Fishing Arizona The Best Spots in Both Natural and Man-Made Lakes

Fishing Arizona The Best Spots in Both Natural and Man-Made Lakes

Arizona, known for its desert landscapes, also boasts a surprising number of beautiful lakes that provide a refreshing contrast to the arid surroundings. Here are some notable lakes across the state, each offering unique recreational opportunities and natural beauty:

Lake Powell

Located on the Colorado River, Lake Powell is the second-largest man-made reservoir in the United States. Famous for its deep, clear waters and dramatic red rock scenery, it’s a popular destination for boating, fishing, and water sports. Visitors can explore countless canyons, camp along the shore, or enjoy the luxury of houseboats. Here is a wonderful article about Lake Powell fishing and camping.

Lake Mead

Formed by the Hoover Dam, Lake Mead is the largest reservoir in the United States by volume when full. Straddling the Arizona-Nevada border, it offers extensive facilities for fishing, boating, and swimming. The surrounding area is also great for hiking and has several scenic viewpoints.

Lake Havasu

Known for the London Bridge, relocated here from England in the 1960s, Lake Havasu is a vibrant hub for boating and water sports. Located near the city of Lake Havasu City, this lake is popular for spring break festivities, boat races, and fishing tournaments.

Roosevelt Lake

Formed by the Theodore Roosevelt Dam, this lake is the largest within the borders of Arizona. It’s a favorite among fishermen for its abundant bass and crappie populations. The lake also offers numerous campgrounds, picnic areas, and hiking trails.

Saguaro Lake

Nestled in the Tonto National Forest, Saguaro Lake is named for the Saguaro cactus-studded landscapes surrounding it. It’s a beautiful spot for boating, fishing, and kayaking, with a marina and beach area for swimming. The lake is also a popular spot for bird watching and photography.

Apache Lake

Tucked away in the Superstition Wilderness, Apache Lake is one of the more secluded reservoirs served by the Apache Trail. Known for its rugged beauty and less developed surroundings, it provides a quieter alternative for fishing, boating, and camping.

Bartlett Lake

Located north of Phoenix, Bartlett Lake offers a variety of recreational activities in a picturesque desert setting. It has a large boating center, and the surrounding area is popular for hiking, camping, and fishing.

Canyon Lake

Nestled in the Superstition Mountains, Canyon Lake is known for its stunning red rock scenery and deep blue waters. It’s a popular spot for boating, water skiing, and fishing for species like walleye, rainbow trout, and bass. The Dolly Steamboat cruise offers scenic tours of the lake and its wildlife.

Woods Canyon Lake

Located on the Mogollon Rim, Woods Canyon Lake is a small, picturesque lake ideal for kayaking, canoeing, and trout fishing. It’s surrounded by a thick forest of pine, fir, and aspen, making it a serene spot for picnicking and wildlife viewing.

Patagonia Lake

This lake is nestled in the rolling hills of Southern Arizona near the Mexico border. Patagonia Lake State Park offers a variety of water activities including fishing, boating, and swimming. The park is also a haven for bird watchers, with over 300 species observed in the area.

Blue Ridge Reservoir

Also known as C.C. Cragin Reservoir, this narrow, winding lake is tucked away in the Coconino National Forest. Its remote location and scenic pine-covered shores make it a peaceful destination for paddling and fishing, especially for trout.

Lynx Lake

A popular recreational spot near Prescott, Lynx Lake is frequented for its excellent trout fishing, boating, and beautiful hiking trails. The lake has a no-wake rule, making it a quiet place for canoeing and wildlife watching.

Knoll Lake

This secluded spot on the Mogollon Rim is known for its clear skies and quiet, forested shores. Knoll Lake provides a tranquil setting for fishing, boating, and hiking, away from the more crowded lakes.

Willow Springs Lake

Just off the Mogollon Rim, Willow Springs Lake offers easy access for fishing, especially for trout and smallmouth bass. The lake is also popular for boating and picnicking, with several nearby trails for hiking and mountain biking.

Bear Canyon Lake

Deep in the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forests, Bear Canyon Lake is one of the most picturesque, with steep, forested hillsides plunging into deep blue waters. It’s a hike-in lake, making it less accessible but wonderfully serene for fishing and paddling.

Chevelon Canyon Lake

Known for its rugged beauty and exceptional trout fishing, Chevelon Canyon Lake is a hidden gem that requires a hike to reach, ensuring it remains one of the most secluded and pristine lakes in the state. The lake is catch-and-release only, accessed via a steep trail.

Lake Pleasant

Just north of Phoenix, Lake Pleasant is a large, multi-use reservoir offering a variety of recreational opportunities. It is particularly popular for sailing and water sports, thanks to its large open water surface. The lake also provides habitats for a variety of wildlife, including bald eagles and coyotes.

