A first-ever Arizona state record Gila trout was caught on Feb. 28 from Frye Mesa Reservoir following the stocking of these colorful native salmonids into the reservoir near Safford on Feb. 27.
Robert Woods of Flagstaff caught a 19¼-inch, 3.35-pound Gila trout at Frye Mesa Reservoir on Feb. 28 and brought it into the department’s Flagstaff regional office for verification.
It’s not only the standing state record right now, it is also the first-ever record for this native fish.
The Arizona Game and Fish Commission on Feb. 4 created the first-ever season on native Gila trout at Frye Mesa Reservoir on the Pinaleño Mountains in southern Arizona.
The catch was made been possible because the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Mora National Fish Hatchery in New Mexico had larger surplus Gila trout available that were not conducive for stocking in small recovery streams. Those larger Gila trout were stocked into Frye Mesa Reservoir last week on Feb. 27.
Mt. Graham is now the only mountain on the planet where anglers can fish for native Gila trout, native Apache trout, rainbow trout, brown trout and brook trout.
Game and Fish officials are also encouraging anglers to practice catch-and-release on native Gila trout as there are only so many to go around.
Arizona is not the first state to have a season on Gila trout. New Mexico has had a limited season on Gila trout in specific waters.
source: Arizona Game and Fish Commission