Reward offered in theft of large number of Apache trout from hatchery

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August 3rd, 2009

The Arizona Game and Fish Department is asking for the public’s help in finding the individual or people responsible for the theft of numerous Apache trout and vandalism at the Silver Creek Fish Hatchery. Over the weekend of July 11-12, someone broke into the hatchery complex and stole approximately 270 trout from one of the raceways.

Hatchery workers discovered the vandalism and missing fish the following Monday morning. The Silver Creek Hatchery, located near the community of White Mountain Lake northeast of Show Low, stocks thousands of Apache trout each year into regional waterways such as the Black River, Little Colorado River, Lee Valley Reservoir and Silver Creek.

“The theft of these trout is essentially stealing money from the pockets of Arizona anglers,” says Paul Greer, wildlife manager in Units 3A and 3C. “Anglers foot the bill for department-operated hatcheries to raise and stock trout throughout Arizona by the purchase of a trout stamp with their fishing license. An entire stocking of a state waterway will not occur now because of the irresponsible behavior of a couple of people.”

“Unfortunately, this is not the first time fish have been stolen from this facility,” adds Greer. “These aren’t the actions of a sportsman. They’re acts of criminals stealing wildlife assets and resources from the people of Arizona.”

To report information on this incident, or any Game and Fish violation, call the department’s Operation Game Thief hotline at (800) 352-0700. Caller identities may remain confidential upon request. Callers are eligible to receive a reward of up to $1,000 for information leading to the arrest of the violator(s) responsible for these crimes.

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