Copyright 2018 James Marsh
Fly Fishing Big Bonito Creek Arizona
Big Bonito Creek is a relatively high elevation trout
stream located in Apache Country, Arizona. It flows
through the Big Bonito Prairie. The eleven-mile long
stream has cold, clear water with plenty of stream-bred
trout. A special permit from the Apache Tribe is
required to fish this lovely stream.

The stream can be accessed from reservation roads
Y40, Y55 and Y70. These are dirt roads and rough in
many areas depending on the weather. Beware
traveling there during periods of heavy rainfall. You will
need to do some hiking when you get near the Big
Bonito Creek. Fly fishing Big Bonito Creek isn't an
easy undertaking. The stream isn 't easy to access.
This is also a popular hunting area with plenty of
wildlife including cougar, elk and bear.

The stream is approximately twenty feet wide or less
and full of large boulders. Some of the water is pocket
water but it has plenty of long sections of riffles and
some deep pools. The lower sections of the creek hold
slower moving water with larger, longer pools and less
pocket water. The stream flows off the south side of
Mt. Baldy through the White Mountain Apache
Reservation. Its upper sections fall at a steeper
decline and has plenty of fast water. Its entire length is
on Apache land. When it flows into the Big Black River
it is a large stream for the Arizona Mountains. It has
several tributary streams that are worth fishing
including Little Bonito, Flash Creek and Squaw
Creeks. The Little Bonita Creek is catch and release
only. Little Bonita has two nice size tributaries - Lofer
Cienega Creek and Crooked Creek.

This stream has lots of 14 to 16 inch streamborn
brown trout. Some are much larger and catching ten or
fifteen browns of the average size is very possible
many days of the season. There are also plenty of
smallmouth bass in its lower sections.

The best fishing is from May through October but the
hot summer fishing can be slow. .
Spring fishing is good after the runoff. The best fishing
usually starts in May.
The mid summer during hot weather should be fished
early and late in the day.
The brown trout spawn in the Fall and fishing picks up
when the weather cools off.
Type of Stream
Freestone Stream

Rainbow Trout (wild and stocked)
Brown Trout (wild and stocked)
Apache Trout (headwaters)
Smallmouth Bass

Medium to Large, about 30 miles of

Northern Arizona White Mountains

Nearest Towns


Non-Resident License
State of Arizona

National Weather Service Link

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