Guide To Great Fishing in Arizona
All about fishing and lakes in the Grand Canyon State
By Rick Seaman
The purpose of this page is to share basic information about the best fishing lakes in the state, plus the species found in each lake. The state offers a variety of fishing including lakes, ponds, streams and rivers. High mountain trout fishing is available but the state is primarily a desert lake state. Primary species are bass, crappie, catfish, stripers and bluegills. Many of these lakes offer fishing boats for rent.
Arizona is a paradise for fishing, offering a wide variety of fish species across its warm water lakes, cold water lakes, ponds, rivers, and more. Anglers can find an abundance of game fish, including bass, catfish, trout, sunfish, and more, making Arizona a versatile and exciting fishing destination.
Warm water fishing lakes in Arizona, such as Lake Pleasant, Roosevelt Lake, and Apache Lake, are known for their populations of largemouth and smallmouth bass. These lakes provide excellent habitat for bass, with submerged structures and vegetation that attract these predatory fish. Anglers can also target catfish, including channel catfish and flathead catfish, in the warm water lakes using various techniques and baits.
For those seeking cold water fishing experiences, Arizona's cold water fishing lakes like Woods Canyon Lake, Willow Springs Lake, and Big Lake offer opportunities to catch rainbow trout, brown trout, and brook trout. These lakes are regularly stocked, providing anglers with ample chances to reel in these prized trout species. Fly fishing, spin casting, and bait fishing are all popular methods for targeting trout in the cold water lakes.
In addition to lakes, Arizona is home to numerous ponds that offer excellent fishing opportunities. These smaller bodies of water often host a variety of species, including bass, sunfish, catfish and stocked trout. Anglers can enjoy fishing in peaceful settings and have a chance to catch a range of fish species.
Arizona's rivers are also a popular destination for fishing. The Colorado River, Salt River, and Verde River are known for their diverse fisheries. Anglers can target species such as bass, catfish, trout, and even carp in these flowing waters. Fly fishing, bait fishing, and lure fishing are all effective techniques for fishing in Arizona's rivers.
Overall, Arizona provides anglers with an incredible variety of fish species and fishing environments. Whether you prefer warm water lakes, cold water lakes, ponds, or rivers, there is something for every angler to enjoy in Arizona's diverse fishing landscape.
In addition to the lakes on the Colorado river there are eight primary desert lakes. They are Roosevelt lake, Apache Lake, Canyon Lake, Saguaro Lake, San Carlos Lake, Alamo Lake, Bartlett Lake and Lake Pleasant.
Discover the top five bass fishing lakes in AZ.
Northern and eastern sector lakes include Ashurst Lake, Big Lake, Chevelon Canyon Lake, Fool Hollow Lake, Hawley Lake, Lake Mary, Lake Powell, Lees Ferry, Lyman Lake, Mormon Lake, Reservation Lake, Show Low Lake, Willow Springs Lake and Woods Canyon Lake.
Lakes across the state offer a wide variety of fish species. Here, you can fish for largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, channel catfish, flathead catfish, blue catfish, black crappie, white crappie, walleye, rainbow trout, cutthroat trout, brook trout, brown trout, bluegill, hybrid sunfish, redear sunfish, rock bass, tilapia, white bass, yellow bass, yellow perch, stripers and northern pike in local lakes, rivers, ponds and/or streams.
Major AZ Lakes & Species
Lake & Fish Chart
This chart shows the major fishing waters in the state, cross referencing these waters with the major types of fishing to be found in each of the lakes or impoundments.
For a detailed list of primary fish species in AZ, plus state fish records, see the list below.
Fishing lake sizes and locations in the state.
Alamo Lake is a 2,700-acre lake in the southwest part of the state, 38 miles north of Wenden.
Apache Lake is a 2,600-acre lake in the central part of the state, 25 miles northeast of Apache Junction.
Ashurst Lake is a 230-acre lake in the central part of the state, 15 miles southeast of Flagstaff.
Bartlett Lake is a 2,800-acre lake in the central part of the state, 18 miles northeast of Cave Creek.
Bear Canyon Lake is a 60-acre lake in central Arizona, 16 miles northeast of Payson.
Big Lake is a 450-acre lake in the east-central part of the state, 10 miles south of Greer.
Black Canyon Lake is a 75-acre lake in central AZ, 5 miles west of Heber-Overgard.
Blue Ridge Reservoir is a 70-acre lake in the central part of the state, 15 miles northeast of Strawberry.
Canyon Lake is a 950-acre lake in the central part of the state, 10 miles east of Apache Junction.
Chevelon Canyon Lake is a 200-acre lake in the central part of the state, 40 miles northeast of Payson.
Fool Hollow Lake is a 150-acre lake in the east-central part of the state at Show Low.
Goldwater Lake is a 15-acre lake in central AZ, 4 miles south of Prescott.
Hawley Lake is a 300-acre lake in the east-central part of the state, 10 miles southeast of McNary.
Horseshoe Lake is a 2,200-acre reservoir in central AZ, 40 miles northeast of Carefree.
