Top 10 Fishing Spots in Arizona

Arizona is home to some of the best fishing in the Southwest. With over 500 lakes and streams, the state offers outstanding angling opportunities for warm water species like bass, sunfish, catfish, trout, and more. Whether you enjoy casting from shore or a boat, fly fishing, or bait fishing, Arizona has a spot for you.

From massive reservoirs holding trophy fish to secluded mountain streams and urban lakes, this list covers the top fishing destinations in Arizona.

1. Roosevelt Lake

Roosevelt Lake is the largest lake in Arizona, at over 20,000 acres. Located on the Salt River northeast of Phoenix, this massive reservoir boasts 128 miles of fishable shoreline.

Roosevelt Lake, AZ
Roosevelt Lake, AZ
  • Known for bass over 10 lbs and catfish over 50 lbs
  • Bass favor shad-imitating lures like soft jerkbaits and diving crankbaits
  • Spring and fall are the best seasons; fish shallow cover for spawning bass in spring

Roosevelt is best known for its bass fishing. The lake holds good numbers of largemouth, smallmouth, and striped bass. Anglers regularly catch bass over 5 pounds, with the lake record being a 12.25-pound largemouth. The bass fishing is excellent year-round.

The lake also contains monster catfish, with the record flathead weighing over 70 pounds! Channel and blue catfish up to 20 pounds are common. Roosevelt offers great panfishing as well, with crappie, bluegill, and redear sunfish abundant in the lake.

2. Lake Havasu

Straddling the Arizona/California border, Lake Havasu spans 19,300 acres. The dam was built on the Colorado River between Parker Dam and Davis Dam in 1938.

  • World-class smallmouth fishing with lunkers over 5 lbs
  • Stripers can exceed 20 lbs
  • Redear sunfish fishing considered best in country

Lake Havasu boasts an excellent smallmouth bass fishery, with the next state record expected to come from these waters. Largemouth bass also grow big here, where the water stays warmer year-round compared to other Arizona lakes.

In addition to bass, Lake Havasu has good populations of channel catfish, striped bass, crappie, sunfish, carp, and flathead catfish. The stripers can reach over 20 pounds!

3. Lake Pleasant

Covering over 10,000 acres northwest of Phoenix, Lake Pleasant lives up to its name for anglers. This reservoir offers excellent fishing for warm-water species.

  • 14 lb. lake record largemouth
  • White bass run up mid-lake in spring
  • Catfish over 50 lbs. present

Largemouth bass are the most popular target on Pleasant. The lake record is over 14 pounds! Pleasant also contains good numbers of white bass, which school mid-lake during the spring spawn.

Lake Pleasant is also known for its catfish. Trophy flatheads over 50 pounds swim these waters. Channel and blue cats grow big as well. Panfish like crappie, bluegill, and redear sunfish flourish here too.

4. Bartlett Lake

Bartlett Lake, northeast of Phoenix, spans over 18,000 acres when full. This flood control reservoir has become one of the premier multi-species fishing spots in Arizona.

  • Bass over 10 lbs. and catfish over 34 lbs
  • Crappie and sunfish are also present
  • Occasionally stocked with trout

Largemouth bass dominate the scene at Bartlett. Fish over 10 pounds are caught here, with an abundance of 2–5 pounders. Bartlett also has an excellent smallmouth fishery, with bronzebacks exceeding 5 pounds.

Bartlett has been stocked with over 34 million catfish over the years. It has one of the best channel cat populations in the state, with fish reaching 20+ pounds. Flatheads and blue catfish also grow huge here.

The lake offers excellent crappie and sunfish action as well. Recent trout stockings even provide winter fishing.

5. Saguaro Lake

Saguaro Lake, east of Mesa, spans 1,264 acres when full. This reservoir on the Salt River provides excellent bass and trout fishing just minutes from Phoenix.

  • Known for big trout with 8-pound rainbows
  • It also has bass, crappie, and catfish

Saguaro is best known for its big bag limits of rainbow trout stocked from November through April. The lake record for rainbows is over 8 pounds. Largemouth and smallmouth bass thrive here as well.

