Apache Trout Angling
I once caught so many fish upstream of Burro Creek, a tributary of the Black River, that I got tired of fishing. I know that sounds crazy but I set down my rod, took out a sandwich, sat on the bank and enjoyed the wildness and angling success of the Black River.
I went through all my Adams Parachutes (I had three left, sizes #12, #14 and #16) and when they tore those up, I tied on a tan Elk Hair Caddis. They tore that up. Anything I put on, the trout attacked. The meadows were alive and green. Hoppers flew up from the grass as I walked along. I fished clear, deep beaver ponds.
I didn't see another human all day long. And I think the middle canyon section of the Black's West Fork has better habitat and bigger fish. So imagine the kind of trip you can plan.
This gem of a trout stream forms the border between the San Carlos and White Mountain Apache lands and requires a special daily permit for fishing and camping. Most of the best fishing on the Black River is to be found in the spruce and fir forests in alpine settings in the White Mountains.
One of the side benefits for the angler is that the Black River is one of the best smallmouth streams in the state. The trout fishing ain't bad either.
Apaches, Rainbows & Browns
The Black River runs through some of the harshest, loneliest and most scenic country in the West. You have a good chance of seeing deer, elk, bear and even bighorn sheep. In the summer, the two forks, the East and West Forks, are usually low and clear.
Apache trout inhabit the upper stretches of the rivers, rainbows and browns in the middle sections, brown trout in the lower mountain stretches, and a mix of bass and trout in the lowest stretches.
The East Fork is the most popular and in stretches, you will feel relatively crowded. Hit the upper reaches of the East Fork to get away from it all and fish in pristine water. The East Fork is brushy in spots and is punctuated by riffles and pools, some long, still pools, and lots and lots of rocks.
The West Fork of the Black River is a mountain headwater and is brushy, sometimes difficult fishing for spooky rainbow and brown trout. Some Apache trout are found in the upper area.
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication