Commission creates first-ever blue ribbon roundtail chub fishery

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October 23rd, 2008

The Game and Fish Commission approved creating the country’s first-ever blue ribbon catch-and-release-only seasonal roundtail chub fishery along Fossil Creek in the Verde Valley starting in October of 2009.

“This is really a landmark fishery for a native fish species,” said Young. “Plus the unique history of Fossil Creek itself makes this a classic fishing story for the ages.”

When the decommissioning of the Childs Hydroelectric Power Plant and accompanying renovation of Fossil Creek was first proposed, many anglers and angling groups expressed support the project but asked that the stream not be closed permanently to angling.

With the stream recovery progressing well, the Game and Fish Department gained the Game and Fish Commission’s approval to create a catch-and-release artificial fly and lure-only (single barbless hook) fishery with a season opening the first Saturday in October and continuing through April 30

The timing of the fishing season is selected to reduce the chance of conflicts between anglers and other users during the summer months.
Lots of Arizona anglers along the Verde River over the years have learned to appreciate the angling qualities of roundtail chub, and have long referred to them as Verde trout. In fact, anglers helped to salvage roundtails from Fossil Creek during the renovation process in 2004.

Young added that not everyone has embraced the concept of having a blue ribbon roundtail chub fishery along Fossil Creek.

“One concern being voiced is that some stretches of Fossil Creek have been loved a little too much. Some fear that increased usage could increase the amount of litter and other abuses.” Young said. “But in honesty, we expect the exact opposite.”

Young explained that the dedicated anglers who will be attracted to this one-of-a-kind fishery are conscientious conservationists and stewards of the land. “These are the type of outdoor enthusiasts who will give this unique travertine stream the watchful loving attention it truly deserves and should help counter some of the abuses currently being experienced there.”

Young added that unless we can successfully cultivate public stewardship including a community policing component, long term conservation of areas like Fossil Creek are likely to be tenuous. “This type of fishery will also engender more public appreciation for all the state’s native fish populations, most of which are imperiled.”

5 Responses to “Commission creates first-ever blue ribbon roundtail chub fishery”

  1. I would strongly prefer to see Fossil Creek stocked with trout Vs, Chub Minnows. I think AZG$F are dreaming if they think sport fishermen from across the nation will come to fish chubs!

  2. Gary, I’m one of those folks who would come a long way to fish a native fishery like the one described. Like you I enjoy fishing for trout, but there are plenty of places to find rainbow trout; we seem to stock them everywhere we possibly can. That’s not the case with native fisheries. In so many places, native species have taken a big “hit” through habitat loss and competition with non-native species (which the rainbow trout would be in this case), and we tend not to notice their decline because these native species are not the big, well-known game species. I for one would really enjoy fishing for a native species in it’s native habitat. It’s the creature that naturally belongs in that natural place. It adds to the special feel of being there, something special that belongs to that environment. You wouldn’t want to travel to the jungle to see common domesticated barnyard animals, would you? Same sort of thing.

  3. I am hiking Fossil Creek on Saturday with some scouts. Was wondering how the fishing is in the area along the trail and near the springs. I am an experienced fly fisherman but not familiar with Chub. Any suggestions on what to use and how to fish for them? Dry flies, nymphs, streamers? Thanks.

  4. Carl;

    For the chub, try the larger terrestrial patterns. Some fly anglers did well on ant patterns. Kids using spinning gear may want to try small lures like you might use for crappie. I watched one Boy Scout using a white curly-tail crappie jig (1/16-ounce) with a pink head, and he had no problem catching chub.

    Please keep in mind that the area around the springs is still closed to fishing. The uppermost part of the fishing area starts at the High Falls, which by the way, are spectacular. I believe there is only a 4-mile stretch open to fishing, so please check the regulations. Enjoy the hike!


  5. Rory,
    I love the idea of a native fishery. I have searched this site and can’t find this info, so how do I get there, where do I park, and is the fishing area well marked? I appreciate the above tip so I know what flies to use.

    PS – fished the lower salt at phon d last Friday and had a great time…there’s lots of trout above the confluence.

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