Incredible Fishing on Arizona Lakes

In Arizona, it’s always a good day to go fishing. Thanks to our staggering diversity in species, anglers can pursue their reel passion every season of the year, all while enjoying spectacular settings.

Corralling the Salt River, Theodore Roosevelt Lake holds more than 20,000 acres of water, ringed by saguaro-clad mountains. Scores of largemouth bass, including some 10-pound monsters, swim among the submerged brush and trees.

Lake Havasu
is consistently ranked as one of America’s best fishing lakes where 450+ miles of shoreline are pockmarked by quiet coves full of largemouth and smallmouth bass, redear sunfish, crappie and catfish.

Incredible Fishing on Arizona Lakes
Lake Havasu, Lake Havasu City.

Downriver from Lake Havasu, Imperial National Wildlife Refuge protects 30 miles of backwater lakes and wetlands north of Yuma. Species swimming in this green oasis include largemouth, smallmouth and striped bass, tilapia, catfish and several types of sunfish.

Tucked in desert hills an hour south of Tucson, Patagonia Lake is another veritable bass factory, producing large quantities. Also providing a challenge at this state park are some giant channel and flathead catfish. Rainbow trout are stocked in winter months.

Incredible Fishing on Arizona Lakes
Patagonia Lake State Park. Credit: Emily Balli/Arizona Office of Tourism.

When the weather heats up, Kaibab Lake tucked away in the ponderosa pines near Williams offers a refreshing escape. Rainbow trout, largemouth bass and channel catfish will keep anglers busy.

A pair of rivers flows from lush high country and crosses White Mountains Apache Lands. Black River and White River are known for incredible trout fishing. Clear running streams tumble through rocky canyons, and evergreen forests offer seclusion and a chance to tangle with native Apache trout. Special permits are required to fish on tribal lands.

Catch once-in-a-lifetime memories at Lees Ferry, where the crystal waters of the Colorado River flow beneath towering 1,000-foot-tall sandstone cliffs. This idyllic spot serves as a trophy trout fishery yielding rainbows and giant browns amid breath-stealing scenery.

This article as originally published in the 2023 Arizona Official State Travel Guide.


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About the Author

Roger Naylor

Roger Naylor is a travel writer who hates to travel. At least anywhere beyond his beloved Arizona. He specializes in lonely hiking trails, twisting back roads, diners with fresh burgers sizzling on the grill, small towns, ghost towns and pie. He has contributed to Arizona Highways, USA Today and Route 66 Magazine, and he is the author of Boots & Burgers: An Arizona Handbook for Hungry Hikers and Arizona Kicks on Route 66. He lives in Cottonwood, Arizona, and can be reached through his website,


Cities & Regions

From the abundance of Saguaro cactuses and unique wildlife in the Sonoran Desert to the high country and forests of the White Mountains to the breathtaking Grand Canyon, Arizona’s regions are full of experiences that don’t disappoint.