Fishing Season: April through November(no winter access to upper river)

Black River - AZ

Fishing Outlook & Conditions

Water Temp:


Orvis Phoenix 's Tip of the Week

The mainstem has been fantastic for both brown trout and smallies. Dry droppers have been doing well in shallow water and the pockets. Size 16 mayflies and the vulnerable size 14 stimis! We do alot of nymphing in the summer, we like to do a drop shot rig with a size 14-16 pheasant tail and an emerging caddis pattern farther up the line. If you are planning to access the lower through the San Carlos, plan ahead to get your permit. Smallies are smacking poppers! The wildlife and Recreation HQ on the San Carlos is the only place for the south side to get a permit as of right now.

Directions open in app

Map of Black River

Water Flow Data

5-Day Outlook as of 6/18/24

We have been having tons of luck near wildcat crossing swinging big streamers through the pools! Some flat water has been on fire with a good dry fly bite! The small mouth bite has been fantastic, lots of damsels and crawdads moving around in the lower reaches. Pump house and Tick flat have been super consistent for us. Just remember you no longer can drive close to the pumphouse, you must park near the berm on the West side and hike the road in. Get over to the lower section and grab some poppers and smack some smallies!

Techniques & Tips as of 6/18/24

Strip streamers along the undercut banks or bushy attractors thrown in the white water. prospecting with a cicada or hopper with a caddis larvae underneath has been finding some great browns right now. Any craw colored streamer or blue popper have been great for us for the small mouth.

Local Species Available April through November(no winter access to upper river)

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    Brown Trout

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    Apache Trout

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    Rainbow Trout

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    Smallmouth Bass(lower river)

Orvis Phoenix 's Recommended Fly Patterns

"Must-have" fly fishing patterns in descending order of importance:

Name: Colors: Size(s):
Bead Head Woolly Bugger Streamer black, olive 2-14
Flying Ant Black 14-18
CDC Caddis olive, grey, tan 14-18
Tactical Peeping Caddis TH Jig tan 10-14
Articulated Streamers Black,olive 2
Come at me cray Crawdad 4
Rosenbauer Parachute Beetle Black 14-18
Hawkins' Hat Trick rainbow or Brown 2-10
Sparkle Minnow Olive 4
Mardi craw olive/orange 4

Bead Head Woolly Bugger Streamer

Every angler needs an assortment of these weighted attractor Bead Head Woolly Bugger Streamer flies.

Orvis Phoenix 's Recommended Gear

Description: About Black River

The Black River, from the East and West Forks high in the White Mountains to the 80 mile long main stem is some of the best moving water in the state. The upper reaches are trout water, once it enters the Apache Reservation it begins to transition into smallmouth bass water. Access on the upper portions is good with many forest service roads meeting the stream. The middle and lower sections of the Black are 4 x 4 only access points, with most requiring a long hike into the canyon to get to the stream. 80 miles with only 10 access points makes this a great place to find solitude and some amazing fishing. Special Use permits are required for the main stem from either the San Carlos or White Mountain Apache tribe depending on what side you enter from. Access may be limited in winter due to snow.

Nearest Airport:


Best Time to Fish:

Morning to Afternoon

Best Stretch:

West fork Campground or the section off road 273!