Top-5 AZ family summertime camping and fishing spots

Family fishing and camping during summers in Arizona can produce some of the best memories life can spawn.

What makes for good camping and fishing during triple-digit months of sweat? A lot of stocked or self-sustaining fish, quality camping amenities and high country scenery that’s as cool as the air temps.

Here’s our top-5 list of family camping and fishing spots. Do you agree?

5. Kaibab Lake

Kaibab Lake is usually the jump off to the Grand Canyon, and has been stocked with some of the quarter-million more trout.

This family-friendly camping area is a few miles from Williams and an hour’s drive from the Grand Canyon to the north. Anglers have been catching trout on worms fished about 2 feet under a bobber or with yellow garlic PowerBait.

Directions: Located less than 2 miles from downtown Show Low, off Old Linden Road. Access Old Linden Road either from U.S. Route 60 in town or at its western end from State Route 260.  See a Google map.

4. Show Low Lake (and Show Low Creek)

Show Low Lake is scenic and just an hour from the town of Show Low.

Possibly the state’s premiere walleye fishery. Has a year-round concession with 75 campsites (seven have electric hook-ups). New facility improvements, including a new fish cleaning station,  restrooms, stairs from the upper parking lot down to the boat launch, and ADA boat trailer parking are now open.

Like Fool Hollow Lake, Show Low lake and creek are great for putting the family on trout and crawdads.

Directions: From Show Low, take Show Low Road southeast one mile from Highway 260.  See a Google map.

3. Fool Hollow Lake

AZGFD biologists regularly stock Fool Hollow Lake with trout.

An excellent fishery for getting the family into the outdoors and onto sunfish and mudbugs (freshwater lobster). Has excellent family-fishing amenities such as clean and spacious campgrounds, picnic areas and fishing piers.

Kids can catch sunfish off piers and over rocky shoreline areas using No. 12 hooks and small pieces of worms. Crawdad can be trapped here as well.  Read more about how to catch both.

The lake has self-sustaining populations of largemouth and smallmouth bass, sunfish, walleye, carp and black crappie. Fishing also is good for 12-inch stocked rainbow trout — try fishing about 10 feet deep.

Directions: Fool Hollow Lake Recreation Area is located in east-central Arizona, two miles north of US 60 off Highway 260 in Show Low. See a Google map.

2. Woods Canyon Lake

Woods Canyon Lake has been stocked with aggressive tiger trout.

A family fishing mecca. Woods has been stocked with tiger trout. For a novice angler – or for a kid’s first fish – try putting a small piece of a worm on a small hook (No. 12 or smaller) and dangle it in shallow water between rocks for sunfish.

Directions: From Phoenix, take Highway 87 (Beeline Highway) northeast to Payson and then Highway 260 East to Forest Road 300 (Rim Road). Then turn north onto paved Forest Road 105 and proceed about a mile to the lake. The lake is about 30 miles east of Payson. See a Google map.

1. Big Lake

An Arizona summertime family staple. Cutthroats have been biting on and off, there are plenty excellent campground amenities. Shore-angling is still an option, but as the summer goes along, you might want a boat (rentals are available at the store) because most trout will be deep.

Directions: Big Lake is accessed via state routes 260 and 273 (Forest Road 113).  See a Google map.


Remember to check fire restrictions, as well as any special regulations, that are in place.

So grab a license online (that helps conserve all species of wildlife, not to mention provides funding that goes back into fishing opportunities) and go. You won’t regret the memories.

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