Best Shore Fishing in Arizona

Father and son fishing on a dock in Arizona.
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Arizona’s diverse landscape offers an array of shore fishing opportunities that cater to anglers of all skill levels. With numerous lakes and rivers dotting the state, you can engage in this rewarding form of recreation year-round. Shore fishing in Arizona is not only accessible but also provides a chance to catch a variety of fish species without the need for a boat. As you explore Arizona’s fishing spots, you’ll find that certain areas like Big Lake and Alamo Lake are particularly renowned for their shore fishing environments. Big Lake, situated in the White Mountains, is an excellent destination for trout fishing, while Alamo Lake boasts an abundance of largemouth bass, with ample bank access that allows you to cast your line from the comfort of solid ground. These destinations offer the simplicity and pleasure of arriving with just a fishing rod and bait, allowing you to enjoy the serenity of Arizona’s outdoors and the excitement of a potential catch on any given day.

Lake Powell

Your fishing experience at Lake Powell is largely influenced by the diverse aquatic life that calls it home. Nestled between Arizona and Utah, Lake Powell is a premier destination for anglers looking to catch a variety of fish species.

Target Species:

Fishing Techniques:

  • Cast topwater lures and jerkbaits during early morning and evening. For stripers use the same, in addition to swimbait lures.
  • During daylight, focus on rocky areas with shade and main lake points.
  • Utilize plastic grubs, worms, spider jigs, and tube baits ranging from 3 to 5 inches.

Recommended Colors:

  • Smoke
  • Watermelon
  • Bluegill
  • Crayfish
  • White

Tips for Success:

  • Check both Arizona and Utah fishing regulations as they are both honored at Lake Powell.
  • Early and late hours of the day may provide better fishing opportunities.
  • Exercise caution near the shore and navigate between bouys in the main channels.

Lake Pleasant

Lake Pleasant, located about an hour from Phoenix, Arizona, is a premier destination for shore fishing enthusiasts. Your adventure begins at this large, deep lake nestled in the state’s midsection, providing ample opportunities for a variety of fishing experiences.

When you are targeting bass from the shore, it is crucial to choose the right spot. The areas outside Lake Pleasant Harbor are known for their rich bass population, including both largemouth and smallmouth varieties. Here’s a quick rundown of the fish species you might catch:

Given Lake Pleasant’s size, strategizing your approach is beneficial. To increase your chance of success, focus on points, coves, and inlets as these areas offer excellent shelter and food sources for fish.

Here are a few tips to enhance your shore fishing experience:

  • Opt for live bait like worms or minnows to attract fish.
  • Employ lures that mimic local prey, such as crankbaits or jigs.
  • Cast near structures where fish are likely to congregate.
  • Visit at dawn or dusk for optimal biting times.

Remember to check the latest fishing reports for updates on conditions and activity. This will provide you with current information to plan your fishing trips effectively. With its proximity to Phoenix and abundance of fish, Lake Pleasant remains a top-choice destination for anglers.

Bartlett Lake

Your quest for exceptional shore fishing in Arizona is incomplete without visiting Bartlett Lake. Nestled just 55 miles outside of downtown Phoenix, this expansive reservoir is accessible for a day of fishing adventures.

When you arrive, target rocky areas and coves, especially along the eastern shore, for largemouth and smallmouth bass. These fish thrive here, providing a spirited challenge. If bass isn’t your priority, don’t worry. Bartlett Lake is also home to bluegill, crappie, channel catfish, and the noteworthy flathead catfish.

Shore Fishing Spots:

  • Yellow Cliffs: Equipped with picnic tables and grills, these four ramadas provide comfort for your day trip.
  • Bartlett Flat: This picnic area doubles as a scenic fishing spot.

Average Depths:

  • Typical: 100 feet
  • Maximum: 174 feet at full capacity

Before you cast your line, make a stop at the local Bartlett Lake Marina. It’s stocked with the necessary supplies for your fishing needs.

Remember, Bartlett Lake’s breadth spans over 2,830 acres with a length of 12 miles, ensuring multiple serene spots for you to enjoy the quintessential Arizona shore fishing experience.

Roosevelt Lake

When planning your next shore fishing adventure in Arizona, Roosevelt Lake should be at the top of your list. Spanning over 21,000 acres when at full capacity, you’ll find it offers ample shore fishing opportunities with its 88 miles of shoreline.

What makes shore fishing at Roosevelt Lake particularly engaging is its diverse fish population. You have the chance to catch largemouth bass, which is often reported in favorable conditions for angling. Besides bass, you may encounter crappie, carp, and catfish.

