• It's only fitting Cooley Lake would be home to the White Mountain Apache Indian Reservation's wildest fisheries experiment. It's named in honor of Corydon E. Cooley, the man who won that famous card game-the same game that gave the city of Show Low its name. Arizona was so wild at the time that Cooley was serving as a scout for General Crook, chasing down the Apaches that now run the lake. Be sure to get the proper permits before visiting.

    At 11 surface acres, the lake's not a whole lot to brag about in the lake-infested White Mountains. Of course, add lunker largemouth bass like they did in the 1980's and it becomes something special. In fact, so special that current regulations force you to get a special White Mountain Recreation permit to fish or camp at this lake (call 928/338-4385 for current information). -G.J. Sagi, from the essential travel handbook Fishing Arizona
  • Phone Numbers for more information::
    Game and Fish (928)338-4385
    Restrictions/Season of Use:
    Seasonal Call ahead to the White Mountains Apache Fish and Game Department at (928)338-4385 most likely the lake is open from May to labor day or late fall
    Road Conditions:
    Paved to dirt
    Land Ownership:
    Cooley Lake is owned by the White Mountain Apache Tribe
    Ranger Station/District:
    Pinetop Game and Fish (928)3674281
    Entrance Fees/Permits:
    White Mountains Permit for Cooley Lake call
    Elevation:
    7100
    Max Surface Acres:
    11
    River Lake Impounds:
    Black River, White River
    Bag Limit:
    Trout: 5 for adults (15 and over) 3 for juveniles (10-14) 2 for kids (under 10) Bass and Catfish: 15 for adults, 8 for juveniles, 8 for kids All other species "No limit"
    Boat/Engine Restrictions:
    Electric only
    Boats to Rent:
    No
    Swimming:
    No
    Camping:
    Yes with permit
    Trailer Spaces:
    No
    Electricity:
    No
    Launching Area:
    Primitive
    Water Skiing:
    No
    Cleaning Stations:
    No
    Marinas:
    No marinas at Cooley Lake
  • To get to Cooley Lake just head south out of Pinetop on State Route 73. It's only a few miles south and you will see signs.

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