Lake Havasu is a 20,000-acre lake on the western border of the state, at Lake Havasu City.
Lake Mary is a 600-acre lake in the central part of the state, 15 miles southeast of Flagstaff.
Lake Mead is a 160,000-acre lake on the western border of the state, at Henderson, NV.
Lake Mohave is a 28,800-acre lake on the western border of the state, at Bullhead.
Lake Pleasant is a 10,000-acre lake in the central part of the state, 10 west of New River.
Lake Powell is a 160,000-acre lake on the northern border of the state, at Page.
Lees Ferry is a 15-mile section of the Colorado River in the north-central part of the state, below the Glen Canyon Dam.
Lyman Lake is a 1,500-acre reservoir near the eastern border of the state, 15 miles north of Springerville.
Lynx Lake is a 55-acre lake in the central part of the state, 6 miles east of Prescott.
Martinez Lake is a 600-acre lake on the southwestern border of the state, at Yuma.
Mormon Lake is a 600-acre lake in the central part of the state, 15 miles north of Happy Jack.
Patagonia Lake is a 260-acre lake in the south-central part of the state, 15 miles north of Nogales.
Rainbow Lake is an 80-acre lake in the east-central part of the state, in Pinetop-Lakeside.
Reservation Lake is a 280-acre lake in the White Mountains, 6 miles south of Mt Baldy.
Roosevelt Lake is a 22,000-acre lake in the central part of the state, 35 miles southwest of Globe.
Saguaro Lake is a 1,200-acre lake in the central part of the state, 10 miles northeast of Mesa.
San Carlos Lake is a 20,000-acre lake in the east-central part of the state, 35 miles southeast of Globe.
Show Low Lake is a 100-acre lake in the east-central part of the state, on the outskirts of Show Low.
Tempe Town Lake is a 225-acre lake in the central part of the state at Tempe.
Watson Lake is a 70-acre lake in the central part of the state, 5 miles north of Prescott.
Willow Springs Lake is a 160-acre lake in the northeast part of the state, 40 miles east of Payson.
Woods Canyon Lake is a 52-acre lake in the northeast part of the state, 30 miles east of Payson.
View a list of the best marinas on fishing lakes in AZ.
Find locations of boat launch ramps on popular fishing lakes in AZ.
Fish Species & State Records in Arizona
World record: 22 lbs 4 oz
State Record: 16 lbs 7.68 oz
World record: 11 lbs 15 oz
State Record: 7 lbs 0.96 oz
World record: 58 lbs 0 oz
State Record: 33 lbs 5.76 oz
World record: 123 lbs 9 oz
State Record: 76 lbs 8.64 oz
World record: 6 lbs 0 oz
State Record: 4 lbs 10 oz
World record: 5 lbs 3 oz
State Record: 3 lbs 5.28 oz
World record: 25 lbs 0 oz
State Record: 16 lbs 1.76 oz
World record: 42 lbs 2 oz
State Record: 15 lbs 9.12 oz
World record: 41 lbs 0 oz
State Record: 6 lbs 5 oz
World record: 14 lbs 8 oz
State Record: 4 lbs 15.2 oz
World record: 40 lbs 4 oz
State Record: 22 lbs 14.5 oz
World record: 4 lbs 12 oz
State Record: 3 lbs 15.68 oz
World record: 2.2 lbs
State Record: 1 lbs 9 oz
World record: N/A
State Record: 2 lbs 2.22 oz
World record: 5.4 lbs
State Record: 3 lbs 9 oz
World record: 3.0 lbs
State Record: 0 lbs 12.96 oz
World record: 4.4 lbs
State Record: 7 lbs 8.8 oz
World record: 6.8 lbs
State Record: 4 lbs 11.7 oz
World record: 2 lbs 15 oz
State Record: 2 lbs 2.56 oz
World record: 4 lbs 3 oz
State Record: 1 lbs 10 oz
World record: 81 lbs 14 oz
State Record: 67 lbs 1 oz
Inland world record: 64 lbs 8 oz
State Record: 29 lbs 13.76 oz
World record: 27 lbs 5 oz
State Record: 2 lbs 13.76 oz
World record: 55 lbs 1 oz
State Record: 32 lbs 5.6 oz
Click the images and links above for species details.
Fishing Lakes, RV Parks and Campgrounds
Enhance your fishing trips by finding campgrounds nearby lakes and take the entire family on a memorable vacation, at some of the best places to fish in this amazing state.
Fish for big bass
Excellent smallmouth and largemouth bass fishing opportunities are available to anglers in the state.
State Fishing Information
Arizona Fish & Game Department
NOTICE: According to the AZGFD website they have reduced the age, where a license is required to fish, to ten (10) years old.
Visit AA-Boats-Boating.com to find information about fishing boats in Arizona and other boating information.
Fishing Guides. Here, you can find a listing of fishing guides. If you know of a good resource, please send us information for consideration.
There is a section dedicated to fishing activities for kids. It is devoted to information about kids fishing with stories, fish photos and tips for where and how to take a kid fishing. Please send us your recommendations and we will be happy to consider them for publication.
Fishing in all states