Big Lake Arizona

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Fishing At Big Lake Arizona

Big Lake is one of Arizona's highest-altitude angling destinations and features fishing that leaves you wondering if it's the 9,000-foot altitude or the fishing that leaves you breathless.

Big Lake came to be in 1930 when a dam was constructed on the East Fork of the Black River. Part of the old Apache National Wildlife Refuge, it was originally intended as a water fowl project. Because the dam was only 10 feet high at that time, winter kills were common. To remedy the situation the Arizona Game and Fish Department doubled the height of the dam and by 1965 the lake was full.

Anglers who prefer artificial lures might start with a Z-Ray. gold or silver finishes with some sort of red or orange coloring work extremely well. When you troll, a limit is almost a certainty if you use a brown Wooly Worm on the end of cowbells. Wet flies are a pretty good bet.. -G.J Sagi, from the travel handbook Fishing Arizona

Big Lake also has Brook Trout and Cutthroat Trout. You can also expect to catch a great deal of craw dads if you want some appetizers. I caught a 5 gallon bucket full of them one time with my two buddies. We put some cheese and a rock in a square of gauze and tied it to some fishing line. The craw dads get there claws stuck in the gauze. You can eat them or use them for bait. -Tom

Map of Big Lake Arizona

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Directions to Big Lake Arizona

Located in the White Mountains, Big Lake is south of Springerville off the 273. Go west on the one of the exit to get to the lake. There are a few different roads to take to the west depending on what side of the lake you want to land on. Be sure to check ahead if your going in the winter because many of the road close do to ice. The Lake is at 9,000 feet you it is fairly common. There is snow mobile access though in the winter and most of the roads are paved.
Information for Big Lake Arizona
Consumption Advisory To check if there is an advisory read this Game and Fish article.
Restrictions/Season of Use Big Lake is open from May to November
GPS the gps for Big Lake trail is Latitude: 33° 53' 4.80"N Longitude: 109° 24' 54.88"W
Land Ownership Big Lake is owned by the Apache Sitgreaves National Forest
Tournament this week No
Elevation The elevation at Big Lake is 9000 feet
Max Surface Acers 530
Spawning Season Spring for trout and stocked regularly through the summer
River lake Impounds Big Lake impounds the Black River the dam was created in 1930
Water Temp cold and possible winter freeze
Average Depth The depth at Big Lake 26 ft
Road Condition Paved to dirt
Fly Fishing You can fly fish at Big Lake they have Apache and Rainbow trout
Bait Fishing You can bait fish at Big Lake. Worms work well for Apache and Rainbow trout
Access Fee You will need a White Mountains pass available on this site coming soon.
Tonto Pass You do not need a Tonto Pass for Big Lake
Bag Limit There will posted signs for bag limits on Rainbow and Apache trout
Boats to Rent You can rent boats at Big Lake and a lot of the other lakes of the White Mountains
Licenses for Sale Yes
Swimming Yes
Camping Big Lake has a several nearby campgrounds
Drinking Water Yes
Barrier free Access No
Restrooms Yes
Trailer Spaces Yes. Big Lake is a great place to bring a trailer
Electricity No
Boat & Engine Restrictions You can only have a 10 horse motor on this lake
Launching Area Yes
Water Skiing No
Cleaning Stations ?
Phone Number for Water Level Game and Fish (928)367-4281
Marinas No marinas at Big Lake
Bait Shops  
Ranger Station Pinetop Game and Fish (928)3674281 or the Apache Sitgreaves National Forest at (928)333-4301
Ranger District Pinetop Game and Fish
Comments: If you find any of the about information to have been updated or wrong, let us know. Email or just post the correction in the forum below. Thank You.

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Last Updated on Saturday, 03 July 2010 17:08


# Sandra Bohannan 2015-07-15 10:45
What pound test is recommended for trolling as well as anchored fishing? Any suggestions on test brand/color etc., would be appreciated. Any additional advice welcome! Thanks kindly!
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