Fish and Aquatic Conservation

illustration of an Apache trout

Apache trout

Oncorhynchus apache, (Miller, 1972)

Cool Facts

The maximum reported weight for Apache trout is 2.4 kg (5 lbs. 4 oz.)

SIZE: The common length for Apache trout is 25 cm (9.8 in) with the maximum reported length for Apache trout being 58 cm (22.8 in).

RANGE: Apache trout inhabit cold water streams on forest lands and reservation lands in the White Mountains of Arizona. These species is now found in the Upper Salt River and Little Colorado River systems in Arizona.

HABITAT: Apache trout inhabit clear, cool, mountain headwaters and creeks (generally above 2500 meters in elevation) and mountain lakes. Larger individuals live in pools. Smaller individuals remain near stream cover such as overhanging trees or the brush lying in stream runs or riffles.

DIET: Apache trout feed on aquatic and terrestrial insects and other invertebrates.

Natural History

Generally, Apache trout mature by age 3. Apache trout normally spawn in early spring. Females excavate redds (nests) in the gravel. After fertilization by the male apache trout, the eggs are covered with gravel. Incubation of Apache trout eggs lasts for 5 to 6 weeks. Young Apache trout emerge from their eggs in 60 days and display downstream nocturnal migration. A 95% reduction in range has resulted from the Apache trout’s hybridization with the rainbow trout, brook trout and brown trout.


The White Mountain Apache tribe took the first critical steps to conserve the species in 1955 by closing fishing on reservation waters that contained any remaining native Apache trout populations. Apache trout became were listed as Endangered under the Federal Endangered Species Preservation Act of 1966. Apache trout became federally protected with the passage of the Endangered Species Act of 1973.

The Apache trout was one of the first species to be “down-listed” from Endangered to Threatened after the re-evaluation of its population status. In 2000, the U.S. Forest Service, in cooperation with the Arizona Game and Fish Department began the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) process for implementing the remaining recovery actions that would lead to de-listing the Apache trout.