Take a look into the streams of the White Mountains of Arizona and you’ll likely find the Apache trout. Apache trout almost disappeared during the early 1900’s due to the invasion of brook, rainbow and brown trout. The White Mountain Apache tribe considers the freshwater animal sacred, and protected the species with their conservation efforts. The Apache trout is the Arizona state fish. It can be recognized by the dark olive color of its head and back, and the yellow-gold color on its belly. The handsome Apache trout has bright red, pink or orange markings on the underside of its lower jaw. If you ever find yourself eye to eye with an Apache trout, it might look as if it has a black stripe running through the center of its eye. It looks that way because of the characteristic black dot on both sides of its pupil. Apache trout look for the safe cover of small streams under coniferous forests, and feeds on insects, small fish and zooplankton.

(adapted from the Native Fish column in Trout magazine, written by Gregg Patterson)