Best Fishing Spots in Arizona

Lake in Arizona, featuring stunning canyons on a bright day.
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Arizona is a hidden gem for anglers with its stunning diversity of fishing opportunities. Whether your preference leans towards the serenity of mountain trout lakes or the thrill of battling bass on desert reservoirs, you’ll find your spot here. Amongst the best fishing spots is Big Lake in the White Mountains, a haven particularly in spring, teeming with various trout species including rainbow and brook.

In the northern reaches, Lake Powell offers an unparalleled bass fishing experience amidst breathtaking scenery. If urban conveniences appeal to you, the state also provides numerous well-stocked urban fishing ponds. It’s important to remember that anyone over the age of 10 will need a valid fishing license, with options ranging from one-day passes to annual permits. Whether you’re a seasoned pro or a novice, Arizona’s waters are ready to offer a cherished angling experience.



Lake Powell

When targeting trophy fish or simply enjoying the serenity of angling, Lake Powell offers abundant fishing opportunities for you. Situated on the border of Arizona and Utah, this reservoir endows you with not only stunning scenery but also a rich aquatic ecosystem that caters to both seasoned and novice anglers.

You’ll find a variety of fish species to pursue:

For effective fishing, consider the following tips tailored to the unique conditions of Lake Powell:

  • Morning and Evening: Utilize topwater lures and jerkbaits.
  • Daytime: Search for fish around shaded rocks, walls, and main lake points.
  • Lures and Baits: Plastic grubs, worms, spider jigs, and tube baits are effective, particularly in colors like smoke, watermelon, bluegill, crayfish, and white.

Here’s a quick accessibility guide for boat launches:

LocationFeatures
Antelope PointConcrete ramp, paved parking, docks
Wahweap MarinaPaved boat launch, parking, docks

Lake Havasu

Renowned for its exceptional year-round fishing, Lake Havasu is a true angler’s paradise nestled in the Arizona desert. This vast reservoir offers a mix of opportunities, with various species that are eager to bite. You’ll find an impressive range of fish such as largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, and redear sunfish thriving here.

Fishing Spots in Lake Havasu:

  • Site Six Launch Ramp: Located at 591 Beachcomber Blvd., it offers convenient access with features like restrooms and a fish-cleaning station.
  • Lake Havasu State Park: Here, expect to find excellent conditions for both novice and experienced anglers.

When targeting bass, focus on areas with rocky shorelines and submerged rockpiles. These are prime habitats for bass and can result in a rewarding fishing experience.

Lake Havasu Fishing Tips:

  • For largemouth and striped bass, venture around submerged structures.
  • Early mornings or late afternoons can be particularly productive.
  • Utilize artificial habitats created by the Lake Havasu Fisheries Improvement Program to your advantage.

Remember, Lake Havasu isn’t just famous for its fishing; it’s also recognized for its beautiful natural scenery and outdoor activities, which adds to the pleasure of your fishing trip. Whether you’re aiming for a hefty catch or simply enjoying the serenity, Lake Havasu provides a memorable fishing venture.

Roosevelt Lake

Roosevelt Lake is a premier destination in Central Arizona for anglers seeking a diverse and rewarding fishing experience. As the largest lake within the Arizona state lines and a reservoir along the Salt River, it covers 21,000 acres when full and provides about 88 miles of shoreline.

Fishing Opportunities:

  • Bass: Known for excellent bass fishing, the lake was stocked with Florida strain largemouth bass, which have grown rapidly. These bass may reach substantial sizes, with some potentially hitting double digits in weight.
  • Rainbow Trout: In colder seasons, you can find rainbow trout. Bank fishing with baits like PowerBait or worms can be particularly effective.

Top Fishing Spots:

  • Windy Hill: Offers diverse habitats for fishing.
  • Cholla Bay: Known for good catches and scenic views.

Techniques & Bait:

  • Bass: Use artificial lures or live bait to target the aggressive Florida strain largemouth.

Remember that conditions can vary, so it’s wise to check recent reports or consult local fishing guides for the latest hotspots and tips. Whether you’re new to fishing or an experienced angler, Roosevelt Lake is a must-visit for an enriching outdoor escape.

Canyon Lake

Canyon Lake, nestled just east of Phoenix, is a premier destination for anglers looking for a diverse fishing experience. With a sprawling expanse over 950 acres, and a remarkable average depth of 130 feet, the lake can reach up to 141 feet when at full capacity.

