Bubbling Ponds Hatchery is located approximately 10 miles south of Sedona and 10 miles north of Cottonwood off Highway 89A on the Page Springs Road. The best access is from Interstate 17. Take the McGuireville exit (exit 293), turn west for approximately 10 miles to Cornville, and turn north on Page Springs Road for 5.5 miles to the hatchery entrance. Bubbling Ponds Hatchery is immediately adjacent to Page Springs Hatchery on the west side of Oak Creek.
The hatchery was purchased by the Arizona Game and Fish Commission in 1954 and has remained in operation for over 55 years. There are 17 outdoor pond basins, but only 13 are in use today. Over the years a variety of fish species has been raised here, but today the hatchery has emphasis on rearing native fishes such as razorback sucker, Colorado pikeminnow, and roundtail chub. The hatchery also produces a small number of rare leopard frogs for conservation. There are 2 full-time employees that operate this facility.
There is a Research Laboratory on the hatchery to conduct studies on native fish culture and propagation. A variety of fish species are present. Click on the link below for a live video camera showing native fish in one of the rearing units.
ARIZONA’S UNIQUE FISH!
We raise some strange looking fish at Bubbling Ponds Hatchery – here’s a sample of some native fish we raise for conservation and recovery.
Razorback Sucker: These endangered fish live up to 50 years and grow up to 12 pounds in weight and 3 feet in length.
Colorado Pikeminnow: These endangered fish live up to 50 years and grow up to 80 pounds in weight and 6 feet in length.
Roundtail chub is a native sportfish in Arizona that grows up to 2 feet in length.
MORE INFORMATION ABOUT BUBBLING PONDS:
Due to its aging infrastructure, the Department is planning to renovate the facility when funds become available. A new facility will likely include outdoor pond basins and indoor rearing facilities, as well as an area dedicated towards aquaculture research, and an interpretive center.
There are wildlife viewing areas at the hatchery site and designated visitor parking. In addition, the hatchery provides crucial habitat for rare or declining species such as northern Mexican gartersnake, Page springsnail, and a rare species of caddisfly.
Walking trails from the visitor parking lot lead to remote areas of the 100-acre portion of the property that are excellent for viewing wildlife. The department has partnered with the Northern Arizona Audubon Society to develop and maintain trails, install rest-stop benches for wildlife watching opportunities, and enhance habitats. It is not uncommon to see big game animals on site or other species such as otters, skunks, osprey, herons, raccoons, other mammals, amphibians, and about 200 species of birds. Bring your hiking boots and a pair of binoculars and enjoy the scenery!
Phone Number and Hours of Operation: 928-634-4466. Open from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. 7 days a week except for Thanksgiving and Christmas.
Bird Watching at Bubbling Ponds
Heron Flying over Bubbling Ponds
Harvesting fish from Bubbling Ponds
Bubbling Ponds Hatchery FAQs
Q. How come I can’t see the fish?
A. The ponds often have a phytoplankton bloom. This is a small algae, green in color, that reduces the visibility in the pond water. The fish also stay near the bottom of the ponds which makes it difficult to observe them.
Q. Where does the hatchery water come from?
A. From a spring located one-half mile up the road. The water flows through an open ditch to the hatchery.
Q. How much water flows through the hatchery?
A. Approximately three to four million gallons a day.
Q. What are the wire-lines crossing the ponds for?
A. Birds are a primary predator on cultured fish. The lines inhibit birds that fly into and on the water. Eventually there may be netting stretched across the wires to provide additional protection.
Q. How do you get the fish out of the ponds?
A. The ponds are drained much like a bathtub, and the fish are seined into a small area so they can be netted out of the pond and loaded onto a truck.
Q. How big are the fish when they are stocked?
A. Most native fish are 300 mm (8 inches) when stocked. This is to avoid most of the non-native predatory fish such as flathead catfish or bass. The sport fish are usually raised to fingerling size of 1-4 inches.
Q. How long does it take to raise the fish?
A. The native fish take approximately two years and the sport fish are raised in a couple of months to a year.
Updated April 2010