Season: March – October (weather permitting)
Trout: Gila (stocked)
Special Regulations: Barbless hooks; 2 Gila Trout Limit; Must obtain free permit from NM Game and Fish
Camping: Willow Creek, Iron Creek Lake, etc. and can also camp anywhere in the Gila for up to fourteen days (check regulations).
Mineral Creek has also gone through a transformation in the last hundred years, but especially in the last twenty years. Mineral Creek, a part of the San Francisco Watershed, used to meet the San Francisco River near Alma. Those free flowing days are long gone and the creek dries up well before it once did.
In 2012, the Whitewater Baldy Fire destroyed a massive amount of land and greatly affected the waterways. In Mineral Creek, the fire wiped out every type of fish – mostly rainbows and browns. But nature is healing itself and the future is bright. Indeed, NM Game and Fish have begun stocking Mineral Creek with exclusively Gila trout.
Mineral Creek is within a few deep canyons and is about 13 miles long from start to finish. It is classic New Mexico small creek fishing. The scenery is great and don’t be surprised to see wild animals, to include bears, mountain lions, and even Kudamundi (also known as Mexican Racoons).
Finding a the Gila trout still requires some effort after getting there. You can enter Mineral Creek from the bottom of the creek, near tomb of Cooney, and hike up a few miles. This can be a trek into the canyon and quite a few miles of hiking before you find any fishable water. You can also hike in just upwards from the town of Mogollon and hike into Log Canyon (mapped below). This hike is pretty arduous and the last half mile into the canyon is really tough. Finally, you can get into the canyon is driving all the way up Bursum Road and hiking down to meet Mineral Creek from above.
Bursum Road (159) is not passable during the winter months and a low clearance vehicle is not advisable, especially without any cell service. Nearby where you can hike into Mineral Creek, there are a couple of other streams, Gilita Creek and the Willow Creek, both of which have Gila trout, though on the Gila Watershed.