San Carlos Apache Tribe

San Carlos Recreation and Wildlife Department
P.O. Box 97, San Carlos, Arizona  85550
Phone: (928) 475-2343 / (888) 475-2344
Fax: (928) 475-2701
Contact: Harold Nofchissey, Recreation and Wildlife Director

Fisheries and wildlife management functions for the San Carlos Apache Tribe reside within its Recreation and Wildlife Department ("SRRWD"). This Department is headed by a Director who reports to and coordinates all fish and wildlife management activities through theTribe’s Fish and Game Commission. The San Carlos Fish and Game Commission, with the participation of the Director of the SCRWD, reports directly to the Tribal Council of the San Carlos Apache Tribe

Recreational fishing opportunities on the San Carlos Apache Reservation are abundant and diverse, varying with climate and elevation and supporting both warmwater and coldwater fisheries. Both fishery types exist in 5 man-made reservoirs, numerous man-made stock tanks, and 7 perennial streams located throughout the Reservation. Self-sustaining warmwater fisheries mainly consist of sunfish (Lepomis sp.), largemouth bass (Micropterus salmoides), black crappie (Pomoxis nigromaculatus), channel catfish (Ictalurus punctatus), and flathead catfish (Pylodictis olivaris); with coldwater fisheries consisting of either put-and-take or put-grow-take for rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss) and brown trout (Salmo trutta). In addition, smallmouth bass (Micropterus dolomieu), are located in several streams on the Reservation and provide an important, increasingly popular sport fishery to the Tribe.

San Carlos Reservoir serves as the Tribe’s largest and best known fishery, and holds potential of being one of the premiere largemouth bass fisheries in the southwest, drawing anglers from throughout the region. Apart from providing high quality fishing for largemouth bass, black crappie, bluegill, channel catfish, and flathead catfish, this large man-made reservior additionally provides other recreational uses (i.e., water skiing, jet skiing, and boating) that typically peak during during summer months and moderate during the remainder of the year. Despite its potential as a premiere fishery and recreational area, San Carlos reservoir is subject to excessive irrigation drawdown during dry years, which has repeatedly threatened catastrophic fish kills. Other key reserviors providing fishing and other recreational activities on the Reservation include: Talkalai Lake (6,000 acre feet warm-water fishery, the newest and second largest impoundment on the Reservation), Seneca Lake (27 acres, supporting put-and-take rainbow and brown trout fishery in the winter months, and largemouth bass/channel catfish providing additional year-round fishing), Point of Pines Lake (34 acres, managed exclusively as a put-and-take/put-grow-take rainbow and brown trout fishery) and Dry Lake (150 acres, trout fishery that has been re-stocked in an effort to reestablish the trout fishery after severe drought).

Historically, at least 12 native fish species occurred in springs, streams and rivers located on or adjacent to the Reservation. Currently, eight native fish species are known to occur at varying levels on the Reservation, one of which is endangered (Gila topminnow) and one that is being proposed for listing as endangered (Gila chub). Critical habitat (Section 4 of the Endangered Species Act) for the endangered razorback sucker exists in the Gila and Salt rivers on the Reservation; however, the species hasn’t been collected in sections of either river bounded by the Reservation for over a decade. Native fish populations have declined due to altered flow regimes (i.e., dams, water diversions, and groundwater pumping), land use practices (agriculture, livestock grazing, and timber harvesting), competition and predation by introduced non-native sport fishes, and habitat loss or alteration. The SCRWD continues to work closely with USFWS in addressing a multitude of native fish management challenges, with much of the focus being placed on habitat restoration projects.






Southwest Tribal Fisheries Commission    P.O. Box 190  Mescalero, New Mexico  88340  •  (575) 464-8768