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Fishing Canyon Lake

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By Rick Seaman

Canyon Lake Steep Canyon Walls

Popular Fish Species Canyon Lake, AZ

The lake is known for its diverse fish population, making it a favorite among anglers of all skill levels. One of the prized species found in Canyon Lake is the largemouth bass, providing ample opportunities for bass fishing enthusiasts. Anglers can also target other species such as smallmouth bass, catfish, bluegill, and trout, adding to the excitement and variety of fishing opportunities.

Canyon Lake Popular Fish - Largemouth Bass

Largemouth Bass Fishing

Canyon Lake offers good fishing for big largemouth bass. Lately the fishing here for bass has been quite good. Many big bass roam the waters of Canyon Lake, thanks to excellent fisheries management by the Arizona Game And Fish Department, as well as the availability of extensive rock cover for both baitfish and bass. When the bite is good, bass typically move shallow and are quite aggressive. If you find them shallow and they are not tempted to bite, slow down and use smaller, lighter baits. Fishing for largemouth bass is good virtually any time they are shallow - in spring, mornings in summer, and during warm Fall afternoons. Use shallow crankbaits, worms, jigs, topwater and spinnerbaits around rip rap. In deeper water, drop-shot rigs, small worms, jigs and spoons are three good weapons.

This deep-canyon waterway is home to big bass, The state record bass, over 16 pounds, was caught here. According to Gary Kimball, who has been fishing Canyon lake for over five decades, light line and small offerings seem to fool the majority of the monster bass caught here. Four-inch plastic worms, small grubs and live night crawlers are the top, year-round baits. Smallmouth bass also reside here in good numbers.

Some good areas to catch bass in Canyon Lake include straight across from the Palo Verde Boat Launch, the section of river area around Blue Tank Cove up to Barranc Creek, and the rocky area around Ittindi Rock.

Bass fishing at Canyon Lake can be excellent at times. The lake is known for its healthy population of both largemouth and smallmouth bass, making it a top destination for bass anglers of all skill levels. With its clear blue waters and diverse underwater structure, Canyon Lake provides an ideal habitat for bass to thrive. Local anglers use topwater lures, jigs along rocky structures, or crankbaits all around the lake to entice these prized game fish.

Canyon Lake Popular Fish - Rainbow Trout

Rainbow Trout Fishing

Canyon Lake offers great fishing for rainbow trout in Canyon Lake, thanks to monthly trout stocking by the Arizona Game & Fish Department. Fish for rainbow trout here with worms, salmon eggs, prepared baits, small spinners, and spoons to mimic their preferred prey, baitfish. Additionally, floating or sinking flies, such as nymphs, streamers, or dry flies, are popular choices for fly anglers targeting rainbow trout. Trolling with lures or flies behind a boat, casting near shoreline structures, or still fishing with bait can all yield success. The area around Acacia Recreation Area and the Palo Verde Recreation Site are popular places for trout fishing with easy access for fishing from the bank. These trout do migrate throughout the lake, over time.

Canyon Lake Popular Fish - Bluegill

Bluegill Fishing

Fishing for bluegill is a time-honored tradition at Canyon Lake. Young and old, beginners and seasoned anglers alike, all enjoy catching a bunch of fat bluegill. This year, much like recent years, the bluegill population is healthy and always looking for something to eat. Bluegill fishing is as basic as fishing gets. Any pole, reasonably small line and small hooks baited with anything edible, creates the ideal setup. Add a bobber and you can set the depth you prefer the bait to position. Bluegill hang around brush, rocks, vegetation or any cover available.

Fish species to fish for...

Guide to fishing for largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, channel catfish, flathead catfish, black crappie, walleye, rainbow trout, bluegill and yellow bass at Canyon Lake in Arizona.

Located on the Salt River in central Arizona, Canyon Lake is an easy 45 minute drive northwest of Apache Junction AZ on State Highway 88. This lake covers 950 surface acres and is set in deep canyons which offer spectacular views.

Palo Verde Boat Launch Ramp

Canyon Lake, AZ Fishing

Canyon Lake, located in Arizona, is a popular destination for fishing enthusiasts seeking an unforgettable angling experience.

Primary fish species residing in Canyon Lake

Click images for fishing tips and details about each species.

Largemouth bass Smallmouth bass Channel catfish Flathead catfish Black crappie Walleye Rainbow trout Bluegill Yellow Bass

Fishing Boats For Rent In Arizona

Enjoy Bass Fishing At Canyon Lake

Largemouth Bass
Big bass from Canyon Lake, AZ

Gary Kimball shows off a nice bass from Canyon Lake, located north of Apache Junction, Arizona. The lake winds through steep mountains and is the third lake in the Salt River Chain Of Lakes. Largemouth bass, a favorite among anglers for their size and aggressive strikes, tend to move up and down the vertical banks and underwater structures. Anglers targeting largemouth bass at Canyon Lake can explore rocky points, submerged rocks, and coves, employing techniques such as soft plastic baits, drop-shot worms, jigs, and crankbaits to entice strikes from these elusive predators. Light line is often a key to success using finesse techniques. The challenging nature of largemouth bass fishing at Canyon Lake and the potential for landing a lunker provide an enjoyable experience for anglers.

