Apache Trout Is The State Fish Of Arizona. Apache Trout is the (Oncorhynchus gilae apache). Apache Trout is one of two fish native to Arizona, the other being the Gila Trout. The Arizona State Fish Apache Trout is unique to Arizona and is not found anywhere else. Apache Trout designated and accepted as the official State Fish of Arizona in 1986.
Apache Trout is considered an endangered species, but recent conservation efforts have allowed the state to permit some sport-fishing of the Apache Trout, within regulations defined by the Arizona Game and Fish Department. The Apache Trout has a golden color with black spots. It can weigh up to 6 pounds and grows to 24 inches long.
The Apache trout is able to reproduce with the rainbow trout, which was introduced to Arizona in 1898, and the cutthroat trout. This hybridization ability has greatly reduced the population of pure Apache trout, and it is the primary reason why the Apache trout is considered to be critically endangered. In 1986, National Fish Of Arizona Apache trout was marked as “vulnerable” by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN).
Arizona State Fish remained in this state for about 10 years; in 1996, it progressed to the “critically endangered” stage, the last stage before extinction from the wild. According to the IUCN, a critically endangered species faces an extremely high possibility of extinction in the near future.
Profile of Apache Trout:
SPECIES DESCRIPTION: This yellow or yellow-olive cutthroat-like trout has large dark spots on its body. It is dorsal, anal, and caudal fins are edged with white. It has no red lateral bands.
HABITAT: Occurs in small, cold, high-gradient streams above 1,524 m (5,000 ft) elevation. These streams have substrates consisting of boulders, rocks, and gravel, with some sand or silt, and flow through mixed conifer forests and mountain meadows.
RANGE: Historical: Headwater streams of the Black, White, San Francisco, and Little Colorado rivers in the White Mountains of eastern Arizona.
REASONS FOR DECLINE/VULNERABILITY: Hybridization with introduced rainbow and cutthroat trout, predation, and competition by introduced fishes, and habitat degradation.
LAND MANAGEMENT/OWNERSHIP: U.S. Forest Service and White Mountain Apache Reservation.