Lakes of Arizona

Cholla Lake

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  • Cholla Lake, is one of Arizona's most important fisheries in the northeast section of the state. It is also managed as a Navajo County park.

    To reach Cholla, take I-40 11 miles west from Holbrook toward Joseph City. Take Exit 277 south and follow the signs.

    The Lake typically impounds 380 surface acres and is a storage facility for a nearby power plant. Warmwater routinely pumped into the reservoir promotes weed growth which translates into a relatively productive warmwater fishery. -G.J Sagi, from the travel handbook Fishing Arizona
  • GPS:
    Latitude: 34.9241 Longitude: -110.1203 This is the GPS to cholla state park the Lake is west of the park about 20 miles.
    Phone Numbers for more information::
    (928)871-6472 or Game and Fish at (928)789-3701
    Land Ownership:
    Navajo County, Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest
    Entrance Fees/Permits:
    You typically need a permit to be on the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest. Check with the Web site listed below
    Elevation:
    approximately 7,000 feet
    Max Surface Acres:
    380
    Boat/Engine Restrictions:
    8 horse max
    Boats to Rent:
    Seasonal
    Swimming:
    Yes
    Camping:
    Yes
    Barrier free Access:
    Yes
    Launching Area:
    Yes
    Water Skiing:
    Yes
    Marinas:
    No
  • Use the map

User Comments

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  1. AGFD bio
    Cholla Lake was closed to the public back in 2002-2003. It was closed to focus on the main purpose of the lake, to be a cooling pond for the Cholla Power Plant. Chlorine is added to the water as it enters the power plant to reduce algae buildup within the power plant cooling pipes, just like chlorine is added to pool water. But too much of the chlorine persisted as it exited the power plant and came back into the lake, which was not allowed for a designated use of aquatic wildlife. The company tried to adjust chlorine levels to meet both uses, but would either get too much algae in the power plant with low levels of chlorine or exceed allowable limits for aquatic wildlife. In the end the only economical thing they could do was remove Cholla Lake from the Waters of the US list and remove the designation of aquatic wildlife and retain only the industrial use. Because of this designation change, they were not allowed to let the public use the lake. Which was really a shame, it was a great place to swim and waterski, had some big bass and catfish, and was the only place to do either of these close to Holbrook.

    You'd better rule it out as a fishing spot. It is private property and is closed to entry and fishing.
  2. Angela Berry
    We tried to go there June 2011 and it was closed to the public. The signs say that it is now a waste water pond. Very disappointing that this site does not give up to date information!
  3. HookedAZ
    Thats too bad. Keep posting updates like this and the site will get better. Its still a young community built site. I wouldn't rule it out as a fishing spot though. [​IMG]
    1. Rachel
      Its fenced off to the public and under watch from cameras at the power plant and patrol. I would love to be able to fish there now that it has been closed to the public for several years. Can imagine how big some of those guys have gotten!
      Rachel, Oct 27, 2016
  4. Rachel
    Sadly Cholla Lake closed down several years ago and will never be reopened. The campground was leveled, buildings and playground demolished and docks removed. Rumors were from "dangerous levels of chemicals" (Its a power plant lake) to "it was too expensive to maintain".