Willow Springs Lake

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  • Species found here include rainbow, brown, brook, cutthroat trout and Tiger Trout. There are also some largemouth bass. This usually put-and-take water, which is heavily stocked during the summer, has surrendered a rainbow trout that tipped the scales at more than 6 pounds.

    Yellow Rooster Tails and salmon eggs have been effective at this lake. Flyfishermen find that dark-colored Wooly Worms usually work best. -G.J Sagi, from the essential travel handbook Fishing Arizona
  • GPS:
    Latitude: 34° 18' 44.8"N Longitude: 110° 52' 37.0"W
    Phone Numbers for more information::
    Game and Fish (928)367-4281 or (928) 535-4481
    Restrictions/Season of Use:
    Chevelon/Heber Ranger Districts P.O. Box 968, Overgaard, AZ 85933 (928) 535-4481
    Road Conditions:
    Land Ownership:
    Willow Springs Lake is owned by the Apache Sitgreaves National Forest Apache-Sitgreaves National Forests P.O. Box 640 Springerville, AZ 85938 Voice: (928) 333-4301 Fax: 928-333-5966 TTY: (928) 333-6292
    7,520 feet
    Max Surface Acres:
    Average Depth:
    60 ft
    Bag Limit:
    Unlimited bass and catfish
    Boat/Engine Restrictions:
    8 horse max
    Boats to Rent:
    Barrier free Access:
    Trailer Spaces:
    Launching Area:
    Water Skiing:
    Cleaning Stations:
  • To get to Willow Springs Lake take Hwy 260 east of Payson to Vernon McNary Road. The Road is Paved all the way to the lake.

Recent User Reports and Reviews

  1. HookedAZ
    May 24, 2017
    Fishing is currently excellent for rainbow and tiger trout. Tiger Trout were stocked in late April, rainbow trout are stocked every week. Try Kastmasters, small Rapalas, Panther Martins or flys for tigers. Try green PowerBait with garlic, worms, or roostertails for rainbows.
  2. Jeff k
    Mar 9, 2017
    Fishing is fair for stocked rainbow trout and tiger trout. Temperatures are freezing. Ice is thin and unsafe. Road is snow packed. Gate is closed. Sardine Point is open, but road is snow packed. You can walk in.
  3. Reports
    Jan 24, 2017
    Fishing is fair for stocked rainbow trout and tiger trout. No ice and the road is open (may have some temporary skim ice in early mornings.

User Comments

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  1. AGFD bio
    Brown, brook, and cutthroat trout have not been stocked in Willow Springs since the mid 1990s and thus no longer exist in the lake. Rainbow and tiger trout are now stocked regularly. The state record rainbow trout (15 pounds 9 ounces) was caught at Willow Springs Lake, but most are going to be the regular stocker size.

    Largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, green sunfish, black crappie, and white sucker have all been illegally introduced into Willow Springs Lake. These species have impacted the trout management and fishing quality of Willow Springs Lake, as well as threaten fisheries resources downstream of the lake, and a Game and Fish project is underway to deal with this issue.

    Swimming is not restricted in Willow Springs Lake, but it is generally too cold. But I wouldn't try it even if you could stand the cold water. It is a very busy lake and you will either be messing up someone's fishing day, or risk getting hooked on the many fishing lines cast out. There are likely a lot of rusty hooks on the bottom from lines that have broken off on the rocky bottom.

    You can camp at the Sinkhole campground on Forest Road 149 about a mile from the lake, but no camping along the lake shore.
  2. Ashton
    Can you swim in willow sprigs lake and are there cat fish?
    1. Ty
      There is no swimming in willow springs. Also no catfish.
      Ty, Oct 25, 2016
  3. J S
    What is the distance in miles if you were to walk around the lake ?
  4. Paul Mark
    Hi I was wondering is there campsites on the lake or very close
  5. Paul Mark
    Is there camping on the lake at willow springs lake