Tempe Town Lake

Located in the heart of Tempe, this urban lake is popular for kayaking, paddleboarding, and enjoying scenic walks along its shores. It’s also the site of numerous community events and triathlons throughout the year.

Rainbow Lake

Situated in the White Mountains near Pinetop-Lakeside, Rainbow Lake offers boating, fishing, and picturesque views. The lake is known for its bass and trout fishing and is surrounded by vacation homes and cabins.

Big Lake

One of the most popular fishing lakes in the White Mountains, Big Lake is known for its abundant trout fishing. Nestled at a high elevation, it offers cool relief from the desert heat and numerous camping options.

Fool Hollow Lake

Located in Show Low, Fool Hollow Lake is a recreation paradise with excellent facilities for camping, picnicking, fishing, and boating. The lake is surrounded by pine forests and grassy areas, providing a scenic backdrop for outdoor activities.

Watson Lake

Famous for its stunning granite boulders and blue water, Watson Lake is located in Prescott. It’s a favored spot for kayaking, canoeing, and hiking around the scenic trails that encircle the lake.

Lake of the Woods

This small lake in Pinetop-Lakeside is ideal for fishing, particularly for trout and catfish. The area around Lake of the Woods is lush and green, offering a tranquil setting for picnicking and bird watching.

Ashurst Lake

Located in the Coconino National Forest, Ashurst Lake is known for its excellent fishing for rainbow and brook trout. It’s a favorite among anglers and campers looking for a less crowded alternative to more popular lakes.

Kaibab Lake

Near Williams, Kaibab Lake sits within the Kaibab National Forest, offering fishing, picnicking, and camping. The lake is stocked with trout and is a restful spot for wildlife viewing, especially deer and elk.

Kinnikinick Lake

A quiet, remote lake south of Flagstaff, Kinnikinick Lake is known for its trout and catfish fishing. The area is less developed, offering a rustic experience for those looking to escape into nature.

Pena Blanca Lake

This small lake near the Mexican border is surrounded by rolling hills and rocky cliffs. Pena Blanca Lake is a picturesque spot for fishing, hiking, and bird watching, known for its lush environment and diverse wildlife.

Arizona has a surprisingly large number of lakes, given its desert landscape, primarily due to its reservoirs created by damming rivers. The exact number of lakes can vary depending on what’s counted (e.g., natural lakes versus man-made reservoirs), but there are over 100 significant lakes in Arizona. These include both natural lakes, which are rare and generally smaller, and numerous larger reservoirs that have been created for water supply, recreation, and hydroelectric power generation.

Below is a table of some of the prominent man-made lakes in Arizona along with their locations:


Lake Name Location
Lake Powell Coconino County, near Page
Lake Mead On the Arizona-Nevada border
Lake Havasu On the Arizona-California border
Roosevelt Lake Northeast of Phoenix
Bartlett Lake Northeast of Phoenix
Saguaro Lake Northeast of Mesa
Apache Lake Northeast of Apache Junction
Canyon Lake Northeast of Apache Junction
Lake Pleasant North of Phoenix
Alamo Lake Northwest of Wickenburg
Lynx Lake Near Prescott in the Bradshaw Mountains
Tempe Town Lake In the heart of Tempe
Watson Lake Prescott
Fool Hollow Lake Show Low
Patagonia Lake Near Nogales
Blue Ridge Reservoir Coconino National Forest
Lake of the Woods Pinetop-Lakeside
Ashurst Lake South of Flagstaff
Kaibab Lake Near Williams
Kinnikinick Lake South of Flagstaff
Pena Blanca Lake Near the Mexico border

These lakes are used for various purposes including recreation, water storage, and flood control, and they significantly enhance the natural and recreational landscape of Arizona.

Here’s a table listing some of the natural lakes in Arizona, which are notably fewer and smaller compared to the state’s many man-made reservoirs:

Lake Name Location
Mormon Lake South of Flagstaff
Stoneman Lake South of Munds Park
Dankworth Pond Near Safford
White Horse Lake Near Williams
Pecks Lake Near Prescott
Crescent Lake In the White Mountains
Big Lake In the White Mountains
Woods Canyon Lake In the Mogollon Rim area
Bear Canyon Lake In the Mogollon Rim area
Chevelon Lake In the Mogollon Rim area

These natural lakes, mostly found in the higher elevations of the state like the Mogollon Rim and White Mountains, offer unique ecosystems and are popular for their scenic beauty and recreational opportunities.

As I explore these lakes I will be updating them. So Keep this page saved so you will not miss out on the great fishing around Arizona.