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Guide To The Best Bass Fishing Lakes In Arizona Lakes

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Fish for smallmouth and largemouth bass at top bass lakes in the Grand Canyon State.

Bass fishing in Arizona

Bass are one of the most sought after of all the game fish. Its appeal spans cultures, age groups and genders to tap on the heart strings of anglers everywhere. Visit the Bass Knowledge Center for valuable information about bass and bass fishing. We endeavor to offer valuable information here about bass fishing on your favorite lake in Arizona.

Fishing for bass In Arizona

Largemouth Bass

Largemouth bass

World record: 22 lbs 4 oz

State Record: 16 lbs 7.68 oz

Smallmouth Bass

Smallmouth bass

World record: 11 lbs 15 oz

State Record: 7 lbs 0.96 oz

Click the images and links above for species details.

Fishing Boats For Rent In Arizona

The state record largemouth was taken out of Canyon Lake.

Roosevelt Lake produced the state record smallmouth.

Top Bass Fishing Lakes

7 1/2 pound Roosevelt Lake Bass
Dan Marchetti with an 8 lb bass
from Roosevelt lake

The state offers excellent fishing waters, each with their own special appeal. Roosevelt is the largest. It is the head lake in a chain of 4 lakes and collects fresh water from the Salt River and Tonto Creek. This influx of fresh water promotes high spawn rates and provides nutrients for a healthy food chain. The lake sports both largemouth and smallmouth. Depending on the season, and time of day, one can catch largemouth's from the surface down to 40 or 50 feet deep.

Apache Lake Smallmouth Bass

Apache Lake, the second lake in the chain, offers some very fine smallmouth fishing as well as pretty decent largemouth fishing. It is a flooded river channel with awe-inspiring surroundings which include wildlife refuges. You can catch smallmouth and largemouth on back-to-back casts, and the lake is known for top water action during the warm months of the year.

Apache lake offers some of the best smallmouth bass fishing in the state. At the Apache Lake Marina there are convenient lodging and camping options, a restaurant, bar and store.

Big bass from Canyon Lake, AZ
Gary Kimball - Canyon Lake.

Canyon Lake, third in the chain, is another flooded river channel and offers primarily largemouth fishing. This lake is known for smaller quantities of bass yet typically higher quality. Many large fish are caught on Canyon Lake each year.

The fourth lake in the chain is Saguaro. It again offers primarily largemouth bass fishing. As the last lake in the chain it supports a much smaller population which is hindered further by the fact that the lake level is intentionally fluctuated more than 10 feet in a 24 hour period for production of electricity.

Bartlett Lake is on the Verde River northeast of Phoenix. It offers largemouth bass fishing which may vary from year to year depending on dramatic water level fluctuations.

Lake Pleasant northwest of Phoenix is a quick drive from town and offers excellent largemouth fishing. It supports a good population of bass as well as offers some lunker fishing at times.

San Carlos Lake in eastern Arizona is a haven for big bass when the water level remains beneficial for several years in a row. At times this lake can deliver a limit of bass in the six to seven pound range.

Alamo Lake on the Bill Williams River in western Arizona is another lake which offers stringers of big bass when the water levels cooperate for a few years in a row.

Along the Colorado River Lake Powell, Lake Mead, Lake Mohave, Lake Havasu and Martinez Lake all offer fine largemouth bass fishing. These are big waters which support both quantity and quality of bass. These typically clear water reservoirs test the anglers skills and offer many ways to catch bass.

Bass lakes in the cooler parts of the state include Black Canyon Lake, Goldwater Lake, Lynx Lake, Rainbow Lake, Show Low Lake and Watson Lake.

Top 5 Bass Fishing Lures For Arizona

When bass are shallow, spinnerbaits, crankbaits and top water lures are the most productive. As they move deeper, worms and jigs are among the top producers.

If you like to bass fish south of the border, click here for information on some of the most popular bass fishing lakes in Mexico as well as maps and travel details.

Bass fishing book

Catch big bass!

Bass fishing basics video.

Bass Fishing In Arizona

Arizona is a haven for bass fishing enthusiasts, offering abundant opportunities to target both largemouth and smallmouth bass. Largemouth bass, known for their size and strength, are a popular game fish in the state. Anglers can find largemouth bass in various lakes and reservoirs, including Roosevelt Lake, Apache Lake, and Lake Pleasant. These fish are often found near submerged structures such as rocky shorelines, submerged vegetation, and fallen trees. Techniques such as flipping and pitching soft plastics, using topwater lures, or working crankbaits along the bottom can entice strikes from these powerful bass.

On the other hand, smallmouth bass provide a thrilling challenge for anglers seeking a more aggressive and hard-fighting fish. Arizona's rivers, such as the Colorado River and the Salt River, are known for their healthy populations of smallmouth bass. Anglers can target smallmouth bass by casting with jigs, spinnerbaits, or crankbaits near rocky areas, submerged ledges, or current breaks. These agile fish are known for their acrobatic leaps and tenacious fights, making smallmouth bass fishing a thrilling pursuit in Arizona.

Whether you're targeting largemouth or smallmouth bass, Arizona offers a wealth of opportunities to test your angling skills and reel in impressive catches. The state's diverse lakes, reservoirs, and rivers provide a range of habitats for these bass species, ensuring that anglers can find a suitable fishing spot no matter their location. With the stunning desert scenery as a backdrop, bass fishing in Arizona promises unforgettable experiences and the chance to land trophy-sized bass.

Understanding the primary seasonal movements of smallmouth bass and largemouth bass is key to locating them on local lakes in the Grand Canyon State.


Bass fishing information by state.

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The lifecycle of bass

The more you know about the seasonal migration of bass, the more likely you are to be looking in the right area next time you visit Arizona bass fishing lakes. Visit the bass fishing page for more in-depth information about bass activities.