For optimal results, consider these shore fishing spots:

  • Windy Hill Recreation Area: Known for easy access and plentiful fish.
  • Cholla Recreation Site: Offers a mix of shallow and deep water close to the shore.
  • Roosevelt Marina: While busier, it’s ideal for nighttime catfishing.

Here’s what you need to know about Roosevelt Lake’s fishing conditions:

  • Average Depth: 70 feet
  • Maximum Depth: 349 feet
  • Length: 22 miles
  • Width: Up to 2 miles

To maximize your fishing experience, keep in mind the lake’s accessibility. There are multiple points along the highway where you can park and walk to the water’s edge. Remember that the lake level can fluctuate, altering shore fishing conditions throughout the year. Always verify the current reservoir level before your trip.

Your fishing success at Roosevelt Lake is enhanced by the natural and man-made structures along the edges where fish like to congregate. Enjoy the blend of beautiful scenery, generous fishing spots, and typically favorable conditions that make shore fishing at this central Arizona lake a rewarding endeavor.

Saguaro Lake

When you visit Saguaro Lake for shore fishing, you’re engaging with one of Arizona’s prime fishing destinations. This lake is strategically positioned just outside of east Phoenix and offers an expanse of over 1,100 acres, making it an optimal site for your fishing activities.

The body of water here has an average depth of 70-90 feet and can reach a maximum of 116 feet, providing ample space for various fish species to thrive. While casting your line, you can anticipate potentially catching Large Bass, with some weighing in at over 12 pounds, and Carp that can exceed 30 pounds in the deeper waters.

Additionally, here’s what you might find:

As a fishing enthusiast, your experience at Saguaro Lake is complemented by the scenic backdrop of the Sonoran Desert. While not every visit guarantees a catch of the lake’s most massive fish, the opportunity to engage with such diverse aquatic life is a constant allure.

If you decide to take a break or simply observe the surroundings, the shoreline also offers peaceful retreats. These spots are not only ideal for fishing; they serve as peaceful havens for hikers and backpackers traversing Arizona’s natural landscapes.

Before you head out, consider reaching out to local fishing guides or checking recent fishing reports to enhance your angling strategy at Saguaro Lake.

Canyon Lake

Your Arizona shore fishing experience isn’t complete without a trip to Canyon Lake. Nestled just outside of east Phoenix, Canyon Lake offers you an engaging fishing environment with its considerable depth and expansive surface area.

With an average depth of 130 feet and reaching depths up to 141 feet, conditions are ideal for a variety of fish species. The lake spans approximately 10 miles and covers over 950 surface acres, providing ample space for you to find your perfect fishing spot.

Where to Fish:

  • Boulder Recreation Area: Accessible for shore fishing, offering a chance to catch bass.
  • The Point Campground: An excellent spot for solitude, surrounded by steep cliffs.
  • Marina Side: East side of the bridge at Boulder offers additional shoreline fishing opportunities.

Fish Species:

Fishing Tips:

  • Early Morning or Late Afternoon: These are prime times for fishing when the water is cooler.
  • Shore Structures: Fish near rocks and plants where fish may be hiding.
  • Bait Selection: Use live bait like worms and minnows or artificial lures mimicking local prey.

Alamo Lake

When you’re searching for premier shore fishing locations in Arizona, Alamo Lake should be at the top of your list. This 3,500-acre reservoir is notable for its largemouth bass fishing, particularly from the banks, making it accessible even if you don’t have a boat.

Fish Species: You can expect to catch:

Fishing Access: The lake boasts extensive shore access. You can find productive spots all around the lake, with the largemouth bass often caught in the 3- to 5-pound range, especially during spawning seasons.

Alamo Lake State Park can be your starting point. Here, you’ll have amenities coupled with good fishing spots. When the water level fluctuates, be prepared for changing shorelines and adapt your fishing strategy accordingly.

Best Times: Aim for the spawn and post-spawn periods for bass, which typically occur in the spring. Crappie fishing can be exceptional as well, with fall and spring being the most productive seasons.

Tournaments and Regulations: Before you plan your trip, it’s wise to check for any scheduled fishing tournaments and familiarize yourself with the current fishing regulations. You can contact Alamo Lake State Park at (928) 669-2088 for real-time information.

Bring your preferred bait and tackle, and enjoy the serene desert landscape as you cast your line into the waters of Alamo Lake, one of Arizona’s best spots for shore fishing.

Patagonia Lake

When you’re looking to cast a line in Arizona, Patagonia Lake offers a serene and rewarding shore fishing experience. Located in the rolling hills of Southern Arizona, just 90 minutes south of Tucson, this 265-acre lake provides ample opportunity for anglers.