Smallmouth Bass Fishing

Smallmouth bass, with their tenacity and acrobatic fights, add an extra layer of excitement to the fishing scene at Canyon Lake. Anglers can find smallmouth bass near rocky shorelines and underwater structures, using techniques like jerkbaits, small crankbaits, and finesse presentations to target these agile fighters.

Panfish Fishing

In addition to bluegill, panfish enthusiasts can enjoy the abundance of redear sunfish near the lake's shoreline, crappie throughout the lake, and yellow bass which tend to school deeper on points and flats. These sunfish provide a relaxed angling experience, making Canyon Lake an ideal destination for kids and beginner anglers to enjoy a day of fishing. Using simple techniques like worms, small jigs, or packaged baits can lead to a rewarding day of reeling in these colorful and spirited panfish.

Catfish Fishing

Canyon Lake is also home to catfish, offering anglers the opportunity for night fishing excursions. Channel catfish and flathead catfish, known for their nocturnal feeding habits, can be targeted using stink baits, cut bait, or live bait. Moonlit nights on Canyon Lake can create a serene atmosphere for anglers seeking the thrill of battling with robust catfish.

With its diverse fishery, Canyon Lake caters to anglers with varied preferences and skill levels. The lake, surrounded by rocky terrain and scenic vistas, provide a captivating backdrop for fishing excursions. Whether casting from the shoreline or navigating the lake by boat, Canyon Lake ensures a memorable fishing experience in the heart of Arizona's desert.

Big horn sheep and eagles are a common sight to boaters on this scenic waterway. Jet ski, pontoon boats and pleasure boats are available for rent at the marina. A restaurant and tour boat cruises can enhance your experience when you spend your day at this spectacular body of water.

Big Bass In These Canyons

This deep-canyon waterway is home to big bass, The state record bass, over 16 pounds, was caught here. Light line and small offerings seem to fool the majority of the monster bass caught here. 4-inch plastic worms, small grubs and live night crawlers are the top, year-round baits. Topwater is generally good early and late in the day, any time the water temperature rises above 60 degrees.

Canyon Lake, AZ

Canyon Lake Amenities

Marina: YES
Boat Rental: YES
Boat Launch Ramp: YES
Campgrounds: YES
RV Hookups: YES
Lodging: NO
Convenience Store: YES
Bait & Tackle: YES
Restaurant: YES

Today's Weather & Forecast

Boating is a common activity at Canyon Lake, with various options available for watercraft enthusiasts. Anglers can bring their own boats or rent from the marina to explore the expansive waters. The lake allows both motorized and non-motorized boats, giving anglers the freedom to choose their preferred method of navigating the lake. Cruising along the picturesque shoreline and finding the perfect fishing spot is a delightful experience for boaters at Canyon Lake.

Fishing Boat Rentals

Canyon Lake Marina and Campground
Rentals: Runabouts, Pontoons, Fishing Boats and Canoes
480 288-9233


Canyon Lake Marina and Campground
16802 AZ-88
Apache Junction, AZ 85119
480 288-9233

Boat Launch Ramps & Landings

Canyon Lake Marina and Campground
16802 AZ-88
Apache Junction, AZ 85119
Boat Rentals - Runabouts, Pontoons, Fishing Boats and Canoes.
480 288-9233

Laguna Boat Ramp
Paved ramp and parking the the far southeast corner of the lake.

Palo Verde Boat Launch
Paved ramp and parking located near the southeast corner of the main lake.

Fishing Guides On Canyon Lake

Addicted Bass Guides - bass

Arizona Fishing Guides - bass

If you offer fishing guide services on this lake, please contact us for a free listing, to be posted here.

Canyon Lake Fishing Video
Fishing License

Click here for a Arizona Fishing License.

Camping facilities are available near Canyon Lake, allowing anglers to extend their fishing adventure and fully immerse themselves in the natural surroundings. Campgrounds provide amenities such as picnic tables, fire rings, and restroom facilities, ensuring a comfortable stay. Waking up to the sound of birds chirping, enjoying the breathtaking sunsets, and having easy access to the lake for early morning or late evening fishing sessions make camping near Canyon Lake a memorable experience.

Campgrounds & RV Parks Nearby

Canyon Lake Marina & Campground - 480 288-9233

Tortilla Recreation Site Campground - 480 610-3300

Canyon Lake AZ Map - Fishing & Camping Areas

Contact Information

Canyon Lake
Canyon Lake Marina & Campground
16802 N.E. Highway 88
Tortilla Flat, AZ 85219
480 288-9233

Bass Fishing Book By Rick Seaman & Dan Westfall

Rick Seaman is a bass fishing enthusiast with over five decades of bass fishing experience, a retired bass tournament fisherman and co-author of the book "Bass Fishing. It's not WHAT you throw, It's WHERE you throw it" .


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