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This slender and twisting waterway resembles a river confined within a canyon rather than a typical lake. It's important to note that this is a canyon lake, which implies that there's limited shoreline access throughout the reservoir. The steep canyon walls that form the reservoir offer no sandy beaches like those found in conventional lakes, which makes this destination primarily suitable for kayaking, canoeing, and fishing enthusiasts.

More formally known as C.C. Cragin Reservoir, Blue Ridge is located on the Mogollon Rim, an elevated region in central Arizona. Additionally, the area has remote mountain biking and hiking trails and secluded camping spots, all of which are ideal for campers who want to ditch the main thoroughfares for a quiet forest road.


Fish Species

Anglers can catch various types of fish at this location, including Rainbow Trout, Brown Trout, Tiger Trout, Sunfish, and Catfish, with the Rainbow Trout being regularly stocked by the Arizona Game and Fish Department. However, it's important to note that C.C. Cragin Reservoir has been illegally introduced with Green Sunfish, and they have no catch limits. The AGFD is requesting visitors to immediately eliminate any Green Sunfish caught in C.C. Cragin Reservoir or East Clear Creek to improve the trout fishery and their chances of survival.

Fishing Strategy

The shoreline features standing timber, laydowns, submerged weedbeds, and reed thickets, which are more frequently found in the backs of small cuts. Your best opportunity to catch trout is early in the morning or later in the evening. If you fish during the day, your best bet is to fish from a boat, kayak, or float tube in deep water. Trout in this lake tend to be highly pelagic and hunt in small schools. You can fish easily from the shore, boat, or kayak. In winter and spring, trout can be found in shallow waters. Conversely, in the summer, trout tend to hunt in shallow waters in the morning and evening and retreat to deeper water during the day. Ideally, trout prefer water temperatures ranging from 55.5-56.5 degrees. However, there's a big exception: during and after rainstorms, trout rush to the shallows to feed on insects knocked loose from the rain, making fishing excellent. But beware, if you see lightning, you must seek shelter immediately. No fish is worth the risk of being struck by lightning. To catch deep suspending rainbow trout, the best technique is to troll your lure with a quality downrigger. Otherwise, you can drift or slow troll trout using a fly, corn, wax worm, salmon egg, or powerbait.

Boating Options

The Arizona Game and Fish have posted rules for the boat ramp that visitors must follow:

  • Do not park on the boat ramp. Please wait for the next available space.

  • The boat launch area is limited to a maximum of 5 minutes for vehicle use.

  • Swimming is not permitted in the boat launch area. Additionally, visitors must not block or interfere with boat launching.

  • Visitors should use the make-ready area to prepare their equipment before using the boat launch.

  • Please note that no motorized boats are allowed on this body of water. The lake is an ideal destination for kayaks, canoes, inflatables, and small fishing boats.

Camping Options

There are 32 single unit campsites and 2 double unit sites with tables, fire rings, and cooking grills at Rock Crossing Campground, drinking water at the campgrounds, toilets (self-composting), boat ramp, hiking trails nearby.



Location: 63 miles south of Flagstaff on a graveled forest road.

GPS (Map): 34°33'16.6"N 111°11'47.4"W

Access: Drive 55 miles south of Flagstaff to Clints Well on Forest Highway 3 (Lake Mary Road) or 27 Miles from Payson, Arizona on Highway 87.  Continue North from Clints Wells on AZ 87 to FR 751 then southeast about 6 more miles to the reservoir. All roads are paved except FR 751 which is graveled and suitable for passenger cars in most weather. In wintertime, FR 751 is closed and the reservoir is not accessible.

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