Roosevelt Lake Arizona: Fishing report and lake information

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  • Roosevelt Lake, or Theodore Roosevelt Lake is one of the biggest bodies of water in the state. It is also famous for producing some of the biggest catches in the state, Its not unusual to see a 10 lb plus size largemouth and a 25 lb plus Flat Head Catfish come out of the lake. Roosevelt lake impounds the Salt River making it the first in a chain of four Lakes; Roosevelt, Apache, Canyon and Saguaro.
  • GPS:
    N 46.81246 and W -93.93775
    Phone Numbers for more information::
    Check the Game and Fish site
    Restrictions/Season of Use:
    fishing and boating and are open year-round at Roosevelt Lake Except where posted “Closed to Entry” on the Tonto Creek arm of the lake from November 5 to February 15 for wildlife protection
    Road Conditions:
    The roads to Roosevelt Lake are paved all the way to the main launching area. There are alternated routes to the north of the lake that turn into dirt if you want to just launch off the shore.
    Land Ownership:
    Tonto National Forest
    Ranger Station/District:
    Tonto Basin Ranger Station HC02 Box 4800 Roosevelt, AZ 85545 (928)-467-3200
    Entrance Fees/Permits:
    Roosevelt Lake's Fee is the Tonto Pass. You can order one from us here or buy one from a licenses vendors in person.
    2200 ft feet
    Max Surface Acres:
    Roosevelt Lake has 20,000 feet of surface acers and 27 miles of shoreline
    River Lake Impounds:
    Roosevelt Lake is filled from the Salt River
    Average Depth:
    100 ft
    Bag Limit:
    6 bass, no more than 1 bass between 13 and 16 inches may be kept
    Boat/Engine Restrictions:
    There are no motor restrictions at Roosevelt Lake
    Boats to Rent:
    You can swim all you want at Roosevelt Lake unless otherwise posted near objects "marinas"
    Yes there are plenty of campsites at Roosevelt Lake with hookups
    Barrier free Access:
    Yes there are lots of spots were you can drive down right to the shore at Roosevelt Lake
    Trailer Spaces:
    Launching Area:
    Every couple of mile along the lake is a launching area
    Water Skiing:
    Roosevelt lake Marina (928) 467-2245
  • You can take the historic Apache Trail 41.5 mi from Mesa for a scenic drive down Hwy 88 all the way to the dam at Roosevelt Lake. Hwy 88 is not that rough, you do not need a 4 wheel drive truck to take it although parts are not paved so avoid it during bad weather. It' s definitely worth the drive with steep cliffs and desert terrain as you pass by Canyon and Apache Lake. An alternative route is to take the 87 north out of phoenix to the 188 south along the horse of Roosevelt that will eventually intersect with the 60 to take you back to Phoenix. This route is all Paved and takes you almost to the pines of Pason back down the the old mining town of Miami.

Recent User Reports and Reviews

  1. Reports
    "2,122 feet, 67-percent full"
    Mar 26, 2017
    March 23 report from Jim Goughnor of Rim Country Custom Rods:

    Spring fishing and water flows continue to be the talk of Rim Country anglers. Bass are in pre, post and spawning phases which means many are feeding heavily and anglers are reporting successful trips to the lake. The water flows into Roosevelt Lake from the Salt River and the Tonto Creek are back to normal flow rates for this time of year. However, during March and April, flow rates into the lake are traditionally higher than most other times throughout the year. The water level is rising about 2% per week and currently stands at 67% full. Many Rim Country streams and creeks are still flowing at high rates and there is still snow at higher elevations. Higher lake levels are expected due to these continuing flows.

    Bass fishing is being called good to excellent on Roosevelt and Apache Lakes. The water temperature is reaching 65 degrees during the afternoons. The stained water promotes higher water temperatures which results in perfect spawning conditions for the bass. Many bass are located in shallow water, 25 foot deep or less and are being caught on a variety of reaction baits. With the stained water conditions, baits that create a noise such as a crank-bait, spinner-bait or chatter-bait can be extremely effective.

    The stained water condition is also having an impact on “sight-fishing” for bass. Anglers can see only about 12″ to 18″, since many bass spawn at deeper depths, many bass guarding beds will go undetected. Anglers are looking forward to the next full moon on April 10th which will likely bring another big wave of bass to the shallow flats for the spawn.

