Show Low Lake

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  • Show Low Lake, once and under-funded county park, is now an incredible state resource. It's a sterling example of how private industry and the Game and Fish Department can, and do, work together to improve our resources. Improved camping sites, paved parking and a minimum right of way guaranteed along the lake greet today's angler. Add state Lake Improvement Funds that were allocated in 1990 (an extra $200,000 was spent on this lake, including improvements to the dock), and this is one of the White Mountains' best.

    Show Low Lake was originally created in 1951 when Phelps Dodge, one of Arizona's mining giants, purchased a parcel of land near Show Low. At the time, the company needed an additional source of water for its Morenci operation. A dam was built and the water impounded there soon became known as Show Low Lake. Phelps Dodge also entered into an agreement with the Game and Fish Department to manage the resource "in perpetuity" for the good of Arizona. -G.J. Sagi, from the essential travel handbook Fishing Arizona

    Attention walleye anglers – Show Low Lake is the best place in Arizona to catch lunker walleye! It has yielded the last five state records, and numerous “Big Fish-of-the-Year Program” walleye catches. Local resident Gregg Munck caught the existing state record walleye here in November 2002. It weighed in at a whopping 16 lbs., 2 ozs. Anglers can also catch trout, catfish, bass and pan fish here.

    Show Low Lake has 100 surface acres with an average depth of 33 feet and maximum depth of 50 feet. It’s situated at an elevation of 6,500 feet. The lake maintains good water quality year round, and is stocked with rainbow trout from April through September. The Department occasionally stocks channel catfish. The lake also contains reproducing populations of walleye, largemouth and smallmouth bass, bluegill and green sunfish.

    Trout fishing from the shore is always possible because the lake doesn't’t get weedy. Many trout survive the winter here and can get quite large. Try trolling spinners in early spring to catch one of these fat trout. For stocked trout, try Power Bait or night crawlers. Walleye fishing is best in spring and fall. Try fishing rocky bottom structures or by the dam with crank baits or jigs. Stay in the shallows and fish at dawn or dusk to improve catching odds. For the lunkers, try large crank baits in the shallows or along the shoreline, or bounce a night crawler rig slowly on the bottom. Catfishing can be exciting here. A 32-pound channel catfish was recently caught that threatened the State Record. Fish for catfish on summer or fall nights, using chicken liver, night crawlers or waterdogs as bait. In spring, channel catfish and walleye congregate at the upper end, where Show Low Creek flows into the lake. Small bass and sunfish can be caught with night crawlers in the rocks along the dam. Show Low Lake is open year round. - Arizona Game and Fish
  • GPS:
    Latitude: 34° 11' 6.15" N Longitude: 110° 00' 3.47" W
    Phone Numbers for more information::
    Alpine Ranger District (928) 339-5000
    Road Conditions:
    Paved to dirt
    Land Ownership:
    Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest
    Ranger Station/District:
    Alpine Ranger District (928) 339-5000
    Entrance Fees/Permits:
    No unless the Apache Sitgreaves National Forest has it posted otherwise
    Max Surface Acres:
    River Lake Impounds:
    Porter Creek
    Average Depth:
    20 feet
    Bag Limit:
    The daily bag limit is six trout, six bass (any species), six walleye and 25 catfish for licensed anglers. Trout bag limits are halved for unlicensed anglers under 14. There is no bag limit on bluegill or green sunfish.
    Boat/Engine Restrictions:
    Electric Trolling motors or 10 horse max gas motors only
    Boats to Rent:
    Along the road into the lake is a 15-site campground. Each site has a fire ring and picnic table, but there are no other amenities. A campground host is present during summer months. Camping is free, but there is a five-day stay limit. Additional camping is available nearby at the Lakeside Campground, located on Highway 260 about ¼-mile west of Porter Mountain Rd. This campground has 82 sites, vault toilets, potable water and firewood for sale. You can make reservations for a site at Lakeside Campground by visiting www.reserveusa.com on the web, or by calling (877) 444-6777. - Arizona Game and Fish
    Trailer Spaces:
    Launching Area:
    Water Skiing:
  • Show Low Lake is adjacent to the Show Low Lake Rd., about 1 mile from Highway 260. Access Show Low Lake Rd. from the traffic light between Wal-Mart and Navapache Regional Medical Center Hospital in Show Low. - Arizona Game and Fish

Recent User Reports and Reviews

  1. HookedAZ
    May 19, 2017
    Fishing is good for stocked (12”+) rainbow trout and bass! The lake was stocked last week with regular rainbow trout home grown here at our local hatcheries and with an extra load of 12” rainbow trout from Colorado! An almost 7lb smallmouth bass (almost state record) was caught earlier this year! The lake is nearly full. Holdover rainbow trout and lots of cutthroat trout should be fishing well. The road over the dam is now open. There is a new restroom, fish cleaning station, and stairs from the upper parking lot down to the boat launch! These will open soon. ADA accessible improvements are next on the docket! Stay tuned!
  2. Jeff k
    Mar 9, 2017
    No ice. Fishing is fair. Holdover rainbow trout should be fishing well. The 2 fishing piers have been disconnected so that winter ice does not damage them, thus, they are not available for shore fishing. The road over the dam is closed for the winter.
  3. Reports
    Jan 20, 2017
    Fishing is fair for trout. The lake was stocked heavily with rainbow trout in September and water quality is good. Anglers are catching trout on PowerBait and nightcrawlers in the mornings. No ice present. The 2 fishing piers have been disconnected so that winter ice does not damage them, thus, they are not available for shore fishing. The road over the dam is closed for the winter.

User Comments

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  1. AGFD bio
    Swimming (and thus baptizing) in Show Low Lake is not prohibited. You just cannot do either on the boat ramp, which interferes with the safe launching of boats. It is illegal to interfere with the launching of watercraft at a designated boat ramp, and thus, swimming and fishing are not allowed on the boat ramp.
  2. gary boersma
    What is the distance and travel time from Payson Arizona to show low lake and the best area on the lake for walleye. Is there camping, a boat launch and is the lake open for fishing year around and most used bait for walleye
    1. gary boyd
      90 m. 1.5 hrs . good boat launch. by the dam. in the middle at the n. s. e. and n.sides of the lake.
      gary boyd, Oct 25, 2016
    2. gary boyd
      90 miles. 1.5 hrs from payson safeway to the boat launch.
      gary boyd, Oct 25, 2016
  3. Show Lowian
    This campground does not welcome people that follow God and will call the police if you try to baptize people in the Lake. After over 20 years of people being baptized here it was a shock to find this out about Show Low Campground and we will not be supporting this particular place anymore in the future!
    1. gary boyd
      all 4 of my sons were baptized there about 15 years ago without a problem.
      gary boyd, Oct 25, 2016