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Fishing in Rim Country

Fishing of all kinds is available within an easy 45-minute drive. Roosevelt Lake is renowned for its trophy largemouth bass fishing and is host to multiple fishing contests throughout the year. Smallmouth bass, crappie, and channel catfish can be found as well. Atop the Mogollon Rim, numerous small quiet lakes offer anglers and fly fishermen opportunities for Rainbow and Brown trout, with record size fish caught frequently.

Rim Country is full of lakes stocked with a variety of fish species, and all are within easy and scenic drives from Payson and are within elevations that range from about 5,000 feet to 7,000 feet. Waters usually surrounded by forests of pine, cedar, and oak. Most lakes in the Payson area prohibit gas-powered motorboats. For a pristine backcountry lake, choose those which must be accessed via short hikes  (no trucks, quads or side-by-sides) that invite a moderate walk through breathtaking landscapes. Lakes such as these lure devout fishermen with trout, warm-water sportfish - and verdant camping spots.

Green Valley Lake

Green Valley Lake

The 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, and paved parking areas. Green Valley Park is part of Arizona's Urban Fishing Program and is recognized nationally as one of the best in the country. The program is a partnership with the Game and Fish Department and local Parks and Recreation Department to intensively stock and manage the park lake for fishing recreation. For more information about how you and your family can enjoy this program please visit the Arizona Game and Fish website.

Bear Canyon Lake

A beautiful, narrow, canyon-bound lake, accessible by foot trail only, Bear Canyon Lake is one of several in a series of fishing lakes built by the Arizona Game and Fish Department. Despite being several miles down a dirt road and having few amenities, it draws many visitors. At an elevation of 7,560, Bear Canyon Lake consists of 60 surface acres with a maximum depth of 50 feet.  Because of its depth, this lake has no water quality problems. The Arizona Department of Game and Fish stocks it with catchable-sized rainbow trout about six times each year.


Black Canyon Lake

Black Canyon Lake offers excellent Trout fishing throughout the Spring, Summer, and Fall months. A hiking path meanders along the edge of the lake from the parking area to the dam. Like all Mogollon Rim Area Lakes, Black Canyon Lake is scenically forested. Although the surrounding forest was affected by the 2002 Rodeo-Chediski Fire and some trees around the lake were charred, a sizeable portion of the lake is lushly forested. 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.

Blue Ridge Reservoir

This narrow, winding body of water looks more like a canyon-bound river than a lake. Nestled between forested canyon walls it provides picturesque water recreation in a secluded, wooded setting. If fishing is your cup of tea, you can catch rainbow, brown or brook trout here, stocked by the Arizona Game and Fish Department. If your taste runs to other types of recreation, the sightseeing, wildlife watching, hiking, and mountain biking here in the canyon-carved uplands of the Mogollon Plateau will make you glad you chose to visit this out of the way lake.

Chevelon Lake

Chevelon Lake

Chevelon Canyon is the best Brown Trout fishery in the State; some argue the entire world. The lake is fed by Chevelon Creek which means the Rainbow Trout, and Brown Trout are able to reproduce naturally and are not stocked.  Chevelon is 206 acres with an average depth of 35 feet with a maximum of 80 feet. Chevelon Canyon Lake is quite remote and is a deep canyon lake that requires a relatively steep hike 3/4 of a mile to get to the waters edge from the parking area. Generally, only the most avid of anglers that are physically well-conditioned fish Chevelon Lake. However, those that do are rewarded with views of the most scenic trout lake in Arizona. It is simply gorgeous and panoramic with thick forested vegetation and trees that abut the lake. If you're seeking tranquility, this is the lake of choice.

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 boats. Fishing is good here too, offering rainbow, brown and brook trout. If the fish aren't biting, you'll definitely want to take a tour of the nearby Mogollon Rim. This two thousand foot escarpment marks the southern edge of the Colorado Plateau and drops from cool highlands to low deserts in a picturesque, stomach-wrenching plunge. The lake covers approximately 75 acres and is about 50 feet deep.

knoll lake
willow spring

Willow Springs Lake

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 cool, colorful autumn, and cold and snowy winter.

Woods Canyon Lake

Woods Canyon Lake is a beautiful, canyon bound, deep lake, with plenty of trout fishing opportunities. At an elevation of 7,510 feet, Woods Canyon offers 55 surface acres and a maximum depth of 40 feet. This lake is stocked regularly with catchable rainbow trout. A few, large brown trout remain in the lake from stockings years ago. Only two hours from Phoenix Arizona, Woods Canyon Lake Recreation area is in the middle of an outdoorsman’s paradise with biking trails, hiking trails, offroad trails, fishing, camping, and hunting.

woods canyon

Roosevelt Lake

Roosevelt Lake is the largest lake in Arizona at 15, 560 surface acres.  It is a favorite of avid anglers searching for the trophy largemouth bass along with smallmouth bass, channel catfish and crappie. The lake is large enough that high power bass boats can zoom for many miles to other portions of the lake. Depending upon lake capacity that varies with the release of water through the dam, there are miles and miles of beach area for camping along the lake's edges. Water-skiing, jet-skiing, swimming, and general boating recreation makes Lake Roosevelt a favorite water recreation destination. The lake features several marinas and fee-based camping sites and contains a wildlife refuge area. The lake has a general store.

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