Lower Salt River

  • The Lower Salt River, below Saguaro Lake's Stewart Mountain Dam, has the distinction of being the only cold-water trout fishery in the nation located in a desert, according to the ARizona Game and Fish Department. Add the fact that the waterway, once considered little more than a tuber's paradise, is so close to metropolitan Phoenix, and it's little wonder its reputation is growing quickly.


    "This is truly a remarkable fishery," said Arizona Game and Fish Department Information Officer Rory Aikens. "I run across people who fish for trout before going to work in the morning or after getting off work in the evening."


    The Lower Salt River is located along Bush Highway between Usery Pass on the south and Sate Route 87 (Beeline Highway) on the north. Take U.S. Route 60 east from mesa and exit on Bush Highway. Travel north for 6 or 7 miles to Granite Reef Dam.


    The lower Salt river is stocked every winter with catchable-sized rainbow trout. Expect Phon D. Sutton and Granite Reef areas to be stoked in the winter and Blue Point and Water Users areas to get trout in the summer. -G.J. Sagi, from the essential travel handbook Fishing Arizona


    The Lower Salt River has plenty of different types of fish to shake a stick at. Large and smallmouth bass, carp, tilapia, crappie, yellow bass, catfish and Walleye!

    - Tom

User Comments

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  1. Andrew Barnes
    Hello my name is Andrew. I'm a die hard bass fisherman. I moved from Alaska to tucson about 13 years ago and I have done nothing but bass fishing since I moved here from Alaska away from all the salmon and halibut fishing as well as trout. I'm eager to get back into trout fishing again. My wife recently bought me a fly rod and reel for my birthday and I am anxious to use it. I want to fish the lower salt river, for I have never fished there before but have heard great things about fishing there. I plan to go mid January and want to know is fly fishing this time of year good at the salt river? Reasonable size fish? Maybe good flies to use or other setups? Or other possible good fishing locations for fly fishing trout? Thanks for answering my question and I look forward to hearing back any information.
    1. HookedAZ
      I haven't heard of many fly fishing on the lower salt river. The game and fish department stocks it in the cooler months. I'm a big fan of taking a tube down it and doing some bass fishing. You may have some success if you can find a spot on shore that will give you room to cast. There going to be mostly pan sized.
      HookedAZ, Oct 27, 2016
    2. Sam Vandergaw
      Hey Andrew, I'm also from AK and am trying to find my way fishing in AZ. I miss fly fishing for trout and dollies back home. Spent some time up north this summer and found mixed success along the rim and oak creek. It's not really the same as fishing big water back home, the creeks are a challenge to find casting room.
      I'm hoping the Salt will be a little better when I try it this weekend for the first time.
      Sam Vandergaw, Dec 8, 2016 at 10:54 AM
  2. Robert Stephens
    I fished coon bluff access 12/9 and the fish were very active early and late. I caught 1 bass and 5 trout, all the trout were about 11 to 12 inches. All fish were caught on rooster tail spinners in the deeper pools following swift water. I saw many smaller bass just about everywhere, and spotted a few bigger ones next to weed patches. This was first time ever fishing the Salt and I can't wait to go again.