Phoenix With Kids

Fishing Lake Guide from Phoenix With Kids

Chris Tingom

This is my new fishing lake guide from Phoenix with kids, focusing on l the east valley of Phoenix. My son, who is eight years old, loves to fish and we have been exploring different lakes around the valley.

The AZGFD has a community fish stocking schedule spreadsheet which they update (best viewed on a desktop). We will often check it prior to planning fishing trips.

Check out this page for links to other statewide fish stocking schedules.

The types of fish you will be able to catch in Phoenix are catfish, bluegill, sunfish, largemouth bass, crappie, carp, sunfish, and some trout. Frankly, we have caught more catfish than anything else.

Our favorite places to fish in the East Valley

El Dorado Lake

The first lake I’d like to talk about is El Dorado Lake in Scottsdale. This is a small lake located in south Scottsdale. This lake is frequently restocked by AZ Game and Fish Department.

Check the schedule to know when they’ve restocked the lake.

Chapparal Park Lake

Chaparral Park is a park with a very big lake (it is 10 acres) and a max depth of 15 feet. There’s a walking trail around the lake that is 1 mile long.

You can fish from anywhere, but there seems to be a popular fishing area right by the south parking lot. I think this is because it’s deep there, and next to the boat ramp.

Papago Park Ponds

Papago Park has several fishing ponds – the Papago Ponds. These ponds were built pre-World War II, and are an excellent choice for fishing.

I hear that Papago has a Bass management program, so you might try for Bass there.

Evelyn Hallman Park Pond

This small pond in Tempe is a fantastic place to fish for trout or catfish. It is located in North Tempe, right by South Scottsdale. It is nestled up next to the Papago mountain area (just east of the Phoenix Zoo). We fished this lake in March and caught a catfish. Compared to many of the lakes in Phoenix that have well-defined shorelines and cement walkways, this lake, or pond, feels like a natural pond (even though it is man-made). This pond is fed by a natural stream. Just a note, there are no restrooms at this park.

Evelyn Hallman Pond is a small man-made lake located in Evelyn Hallman Park, which is situated in the northern part of Tempe, Arizona. The pond is located west of Scottsdale Road and south of McKellips Road.

Desert Breeze Lake

A fairly large lake all things considered. Located in Chandler and has a big park with a large playground and a train. The lake is regularly stocked.

Desert Breeze Lake is located in Desert Breeze Park in west Chandler, Arizona, southwest of Ray Road and McClintock Drive on Desert Breeze Boulevard.

The lake offers a wide variety of fish for anglers such as Rainbow Trout, Largemouth Bass, Sunfish, Channel Catfish, and White Amur.

Tempe Town Lake

The biggest lake in metro Phoenix besides Lake Pleasant and Bartlett Lake.

Fishing is one of many activities available at Tempe Town Lake and trout, bass, catfish and sunfish can all be found in the lake’s waters. It is open for fishing all year round and is a great place to catch a variety of fish including largemouth bass, catfish, crappie, bluegill, carp, and sunfish.

Tempe Town Lake is almost 2 miles in length, with an average surface area of 224 acres, and an average depth of 16 feet.

Kiwanis Lake

Kiwanis Lake is a 17-acre lake located in Tempe, Arizona. It is a popular fishing spot for both residents and visitors. The lake is stocked with rainbow trout, largemouth bass, and bluegill.

The best time to fish at Kiwanis Lake is during the spring and fall. The water is usually clearer during these times of year, and the fish are more active. You can fish from the shore or from a boat

There are a few things to keep in mind when fishing at Kiwanis Lake. First, the lake is only open to fishing during park hours. Second, there is a limit of four trout, four bass, and two bluegill per day. Third, all fish must be at least 13 inches long to be kept.

If you are looking for a place to fish in Tempe, Kiwanis Lake is a great option. The lake is stocked with fish, and there are plenty of places to fish from.!

Here are some tips for fishing at Kiwanis Lake:

  • Use light line and small hooks. The fish in Kiwanis Lake are not very big, so you don’t need heavy gear.

  • Use live bait, such as worms or crickets. The fish in Kiwanis Lake are more likely to bite on live bait.

  • Fish early in the morning or late in the evening. The fish are more active during these times of day.

Fishing Lake Guide from Phoenix With Kids

Other fishing spots

I’ll add additional lakes and fishing spots as we visit them.

East of Phoenix:

  • Roosevelt Lake

  • Canyon Lake


  • Cesar Chavez Park (Alvord Lake)

  • Cortez Park

  • Desert West Park

  • Encanto Park

  • Papago Park

  • Roadrunner Park

  • Steele Indian School Park

Further outside of Phoenix

Apache Lake

This lake is a good 2-hour drive from Phoenix and is probably a very long day or an overnight trip. There are affordable accommodations at this lake, and when we fished here, we caught a fairly large catfish. I’m excited to return to this lake soon to catch more fish. There have been record-breaking fish caught at this lake.

