Ten Top Fishing Destinations in Gila County

Updated: Sep 23



Nothing beats fishing in Gila County. Early mornings or late nights, being surrounded in the great outdoors and reeling in fish in a fishermen's dream.


We are highlighting ten of the top fishing destinations in all of Gila County.


Get out there and try them all!


Roosevelt Lake


Fishing for largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, channel catfish, flathead catfish, black crappie, bluegill, and yellow bass at Roosevelt Lake in Arizona.

The largest lake in Central Arizona, Roosevelt Lake, is a bass fisherman's paradise. At nearly 20,000 acres, and loaded with submerged brush and timber, Roosevelt Lake is the place to be for a serious bass fisherman. When timed right, this lake can kick out incredible numbers of largemouth bass, including some giant bass over 10 pounds. This is a great lake to learn a new technique or fishing style, as it offers a little bit of everything. If you are a serious angler looking to spend a full day in one of the country's hottest fisheries, Roosevelt Lake is the place to go.


Fish Species:

  • Largemouth Bass

  • Smallmouth Bass

  • Channel Catfish

  • Flathead Catfish

  • Black Crappie

  • Bluegill

For full information on Rosevelt Lake fishing license requirements, fishing strategies, camping options, and directions visit https://www.discovergilacounty.com/roosevel-lake-fishing.


Black Canyon Lake

Like all Mogollon Rim Area Lakes, Black Canyon Lake is scenically forested. Although the surrounding forest was adversely affected by the 2002 Rodeo-Chediski Fire and some trees around the lake were charred, a sizeable portion of the lake is lushly forested. Because of the danger of falling trees damaged by the 2002 fire, the entire area around the lake is limited to day use only until further notice. 


Black Canyon Rim Campground is nearby and is sheltered among towering ponderosa pines and located in an area that is relatively flat and sandy. A herd of wild horses is often seen running through the area and stopping at Black Canyon Lake for water.



Fish Species:

  • Rainbow Trout

For full information on Black Canyon Lake fishing license requirements, fishing strategies, camping options, and directions visit https://www.discovergilacounty.com/black-canyon-lake.


Tonto Creek

Tonto Creek is a year-round stream with a considerable water flow that has formed a deep, remote, and often narrow canyon below the Mogollon Rim in central Arizona. For 30 miles it snakes through the steep hilly land at the north edge of the Tonto National Forest, starting right beneath the Rim at an elevation of 6,600 feet. Here the rocks are sedimentary, the surroundings densely wooded and the canyon quite shallow but the character soon changes as the creek flows south into a particularly rugged area known as the Hellsgate Wilderness.

Small stream tactics are in order for this creek. Stealthy approach and making the first cast into each pool count. General attractor dries with small nymph or midge droppers will get it done on most days.  The best place to fish this creek is hidden pools at higher elevations where the water is cooler and the trout are larger. The access to these areas requires hiking so someone physically fit is recommended to find the daring spots. Flies and salmon eggs are recommended fishing baits.


Fish Species:

  • Rainbow Trout

  • Brook Trout

  • Brown Trout

For full information on Tonto Creek fishing license requirements, fishing strategies, camping options, and directions visit https://www.discovergilacounty.com/tonto-creek.


Chevelon Canyon


Chevelon flows though a very rough, difficult to access canyon that's just over ten miles Chevelon Canyon Lake. You have to hike down some very steep declines to access the canyon.

This may be Arizona's best  brown trout stream. There are some rainbows but the stream has far more brown trout than rainbows. The fish can move back and forth to the depths of the lake which is a big help during the summer months when the water temperature in Chevelon Creek gets rather high. Rainbows move out of the lake to and move upstream during the Spring to spawn.


The fishing season runs year-round.


Spring:

Fly fishing Chevelon Creek is best just after the snow melts enough to travel on the access roads.

Summer:

The water can get low and too warm during the Summer but if temperatures are reasonable, it is a good time to catch a brown trout. Fish under low light conditions, cloudy, or early and late. Most of the fish will be in the pools.

Fall:

Fishing remains good because brown trout spawn.in the 

Fall and Winter:

The season is open year-round but it is very doubtful you can access the stream during the Winter months


Fish Species:

  • Rainbow Trout

  • Brook Trout

  • Brown Trout

For full information on Chevelon Creek fishing license requirements, fishing strategies, camping options, and directions visit https://www.discovergilacounty.com/chevelon-creek.


Knoll lake


This secluded forest lake attracts visitors for a number of reasons. Surrounded by ponderosa pines, with a picturesque island in its middle, Knoll Lake provides a scenic setting in which to enjoy your canoe or other small boat. Fishing is good here too, offering rainbow, brown and brook trout.

Powerbait, Worms, and Corn have been successful methods of catching. Fish deep at Knoll, the lakes depth hides some huge lunker trout.


Fish Species:

  • Rainbow Trout

  • Brook Trout

  • Brown Trout

For full information on Knoll Lake fishing license requirements, fishing strategies, camping options, and directions visit https://www.discovergilacounty.com/knoll-lake.


Willow Springs


Like its nearby sister-lake, Woods Canyon, Willow Springs Lake is one of the most accessible of the Rim lakes and has a very scenic setting in a heavily forested area on the edge of the Mogollon Rim. The landscape which includes Ponderosa Pine, Oak and Douglas Fir trees is simply gorgeous and at an elevation of about 7,500 feet, visitors can expect very pleasant temperatures in the spring and summer months. It's four season territory with a cool, colorful autumn, and a cold and snowy winter.

