Rancho Tonto Catch a Trout

People Catching A Trout


Wouldn’t it be great to head to the cool pines of Payson and be guaranteed to catch some Rainbow Trout? Well, you can! Rancho Tonto Catch a Trout is open every day from May through Labor Day (and weekends Labor day through November 1), and is available for anglers of all ages to catch a rainbow trout in their stocked pond. Kid with Fish in Bucket

You don’t need to be prepared or knowledgeable about fishing, since all supplies are included in the pole rental price of $1. They give you a bucket, a pole, a net, and bait to head over to the pond.  They don’t allow you to bring your own poles because they are trying to prevent disease. And, they do not do catch and release. If you catch it, you bought it. After you catch as many as you want, they will even clean them for you for only 50 cents a fish! That includes ice and a bag. Our kids loved watching them clean the fish as much as they enjoyed the actual fishing!  

The pricing for the fish is $7.50 for each fish 10” and smaller, with an extra .75 cents for every inch over 10”.  I know many people are thinking, “Why would I pay that much money when I can get a fish for free at the lake?”

Cleaned Fish I completely understand this thought process; however, after fishing several times with our children NOT catching anything at various lakes and rivers, this was absolutely worth every single penny!  It took more time to bait the hook than it did for the trout to bite! The kids loved it and were so proud of their fish.  And, we, the parents, were thrilled that the whole event took less than 30 minutes! And, if you have ever fished with a 2 year old and 4 year old, you know that the attention span is about 10 minutes when it comes to sitting still and WAITING for a fish! So, this was perfect for us. 

The pond has a nice wall surrounding it that makes it a lot safer having small children fishing. Obviously, you still should keep your children in your sight, but it made it less stressful for us, so that we were able to concentrate on helping them fish, instead of worrying about them toppling in!

After we washed up at their little sink, we used their picnic area to have some lunch. We had brought sandwiches, but you can also purchase a cheap “grill kit” from their shop and grill your fish using their grills and picnic area! They have a really nice covered picnic table area that is surrounded by beautiful scenery. All of the kids loved being able to stretch their legs a little and play in the grass before we bundled them back into the car. The Picnic Area

Rancho Tonto also has a guest house cabin for rent on the property that sleeps 9 people. It looks like a pretty location to have a reunion or get-away. They do not have camping on site, but there are plenty of camping areas nearby.

If you are looking for great place to be guaranteed to catch a rainbow trout in less than an hour, then head over to Rancho Tonto Catch a Trout!  It is easy and fun for all!

Rancho Tonto Catch a Trout is located along FR 289 or Tonto Creek Road. You can get there by heading around 20 miles east of Payson on 260, then turning left onto Tonto Creek Road. Rancho Tonto is on your right as you head toward the Tonto Creek Fish Hatchery.

2097 N Forest Service Rd 289
Payson, AZ 85541
(928) 478-0002