Apache Lake is located along the Salt River, located 65 miles northeast of Phoenix. It is the second largest of the four Salt River Project reservoirs. The surface area of the lake is 2,568 acres at full capacity.

Fishing Lake Guide from Phoenix With Kids

Bartlett Lake

Located in north Scottsdale, Bartlett Lake is a beautiful lake for boating and fishing. Our family has enjoyed numerous trips to Bartlett Lake, and the fishing here is renowned statewide. This is the lake, where you can catch bass, catfish, trout, and other fish.

Bartlett Lake is a popular fishing spot for those with boats. There are numerous launch ramps, and there is a marina. Fishing from the shore at Bartlett Lake can be done, but it’s a bit of a challenge as most of the lake’s shoreline is shallow.

Bartlett Lake is located on the Verde River and is the second largest lake in the Phoenix and Scottsdale area behind Lake Pleasant. When full, Bartlett Lake has over 2,800 acres of water surface, is about 12 miles long, and has an average depth of 100 feet with a maximum depth of 174 feet.

Lake Pleasant

By far the biggest lake in North Phoenix, Lake Pleasant is a good lake for fishing. To be honest, you’ll probably want a boat for this lake. This lake is extremely large, and shallow along the shorelines. If you want to fish from the shoreline or a small boat, we suggest the west entrance to the lake.

Lake Pleasant is a large outdoors recreation area straddling the Maricopa and Yavapai county border northwest of Phoenix, Arizona1. It has a surface area of over 10,000 acres of water surface with 116 miles of shoreline. The lake’s surface elevation is 1,700 feet.

Bear Canyon Lake

Watch our video.

Fishing Lake Guide from Phoenix With Kids

Chris’ tips for fishing with kids in Phoenix

Some of our secret tips have been to bring 2 fishing poles per person. When we’ve fished with my dad, we’ve had at most 6 lines out.

I would attribute some of our fishing trip success to simply having several lines out. In several cases, we wouldn’t have caught a single fish if it hadn’t been for having multiple fishing lines in the water. Note: AZGFD regulations call for a max of 2 lines per person.

In summary, I would encourage you to go fishing with your children. You can buy a fishing license as an adult for fairly cheap online. The online interface from AZGF is very confusing so reach out to me if you have any questions. Kids under age 10 do not need a fishing license in Phoenix. You’ll want to double-check the rules and regulations in your specific area.

We’ve purchased most of our fishing equipment from Big Five Sports, Amazon, and Costco. We have a mix of rods and reels, but the Zebco rods have been the best for us. For bait, you can use almost anything. We saw people catch great fish with hotdogs, worms, and even marshmallows. Your mileage may vary. We recently picked up some fresh shrimp at Food City for a few bucks and caught a catfish with it.

Once you catch a fish, you’ll need to know how to cook it. I recommend bringing your fish home and cooking them on the stove in butter. There are many videos online about how to skin and fillet a fish. My advice for people who catch catfish: use pliers to skin the fish first and then filet the fish.

Don’t forget hats, drinks, and, of course, donuts. Don’t forget to make it a special occasion even if you don’t catch any fish. One more thing, you might want to bring a folding chair.

Let me know how your fishing adventure goes, and share any pictures with us that you catch! Also, you can search for lakes near you on our park map.

Arizona Fishing FAQ

Who needs a fishing license?
Anyone ages 10 years and older is required to have a fishing license.  Blind residents do not need to purchase a state fishing license to fish in Arizona.

Where can I see a lake fish stocking schedule?
The Arizona Game and Fish Department publish a list of lakes that receive fish stocking. The unfortunate reality is that the list they publish, as a spreadsheet, is sorely lacking in detail, and it is very difficult to tell if a lake was actually stocked, and when. For example, they will often list that a lake will be stocked on a specific week, but you don’t know whether they stocked it on Monday or on Saturday and you don’t know whether they stocked one fish or a hundred.

What is the price for an annual fishing license in Arizona?
The annual fishing license price for ages 10 and up is $37 for Arizona residents.

Can you fish in Phoenix in the summertime?
Yes, in larger lakes you can fish. Smaller neighborhood and community lakes in Phoenix, do not have fish stocked in them during the hot summer months. Usually, in early April, most community lakes are stocked with catfish and then are not stocked again until October or November when it cools off.

What are some Arizona fishing YouTube channels?

Fishing Lake Guide from Phoenix With Kids


  • Chris Tingom

    Welcome to Phoenix With Kids, a place where we share the cool activities we do with our children around the state. I live in Phoenix with my wife Jana and our three kids. I design and build websites for select clients.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Phoenix With Kids

Join our weekly email newsletter

Phoenix With Kids