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With its abundance of beautiful landscapes and natural wonders in Arizona, fishing enthusiasts flock to state parks, reservoirs and lakes for an idyllic day near the water. With plenty of year-round fishing opportunities, Arizona is home to diverse wildlife and varied habitats where you can cast a line. Perfect for anglers at any skill level, pack your fishing gear and head to one of these favorite local spots, as they are best places to fish in Arizona.
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Located in Tonto National Forest, Roosevelt Lake is the place to go for bass fishing. With warmer waters and brush coves along its 20,000 acres, it’s here you’ll find nutrient-rich forage that allows the bass population to thrive in addition to white bass, striped bass, and catfish. Head to the Salt Arm, Tonto Arm, and Salome Cove to find rocks and drop-offs where bass like to congregate. Perfect for a day of shoreline fishing, the area is full of submerged trees and bass just waiting to be caught, specifically where Tonto Creek enters the lake. Largemouth bass can be found in the deep, cold waters near the damn and Bass Island, while warm, sunny days have them moving towards shallow, warm waters near the drop-offs.
Fish commonly caught in Lake Havasu State Park are smallmouth bass, largemouth bass, and striped bass, but catfish and sunfish species can also be found. Located in Lake Havasu City, this park is considered an excellent largemouth impoundment and one of the best smallmouth lakes in the country. An astounding 450 miles of shoreline make up this area, where a 25-mile long lake has a highly-regarded reputation for fishermen. Head out for a day of adventure, as 4 to 5-pound largemouth catches are common here, as thousands of bundles of brush have been placed throughout the lake as a part of a habitat improvement area.
A great place to fish along the shore and on a boat, Patagonia Lake State Park is located just an hour’s drive from Tucson. A sleeper lake that regularly produces large numbers of bass, including 5 to 8 pounders, you’ll also have a chance to reel in flathead catfish, channel catfish, crappie, and bluegill. With healthy populations of a variety of fish, this 265-acre man-made lake also sees rainbow trout in the winter months. While several Christmas tree bundles have been placed in the lake for additional cover, the shoreline brush and water vegetation provide cover for the large bass population, making it an ideal location for a day out on the water.
If you’re looking for a day of fly fishing adventures, then Lees Ferry is the place to go. During the spring runoff season in the Rocky Mountains, this 13 mile stretch of the Colorado River, known as Lees Ferry, lies just outside of Page. With crystal clear waters and idyllic landscapes of towering cliffs of pink, orange and red, here you’ll find a healthy and robust population of rainbow trout, where it’s not uncommon to pull in 18 to 22-inch fish. With consistent water temperatures all year long, its idyllic conditions allow the fish to be strong and healthy, where you can take out a boat or hire a licensed guide to take you through the nooks and crannies of this deep blue water.
A popular location in the Phoenix area, Lake Pleasant is nestled just a few miles west of Anthem. A large reservoir that is considered a power boater’s dream, here you’ll find a variety of fish, from bass to catfish and tilapia. The largest lake in the Phoenix area, its beautiful waters cover over 10,000 acres of water surface with 116 miles of shoreline. It’s here that you can soak in the desert’s beauty on a day of either boat-based or shore-based fishing, as Lake Pleasant is a popular largemouth bass fishery and home to the only white bass population. Be prepared when visiting this Sonoran Desert gem, as weather conditions can vary and fishing is best done at dusk and dawn.
Fishing is a favorite pastime at Lake Mead, where more than 290 square miles of water surface make up the Lake Mead National Recreation Area. This popular spot in Arizona offers plenty of space to create a tranquil day of fishing, as 700 miles of shoreline surrounds the largest reservoir in the United States. Nestled within the states of both Nevada and Arizona, here you’ll find largemouth bass, striped bass, channel catfish, crappie, and bluegill swimming in its waters, while rainbow trout can be found in nearby Lake Mohave. Fishermen flock to Willow Beach for the big trout, while Cottonwood Cove and Katherine are ideal for those ready to catch a bass. With an occasional catch of over 40 pounds, here you have a chance to really impress your fishing friends.
A popular fishing lake located in the White Mountains of North Eastern Arizona, Big Lake is just a few miles south of Greer. In the springtime, Big Lake is particularly popular, as it is stocked with a variety of trout. Considered some of the best trout fishing opportunities in the world, Big Lake is home to rainbow, brook and cutthroat trout species. A high-altitude fishing destination, here you’re 9,200 feet high, so plan accordingly. Several campgrounds are present right at Big Lake in case you want to make it an overnight adventure, while boat rentals, fishing licenses and bait and tackle are available at the on-site store.
Getting its name from the extensive prairie dog towns that once covered areas near the Lake, Dogtown Lake is a peaceful medium-sized body of water surrounded by trees and uncrowded landscapes. Just seven miles southeast of Williams, it is an excellent location to fish for trout, particularly in the fall season. A scenic setting that is conveniently located near the Grand Canyon National Park, visitors come here not only for a day of fishing, but to go hiking, kayaking, and mountain biking through the area’s natural landscapes. With Bill Williams Mountain serving as a backdrop, fishing enthusiasts will find the lake is stocked with trout, crappie, and channel catfish.
One of the northern reservoirs in Arizona, Lake Powell is a popular fishing destination all year-round. Perfect for those wanting to reel in a hefty fish, here you’ll also find plenty of beauty and solitude to lure you in time and time again. Considered the jewel of the Colorado River, the shoreline here stretches over 1,800 miles. Whether you’re looking for a day in the sunshine with your rod and reel or you’re looking to break your own record catch, both beginners and seasoned fishermen alike will delight in the opportunities here, as the lake is full of striped bass, walleye, channel catfish, crappie, and bluegill.
Located in the Pinaleno Mountains at an elevation of 9,000 feet, Riggs Flat Lake is home to Mount Graham. With a combination of beautiful views and a lake well-stocked with various kinds of trout, Riggs Flat Lake is the perfect fishing spot for those looking to get away from it all. Nestled at the end of Swift Trail, visitors will discover that this area is picturesque and small in comparison to other lakes at 11 acres in size, while the surrounding views of alpine forest and meadows make it the ideal area to have a peaceful day of solitude. With cold waters, here you’ll find rainbow, brown and brook trout in the summer and while small boats are permitted on the lake, most prefer to fish from the shoreline.
A great option in Arizona for fishing enthusiasts who are looking for a day of spotting bass and trout, Saguaro Lake is even home to a few large ones. Less than an hour’s drive from Phoenix and 45 minutes east of Scottsdale, its vibrant combination of bass fishing and beautiful scenery make it a popular spot throughout the year. Known for its impressive population of largemouth bass, visitors come here to also spend their days looking for rainbow trout smallmouth bass, crappie, and sunfish, while sightseers delight in the towering canyon wall views.
Perfect for a day of fly fishing, Oak Creek is one of the most popular places in Arizona to try their hand at the sport. Hire a guide to discover the best catch-and-release spots in Oak Creek Canyon, as the Oak Creek river just outside of Sedona is stocked with rainbow trout. One of the most scenic spots to fish in the west, here you’ll find many different types of water and landscapes and discover that it is a great place to take the entire family, where you can teach the kids how to look for brown trout, largemouth bass, bluegill, and walleye. A great place for beginners to start, this year-round destination sees a peak in the number of sightseers over summer.