There’s no other season quite like spring for bass fishing in Arizona. Almost any lake you visit this time of year is sure to please. Most shorelines are saturated with colorful flora, heavenly weather ranges between high 60s and low 80s, and the fish are ready to bite.
As a native Arizonan, I find it curious that I have only taken an interest in bass fishing in recent years. Many things can deter the faint-hearted, such as rising before dawn, 10-plus hours aboard a boat and the overall lack of sanitation in wrangling fish onto your vessel. Regardless, every year, I find myself anticipating the arrival of spring when I can immerse myself in the hunt for a healthy largemouth bass on a beautiful Arizona lake.
Roosevelt Lake is the largest lake, boasting 112 miles of shoreline and a length of 22 miles, in what is commonly referred to as the “chain lakes,” which include Roosevelt, Apache, Canyon, and Saguaro lakes. These four lakes are primarily fed by the Salt River and Tonto Creek, which means they are interdependent on one another and annual precipitation. 2012 has been unseasonably dry, and “Rosy” is at approximately 67 percent capacity. This makes for a drastic change in terrain and can affect fish habitats, but because our group is relentless, we decided the water levels would not delay us from the first Roosevelt Lake fishing trip of the year.
We were on the water by 7:30 a.m., all lines in and casting like professional anglers. We connected with fellow fisherman already at the lake, since Roosevelt offers myriad clean camping spots, such as Cholla Campground, the largest all-solar-powered campground in the country, suitable for both the tent camper and RV enthusiast alike.
The first of our party to set the hook was elated and allowed bragging rights the rest of the day. I was the next to catch, and I have to say, the adrenaline that hits the bloodstream with a fighting fish on the end of a thin rod is like none other. This first fish was unexpected, and that’s how most fish I catch tend to arrive. I am rambling on about something irrelevant and then— Bam! It’s go time!
Reeling one in can be a heart pounder, because this is when you can lose a fish if the hook has not been set correctly. Fish have even been lost right at the boat’s side inches away, and trust me, that is sure to ruin your day. I lucked out this time and would not lose a fish until several hours later in the day. However, I didn’t mind the setback this time – I was too preoccupied reveling in the relaxation of the day with friends.
We called it a day around dusk. We headed to a little hotel just eight miles from Roosevelt Lake in the Tonto National Forest called the Punkin Center Lodge. We were impressed with our nice room and the adjacent bar and grill served just the right amount of food to nurse our sunburns. The next day was a similar feat with four more fish to add to the count, and by the end of the day we were satisfied and set to head back home. On the trek back to the Valley, we passed through several old mining towns and pondered the possibility of a simpler life. It occurred to me that the real allure of Roosevelt Lake is exactly that—an escape to a simpler time.
Lindsay Norman is the Advertising Specialist for the Arizona Office of Tourism. She supports digital and offline advertising campaigns promoting tourism for the state of Arizona.