Canyon Lake


Canyon Lake is known for wonderful shorelines along the red rock cliffs. Boaters wanting scenery and seclusion should try the east end of the lake, where it winds through steep canyon walls. There are occasional sightings of Big Horn sheep, as well as other wildlife. Lake tour boat trips call (480) 827-9144. Boat-access camping is at The Point. November - March, Arizona Game and Fish stock the lake monthly with rainbow trout. A barrier-free fishing dock is located at Boulder Recreation Site (see Boulder ROG-Fishing-F-0302) Largemouth Bass are caught in Canyon Lake every year. Arizona Game and Fish Dept. annually stocks the lake with Rainbow Trout on a monthly basis, November to March. A 15 lb. state-record Largemouth Bass was taken from the shoreline of Canyon Lake. A world record 1 lb., 11 oz. Yellow Bass was caught in 1985.

Click here for map.

At a Glance

Current Conditions: Opening Saturday, March 26, 2016
  • Laguna
  • Boulder Keyhole (back area)
  • Acacia Keyhole (back area)
Fees $6.00 per vehicle, per day;  $4.00 per watercraft,  Recreation Fee Information
Permit Info: Arizona State fishing license is required to fish
Open Season: January - December
Restrictions: On most weekends and holidays April – October, Canyon Lake reaches its maximum boating capacity early in the day, and no additional boats are allowed in. Be prepared for delays in boat access during summer weekends. Many of the Valley's radio stations carry advisories concerning crowding conditions. LaBarge Cove (south of the second Hwy. 88 bridge) is closed to motorized watercraft, including electric motors. The upper neck of the Lake is closed to water-skiing (please observe buoys). Group events (including fishing tournaments) require a permit. Contact the Mesa Ranger Station. Direction of travel on the lake is counter-clockwise (keep your right shoulder closest to the shore). Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office, Arizona Game and Fish Department and Forest Service personnel enforce Lake regulations. If you PACK IT IN, PACK IT OUT!! Glass containers are not permitted. CAUTION: Lake-levels fluctuate daily, based on irrigation demand and power generation. Rocks and other obstacles may be near the water surface. Be aware that motor boating involves a degree of risk, and persons engaging in this activity assume the associated risks. Know the creel limits for the fish you take. Glass containers are prohibited in Canyon Lake area. Keep detergents and soaps out of the lake.

General Information

Directions: From Mesa, take U.S. 60 to the Idaho Exit #196. Go north on State Hwy. 88. The entire route is paved, but heavy traffic is common.



Show detail SHOW

Water Activities

Hide detail HIDE


  • All Tonto National Forest reservoirs (with the exception of Horseshoe Reservoir) are open to water-skiing.
  • Saguaro and Canyon Lakes are the most popular and both are very busy during the warmer months.
  • As a result of the heavy use, Bartlett, Saguaro, and Canyon lakes are limited in the number of boats allowed on them. On summer weekends, consider arriving early in the day to secure your spot.
  • Theodore Roosevelt is the largest of the Tonto's reservoirs; therefore, the capacity is higher and it is reached only on holiday weekends. Consider driving a little farther and discover the many miles of shoreline at Theodore Roosevelt Lake.
  • Many coves are 'No-Wake' areas. Please obey these areas marked by buoys.
  • Arizona boating laws are in effect.

Boating - Non-Motorized


Boating - Motorized