Hulsey Lake Restoration


In past years, four-acre Hulsey Lake had been a favorite fishing spot not only for many locals but visitors as well. The Wallow Fire changed that in 2011. During the Wallow Fire, the 10’ deep lake was drained to help minimize flooding in the Nutrioso area. Draining of Hulsey gave the streams swollen from the monsoons time to slow and drop some of the debris they carried, thus reducing the impact of downstream flooding.


Hulsey Lake Drained 2011

Design, surveys and Geotechnical studies conducted from 2012 into 2015 gave engineers the data they needed to make Hulsey restoration a reality. After completing the bidding process, Geisler Skidding of Springerville was awarded the contract for Hulsey’s improvements and reconstruction.  The funds used for the restoration came from Forest Service contributions of $229,000 and $15,000 from partner contributions.  The $244,000 covered the engineering design, all of the data collection, and the construction.


Completion of Hulsey Lake project in the summer of 2015 deepened Hulsey to 20’ at the deepest point, and it increased the surface area by one-acre, forming the current five-acre Hulsey Lake. Included in the improvements were the addition of two fishing piers, one on the north side of Hulsey and one on the south. The fishing piers will give anglers better access for fishing. Also created was an island in the center of Hulsey for duck nesting habitat.


Hulsey Lake Restored 2015

After completion of construction, Hulsey only took one month to fill because of the unusual amount of precipitation we received during the monsoons. Arizona Game and Fish will stock Hulsey with recreational trout in the spring of 2016, restoring the fishery. Hulsey Lake off of U.S. Highway 180/191 will once again become a favorite fishing spot on the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forests.

Story contributed by Iris Estes - USFS