In Arizona, winter doesn’t have to mean sending boats and rods and reels into hibernation. While outdoor recreation opportunities across many U.S. states shut down during the season of freeze, Arizona rolls on with trout stockings and water temperatures just warm enough to convince fish to bite during the holidays.
Although fishing tends to slow a tad this time of the year, there are some spots that are winter-friendly.
Here, then, are the Arizona Game and Fish Department’s top-5 fishing holes for this winter. AZGFD staff determined rankings based on angler reports, historical winter fishing opportunities, and recent survey data.
Not only does Parker Canyon Lake in southern Arizona have great access with an abundance of shoreline options, its water temperatures remain cold enough to keep trout active throughout the day — not just during the late evening and early mornings.
Parker Canyon Lake is stocked with trout through the winter.
This stretch of the lower Colorado River in Bullhead City is excellent for trout fishing and can produce some big striped bass. Trout are being stocked monthly. Meal worms, nightcrawlers and PowerBait are effective baits for trout near the stocking sites.
3. Lake Havasu
This giant, shallow, solunar bowl in the desert heats up quickly during a warm winter sun and has a large variety of sport-fish.
Havasu also contains some monster redear sunfish — the world record 5-pound, 12.8-ounce redear was taken from Havasu in February of 2014.
The “West Coast of Arizona” hardly experiences winter.
Anglers get the unique experience of stream fishing for trout in the desert. The Lower Salt River, just minutes from some of the Valley of the Sun’s population centers, is stocked with trout throughout the winter and offers good shoreline fishing options as well. A Tonto Pass is required.
Try nightcrawlers, small spinners, Kastmasters and flies. You might be able to catch some bass or sunfish in the deeper holes.
1. Alamo Lake
Alamo is a western Arizona dandy that can heat up quickly during the winter. At any given time from Nov. – Feb., Alamo can have some of the best crappie fishing in the state.
The black crappie fishing should be excellent: Few were caught/harvested last year due to rising and particularly stained water. Those fish should be bigger and more plentiful than the previous years and will hopefully provide some amazing fishing.
Tell us your favorite AZ winter fishin’ spots in the comments!
You’ll need a fishing license — purchase them online, 24/7. They’re good for 365 days and help conserve wildlife for future generations.
Not ready to get a license? Prepare for that eventual fishing excursion by signing up for the weekly fishing report.