Indian Reservations

San Carlos Apache Indian Reservation

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  • The San Carlos Indian Reservation has a few lakes worth checking out. My favorite is San Carlos Lake just outside of the town of San Carlos which is one of the biggest lakes in Arizona. Its a real under fished bass paradise. The San Carlos absolute best fishing is on the Lower Black River and in the many small tanks on the rim. If you have never been to this part of Arizona, you have to take a trip out. Its kinda like going to Rocky Point, Mexico. Just as you enter the town of San Carlos you start seeing trash along the highway, there are no more chain stores or anything like a McDonalds, just one Bashas and a Texaco. The roads are very maintained although streets signs are not the best. The San Carlos Reservation is known for producing the famous Geronimo. The people there are very friendly although if you go inside and leave you wife and kids in the car, roll up the windows and lock the doors, the gas stations have a lot of vagrants. You will see a lot of dead animals along the highway, mostly cows as they rome free. Its kinda a pricey place to fish but keep in mind this is the poorest reservation in the country.

    Where to fish on the San Carlos Apache Indian Reservation
    You will find detail information on these lakes pages.

    San Carlos Lake
    Point of Pines
    Dry Lake
    Talkalai Lake
    Lower Black River
    Seneca Lake

    You can view this Google Map of San Carlos with these locations.

    San Carlos Fishing Permits

    Please call ahead to confirm the information below or check the most recent 'Officail San Carlos Website'.


    If your heading out to the San Carlos Indian Reservation try and bring all the stuff you need so you don't have to make any stops in the town of San Carlos. There is pretty much only a Bashas and a Texaco. You can get the permits at the Bashas but I would recommend getting it in Globe at one of the other vendors because that Bashas gets packed and you can literally expect to wait an hour to get the permit. They check you ID and print up a permit with your name on it and exactly what you paid for to the hour. You do not need a Arizona fishing license to fish here just the permits. San Carlos Permits are only valid from the time you buy them till midnight "the same day" this is really a scam. Keep this in mind as your planning your trip. So say you go on a friday afternoon and buy your black river pass for friday at 7:00. its only good another for 4 hours and 59 minutes. Then you purchase one for Saturday that means that you have to leave Saturday night if you didn't buy one for Sunday. This is a real shame that there not 24 hours. The odds of you running into the ranger are almost 100% they check your passes thoroughly.
    San Carlos Fishing Permit Pricing

    One day fishing Permit$10.00
    One day recreation $10.00 (this covers a husband and a wife plus there children for the day, not your girlfriend and her kids "they check" no fishing!)
    One day two pole stamp $3.00
    One day Black River Pass $20.00 (everyone must have a permit just to be there, not just to fish that is older than 12)
    Annual fishing and boating pass $125.00 plus you have to get a habitat stamp for $5.00 plus if you want to use two poles another $50 (this pass only covers San Carlos, Talkalia and Seneca Lake which pretty much makes it not that good of a deal. The Black River and all the fishing tanks are were its at. Unless you plan on going to San Carlos Lake 12 times a year plus don't buy these. San Carlos is also expected to have a fish killoff this year as they drain it to its minimum.
    There are place to go on the Black River were you are not on the San Carlos Reservation and you don't have to pay. But there are fishing spots that are second to none on the San Carlos side such as Pump Station. View the Lower Black River Page for more information. Keep in mind if you cross the river your going to be on the White Mounatin Apache Indian Reservation and you will need a new pass.

    San Carlos Fishing Permit Vendors
    Apache Gold Casino Convenience Store (928)475-7800
    Bob Keen's Store
    Basha's
    Circle K Store #423 - 1915 E. Ash Globe Arizona 85501 (928)425-5942
    Express Stop - 1501 E. Ash Globe Arizona 85501 (928)425-3911
    Mt. Turnbull Market - Bylas Arizona (928)475-4453
    Pima Minit Market #4 - 325 E. Hwy 70 Pima Arizona 85542
    San Carlos Recreation & Wildlife Dept

    Safety Tips for visitors to the San Carlos Reservation
    Visitors to the San Carlos country should keep in mind that there are black bears, mountain lions and other animals that can leave a mark on you. Take all the bear precautions such as hanging up your food and not sleeping in the cloths you just ate in. Loud noises should scare away a bear, you don't need to shoot them, plus firearms are prohibited on the reservation. Just bring some pepper spray if your worried about them. Mountain lions on the other hand, you will not be able to pepper spray. If you see one before there on your back just back up in a cool calm fashion, don't turn around and run like prey. I don't know what to tell you if there on your back. Its not like your going to remember this at that time anyway. Usually they just take a bite out of you and leave. Kids on the other had they drag away. So keep an eye on them. Some people will tell you that its rare to see a mountain lion in Arizona. It is unless you go outdoors. I see one every year and a couple of bobcats.

    The natives have a bad reputation for robbing from white people and just not wanting them there in general. From my experience I didn't pick up that vibe at all. The natives are more than friendly to you. I would not recommend going camping at some of the lakes right in town though were the natives party such as Talkalia Lake or any of the small tanks in town. Point of Pines is a good family lake. The Black River is a good place to bring a family as well. I've heard of people getting robbed on the San carlos Reservation by the natives, but I've been robbed on the Salt River too just below Saguaro. Anywhere with lots of visitors the better the chances your going to get robbed. I wouldn't pass any judgment on the natives.

    San Carlos Recreation and Wildlife Contact Information

    San Carlos Apache Tribe Recreation & Wildlife P.O. Box 97 1-888-475-2344 FAX 928-475-2701 sales@scatrwd.com

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