Arivaca Lake

Average User Rating:
3.25/5,
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  • For a unique combination of fishing and history, Arivaca Lake is one of those destinations you have to visit at least once. Located an hour south of Tucson, Arivaca Lake can be reached by taking I-19 south and turning west at the Arivaca turnoff. Don't be in any great hurry though. The road is full of curves and passes through some of southern Arizona's richest history.

    From the city of Arivaca, turn left at the junction, then follow the signs. Ignore the legends of bars of hidden silver somewhere in the few remaining crumbling adobe houses in town, unless of course, you enjoy these kinds of stories. Follow the paved road for about 7 more miles and turn left at the sign. The last mile or so is dirt, but typically easily negotiable by recreational vehicles.

    A thick weedline will all but encircle the lake by summer's end (another byproduct of that fertile water), making shoreline fishing tough or impossible in many spots. When the weeds get heaviest it's the best time to visit with a boat. The largemouth tend to congregate along the outer edge of the weeds, and early in the morning and late in the evening the topwater action is often best described as incredible.

    Many anglers swear the best way to land a lunker largemouth is to "walk a rat" across the top of these thick weeds. Basically, waling a rat is a method of tossing a rat imitation on top of a thick weedline, then slowly working it back toward your boat or the shoreline. Usually the lunker will swell up from the protective structure to hit your offering. -G.J. Sagi, from the essential travel handbook Fishing Arizona

    This lake suffered a fish kill off in 1999 do to algae growth that sucked the oxygen out of the water. The lake is back is good shape but remember there is a mercury problem here so don't eat the fish. The lake is also catch and release only for largemouth. - Tom

    Here's a little history from the Arizona Department of Commerce on the town of Arivaca to give you a little background on were you will be going. There are also lots of gosh stories and legend of silver stashed away in adobe huts along the roads. "The name Arivaca derives from “la Aribac,” an Indian word for “small springs.” Located 11 miles north of the Mexican border, the area contains some of the nation’s oldest mines. Mapped by Father Eusebio Kino in 1695, the locale may have been a Pima Indian village. Attracted by grazing land and precious metals, Spaniards later came to the area and developed mines which were worked by Indians. In 1833, Mexico approved the Ortiz brothers’ petition to raise cattle and horses on 8,677 acres forming the Aribac Ranch. Although the ranch’s boundaries were never certain, in 1856 its rights were bought by a company which operated mines near Arivaca and Tubac. In 1902, the land became public domain. " - Arizona Department of Commerce
  • GPS:
    Latitude: 31° 31' 24.84"N Longitude: 111° 15' 15.06"W
    Phone Numbers for more information::
    Tucson Game and Fish (520) 628-5376
    Restrictions/Season of Use:
    Open all year
    Road Conditions:
    Mostly paved. Dirt for about 1 mile before the lake. Any vehicles is fine in good weather
    Land Ownership:
    Coronado National Forest and the Arizona Department of Game and Fish
    Ranger Station/District:
    Tucson Game and Fish (520) 628-5376
    Entrance Fees/Permits:
    No
    Elevation:
    3750 ft feet, Desert/ sonoran terrain
    Max Surface Acres:
    90 on average
    Average Depth:
    28 ft
    Bag Limit:
    catch and release only
    Boat/Engine Restrictions:
    10 horse max
    Boats to Rent:
    Yes
    Swimming:
    No
    Camping:
    Yes lots of places around the lake to camp, Arivaca is most suitable for tents
    Barrier free Access:
    Yes
    Trailer Spaces:
    No
    Electricity:
    No
    Launching Area:
    Yes
    Water Skiing:
    No
    Marinas:
    No
  • See above article for directions to Arivaca Lake

Recent User Reports and Reviews

  1. Tom.
    4/5,
    ""
    Date:
    Mar 9, 2017
    Current lake level is 2.95 below the spillway. Launching conditions are good. No recent reports of success. Gasoline engines are restricted to 10 hp or less and boaters using gas motors are asked to be courteous and not create wake problems for others boaters.
  2. Report
    3/5,
    ""
    Date:
    Feb 4, 2017
    Current lake level is 6.45 below the spillway. Launching conditions are fair. As temperatures cool, expect fish to become more active throughout the day. Gasoline engines are restricted to 10 hp or less and boaters using gas motors are asked to be courteous and not create wake problems for others boaters.
  3. Reports
    3/5,
    ""
    Date:
    Jan 24, 2017
    Current lake level is 6.45 below the spillway. Launching conditions are fair. As temperatures cool expect fish to become more active throughout the day. Gasoline engines are restricted to 10 hp or less and boaters using gas motors are asked to be courteous and not create wake problems for others boaters.

User Comments

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  1. Will Z
    There aren't boats to rent at arivaca lake. I called the Arizona Game and Fish Department to verify. They haven't rented boats to people for a while.