Great Trout Fishing Locations In Arizona
Guide to fishing for rainbow, cutthroat, brook and brown trout in AZ lakes and streams.
By Rick Seaman
The purpose of this page is to share basic information about trout fishing and identify popular rainbow, cutthroat, brook and brown trout waters in the state.
Arizona offers a variety of trout fishing opportunities from stocked rainbow trout to native brookies and wary brown trout. With a diverse terrain and elevations there are trout fishing options for all types of anglers.
Serious trout anglers can try their skills on Bear Canyon Lake, Black Canyon Lake, Blue Ridge Reservoir, Goldwater Lake, Lynx Lake, Rainbow Lake, Reservation Lake, Show Low Lake, Watson Lake, the White Mountains streams or go for native Apache trout in the West Fork of the Black River. The best stream fishing options in the Mogollon Rim area is at Canyon Creek, Chevelon Creek and East Clear Creek.
Arizona is a haven for trout fishing enthusiasts, offering a variety of trout species to target in its lakes and rivers. Rainbow trout, brown trout, and brook trout are the primary trout species found in Arizona's waters. Each species has its own unique characteristics and habitat preferences, providing anglers with diverse fishing opportunities.
Lakes such as Woods Canyon Lake, Willow Springs Lake, and Big Lake are popular destinations for trout fishing in Arizona. These lakes are regularly stocked with rainbow trout, which are known for their vibrant colors and acrobatic fights. Anglers can target rainbow trout using a variety of techniques, including fly fishing, spin casting, and bait fishing.
Brown trout, another prized trout species, can be found in select Arizona lakes and rivers. Lees Ferry on the Colorado River is renowned for its brown trout fishery, attracting anglers from near and far. These elusive and wary fish offer a challenge to anglers, requiring stealthy presentations and precise casting to entice a bite.
Brook trout, with their stunning colors and willingness to bite, can be found in remote mountain streams and creeks across the state. These small but feisty fish can provide an exciting fishing experience for those willing to explore Arizona's more secluded and scenic locations.
Arizona holds several state records for trout catches, showcasing the potential for landing trophy-sized fish. The current state record for rainbow trout is over 15 pounds, caught in Willow Springs Lake. Brown trout state records exceed 22 pounds, and brook trout state record is nearing 5 pounds, highlighting the exceptional fishing opportunities available in Arizona's trout fisheries.
When planning a trout fishing trip in Arizona, it's important to consider the specific regulations and season dates for each water body. Additionally, understanding trout behavior and preferred habitat, such as deep pools, riffles, or undercut banks, can significantly improve the chances of success.
Whether casting a fly in a tranquil mountain stream or trolling a lure in a picturesque lake, trout fishing in Arizona offers a memorable and rewarding experience for anglers of all skill levels. With its stunning landscapes, diverse trout species, and the potential for trophy-sized catches, Arizona's trout fisheries are a true angler's paradise.
Trout Species In The State
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
Click the images and links above for species details.
Select the best trout lures and baits
Arizona Record Trout
Willow Springs Lake served up the state record rainbow trout.
The state record cutthroat trout was taken out of Luna Lake.
The state record brook trout came from Sunrise Lake.
Reservation Lake was home to the state record brown trout.
Hurricane Lake produced the state record apache trout.
The 5 primary trouts are the rainbow, brook, brown, cutthroat and lake trout. Browns are considered the most difficult to catch and brookies are the easiest. Pure cold water is key to survival of the trouts.
Dan Westfall shows off a real nice german brown trout caught in October, 2012 at Horseshoe Cienaga.
Joe Loges with a nice three-pound rainbow trout from Apache Lake.
Jane Harris says this is my biggest fish--so far. A nice trout, caught it from shore at Big Lake on a night crawler. Was using a long-light rod & small spinning reel, and boy what a fight. I was afraid it was gonna get away but my husband waded scooped it up with our long handled net.
Watch trout fishing videos to see trout anglers in action.
Visit the Arizona Game & Fish Department website for details on trout stocking programs in Arizona.
Additional trout information
Trout locations and info, by state.
The habits of trout.
Trout are considered some of the most difficult fish to fool. Once you locate Arizona waters with a population of trout, the challenge becomes identifying trout flies and lures that will trigger strikes. Visit the trout fishing page to learn more about the habitat each of the trouts prefer.