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
- Big Lake is 50-percent ice-covered and there is minimal fishing from shore -- boats are not able to be launched.