Canyon Creek Hatchery is nestled under the Mogollon Rim in the Tonto National Forest and sits at 6,600 feet in elevation near the headwaters of Canyon Creek. The hatchery is located approximately 45 miles east of Payson on Highway 260. Turn south off 260 onto Young Road (Forest Service Road 288) and travel south for three miles, then turn east on Forest Service Road 33 (located under the power line) and travel five miles to the facility. The roads are dirt from highway 260 south. The Young Road is a wide and maintained dirt road, and Forest Road (FR) 33 is a narrow dirt road. The last five miles of road to the hatchery are steep and winding which require a great deal of caution, especially during the winter months.
Canyon Creek Hatchery is located on lands owned by the U.S. Forest Service and has been in operation since 1971. The hatchery was renovated in 1992 to modernize operations. The hatchery raises approximately 240,000 catchable-sized trout and 500,000 to 750,000 fingerlings (3 inches) each year. It is fairly common for this hatchery to have thousands of eggs and small fish in the hatchery building during the spring and summer months. To grow a fish to catchable size takes approximately 24-30 months.
Canyon Creek Hatchery offers a self-guided tour of the hatchery, starting in the Visitor Center. There is also a show pond where visitors can glimpse and feed trophy-sized trout, or go fishing in nearby Canyon Creek. There is family camping nearby at Airplane Flats Campground, or several areas along the Young Road winding through the picturesque Mogollon Rim country of the Tonto National Forest.
Canyon Creek Hatchery was almost lost to the massive Rodeo-Chedeski wildfire in 2002. Since then, the Canyon Creek area has been healing from the fire, and the landscape is returning to the lush foliage that once dominated the canyon.
Phone Number and Hours of Operation: 928-535-5475. Open from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. 7 days a week except for Thanksgiving and Christmas.
Canyon Creek Hatchery FAQs
Q. How many fish do you raise here and what kind are they?
A. Approximately 300,000 catchable size (9.5 inches), and 500,000 to 750,000 fingerlings, all rainbow trout, are raised at the hatchery each year. These fish are distributed to fisheries along the Mogollon Rim and throughout the White Mountains.
Q. Where does the water come from and where does it end up?
A. Water comes from a captured spring and it flows through the hatchery and then to Canyon Creek.
Q. What’s the electric wire for?
A. The wires are electrified after closing time to reduce fish predation by perching birds, raccoons, and skunks.
Q. Where is the restroom and where can I get some water?
A. There are camp restrooms available at Forest Service campsites and we have recently installed a self-contained restroom. No domestic water is available due to restrictions required for water systems that provide potable water to the public.
Updated April 2010