Trout Fishing in Arizona – Top Spots with Map

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The trout fishing community is a tight-knit group that is dedicated to these beautiful fish. Here in Arizona, you will find that the same applies here and there is no shortage of some of the best trout fishing in the country.

Trout Fishing in Arizona - Top Spots with Map

Fishing here will only require a basic license, available to purchase at just about any supermarket or gas station. Your basic trout fishing rod will be put to work here, but there are also plenty of places to purchase gear here as well. 

Many think of Arizona as just desert, but in reality, it is filled with lush forests and crystal clear fishing waters. From popular tourist spots to secret fishing holes, these five spots are some of the best trout fishing in Arizona

Trout Fishing in Arizona (AZ) – Top Spots

1. Oak Creek, Sedona 

Sedona is known as a popular tourist destination because of its beautiful Red Rocks attraction and picturesque landscape.  Little do most people know that it also home to one of the states’ best fishing streams called Oak Creek. 

This little-known creek is a go-to for local trout fishermen, as it has great numbers of rainbow and brook trout. Most of these fish are wild and not stocked. Thanks to the creek’s crystal clear water, sight fishing is a great way to catch these challenging fish. 

Oak Creek, Sedona

Oak Creek has something for every fisherman, as the creek includes both tight and wide spots, with a range of easily accessible areas and very remote spots. It is also surrounded by Sedona’s beautiful red landscape, making it the perfect trout fishing destination. 

2. Black River, Alpine

One of my personal favorite fishing spots, the Black River is a few minutes outside of the small town of Alpine. High in the pines of the White Mountains, it is the perfect area for anglers wanting to escape the Arizona heat. 

Open terrain, lush forests, and plenty of native wildlife surround this 114 mile long river. It is home to some of the largest brown trout in the state, but you can also catch smallmouth bass, rainbows, and the rare apache trout. The scenery alone might be my favorite part of this river. 

Black River, Arizona

The best spots are along the West and East Forks of the river, both of which are about eight miles long. This river is a fly fisherman’s dream location, and the giant brown trout that call these waters home are worth the trip alone. 

3. Silver Creek, Show Low

Silver Creek is a go to fishing spot for many reasons. First, it’s always stocked full of rainbow and apache trout. It is also home to giant trout, and anglers looking for fat rainbows should consider fishing here. Who doesn’t love giant rainbow trout?

This creek is located near the town of Show Low, and is state run and operated. This means there is always plenty of fish and action, making it a great choice for beginner anglers. Many spots are easily accessible and catching a fish is almost guaranteed.

Silver Creek, Arizona

For anglers wanting to chase larger fish, I would recommend the catch and release only section of the creek. This is a treasure trove of larger fish that are easily caught using fly equipment.

There are few special regulations along these waters, but reading up on these rules is well worth the opportunity to fish in these amazing trout waters. 

4. Chevelon Canyon Lake, Payson

My favorite lake in all of Arizona, Chevelon Canyon Lake is a small reservoir located in a remote area of the Mogollon Rim. It is so remote, you can only access it via a steep hike in. Because of how hard it is to access, some of the best fishing in the state can be had in these waters. 

This remote lake is home to absolutely giant brown and rainbow trout, with many state records coming from here. Not only does the access issues help these fish grow bigger, but live bait is also prohibited. 

I would only recommend this lake to more experienced and in shape anglers, but the giant fish and beautiful scenery are well worth the effort. Many times you will have the water to yourself and no shortage of fat trout on the end of your line. 

5. Lower Salt River, Apache Junction

The Salt River is a popular tubing and kayaking destination here in Arizona, but it is also home to some of the best fishing for any species of fish you want. Only 40 minutes from Phoenix, it is a favorite for anyone looking for a quick fishing trip.

The Salt River is special because it is the only cold water trout fishery in the desert in the entire country. It is surrounded by desert scenery including high canyon walls and plenty of Arizona wildlife. 

Lower Salt River, Arizona

Most anglers here will be after the giant bass and catfish that call these waters home, but there are healthy populations of rainbow trout throughout most of the river. And the best part? This river is fishable year round, and easily accessible. 

When Does Trout Season Start in Arizona

If you want to fish any waters in Arizona, it is important to carefully read the regulations! Many trout fisheries here offer year round fishing. Yes, you read that correctly, you can fish year round in many places. At places that are more managed, trout season usually starts in September and will run to March for warm weather fisheries, while cold climate fisheries run from March to August. 

Many places have also implemented catch and release rules, or minimum size requirements to keep a fish. Be sure to carefully read the regulations about the body of water that you would like to fish before going. The best place to find these is the Arizona Game and Fish Department’s website at https://www.azgfd.com/fishing/regulations/

How Much Is a Fishing License in Arizona

Arizona offers a few different options when it comes to fishing licenses, depending on your age and how long you want the license to last.

  • For a year-long license, it is going to cost a  nonresident to the state $55, and a resident $37.
  • For short term visits and vacations, you also have the option to purchase a combo hunting and fishing short term license for only $20 a day for non-residents and $15 a day for residents.
  • Youth fishing licenses are available for only $5 and are good for one year.

For more information and to see all of the license fees, you can visit the Fish and Game’s website at https://www.azgfd.com/license/

Where to Buy a Fishing License in Arizona

The easiest and most efficient place to buy a fishing license in the state of Arizona is on the Arizona Game and Fish Department’s website. You can print out your license directly from the website, and can even reprint it should you, unfortunately, misplace it.

Other places that you can buy a fishing license in person are retail stores such as Cabelas, Bass Pro Shop, Sportsmans Warehouse, any Walmart in the state, as well as many other small convenience stores and gas stations.

A full list of all the fishing license dealers in the state can be found on the Department’s website at https://www.azgfd.com/license/

Final Thoughts

Arizona is a special place and a little known trout fishing destination. There is something here for every angler, no matter their skill level, preferences, or fishing method. There is so much more than the desert and cactus, and the beauty will leave you speechless.  If you have never fished in the Grand Canyon state before, now is the time to start planning a trip!

Trout Fishing in the US

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