Ideal Fish Species:

  • Largemouth Bass: The most popular catch, with the lake’s record being slightly under 12 pounds.
  • Smallmouth and Yellow Bass: Also present, offering a challenging catch.
  • Trout and Catfish: Rainbow trout, channel catfish, and flathead catfish are abundant.
  • Sunfish and Crappie: For a more leisurely fishing experience.

Fishing Techniques:

  • Focus on areas with mid-lake hydrilla using your favorite plastic baits.
  • Try topwater lures by grassy areas, particularly in watermelon and sungill colors.
  • Drop shot techniques with a 4-6 inch soft plastic can be particularly effective.

Accessibility:

  • Reachable via boat; Canyon Lake Marina offers rentals including fishing boats and pontoons.
  • The Point Campground provides access for those preferring to fish from the shore or shallow areas.

Saguaro Lake

When you visit Saguaro Lake in Arizona, you’re engaging with a premier fishing location just outside of east Phoenix. This 1,200-acre reservoir boasts impressive depths ranging from 70-90 feet on average to a notable maximum of 116 feet. The lake provides a home for a wide variety of fish, ensuring a rewarding fishing experience.

Key Fish Species:

Local Fishing Tips:

  • Engage with local anglers or consider hiring a guide to discover optimal fishing spots.
  • Prepare for a day on the water by ensuring you have the necessary gear and licenses.

Saguaro Lake not only offers you exceptional fishing but also brings a scenic backdrop for your angling adventure. Spanning over 10 miles in length, the lake plays a crucial role in hydroelectric power generation and agriculture for the region, courtesy of the Stewart Mountain Dam construction. Whether you’re here for the fish or the views, Saguaro Lake provides an unforgettable Arizona fishing experience.

Lake Pleasant

Located less than an hour from Phoenix, Lake Pleasant is an accessible and favored fishing destination in Arizona. This man-made reservoir was created on the Agua Fria River and offers a diverse fishing experience, with a deep main-lake channel and numerous coves.

When you visit, you’re likely to encounter a variety of fish species. The key species include:

  • Largemouth Bass: Often found around structure, they are a popular catch.
  • White Bass: Look for schooling fish, especially during early morning or late evening.
  • Striped Bass: Fishing at night can be particularly productive.
  • Catfish: Both channel and flathead catfish are available, with better catches typically at night.
  • Crappie: These can be located near submerged structures.
  • Sunfish: Present throughout the lake, particularly around vegetated areas.

For convenience, the Pleasant Harbor Marina provides amenities such as boat rentals and fishing supplies. With boat ramps and ample parking, it’s an ideal start-point for your angling adventure. It’s important to note that Lake Pleasant is open year-round, 24 hours a day.

Practical Tips:

  • Always check for the latest fishing regulations and acquire the proper licenses.
  • Look into local fishing reports for up-to-date information regarding successful fishing spots and bait usage.
  • Consider the season; fish behaviors change with water temperatures throughout the year.

Bartlett Lake

Bartlett Lake is a sizable reservoir located on the Verde River in central Arizona. Not too far from Phoenix, you’ll find it about 55 miles northeast, nestled in the unique desert landscape. Known for its reliable fishing opportunities, Bartlett Lake spans over 2,000 acres and is a preferred spot for anglers seeking out both bass and catfish.

The lake’s habitat provides ideal conditions for:

You can explore different fishing tactics to attract these species. For bass, focus on:

  • Rocky structures which can offer shelter for fish.
  • Coves, especially along the eastern shore which tend to be hotspots.

Keep in mind that Bartlett Lake is also prominent for:

  • Size of fish: It routinely produces some of Arizona’s biggest catches.
  • Access: There are numerous boat ramps and shore access points.

For the most accurate and up-to-date information, consider contacting local fishing guides or checking current fishing reports. These resources can provide you with targeted advice on where to fish and what methods are yielding results.

Patagonia Lake

Situated in Southern Arizona, Patagonia Lake is a prime destination for your fishing adventures. At just 90 minutes south of Tucson, this 265-acre lake offers you a robust variety of fish, including largemouth bass, channel catfish, flathead catfish, crappie, and sunfish. During the cooler months from November through March, rainbow trout are stocked, providing you a great opportunity for cooler season fishing.

Accessible and well-maintained facilities ensure that you can enjoy your time by the water with comfort. For the optimal experience, here are some specifics:

  • Largemouth Bass: Look for them around the lake’s abundant structures.
  • Catfish: Night fishing can yield good results.
  • Crappie: Spring is an especially good time to target these fish.
  • Trout: Winter stockings offer a unique chance for you to catch rainbow trout.

