San Carlos Lake

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  • San Carlos is a popular lake for catching monster bass, flathead catfish and black crappie. It's located on the San Carlos Indian Reservation so be sure to purchase a permit from one of there licensed vendors before heading out. For instructions on how to do that visit our "Permits and Passes Page". Do not forget to do this. They want that money.



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    There's a nice little article on the San Carlos web site about fishing tips for crappie and largemouth it says " In any given year, black crappie fishing typically starts early in the year (March – April) when water temperatures reach approximately 60 degrees. Black crappie form large schools that are typically caught in 15 to 20 ft of water adjacent to brushy shorelines during pre-spawn conditions. When water temperatures reach the mid-60’s, black crappie move closer to shoreline and begin to spawn in and among the submerged points and cover. During the peak of spawning, crappie are caught in 2-4 ft of water. Crappie anglers use a variety of techniques including trolling or drifting crappie jigs, twister tails, or minnows, or still fishing with minnows under a bobber. During the peak of spawning, shoreline anglers are also successful in catching limits of crappie. Springtime largemouth bass fishing typically starts shortly after the crappie spawn when water temperatures reach the mid- to upper-60’s. Largemouth bass begin to move to shallow water adjacent to cover to begin spawning. Largemouth bass remain near shore until the spawning season is over, during which time fish can be caught using jigs, spinner baits, plastic worms, and top water baits. After largemouth bass spawn and early-summer approaches, bass can be caught using top water baits early in the morning, and as the day progresses, crank bait"



    I visited this lake on May 30 2010. It was a hot day toward the end of spring about 2:30 in the afternoon when I started fishing. I remembered the article above from the San Carlos site were they mentioned using crank baits for post spawn bass. It worked! I caught a small largemouth bass in the first 10 minutes of trolling a citrus colored 10-15 foot deep Norman crank bait. They really like the light colored lures there I was getting bites on all the citrus and white lures. I lost all three of my light colored lures do-to-snags from under water brush and had to switch up to the dark ones and they were not liking them. In the 3 hours I fished this lake I saw at least 10 good size largemouth breaking water around my boat. I was in my Jon-Boat coming from Point of Pines so I couldn't make it to more of the lake with that boat or even try the channel, but this lake is full of fish and a under fished at that. - Tom



    You wont find any information on the Game and Fish site about San Carlos so if you decide to head out contact the San Carlos Apache Tribe Recreation & Wildlife at 1-888-475-2344
  • Phone Numbers for more information::
    San Carlos Apache Tribe Recreation & Wildlife P.O. Box 97 1-888-475-2344 FAX 928-475-2701
    Restrictions/Season of Use:
    Open all year
    Road Conditions:
    Paved most of the launching areas are dirt
    Land Ownership:
    San Carlos Lake is owned by the San Carlos Apache Tribe
    Entrance Fees/Permits:
    You will need a permit to enter the San Carlos Apache Reservation. For a list of vendors view this list
    Elevation:
    2000 feet
    Max Surface Acres:
    18000
    River Lake Impounds:
    Gila River
    Bag Limit:
    This is the bag limit for San Carlos Trout 10; Bass 10; Catfish 25; and Crappies 25 per day or in possession. Persons under the age of 12 may fish without a permit only if they are accompanied by an adult holding a valid reservation fishing permit. The bag and possession limit for persons under the the age of 12 is half of that of a permit holder.
    Boat/Engine Restrictions:
    Any size motor
    Boats to Rent:
    No
    Swimming:
    Yes
    Camping:
    Yes
    Barrier free Access:
    Yes
    Electricity:
    No
    Launching Area:
    Yes at least three concrete ones and many dirt
    Water Skiing:
    Yes
    Cleaning Stations:
    No
    Marinas:
    Yes one near the store.
  • Its easy to find San Carlos Lake. Just take the 70 east out of Globe and turn north on Coolidge Dam Road just pass the Bashas were you will get your permits to fish the reservation it will cure around and lead you to the south. Drive 10 minutes on that road and you will see the lake. You cant miss the Bashas its the last and only service other than a Texaco you will see just east of it. That road runs along the south side of the lake and meets back up with the 70

User Comments

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  1. brenda gurrola
    We would like to camp 4/6/13 We have a pop up camper.Do we need reservations? Is alcohol allowed at camp sites? Are Kyaks and canoes allowed? Thank you
  2. nicole
    I plan on taking a trip to San Carlos within the next few months and was wondering the prices of camping and fishing licenses
    1. HookedAZ
      You'll probably want to call them. I don't see any detailed information about it online anymore. I think it's 10 bucks a day to camp. Phone: (928)-475-2343
      HookedAZ, Oct 25, 2016