River: Silver Creek in Arizona – home of the hatchery

May 1, 2019

What could be better than an easily fished creek that makes a name for itself as a huge trout fishery thanks to the local hatchery? These large, hard-fighting fish are born and bred here, and they rarely disappoint. Maybe one of the most fun aspects of this river is that the best time to fish is when other waters have shut down during the cold months. While the creek itself may be silty, the banks are open and easy to cast for the Arizona State Fish – the Apache Trout!


If you find yourself in Show Low, Arizona, you’re unknowingly within a stone’s throw from some of the biggest trout in the state. From a sea level standpoint, you’re pretty high up, but it may not feel that way. Quietly, the Silver Creek snakes through flat, mostly-open meadows.

Over its two miles, the river remains a bank-fishing destination with a handful of deep pools, stretches of undercut banks, and riffles assorted throughout. Yes, you heard right – this creek is best fished from shore due to the silty boot-sucking bottom and open banks.

We’d be remiss to not point out that you’ll also find the Silver Creek Hatchery on the land which is owned by the Arizona Game and Fish Department. Be on your best behavior because the regulations on this water are strictly enforced (and a little odd).

Aquatic Species

  • Apache Trout
  • Rainbow Trout

Food by Season:

Note: Barbless bugs only – pinch the barbs flat on your bugs with pliers to remain legal.

Bug – Micro Egg
Season – October through March
Sizes – Any

Bug – San Juan Worm
Season – October through March
Sizes – 10 – 14

Bug – Meg A Sucking Leech
Season – October through March
Sizes – Any

Bug – Black Midge Nymph
Season – April through September
Sizes – Any

Bug – TH Zebra Midge
Season – April through September
Sizes – 16 – 18

Bug – Parachute Adams
Season – April through September
Sizes – 16 – 18

Bug – Hirsch’s Dark Matter Caddis
Season – Time with hatch
Sizes – 14

Fishing Techniques

Because most people choose to fish this creek during the winter months when fishing remains more active (and still good) than other area waters the hatches are few and rarely predictable. During the summer, however, there are some hatches you can take advantage of.

Midge Hatches: During the warmer months you may run into midge hatches. During this time be ready with some Parachute Adams or midge imitators.

Winter: By far the most popular time of year on this water. Techniques include eggs, worms, and leeches all of which are likely to produce bites in numbers. If any of these fails to produce, switch to the next one. Repeat until you land a nice fish!

Bank Fishing: Because the silty bottom of this creek is mostly impossible to wade, you’ll want to throw bugs from the banks. Thankfully the area is open and easy to cast!

Undercut Banks: Try working your wet bugs like nymphs down near the undercut bank lines if bites don’t come easily in the main creek. There are tons of areas where trout are likely to be lurking just out of view nearly under your feet!

Stocking: This creek is stocked from the local hatchery so keep an eye out for published stocking dates and fish soon after. Beware the crowds, however.

Gear: You’ll be happy with a 5 or 6 wt rod loaded up with standard weight forward line and 5x tippet. Nothing revolutionary here.


Show Low, Arizona allows the jump off for fishing the Silver Creek known for some of the biggest and healthiest trout in the state. Get out there any time of the year and you’re pretty much guaranteed good fishing.

For some, the ease of access and popularity may be a turn-off, however. This creek feels a little more crowded than many remote alpine streams, but brave the crowds and you may land one of the biggest fish of your life!

Sign up for a FREE bonus starter kit box from BugClub and get a jump start on planning your Silver Creek adventure! We send you quarterly boxes with bugs proven in Western waters, so you’ll be ready to try anything against these notorious fish. Click here to learn more.

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