    Crappie anglers continue to troll along shorelines and are reporting improved fishing conditions. A few crappie have been seen near spawning areas but an experienced crappie angler reported seeing no spawning crappie on the Tonto end of the lake during a recent trip. The crappie spawn is probably still a few weeks away when the water temperature maintains the 65 degree level.
  2. HookedAZ
    "(2,119 feet, 65-percent full)"
    Mar 18, 2017
    March 15 report from Jim Goughnor of Rim Country Custom Rods:

    Spring fishing continues to improve by the day on Roosevelt and Apache Lakes. The stable weather and sunshine have pushed the water temperature above the 60-degree mark and bass are moving onto spawning flats and shallows. The water flowing into the Roosevelt Lake has returned to normal flow rates for this time of year and the clarity of the water is improving albeit gradually each day. The recent rain and snow accumulations have increased the lake level to 65% full.

    For the next several weeks, many bass will be located in shallow water, 25 foot deep or less. Large quantities of pre-spawn bass are being caught on a variety of reaction baits including lipless crank-baits, Fluke-style baits, paddle-tail swimbaits, mid to shallow running crank-baits, chatter-baits and spinner-baits. Slower action baits such as a Roboworm, Senko and jigs are being reported as successful during the afternoon.

    With the bass spawn underway in big numbers, it’s exciting to “sight-fish” for bass. The male bass will be closest to the bed, aggressively protecting the eggs. The female bass will remain near the bed for a few hours or a day before moving on to spawn again or return to the security of deeper water. During the spawning season, it’s important to practice CPR, catch-photograph-release. Releasing bass so they can continue with the natural spawning process ensures the quality and quantity of the fish in the lake.

    Crappie anglers continue to troll along shorelines and are reporting improved fishing conditions. The crappie spawn is probably still a few weeks away when the water temperature reaches closer to 65 degrees. However, look for male crappie, which turn a gloss black and emerald green spotted color during the spawn, as they move into shallow water searching for spawning locations. Ideal spawning crappie locations are under submerged logs, at the base of trees, ledges, boulders, and drop-offs. Always look for the darkest shaded areas. Those dark spots are ideal locations for crappie to spawn. Even if you can’t see into the darkest areas, they are always worth a cast or two. Male crappie are extremely aggressive during the spawn and a small 1/4 oz. jig-head hook and a small grub-tail bait dropped onto a bedding location will definitely get an immediate reaction. When the females move onto the spawning area, crappie fishing is even more exciting.
  3. Jeff k
    Mar 9, 2017
    (2,118 feet, 63-percent full).

    The lake level has increased seven feet during the past week. This week last year, the lake was at 51 percent full.

    March 3 report from Jim Goughnor of Rim Country Custom Rods:

    The amount of rain and snow from the recent storms is again the major topic of Rim Country anglers. There has been much more moisture this year throughout the West and the additional two feet of snow on the Rim will ensure good water flows into Roosevelt Lake for the next couple of months.

    The lake has risen over 12 vertical feet in the past month and 25% since the beginning of the year. Experts are projecting the lake could fill to 80% this spring. Both the Salt River and Tonto Creek are flowing at many times their normal rates, resulting in the lake reaching the 62% full mark. Fishing conditions have decreased recently due to the increased flows and are being called poor to fair by experienced anglers.

    However, some anglers are reporting a reaction bite on SR5 sized crankbaits in darker colors. The water temperature is in the mid 50's and increasing to the high 50's in the afternoon on sunny days. Most of the water in the lake is stained and there are reports of debris floating throughout the lake.

    Anyone boating on Roosevelt Lake is advised to take extra caution. Most debris can be seen above the surface however, others are just below the surface. A submerged tree can cause significant damage to a prop or lower unit.

    Crappie anglers can be seen trolling along shorelines and submerged points. Experienced angler are reporting that the water condition is far from ideal for the crappie fishing. A few anglers reported fair to poor success on recent trips. However, all crappie anglers are anticipating an excellent spawn over the next couple of months. All of the newly submerged brush will provide excellent cover for spawning crappie. Until then, trolling a 1/4 oz jig head and a grub tail, tipped with a minnow, is a typical winter technique for crappie anglers on Roosevelt and Apache Lakes.

User Comments

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  1. HookedAZ
  2. HookedAZ
    This is a cool video from Rosy with some yellow bass.

  3. KEITH
    WHAT is length of lake?
    What is "average" width?
    I am trying to compare it to Lake Washington in Seattle Wa, just to get an idea of how big it is.
  4. Nancy McKenzie
    Is there camping at the lake? How do I make reservations?
  5. Autumn
    If we are careful can we use fireworks on the lake?