Alchesay-Williams Creek National Fish Hatchery Complex

Quick Facts

Alchesay-Williams Creek National Fish Hatchery Complex

Arizona

(520) 338-4901

Map Directions

Things To Do

 

Overview

The White Mountains of east-central Arizona is home to the Alchesay-Williams Creek National Fish Hatchery Complex. It's located on home lands of the White Mountain Apache Tribe - the Ft Apache Indian Reservation. This hatchery complex exists primarily for trout - and has become very important to an endemic fish, the golden-colored Apache trout.

The Apache trout was considered endangered until 1975, when it was down-listed to threatened where it remains today, for now at least. Recent range expansions performed by the Arizona Fishery Resources Office in partnership with the Tribe, the Forest Service, and the Arizona Game and Fish Department are helping the fish toward recovery.

And so is the Alchesay-Williams Creek National Fish Hatchery Complex, where hatchery biologists, dating back to the early 1980s, developed a brood stock of Apache trout. Toward an eye on recovery, the hatchery has implemented a new brood stock management plan, and Apache trout have replaced competing rainbow trout in a sports fish stocking program. That has lessened the likelihood of rainbow trout interbreeding with native Apache trout. The two species are closely related and could readily hybridize.

Experience breeds success. Last year, over 90 percent of Apache trout eggs made the eye-up stage, the highest percentage ever. The brood stock management plan has the biologists selecting Apache trout for size and early spawning while maintaining genetic variability and integrity of the fish. Improvements to the hatchery, like an ultra-violet disinfection system, have improved Apache trout culture. That success is measurable; about 20 percent more fish reach stocking size.

The spawning effort in 2005 - 2006 wrapped up early, and not for a want of fish. What normally lasted through March was done this time by the end of January. Biologist Sherry White says that she normally would see a few females ready to spawn each week over the winter months. This year 675 Apache trout females produced over 767,000 eggs fertilized by 1,054 male trout. The early start should produce larger fish throughout the summer stocking season.

The Alchesay-Williams Creek National Fish Hatchery also produces rainbow, brook and brown trout for stocking on 18 Indian reservations in the American Southwest. Williams Creek National Fish Hatchery was established in 1939 and the Alchesay hatchery in 1962, both at the behest of the White Mountain Apache Tribe.

Map of Alchesay-Williams Creek Nat'l Fish Hatchery Complex

Latitude, Longitude: 34.010693, -109.900703

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Activities

  • Picnicking

    Picnick sites may be available; please contact park services for more information.

Directions

Driving

The Alchesay Unit is located 9 miles north of Whiteriver, Arizona. The Williams Creek Unit is located 4.1 miles south of Hondah, Arizona, then 9 miles east off Highway 73.

Phone Numbers

Primary

(520) 338-4901

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