Waders in the Water – Status of Gila Trout Recovery Streams on Mt. Graham

Department staff recently surveyed Ash and Frye creeks on Mt. Graham in the Pinaleño Mountains that were impacted by the Frye Fire. Both creeks are Gila Trout recovery streams, and once the fire was contained and prior to monsoons, trout were salvaged from each creek and transferred to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Mora National Fish Hatchery in Mora, NM. Based on a visual survey in Ash Creek, the habitat was severely impacted and there isn’t a stable channel in the upper portion of the creek; no fish were observed. In Frye Creek, most of the pools are filled with sediment and no fish were captured or observed using electrofishing equipment. We will continue to monitor both streams annually to document habitat changes and recovery, and to hopefully return Gila Trout to the streams once habitat is again suitable. 

Post-fire surveys of Ash Creek.

An unstable stream channel is evident in upper Ash Creek.

Post-fire surveys of Frye Creek found typically deep pools now filled with sediment.

Sampling for Gila Trout in Frye Creek.