For those looking for some last-minute Memorial Day weekend fishing excursion ideas, here are some recommendations:
- Big Lake and Reservation Lake in the White Mountains. Big Lake has boat rentals and provides some of the best trout fishing in the state. Reservation Lake, on the White Mountain Apache Reservation, is just down the road from Big Lake and gets relatively minor fishing pressure (especially compared to Big Lake). But don’t expect a lot of amenities, just great fishing. Be sure to get the White Mountain Apache Tribe’s fishing permit.
- Willow Springs, Woods Canyon, Bear Canyon and Knoll lakes along the Mogollon Rim are all worth a visit. For those who love the quietness that comes with remote locations, try Knoll Lake. Bear Canyon, meanwhile, requires walking in down a steep switchback trail, which typically keeps out the hordes of anglers who don’t like walking far.
- Dogtown, Whitehorse and Kaibab lakes near Williams are very family-friendly. Dogtown can have the best fishing of the three, Kaibab is tops for camping (and playing in Williams), and Whitehorse is the spot for kicking back and just enjoying the pines. Any one of the three can be the top producer on any given day.
- Lake Powell, especially the Bullfrog area, is a fishing dream. It takes longer to drive all the way up into Utah to reach the Bullfrog area, but once there, you don’t have to travel far in a boat to catch hordes of smallmouth bass, striped bass, walleye and largemouth bass. For an extended Memorial weekend getaway, it makes a lot of sense. There is even a pretty nice campground.
- Lake Mead, especially launching at South Cove, can provide some wonderful desert solitude.
- Roosevelt Lake is a good fishing bet, and with all the campgrounds there, it takes a lot to fill them up.
- Tempe Town Lake is just made for those having to stay in the Valley of the Sun. Fish at first and last light for bass, catfish and/or sunfish.
- Laughlin/Bullhead area on the Colorado River is a great escape for rainbow trout, striped bass and catfish.
- Upper Lake Mary near Flagstaff is a terrific place for bass, northern pike, walleye, and yellow perch. Plus, there are no boat motor restrictions so you can use your bass or ski boat there.
- Kinnikinick Lake just east of Flagstaff (go to Mormon Lake and turn left) is a dandy fishery that is seldom crowded. The camping amenities are pretty basic: they’re pinyon-juniper habitat, and a bumpy dirty road to reach it. But, it’s a great place to fish for rainbows and browns away from the crowds.
- Fool Hollow Lake in Show Low offers a smorgasbord of fishing from trout and walleye to smallmouth bass and largemouth bass. This state park also has some excellent amenities.
Be sure to check our our summer trout stocking schedule.
And for Google map directions to all of the above fishing waters and more, visit our Fish&Boat Arizona map.
Be sure to grab a license online – your purchase helps conserve wildlife!
(Please send your fishing reports to BFishing@AZGFD.gov)
Red Mountain Lake
Todd B.: I had a blast today (Wednesday, May 20) at Red Mountain Lake. The top-water bite was on full swing this afternoon. I caught many fish on a top-water “popper”, with the biggest around 4 pounds. I am glad this lake is becoming a really good producer of quality largemouth bass. The best baits of late have been: top-water poppers, spinnerbaits, and lipless crankbaits. On the catfish side of the report, I saw several fish taken on stink baits and hot dogs. Thank you Arizona for the fun, which fishing brings to us all.
Thomas L.: Went to Alamo Lake to bass fish on May 20. Weather was great. Fishing was poor. Water was very stained and only two bass in the boat.
Thank you, anglers!
Arizona fishing opportunities wouldn’t be possible without the Sport Fish Restoration Program. It was created through the Dingell-Johnson Act of 1950 (Federal Aid in Sport Fish Restoration Act) and the Wallop-Breaux amendments of 1984.
Through a federal excise tax paid by manufacturers on fishing gear and motorboat fuels, it provides grant funds for fishery conservation, boating access, and aquatic education.