You Can't Miss These Arizona Fishing Destinations

By Debbie Hanson

Mar 14, 2017

Find out which Arizona fishing spots to visit first. Use this information about species, boat access, shoreline fishing to help you narrow down your options. 

Photo Credit Arizona Game & Fish Department

If you want to take full advantage of the best Arizona fishing destinations, you'll have to consider a few important things. First, which freshwater species do you enjoy fishing for? Second, do you want to fish from a boat? Or, would you prefer to wade through the cool waters of a mountain river? 

Once you've given some thought to your fishing preferences, you can narrow down your options a bit easier. Deciding where to fish in Arizona isn't hard. Just think about your answers to the above questions while learning more about these six Arizona fishing spots. 

1. Bartlett Lake -- You can drive just 45 minutes from Scottsdale to one of Arizona's best lakes for largemouth bass. However, keep in mind that Bartlett Lake fishing is most productive if you have access to a boat since the lake spans over 2,000 acres. There are launches located at Yellow Cliffs, Bartlett Flat, and at Bartlett Marina that provide easy access to Bartlett Lake.

2. Lake Havasu -- If you want to catch trophy-size redear sunfish or smallmouth bass, Lake Havasu should be your Arizona fishing destination of choice. In fact, on February 16th, 2014, angler Hector Brito caught a 5.80 lb world record redear sunfish on Lake Havasu. Smallmouth bass catches over 5 lbs are fairly common on this lake as well. Due to the large size of this waterway (19,300 acres), Lake Havasu is best when fished by boat. 

3. Lake Mohave -- This reservoir on the Colorado River spans 67 miles on the border of Arizona and Nevada. Lake Mohave fishing reports most often focus on largemouth bass, but don't overlook the opportunities to catch striped bass and rainbow trout. There are two launch ramps on the Arizona side of Lake Mohave, one at Willow Beach and one at Katherine Landing. 

4. Lake Roosevelt -- Lake Roosevelt is the third largest man-made lake in Arizona, following behind Lake Powell and Lake Mead. Largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, channel catfish, and crappie are four of the species that you can catch while fishing in Arizona on Lake Roosevelt. Since there are beach areas for camping and swimming along the lake's edges, it is a popular recreation spot for families.

5. Saguaro Lake -- If you drive 40 miles northwest of downtown Phoenix, you can experience Saguaro Lake fishing from a boat or from the shoreline. The Saguaro Del Norte Recreation Area, near the Saguaro Lake Marina, offers shoreline anglers plenty of places to fish for largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, yellow bass, bluegill, crappie, rainbow trout, walleye and channel catfish.

6. Salt River -- Many Salt River fishing trips are focused on the waters below Saguaro Lake due to the consistent year-round opportunities to catch rainbow trout. Fly anglers in particular take a special interest in the Lower Salt River because it's one of the only places in the country where you can fly fish for rainbow trout in a desert environment.

After learning more about each of these destinations, have you decided where you want to start fishing in Arizona? If so, you can check the Arizona fishing license cost, purchase a fishing license online, and then head to your spot of choice.
Debbie Hanson
Debbie Hanson
Debbie Hanson is an award-winning outdoor writer, women’s sport fishing advocate, IGFA world record holder, and freshwater guide living in Southwest Florida. Hanson’s written work has appeared in publications such as Florida Game & Fish Magazine, BoatUS Magazine, and USA Today Hunt & Fish. To learn more about her work, visit or follow her on Instagram @shefishes2.