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The Verde Independent | Cottonwood, Arizona

home : visiting the verde valley : visiting the verde valley 2009 June 28, 2016

5/6/2009 9:47:00 AM
Page Springs Hatchery provides a cool treat
If You Go ...
What: Page Springs Hatchery

Where: 1600 N. Page Springs Road, Cornville

When: 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. seven days a week, except Thanksgiving and Christmas when the hatchery is closed. For large group tour call 634-4805 a week in advance.

How much: Free, except quarters you'll need for the fish food machines.

Rules: Stay on designated paths, supervise children and please follow other hatchery rules.

Jon Hutchinson
Staff Reporter

Avid fishermen dream of an oasis like the Page Springs Fish Hatchery, but nature lovers and families also are come away excited by what this park-like setting has to offer. The hatchery, the state's largest coldwater fish production facility, produces 700,000 trout each year.

Both kids and adults love to watch the thousands of trout weave and tumble in the raceways of the hatchery. Also look for the limited number of brown trout produced here. The nature trail, bordering Oak Creek provides a cool retreat from the desert sun during the hot months in Arizona.

At the adjoining Bubbling Ponds hatchery, a warm-water facility, sport fish include largemouth bass, blue gill and walleye. The hatchery raises native and endangered fish, as well, including Colorado pike minnow and razorback sucker.

Don't bother to bring your fishing line this time, you won't be able to use it here, but trout produced there are stocked in surrounding streams and rivers, including Oak Creek, Verde River, West Clear Creek, and Wet Beaver Creek.

The hatchery provides an interpretive center and self-guided hatchery tour, closing with a visit to the ponds to see the hatchery's largest and finest trout.

At 82 acres, the hatchery on Page Springs Road in Cornville is popular for its glittering fish life, but birders find the location equally popular for the varieties of birdlife that are attracted to the ponds.

The Northern Arizona Audubon Society, especially, has identified the hatchery on its web site. The Audubon Society recently identified habitat at the hatchery and surrounding riparian area along lower Oak Creek as an Important Bird Area. See their web site at Northern Arizona Audubon.

The society has built two miles of trails for an enchanted nature experience. The trails are a perfect place to commune with nature. Bring your camera.

Early and late in the day skunks and raccoons can be seen in the surrounding glen. The area also attracts mule and white-tailed deer, elk, javelina and black bear.

A picnic area is also available along the quarter-mile long nature trail for families and others who enjoy an outdoor luncheon.

Originally, the hatchery was a private operation called the Arizona Trout Company, started in the early 1930s. In 1938, the Arizona Game and Fish Department leased the property and eventually purchased the farm for $50,000. The hatchery was renovated in 1991 and most of the original earthen ponds with concrete raceways.

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