The lake also contains crappie, sunfish, carp, and catfish. Saguaro is a great winter fishing destination when other lakes cool down. Easy shore access and a scenic setting add to the appeal.

6. Apache Lake

Apache Lake is a long, narrow reservoir tucked into the Superstition Wilderness, 40 miles east of Mesa. At just 82 feet at its deepest point, this 1,900-acre lake is very fishable.

Apache Lake
Apache Lake
  • Home to bass exceeding 5 lbs and catfish over 15 lbs
  • Bass favor plastic worms, crankbaits, and jigs
  • Rainbow trout stocked in upper reaches

Apache Lake is an outstanding bass factory, churning out good numbers of largemouth and smallmouth bass in the 2-4 pound range. Apache also provides excellent catfishing, with channel cats reaching 10+ pounds.

Crappie and sunfish offer fast action here for anglers of all ages. The remote setting makes Apache a peaceful destination to wet a line and take in spectacular desert scenery.

7. Alamo Lake

Alamo Lake sits off the beaten path in western Arizona, a remote fishery with trophy potential. Located on the Bill Williams River, 30 miles north of Wenden, this flooded timber lake spans over 18,000 acres when full.

  • Record 23+ lb largemouth caught here
  • Crappie fishing is excellent; find schools suspended offshore
  • Catfish are active at night; try cut bait, worms, or stink bait

Alamo’s wooded shoreline offers prime structure for monster bass. Largemouth over 10 pounds swim in these waters. It also has an excellent channel catfishery, with blues and flatheads lurking as well.

The lake record for channel catfish is over 40 pounds! Alamo also contains crappie, sunfish, carp, and bullheads. Just reaching the lake is an adventure, which helps keep fishing pressure low.

8. Oak Creek

Oak Creek is a gorgeous stream located south of Sedona known for its exceptional trout fishing. This spring-fed creek stays cool even in the heat of summer.

  • Known as birthplace of AZ trout fishing
  • Stocked with rainbow and brown trout
  • Prime fly-fishing location with public access

Oak Creek has been called the birthplace of Arizona trout fishing. Stocked regularly with rainbow and brown trout, Oak Creek offers beautiful pools and riffles to cast flies or bait.

The creek flows south through red rock country from its headwaters at elevation to the popular State Route 179 crossing. Oak Creek Canyon offers miles of public access along forest roads.

Oak Creek is easily one of Arizona’s most scenic trout streams. Hatchery-supported fishing makes it a great spot for beginners too. Just beware of seasonal flash flooding when fishing Oak Creek.

9. Lake Mead

Lake Mead is the largest reservoir in Arizona and Nevada, formed by Hoover Dam impounding the mighty Colorado River. With over 247 square miles of surface area when full, this fishing paradise has endless opportunities.

  • World-class striped bass over 40 lbs
  • Smallmouth and largemouth bass are abundant

Lake Mead boasts all warm water species, including hefty striped bass exceeding 40 pounds! Largemouth and smallmouth bass, channel catfish, crappie, bluegill, and redear sunfish thrive in Mead as well.

The lake offers expansive open-water fishing, with massive flooded canyons holding monster fish. Lake Mead’s striper fishery is world-class, with schools of smaller stripers constantly on the feed. Just be ready for big wakes from passing boats.

10. Patagonia Lake

Tucked away just north of the Mexico border, Patagonia Lake offers consistent fishing just minutes from town. Spanning only 273 acres, Patagonia Lake stays fertile thanks to the Sonoita Creek flowing through it.

  • 14 lb. lake record largemouth
  • Consistent crappie, bass, and catfish
  • Family-friendly fishing

This shallow lake boasts excellent largemouth bass fishing, with a lake record of over 14 pounds. Patagonia also has crappie, bluegill, redear sunfish, and catfish. As a state park lake, it offers great access and family-friendly fishing.

So whether you enjoy chasing bass or trout, fishing in clear streams or massive reservoirs, Arizona has a myriad of excellent fisheries to explore. With mild winters and over 100 fishable days per year, the Grand Canyon State is an angler’s paradise.

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