An Arizona State fishing license is required to fish this lake.  Ice fishing is a popular sport on this lake in the winter months. Be sure to check ice conditions before venturing out on the lake in winter.

Willow Springs Lake is stocked weekly with catchable size Rainbow trout from May through September annually. When fishing from the shore, try nightcrawlers. Trolling for trout is usually productive. Spinner baits and artificial worm rigs work well for bass around underwater structure. In the summer the fish typically move to deeper depths of between 10 to 20 feet. The lake contains crayfish, so using lures that imitate them is a good way to attract bass. A fishing license with a trout stamp is required for anglers over 13 years old. The daily bag limit is six trout and six bass and bass limits are halved for unlicensed anglers 13 and younger.


Fish Species:

  • Rainbow Trout

  • Largemouth Bass

  • Smallmouth Bass

For full information on Willow Springs fishing license requirements, fishing strategies, camping options, and directions visit https://www.discovergilacounty.com/willow-springs-lake.


Woods Canyon Lake


Located on top of the Mogollon Rim at an elevation of 7,600 ft. The Woods Canyon Lake Store offers boat rentals, groceries, beer & wine, fishing tackle, camping gear, firewood, ice, fishing & hunting licenses and hunting permit tags. As well as one of the largest ice cream selections in Northern Arizona with a friendly atmosphere.

Outdoor enthusiasts of all types including: anglers, boaters, hikers, families and photographers will find Woods Canyon Lake to be a great getaway.


When fishing for rainbow trout from shore, try Power Bait or worms. Boaters can try trolling a Super Duper or tiny gold Kastmaster lures. When it's hot in the summer, fish a little deeper, between 10 and 20 feet; but don't fish too deep, because the lake stratifies in the summer, meaning there's no oxygen at the bottom. The lake is loaded with crayfish; try fishing for big browns in spring and fall with spinners or lures that imitate crayfish patterns. A state fishing license with a trout stamp is required for anglers 14 years-old and above. Daily bag limit is six trout for licensed anglers and three for unlicensed kids under 14 years.


Fish Species:

  • Rainbow Trout

  • Brown Trout

For full information on Woods Canyon Lake fishing license requirements, fishing strategies, camping options, and directions visit https://www.discovergilacounty.com/woods-canyon-lake.


Point of Pines Lake


Point of Pines Lake is a beautiful 34-acre high mountain Lake surrounded by ponderosa pine forest. Travel along Indian Route 8 (1000 road) roughly 50 miles from the junction of Highway 70 to reach this quiet and peaceful Lake. Point of Pines Lake is stocked annually with Rainbow and Brown Trout during the Fall and Winter months with larger Trout being caught as a result of over summer survival in this high elevation lake.

Fishing from the shore with worms and small boats work best.  Cowbells work very well trolling at low speeds. 


Fish Species:

  • Rainbow Trout

For full information on Point of Pines Lake fishing license requirements, fishing strategies, camping options, and directions visit https://www.discovergilacounty.com/point-of-pines-lake.


*Currently Closed Due To Covid


San Carlos Lake


With 158 miles of shoreline, San Carlos Lake is one of the largest lakes in Arizona when it’s full – averaging 19,500 acre-feet of water in a good season! One of eight lakes with desert surroundings, you’ll find deep blue waters framed by gaunt, rocky, cactus-speckled mountains – in this case, the foothills of the Gila and Mescal mountain ranges. Make a point of visiting this aquatic oasis.

In spring and summer this can be a topwater haven, if the water is relatively clear. Big crankbaits, spinnerbaits and large worms work well when the bass are shallow. At higher pool levels there is plenty of brush in the shallows for bass and everything they eat. When the levels drop, rocks are the key to locating bass.


Fish Species:

  • Largemouth Bass

  • Bluegill

  • Black Crappie

  • Channel Catfish

  • Flathead Catfish

For full information on San Carlos Lake fishing license requirements, fishing strategies, camping options, and directions visit https://www.discovergilacounty.com/san-carlos-lake.


*Currently Closed Due To Covid


Green Valley Lake


Green Valley lakes are part of Arizona's Urban Fishing Program and are recognized nationally as one of the best in the country. The Department intensively stocks and manages the park lake for fishing recreation. Simply put, the program operates on the premise that "if people can't get out of town to fish, we will bring fish in to town for the people." The program provides convenient, affordable, accessible, and fun fishing for anglers of all ages and abilities. 

Green Valley Park provides three lakes having a total surface area of 13.1 acres, 17.2 acres of grass, trees and shrubs, three picnic ramadas, two public restrooms, 3.8 miles of walking paths, boating and fishing facilities, picnic and outdoor cooking facilities, paved parking areas, and a complete irrigation system and pump station for the landscaped areas. 


Trout can be caught on small spinners and spoons, by fly fishermen using nymphs or wet flies, and by baits such as scented dough baits, worms or salmon eggs.  Remember to use lighter line in the 2-6 pound range, smaller hooks and a minimal amount of weight. Limits on trout are 4 per day for licensed anglers and 2 trout for children under age 14.


Fish Species:

  • Rainbow Trout

  • Bass

  • Crappie

  • Sunfish

For full information on Green Valley Lake fishing license requirements, fishing strategies, camping options, and directions visit https://www.discovergilacounty.com/green-valley-lakes.


Obviously, there are a ton of great options for your next camping trip. Luckily these lakes, creeks, and streams are not planning on going anywhere.


Visit the individual links to plan your next fishing trip. Grab a buddy and #ExploreTheWild


Follow us at @discovergilacounty for updates and information and tag us in your adventures by using #discovergilacounty

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