Target Species:

  • Largemouth Bass: Flourish in the aquatic structures.
  • Catfish (Channel & Flathead): Find these at various depths, often bottom-feeding.
  • Crappie: Look for schools around submerged logs or vegetation.
  • Sunfish: Typically found closer to the shores.
  • Seasonally Stocked Trout: From November through March, enjoy rainbow trout fishing.

When fishing from the shore at Patagonia Lake, consider the following:

Bait Suggestions:

  • Live Baits: Worms and minnows work well for bass and crappie.
  • Artificial Lures: Spinners and crankbaits can attract a variety of fish.

Local Tips:

  • Early morning or late afternoon are peak times for fishing activity.
  • Quiet areas away from swimmers or boaters may yield better results.

Goldwater Lake

Goldwater Lake is a serene fishing destination located a short distance of 4 miles south from downtown Prescott, Arizona. Nestled among the pines at an elevation of 5,990 feet, the 15-acre reservoir features calm waters ideal for a day of fishing.


Goldwater Lake provides both natural scenery and productive fishing opportunities. For Trout aficionados, take note that the Arizona Game and Fish Department actively stocks the lake with Rainbow Trout in the summertime, enhancing your chances of a good catch.

Fishing Regulations:
Be aware of the catch-and-release policy in the lower portion of Goldwater Lake. This measure ensures sustainability and long-term enjoyment for anglers.


  • Boat rentals
  • Picnic areas
  • Hiking trails

When planning your fishing trip, don’t forget to check the opening hours, which vary seasonally. For instance, from May 1 to September 30, the lake is accessible from 6:00 AM to 8:00 PM. A $5.00 day-use fee is typically required, so carry cash for a smooth entry.

Remember, the lake’s popularity means you’re likely to encounter other outdoor enthusiasts. Arrive early to find the perfect spot on the shoreline and take advantage of the cooler morning temperatures for the best bite.

Lake Havasu

Lake Havasu boasts premier fishing in Arizona, where year-round opportunities abound for anglers. Known for its large and feisty fish, Lake Havasu is a scenic destination that offers much more than just picturesque views.

When casting your line here, expect to engage with a variety of species: largemouth and smallmouth bass, striped bass, bluegill, redear sunfish, channel catfish, crappis, and flathead catfish. Notably, a world-record redear sunfish was caught in Lake Havasu, underscoring its potential for impressive catches.

Key Fishing Spots

  • Site Six Launch Ramp: Free public access, equipped with restrooms and a fish-cleaning station.
    • Location: 591 Beachcomber Blvd., Lake Havasu City, AZ
    • GPS Coordinates: 34.45051, -114.37039

Fishing Regulations

  • Largemouth Bass: 6 per day, 13-inch minimum.
  • Smallmouth Bass: 10 per day, 10-inch minimum.

Infrastructure improvements such as the Lake Havasu Fisheries Improvement Program enhance the area’s fish habitat, offering five free fishing piers for public use. Moreover, with 875 acres of artificial habitats, Lake Havasu continually enhances its ecosystem to support a thriving fish population.

Arizona’s Most Popular Fish Species

Arizona offers a diverse range of popular fish species for shore anglers. Whether you’re after the fighting largemouth bass or the tasty trout, you’ll find an exciting and rewarding fishing experience here.

Largemouth Bass

Largemouth bass are the most sought after in Arizona, thriving in the state’s reservoirs. Alamo Lake is renowned for bass in the 3- to 5-pound range, providing excellent shore fishing opportunities during the spawn and post-spawn periods.

Crappie and Sunfish

For a fun and family-friendly fishing experience, Arizona’s waterways offer abundant black crappie and sunfish, including bluegill and redear sunfish. These species are great for beginners and can be found throughout the state, making for a perfect introduction to fishing.

Catfish Varieties

Arizona hosts a variety of catfish including the flathead catfish, channel catfish, and smaller green sunfish. These species inhabit lakes statewide and offer year-round fishing potential, challenging you with their weight and fight.

Trout Fishing in Arizona

Trout fishing is particularly prominent, with rainbow trout being a popular species especially in the 13-mile stretch known as Lees Ferry. Other varieties include walleye, white bass, and yellow bass, making for a diverse trout fishing experience.

Additional Species of Interest

If you’re looking to extend your fishing palette, Arizona also offers other species such as striped bass, which challenge even the most seasoned anglers with their size and strength. Whether you’re on a lake shore or riverbank, there’s always a new species to pursue.

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