Copyright 2016 James Marsh
Fly Fishing Tonto Creek Arizona
Tonto Creek is a 70 plus mile long stream located in the
Mogollon Rim area of Arizona. It originates from
several small springs at the Rim's base. The stream flows
through the Tonto National Forest. This stream also flows
through the Hellsgate Wilderness area and on into a
valley in the Sonora Desert. It continues flowing through
desert land and terminates in Theodore Roosevelt Lake.

Tonto Creek flows through some very rugged country
downstream of Kohl's Ranch. Some of the sections that
flow through Hellsgate Canyon are almost impossible to
reach. Fly fishing Tonto Creek above Kohl's Ranch is
much easier.  Of course, the easy to reach roadside
areas are far more popular and at times even crowded.

Two tributaries, Christopher Creek and Haigler Creek,
both with wild trout flow into Tonto a couple of miles below
Kohl's Ranch. Keep in mind some of creek lies on private
property, so make sure your fishing on public land.

You can access the area above Kohl's Ranch above off
Arizona state highway #260 on Forest Road #289 which
leads to the fish hatchery. A few miles the road runs along
the stream before you get to the hatchery but this area is
very popular. It is stocked from the highway to the

Horton Creek flows into Tonto Creek about three miles
downstream from the hatchery and provides additional
four miles of good trout fishing opportunities. Horton
Creek has a population of wild brown trout. It is a very
small stream probably averaging only twelve feet wide.
The trail along the stream is very popular for hiking.

Tonto Creek has plenty of aquatic insects to feed the
trout. Little Black Winter Stoneflies and Little Brown
Stoneflies are plentiful. Blue-winged Olives, Quill
Gordons, Tricos, and Pale Morning Duns represent the
most mayfly species. There are also plenty of caddisflies
including Spotted Sedges and Green Sedges. Terrestrials
such as ants, grasshoppers and beetles are also fairly
plentiful and offer food for the trout during the warm
months of the year.

The best fishing is from February through October but the
hot summer fishing can be slow in areas.
Fly fishing Tonto Creek is best during the Spring
after the runoff.
The mid summer during hot weather should be fished
early and late in the day.
Early Fall is an excellent time to fish Tonto Creek.

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Type of Stream
Freestone Stream

Rainbow Trout (wild and stocked)
Brown Trout (wild and stocked)
Brook Trout (wild)


Northern Central Arizona


Nearest Towns


Non-Resident License
State of Arizona

National Weather Service Link

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