Fishing Season: Year Round

Tonto Creek - AZ

Fishing Outlook & Conditions

Water Temp:


Orvis Phoenix 's Tip of the Week

Small leech imitations, dry/droppers, and of course woolly buggers of all shapes and sizes can be very productive this time of year. Your usual prospecting dry flies can be very productive on cloudy days. You will catch lots of fish on the dropper, try some perdigon nymphs and even some flashback pheasant tails and your bound to hook a few! Crystal stimulator to a pheasant tail! If you wanna catch some bigger fish in certain sections, throw a peeping caddis and bounce it off the bottom on undercut banks and hold on.

Directions open in app

Map of Tonto Creek

Water Flow Data

Tidal Conditions

5-Day Outlook as of 10/1/23

New Zealand Mud Snails have been found in Tonto Creek and AZGFD is asking for your cooperation in cleaning your boots when arriving and leaving! Spray your boots with Formula 409 and let dry for 15 mins and this has been working well.

Techniques & Tips as of 10/1/23

This is a small creek and a stealthy approach will rain supreme! Watch your shadows as you approach the pools and make your first cast count! Dry-droppers will be your best friend this time of year, try a stimulator to a mayfly nymph (Copper John, Pheasant Tail, or a Hares Ear) and fish from the back of the pool to the front. If fishing below the Horton Creek confluence, try fishing some bigger streamers and you may hook into a Wild Brown. Peeping caddis imitations can produce some larger fish this time of year down there!

Local Species Available Year Round

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    Brown Trout

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    Rainbow Trout

Orvis Phoenix 's Recommended Fly Patterns

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

Name: Colors: Size(s):
Adams Parachute Dry Fly natural,hares ear 16-20
Griffith's Gnat black 18-22
Parachute Pheasant Tail phesant tail 16-20
Bead Head Krystal Caddis Larva Olive,tan 14-18
Semi Seal Dark colors (black/r 6-12
Perdigon Nymph Pearl 16-19
Tungsten Jig Bugger olive,black 8-12

Adams Parachute Dry Fly

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Orvis Phoenix 's Recommended Gear

Description: About Tonto Creek

Tonto Creek is one of several small streams along the Mogollon Rim NE of Payson, Arizona. It is one of the most accessible Rim creeks and boasts a hatchery at the headwaters. It is fed by Horton Creek just downstream of its headwaters, which is another favorite among small stream anglers. Further downstream Haigler Creek feeds it as it enters the Hellsgate Wilderness. Tonto Creek eventually ends up feeding Roosevelt Lake. The top 8 miles of Tonto garner the most attention from anglers as access to the lower stretches is extremely difficult and turns into a warmwater fishery deep within the Hellsgate Wilderness

Nearest Airport:



Caddis, Hoppers, Ants.

Best Time to Fish:

Sunrise to Sunset!

Best Stretch:

Bear Flat to Kohls Ranch

Best Access:

Kohls Ranch