Canyon Lake

Area Status: Open

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.

Fish Your National Forests: This site can be accessed by Passenger Car; Fish available include: Bass, Panfish; Types of fishing available include: Wade, Shore, Motorized boat, Float tube, Fly, Spin, Bait; ADA Accessible fishing access with fishing pier, boat launch, and fish cleaning station

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At a Glance

Permit Info: Group events like fishing tournaments require a permit. Contact the local Ranger District.
Open Season: January
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. 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.
Closest Towns: Mesa and Saguaro Lake Marina
Water: Available at Saguaro Lake Marina & various recreation sites around lake
Restroom: Available at Saguaro Lake Marina & various recreation sites around lake
Passes: America the Beautiful Passes are only accepted at the Picnicking Sites. For boating, a Tonto Daily Pass and Watercraft Sticker or Tonto Discovery Pass are required. Campground fees at various sites around Canyon Lake might be separate from the Tonto Daily and Discovery pass. Please call Mesa Ranger District for specific details or visit individual websites.
Information Center: Mesa Ranger District (480)-610-3300

General Information


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.


Accessible fishing

Recreation Map

Map showing recreational areas. Map Information


Lake and Pond Fishing

Fish Species:  Rainbow Trout; Largemouth, Smallmouth and Yellow Bass; Crappie; Sunfish; Channel and Flathead Catfish; Walleye

Fish Species Walleye, Largemouth Bass, Channel Catfish, Carp, Yellow Bass, Bluegill, Green Sunfish, Rainbow Tro

Boating - Motorized

Boat Launching on Lake: Laguna and Palo Verde

Boating - Non-Motorized

Boat Launching on Lake: Laguna and Palo Verde


  • 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.

Recreation Areas

Recreation Activities


  Area/Length : 
LAKE SIZE FULL= 950 acres 28 miles of shoreline. 141 feet maximum depth. 10 miles long

  Latitude : 

  Longitude : 

  Elevation : 
1,660 feet