PHOENIX — A heavier than normal winter snowfall has led to what looks like a great summer for fishing across northern Arizona!
Here are five of the best lakes to visit this summer, based on a new report by the Arizona Game and Fish Department, if you’re hoping to get outdoors!
5: Bear Canyon Lake (Near Kohls Ranch)
Bear Canyon Lake was snowed in all the way through spring, but is easily accessible again and should be all summer. The lake is stocked once a month until September with trout. In earlier parts of the summer, the cold water will allow trout to swim at all depths in the unusually deep lake. However, later in the summer, expect the trout to avoid the heat, so you’ll want to fish off the bottom of the lake.
Green sunfish were illegally introduced to Bear Lake, so fishing for them is also great for kids! There is no limit to how many you can keep and, AZGFD says, kids should try a small hook with a worm and bobber during warm parts of the day when trout are not biting as much.
4: Big Lake (Near Greer)
Arizona Game and Fish says that because of its size, quality of water and visitor amenities, Big Lake is widely thought of as the best fishing lake in the White Mountains. You’ll find fingerling and rainbow trout, as well as cutthroat and brook trout. AZGFD says because of the water quality and temperatures, the trout can often grow to trophy sizes.
Because of the variety of trout in the lake, bait choice varies greatly on what you want to catch. AZGFD recommends:
“Trolling spinners, flies, or small crankbaits works well in early summer and is moderately successful in mid to late summer. Bait and shore fishermen can try anything from worms to PowerBait. To attract cutthroat, use lures that resemble crayfish or their movement. Brook trout will hit flies, but also try nightcrawlers on the bottom.”
3: Black Canyon Lake (Near Heber-Overgaard)
Winter weather has helped Black Canyon Lake have conditions that are perfect for fish to thrive heading into the summer. The lake will be stocked multiple times throughout the summer with trout, but fishing will be best in the early summer months.
This lake has also had green sunfish and largemouth bass illegally introduced, so anglers are encouraged to catch and keep those fish from the lake with no limit.
2: Woods Canyon Lake (Near Kohls Ranch)
Woods Canyon Lake is stocked weekly throughout the summer with rainbow trout and tiger trout will be stocked in May and July. The amenities and accessibility for shore fishing make Woods Canyon Lake great for families and people who don’t want to rent a boat.
By the end of June, oxygen levels in the lake will keep trout toward the top 18 feet of the lake. Because of that, you’ll want to use spinners or a deep bobber to fish for trout.
Green sunfish were also illegally introduced to the lake, so there is no limits on them, and it’s a great option for kids! Kids should try a small hook with a worm and a bobber during the afternoon when trout don’t typically bite.
1: Show Low Lake (S of Show Low)
Although it’s a bit of a drive from the Valley (3+ hours), Show Low Lake will provide great trout fishing, especially in early summer months. Foot-long trout are being stocked every other week through August, and catchable catfish should be present as well, the report said.
Trout tend to stay around the 15-17 foot depth during the warmer summer months, according to AZGFD. However, you’ll want to fish off the bottom of the lake if you want to catch catfish.
Show Low Lake’s great fishing, campgrounds and accessible amenities make it one of the best destinations if you’re making summer plans.
*Photos and information for this story were provided by the Arizona Game and Fish Department. For the full report, CLICK HERE.*