The lake is a habitat that supports healthy fish populations, a result of its thoughtful management. Below is a brief overview to help guide your trip:

Fish TypeSeasonSuggested Method
Largemouth BassYear-roundStructure fishing
Channel CatfishNighttimeBottom fishing
Flathead CatfishLate evening to nightLive bait
CrappieSpringJigs or live minnows
SunfishSummerWorms and a bobber
Rainbow TroutNov-Mar (Stocked)Spinners

Willow Beach

Willow Beach is a premier fishing destination located along the Colorado River. Your experience here will be enriched by the serene beauty of the surrounding landscape and the promise of a good catch.

Location:

  • 1 hour from Las Vegas
  • 15 miles south of the Hoover Dam in Arizona
  • Address: 25804 Willow Beach Road, Willow Beach, Arizona 86445

Popular Catches:

Facilities:

  • Marina store with fishing equipment, bait, and supplies
  • Fish cleaning station east of the marina parking lot

Here, you can expect excellent trout fishing, supported annually by the release of 750,000 trout from the National Fish Hatchery. The waters near Willow Beach are cooler than Lake Mead, making for a refreshing fishing experience, especially in the heat of an Arizona summer.

Boat Access:
Navigate the 11 miles of picturesque Black Canyon waterway that leads you from Willow Beach to the towering Hoover Dam.

Fishing Tips:

  • Stay updated with FishingBooker’s monthly reports to find the most productive fishing spots and recent catches.
  • Make sure to check current weather conditions before planning your trip.

Tempe Town Lake

When you’re seeking an urban fishing experience in Arizona, Tempe Town Lake is a prime spot located in the heart of Tempe, AZ. This expansive body of water covers 225 surface acres and features a maximum depth of 19 feet, offering a unique fishing environment surrounded by the cityscape.

What’s biting? You’ll find a variety of fish stocked by the Arizona Game and Fish Department, including:

  • Largemouth Bass: Agile predators offering a rewarding challenge.
  • Rainbow Trout: Stocked from November to February, ideal for cooler seasonal fishing.
  • Bluegill and Sunfish: Fun for anglers of all ages with lightweight tackle.
  • Channel Catfish: Often targeted for their size and fighting ability.
  • White Amur: A species stocked for vegetation control, catch and release only.
  • Crappie: Known for schooling behavior, making hotspots more predictable.

To fish at Tempe Town Lake, ensure you have a valid Arizona fishing license. Adhere to the rules regarding the number and size of fish you can keep. If you’re bringing a boat, it’s important to note that only four-stroke marine engines are allowed on the lake.

For shoreline fishermen, the lake is easily accessible with plenty of parking and amenities such as picnic tables and well-maintained green areas. Note that fishing east of the lake is restricted as it is part of reservation land

Prime Locations for Different Fishing Techniques

Man fishes along a popular river in Arizona.

Whether you prefer the simplicity of casting from the shore or the mobility of angling from a vessel, Arizona’s diverse waterways cater to various fishing preferences. Explore prime spots tailored to your chosen technique for a satisfying experience.

Shore and Bank Fishing

In Lee’s Ferry, the accessible banks along the Colorado River are well-suited for fly fishing enthusiasts. The clear, swift currents encourage abundant wild rainbow trout populations. For successful shore fishing:

  • Use: Heavier sinking lines to reach deep river pockets
  • Target Areas: Gravel bars and eddies

Your shore fishing excursion can also be fruitful at Chevelon Canyon Lake, known for its secluded environment—ideal for those who seek undisturbed bank fishing. To increase your chances:

  • Focus on: Steep drop-offs where trout often congregate
  • Technique: Cast along the windblown sides of the lake where fish chase schools of baitfish

Boat Fishing and Trolling

Lake Powell serves as a premier spot for boat fishing and trolling, especially for striped bass, catfish, and largemouth bass. Boat launches and ramps are available for easy access to prime fishing areas. Points to remember:

  • Launch Sites: Wahweap, Antelope Point, and Bullfrog marinas offer excellent ramp facilities
  • Trolling Tips: Use deep-diving lures near the dam and along drop-offs for the best catch rates

When employing trolling methods at other locations like Lake Pleasant or Roosevelt Lake, it’s imperative to adjust your equipment for the species you’re after. A varied approach might include:

  • For Stripers: Use long lines with shad imitations
  • For Bass: Shift to shorter lines and specific bass lures

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