In Arizona, fishing enthusiasts flock to state parks, reservoirs and lakes for an idyllic day near the water. In fact, Arizona is blessed with amazing fishing conditions.
With plenty of year-round fishing opportunities, Arizona is home to diverse wildlife and varied habitats where you can cast a line. Based on the type of fishing trip you’re wanting, it’s not hard to find somewhere to get your line wet.
Perfect for anglers at any skill level, pack your fishing gear and head to one of these best fishing spots in Arizona.
1. Roosevelt Lake
Roosevelt Lake is a deep body of water with the average depth being 70 feet and a maximum depth of 349 feet when the lake is completely full. Being 22 miles long and 2 miles across, the lake spans over 1,600,000 acres. This is a reservoir, part of the Salt River chain and plays a vital role in hydroelectric power and agriculture.
Roosevelt Lake gives locals and visitors the opportunity to test their luck in catching one of the many game species this lake has to offer, such as bass, catfish, crappie, bream (bluegill and sunfish species), and much more!
2. Lake Havasu State Park
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 and one of the best places for largemouth and smallmouth 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!
3. Bartlett Lake
Bartlett Lake is a deep body of water with the average depth being 80-100 feet and a maximum depth of 174 feet when the lake is completely full. The lake spans over 2,830 acres and has 33 miles of shoreline and is 12 miles long.
Managed by the US Forest Services and constructed in 1936–39 by the Salt River Project, this is a man made reservoir / part of the Verde River chain that plays a vital role in power generation and agriculture.
Located in the central part of Arizona, Bartlett Lake gives locals and visitors the opportunity to test their luck in catching one of the many game species this lake has to offer. Moreover, it is said to be one of the best catfish lakes in the state.
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4. Patagonia Lake State Park
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 fishing day out on the water.
5. Saguaro Lake
Located just outside of east Phoenix, Saguaro Lake is a deep body of water with the average depth being 70-90 feet and a maximum depth of 116 feet when the lake is completely full. Being 10 miles long, it spans over 1,100 acres.
This is a reservoir within the Salt River chain of lakes and plays a vital role in power generation agriculture. It is known for its great largemouth bass, yellow bass, and catfishing. You can also see wildlife such as bald eagles and bighorn sheep.
6. Lees Ferry
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, you’ll find a healthy and robust population of rainbow trout here. It is also not uncommon for people to pull in 18 to 22-inch fish.
Besides, with consistent water temperatures all year long, its idyllic conditions allow the fish to be strong and healthy. You can take out a boat or hire a licensed guide to take you through the nooks and crannies of this deep blue water.
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7. Big Lake
Positioned in the White Mountains, sits a true gem called Big Lake. Big Lake is just minutes from Show Low and is an amazing trout fishery. Many call this lake one of “Arizona’s Best Kept Secrets.” Big Lake is just under 500 acres and has an average depth of 15-feet.
With ample room to fish from the shore, kayak, or boat, Big Lake offers something for everyone. If you bring a boat with you there is a public use boat ramp. Don’t worry if you didn’t bring a boat, since you can rent one from the marina store.
8. Lake Powell
Lake Powell is an enormous man-made lake, the second largest in the United States (behind Lake Mead). Being 186 miles long and 25 miles across, the lake spans over 161,390 acres.
Anglers enjoy a plethora of fishing opportunities here. Most anglers target striped bass, smallmouth bass, and crappie when visiting Lake Powell. Conversely, gigantic flathead catfish are also commonly caught.
9. Lake Pleasant
A popular location in the Phoenix area, Lake Pleasant is nestled just a few miles west of Anthem. It’s the largest lake in the Phoenix area; its beautiful waters cover over 10,000 acres of water surface with 116 miles of shoreline.
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. You can also 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.
10. Alamo Lake
Alamo Lake is a relatively shallow lake (when compared to other Arizona lakes) with the average depth being 20-30 feet and a maximum depth of 80 feet when the lake is completely full. The lake was built for flood control, with its dam completed in 1967.
This is considered to be within the top 3 ranked for best bass and crappie fishing lake in Arizona. Surprisingly, this lake is able to catch a large amount of flood water and has been known to raise its water level by 11-feet in a single day!
The lake offers an excellent opportunity for remote bass, catfish, and crappie fishing. If you like to flip timber for bass, you’re in luck, nearly 1/2 of the lake contains timber.
11. Lake Mead
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, you have a chance to really impress your fishing friends here.
12. Patagonia Lake
Patagonia Lake is an amazing place to fish if you live in southern Arizona. Hidden away in some of the most beautiful rolling hills seen in the state, the lake gives anglers great fishing from the shore or from a boat.
It’s a moderately deep lake with the average depth being 60-90-feet and a maximum depth of around 120- feet when the lake is completely full. This reservoir was created by damming Sonoita Creek. Not only can you catch bass, catfish, crappie, and sunfish, you can also catch stocked rainbow trout every October.
13. Dogtown Lake
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 fall.
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.
14. Lake Havasu
Known to most people in the country for being a spring break location for college students, Lake Havasu offers anglers a world-class fishery. Made from damming up the Colorado River, this reservoir is one of the biggest lakes in Arizona.
It is a relatively shallow reservoir with the average depth being 35-feet and a maximum depth of 90-feet when the lake is completely full. Being 26-miles long and nearly 3-miles across, the lake spans over 19,300 acres.
Located in the northwest section of the state, Lake Havasu has something for every angler. For bass anglers, they can fish for largemouth bass in miles of cattails up the river, or target smallmouth mid-lake along its rocky shores. Striper fishermen also enjoy this lake for the large size fish it produces.
15. Woods Canyon Lake
Woods Canyon Lake is considered to be one of the best rim lakes due to its size and local amenities. All the rim lakes are stocked with rainbow trout which makes it a prime summer getaway destination for Phoenix residents.
Keep in mind during the late summer months, you’ll probably run into thunderstorms. Make sure you prepare for temporary rainy conditions and cooler temperatures. If you’re looking to buy fishing supplies, pick up a fishing license or even rent a boat, you can get those at The Woods Canyon Lake Store and Marina.
On top of having trout, this lake also has largemouth and smallmouth bass. If you’re fishing with kids, there is a massive amount of small green sunfish and crayfish for them to easily catch, so bring some bread (for dough balls) and a few extra buckets.
It is no longer unexpected that Arizona is usually included on the bucket lists of many fishermen, both amateurs and professionals alike. Fishing in Arizona is a thrilling hobby that offers several opportunities to catch a variety of species. It may be in a distant place, but it is well worth the trek if you are looking for a different type of fishing experience.