Nelson Reservoir Arizona

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Fishing At Nelson Reservoir Arizona.

Nelson Reservoir is located on Nutrioso Creek. It has 90 surface acres with a maximum depth of 24 feet and an average depth of 8 feet. When the lake stops spilling in the spring, it is stocked with up to 20,000 catchable-sized rainbow trout until Labor Day. Stocking may end sooner if water quality conditions become unfavorable. Nelson Reservoir is subject to algae blooms and excessive weed growth as summer progresses. The lake contains native bluehead suckers and illegally introduced black crappie and green sunfish. The lake once contained brown, cutthroat and brook trout, but none remain today.


Anyone who’s driven from Springerville to Alpine has seen Nelson Reservoir. A long and narrow lake, it follows the Nutrioso Creek Valley for nearly a mile. Fish that remain in Nelson Reservoir after summer stockings can grow to good size, making it a popular fishing site with local anglers.


When the lake is first stocked in late spring, just about anything works. Try spinners such as Panther Martins or Z-rays, artificial flies and bait, especially night crawlers. As the weather warms, fish deeper with bait rigs. In the fall and spring, try trolling with wooly bugger flies or Panther Martin spinners, or suspend a night crawler below a bobber. The south end of the lake can become difficult to fish in late summer because of weed growth. - Arizona Game and Fish

Map of Nelson Reservoir Arizona


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Directions to Nelson Reservoir Arizona

Nelson Reservoir is just north of Hulsey lake on Hwy 191 in the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest or about 10 miles south of Springerville on the 191

Information for Nelson Reservoir Arizona
Consumption Advisory To check if there is an advisory read this Game and Fish page.
Restrictions/Season of Use May be closed in the winter from snow and ice on the roads
GPS Latitude: 34° 03' 21.86"N Longitude: 109° 11' 25.63"W
Land Ownership Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest
Tournament this week No
Elevation 7410
Max Surface Acers

On average 60 acres

Spawning Season Stocked with rainbow trout
River lake Impounds Nutrioso Creek
Water Temp cold
Average Depth 15 feet
Road Condition Paved
Fly Fishing Yes
Bait Fishing Yes
Access Fee No unless the Apache Sitgreaves National Forest has it posted otherwise
Tonto Pass No
Bag Limit The bag limit is six trout; three for unlicensed anglers under the age of 14, from April 1 through August 31; however, there is no bag limit on rainbow and brown trout from September 1 through March 31.
Boats to Rent No
Licenses for Sale No
Swimming  
Camping There is no camping near the lake; the nearest camping being the Alpine Divide campground approximately 11 miles south of the lake, just off of Highway 180/191.
Drinking Water No
Barrier free Access  
Restrooms Yes there are restrooms at Nelson Reservoir .
Trailer Spaces No
Electricity No
Boat & Engine Restrictions Electric Trolling motors or a 10 horse max gas motor
Launching Area Yes a paved launching area
Water Skiing No
Cleaning Stations No
Phone Number for Water Level Alpine Ranger District (928) 339-5000
Marinas No
Ranger Station  
Ranger District Alpine Ranger District (928) 339-5000
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