Where to Fish in Arizona
As part of National Fishing and Boating Week, this Saturday, June 4, no fishing licenses are required for persons fishing any public waters in Arizona. Full story
For more information such as area maps, concessions and supplies available, boating information, nearest towns, and facilities of these waters, purchase the "Arizona Fishin' Holes" book from Arizona Game and Fish Department. Fish & Boat Arizona will take you to a map with the top fishing locations.
White MountainsWaters and species chart
This portion of the state is mostly pine or fir forests above 6,500 feet. Camping, hiking, and fishing are available up to 10,000 feet in quality alpine settings. This is the best place to be in the fall when the aspen leaves turn. While there are some bass and catfish in a few of these lakes, the majority of the fish found in these waters are trout. Morethan 90 percent of the trout available to anglers are provided through the Arizona Game and Fish Department's fish hatchery system. Most of these waters are stocked weekly from Memorial Day to Labor Day. Anglers can also catch Apache trout in the West Fork of the Black River, one of the few areas in Arizona and the only place in the country where these trout exist.
North Central RegionWaters and species chart
This area has the greatest variety of fising in the state. Both cold and warmwater lakes and streams are found from Flagstaff at 7,000 feet to Camp Verde at 2,500 feet. The Verde River offers smallmouth bass, channel catfish, flathead catfish and roundtail chub, while Lake Mary has wallee, largemouth bass and crappie. Small lakes around Williams and Flagstaff offer weekly stocking of trout, and Oak Creek has the best wild brown trout population in the area. Surrounded by the Coconino, Kaibab and Prescott national forests, this area offers pine trees or desert all within two hours of Phoenix.
Mogollon RimWaters and species chart
Most of the fishing in thisarea is in small trout lakes. These lakes were constructed by the Arizona Game and Fish Department during the '50s and '60s. The lakes are in pine forests at about 7,000 feet. Camping is available at or near each lake from May to September. The Department stocks these lakes from April through September. The very best trout fishing is in the spring and fall. The best stream fishing is found in Canyon Creek, Chevelon Creek and East Clear Creek.
Colorado River NorthwestWaters and species chart
This area includes waters of the Colorado from Lake Havasu to Lake Powell. There are four major reservoirs in this area which offer a wide variety of fishing from striped bass to trout and largemouth bass to catfish. This area also includes the Grand Canyon and Lake Mead. With the exception of the area around the Grand Canyon, this area is desert and quite hostile in the summer. When fishing or camping in this corner of the state always be prepared for the unexpected. Carry plenty of water for yourself and extra gas for the car or boat. Don't find yourself stranded in a remote location without provisions. This is one of the most beautiful and exciting areas of the state, but also the most dangerous.
Central ArizonaWaters and species chart
More fishing activity takes place on these lakes than in any other area of the state. They are also the closest waters to the largest population center in the state. These waters provide the best largemouth bass, crappie and catfishing in the state. Lakes Pleasant and Roosevelt are best for largemouth bass and crappie, while Roosevelt and Bartlett are best for catfish. One of the most overlooked fishing experiences in this area is trout fishing the Salt River below Saguaro Lake. Take advantage of this year-round trout fishery in the summer when the air temperatures are 100° F and the water is 65° F.
Southeastern ArizonaWaters and species chart
Arizona's grasslands run rfom Tucson and Wilcox to the Mexico border. This corner of the state offers small bodies of water nestled in rolling hills dotted with oak trees. These lakes offer bass, bluegill, and catfish in the summer and trout in the winter. The two exceptions are located on top of Mount Lemon and Mount Graham. Both of these lakes are in pine/spruce forests and are stocked with trout in the summer.
Southwestern ArizonaWaters and species chart
This area covers that portion of the Colorado River south of Parker Dam to Yuma near the Mexico border. If you want to see the Colorado River as it was pre-settlement, this is the place to go. From Imperial Reservoir upriver through the Cibola national Wildlife Refuge, it is Arizona on the Colorado as it was. This strech of river is excellent for flathead catfish from April through October. There are also trophy largemouth bass (over 12 lbs.) caught from backwater lakes along this section of river each year. The very best largemouth bass fishing in this area occurs at Alamo Reservoir located east of Parker on the bill Williams River.