A Day in the Field – Stocking Gila Trout into the West Fork Oak Creek
With the help of Coconino National Forest personnel and 26 volunteers from Trout Unlimited, Backcountry Hunters and Anglers, and the Federation of Fly Fishers, the Department stocked 1,000 young-of-year Gila Trout in West Fork Oak Creek on October 25th. The trout were raised at the Department’s Sterling Springs Hatchery and averaged about three inches in length. This was the second stocking of Gila Trout into the creek, the initial stocking occurred in 2015.
The Gila Trout were hauled in insulated buckets strapped to backpacks. The trout were distributed throughout the lower 3.5-mile section of West Fork Oak Creek.
West Fork Oak Creek is within the historic native range of Gila Trout. The stocking is part of a program allowing recreational stocking in non-recovery streams, which compliments recovery efforts by providing angling opportunities for native Gila Trout. Staff from the Department’s Flagstaff Region II office will monitor the fishery in July of 2018.