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More fishing and recreational activity takes place on these lakes than in any other area of the state. They are also the closest waters to the largest population center in the state. These waters provide a cool place for water sports, camping, wildlife viewing and quite possibly the best largemouth bass, crappie, catfishing, rainbow and brown trout in the state. Roosevelt lake is the best for largemouth bass, crappie and catfish. 

Gila county is widley know for its beautiful small trout lakes. These lakes were constructed by the Arizona Game and Fish Department during the ’50s and ’60s. The lakes are in pine forests at about 7,000 feet. Camping is available at or near each lake from May to September. They are stocked by the Arizona Game and Fish Department from April through September. The very best trout fishing is in the spring and fall.


Gila County is also known for its small streams, creeks and reservoirs.  Whether you like to kayak, water ski, raft or take a leisurely boat ride most likely Gila County has a body of water for you.  

Fly fishermen and shore fishermen alike will love the diversity and topography of these meandering streams and creeks.  The best stream fishing is found in Tonto Creek, Chevelon Creek and East Clear Creek.


One of the most overlooked fishing experiences in this area is trout fishing the Salt River below Saguaro Lake. Take advantage of this year-round trout fishery in the summer when the air temperatures are 100° F and the water is 65°F.

Many of these streams and creeks have large pools of water that visitors love to enjoy during the summer months as swimming holes when the temperatures in the valley start to soar.  Some of the favorite swimming holes are:  Fossil Creek (need a permit), Water Wheel (north of Payson), Hell's Hole (hard to get to but awesome!), East Verde River (North of Payson), Haigler Creek Water Fall (breathtaking but you will have to canoneer a bit to get to it) to name a few.

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