Apache chief, Alchesay. It began
rainbow trout production in 1963.
Alchesay was designed to fulfill a
federal responsibility for stocking waters on the Fort Apache Indian
Reservation, San Carlos Indian Reservation, and other federally managed waters
in Arizona. It is one of over 90 hatcheries operated by the United States Fish
and Wildlife Service.
In 1971, the Williams Creek National Fish
Hatchery and the Alchesay National Fish Hatchery were consolidated.
Williams Creek is noted for its abundant supply of cool spring water which is
ideal for rearing brook, brown, rainbow, cutthroat, and Apache trout.
Alchesay and Williams Creek National Fish Hatcheries are located
in the tall pine forests of the North fork of the White River on the Fort
Apache Indian Reservation in a picturesque canyon. They are accessible from
Highway 73 between the towns of Indian Pine and Whiteriver, Arizona.
Administrative offices are located at the Alchesay Fish Hatchery.
VISITING THE HATCHERY
Visitors are welcome at Alchesay, weekdays from 7:30 a.m. until
3:30 p.m. Guided hatchery tours may be arranged for large groups or
organizations by advance request. Picnic facilities, restrooms, and an
interpretative display are available. Note: Reservation permits are required
when camping or fishing on Indian lands. These may be purchased in the nearby
town of Whiteriver or surrounding areas.
TROUT STOCKING POLICY
The following policy governs the distribution of trout from the
Alchesay & Williams Creek National Fish Hatcheries.
- Primary obligation is the stocking of waters on Federal lands
or waters in which the Federal Government has an interest. These waters include
lakes, ponds, and streams in National Forests, National Parks, Indian
Reservations, military reservations, and others that are open to public
- A secondary obligation is the stocking of State waters which
are open to the public.
- The majority of all trout produced are stocked on the Ft.
Apache, San Carlos, Navajo, Hopi, Zuni, Acoma, Laguna Ft. McDowell, and Salt
River Indian Reservations in Arizona and New Mexico. The Fisheries Assistance
Offices of the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service in Pinetop, Arizona and Gallup,
New Mexico, determine the locations, requirements, and suitability of waters to
be stocked. The demand for hatchery trout for public fishing waters usually far
exceeds the supply. Fish produced at National Fish Hatcheries are allocated to
areas where the greatest public benefit will be realized.
- Whenever possible, trout from a National Fish Hatchery are
stocked only after studies by fishery biologists show the suitability of the
water concerned and the species, size, and number of fish needed to produce an
optimum fishery and provide for the greatest public benefit with a high level
of angler success.
DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR
U.S. FISH &
As the Nation's principal conservation agency, the Department of
the Interior has responsibility for most of our nationally owned public lands
and natural resources. This includes fostering the wisest use of our land and
water resources, protecting our fish and wildlife, preserving the environmental
and cultural values of our national parks and historical places, and providing
for the enjoyment of life through outdoor recreation. The Department assesses
our energy and mineral resources and works to assure that their development is
in the best interests of all our people. The Department also has a major
responsibility for American Indian reservation communities and for people who
live in island territories under U.S. administration.
Information provided and published courtesy of:
National Fish Hatchery, P.O. Box 398, Whiteriver, Arizona 85941, Telephone:
- Williams Creek
National Fish Hatchery, P.O. Box 398, Whiteriver, Arizona 85941,
Telephone: (928) 334-2346
| More fishing
information? | Cities & Towns |
Page Design & Graphics by White Mountains Online. Copyright © White
Mountains Online. All rights reserved.