Phoenix With Kids

Fishing at Apache Lake With Kids

We spent three days fishing at Apache Lake on an amazing fishing adventure. We caught 20 fish! That’s with only about four hours of combined fishing — more experienced anglers could surely do better. Here’s what we learned.

Chris Tingom

We spent three days fishing at Apache Lake with kids, and it was an amazing fishing adventure. We caught 20 fish! That’s with only about four hours of combined fishing — more experienced anglers could surely do better. Here’s what we learned.

Many fish are hiding out near the boat rental facility in the areas behind the cement walls. We caught several bluegills and a smallmouth bass hiding in the shadows there. We also took a pontoon boat out to one of the coves and caught about eight fish in under an hour, all hiding by the shade of the trees.

Fishing Report for Apache Lake

The bluegill and smallmouth bass are very hungry and you’ll want to use a Senko-type bait, a Texas rig, or a swimbait fishing lure that looks like a tiny little fish.

We caught all of our fish on this swimbait fishing lure and these Senko worms on a hook.

There are also rainbow trout in Apache Lake, and we have caught them simply using yellow PowerBait (available at Amazon or Big Five Sports), and most fishing stores.

You should be aware that a few years ago there was an algae bloom at Apache Lake, and this killed off a huge percentage of the bass in this lake. The lake is still recovering, or rather the bass fish population is still recovering. You’ll find that most of the bass in this lake need a few more years to mature, and we heard this from several anglers at the lake.

The deepest point at Apache Lake

There are also catfish in this lake, and at the deepest point, the lake is 266 feet deep. Ask the staff if you want to fish in this area, as they’ll be able to point out a few tips. One of the staff members we spoke to told us that he goes night fishing at the deepest point and catches giant catfish.

If you’re a hobby fishing enthusiast, I suggest going with a Zebco rod and reel and bringing power bait if you’re fishing for rainbow, trout, or Senkco worms or fish lures, if you’re going for bass or bluegills.

Apache Lake is also filled with crawdads, so if you bring a trap, you’ll surely catch a bunch. If your hobby is fishing, like mine, you’ll love fishing at Apache Lake!

What the fishing experts are saying about Apache Lake

Fishing Blueprint has written a phenomenal guide to fishing at Apache Lake and it includes some excellent recommendations about places to fish, and when.

Gary Senft often fishes at Apache Lake, and shares videos showing special spots to fish, and the bait he is using.

Other amenities at Apache Lake

If you’re looking for the perfect weekend fishing escape, you’ll want to consider Apache Lake Resort and Marina.

The resort has hotel rooms, a restaurant, and a small store for snacks and supplies along with an excellent tackle shop where you can purchase fishing supplies and rent boats if needed.

Click here to read our review of Apache Lake Resort and Marina.

You can purchase ice, and boat fuel at the docks at Apache Lake Resort & Marina. Apache Lake Resort & Marina also rents, pontoon boats, kayaks, and standup paddleboards.

The tackle shop also sells live worms and a variety of other items for fishing including snacks water and drinks.

Getting to Apache Lake Resort & Marina

From Phoenix, you’ll need to take 89 AA North almost to Payson, but before you get there, you’ll turn right and drive to the Roosevelt Dam from there you’ll take the Apache Trail to the Apache Lake Resort and Marina. The Apache Trail is currently a dirt road, but it is in excellent condition as they are working on paving the road allowing two hours to drive from Phoenix.

Why I like Apache Lake

There are fewer people at Apache Lake than at other lakes near the valley because of the 2-hour drive from Phoenix, and the long Apache Trail road. Fewer people make it out to this lake and that means that there’s more room for you and your boat on the lake!

Have you been to Apache Lake? Let me know how you enjoyed it by leaving a comment. Thanks.

FAQ about Apache Lake Fishing

Does Apache Lake have a marina?

Yes, Apache Lake Marina and Resort is a wonderful place to rent a boat at Apache Lake. The marina has flips available for rent as well as boats available for rent. They also sell fuel and other supplies.

How big is Apache Lake?

The lake is 17 miles long and has 41.5 miles of shoreline. The lake is 2,568 acres in size. The lake resides entirely within the Tonto National Forest.

Compared to other nearby lakes, Apache Lake seems to have the best natural views. What I mean by this is they have absolutely beautiful cliffs, and the water is typically at 100% level. This means you can take your pontoon boat right up to the edge of the water and see saguaros and other plants right by the edge of the water.

We have even seen wild turkey vultures, and bald eagles at Apache Lake.

Is camping allowed at Apache Lake?

Yes, there are campgrounds at several locations along the lake, where you can camp. You can also camp at the Apache Lake Resort and Marina.

Is there a hotel at Apache Lake?

Yes, the Apache Lake Resort and Marina have hotel rooms available. These hotel rooms are right by the water, have nice amenities, and include outdoor charcoal barbecues. If you want to cook some fish that you catch some of the rooms also feature a kitchen.

Is there Wi-Fi at Apache Lake?

No, there is no Wi-Fi at Apache Lake and Marina. However, there is cellular service at Apache Lake. We had Verizon cellular service almost everywhere we were on the lake, including at our hotel room, and the dam. We did lose signal near Lake Roosevelt for a short time while driving on the Apache Trail.

Is there cell service at Apache Lake?

Yes, there is cellular service at Apache Lake. We had excellent 3G coverage at the marina with Verizon, the hotel, and the restaurant, and on most parts of the lake we visited. And this was a working 3G data service. The 3G service is solid enough that you can load webpages and watch videos on YouTube.

Can you swim in Apache Lake AZ?

Yes, you can swim at the lake. There are also several swimming beaches. On each of our visits to Apache Lake, we found the water to be clear and great for swimming.

How deep is Apache Lake Arizona?

Apache Lake is at its deepest point 266 feet deep.

Fish Species at Apache Lake

Apache Lake in Arizona offers a variety of fish species for anglers to target. Some of the common fish species you can find in Apache Lake include:

Largemouth Bass

Smallmouth Bass

Yellow Bass

Black Crappie


Catfish (channel catfish and flathead catfish)



Rainbow Trout

My take on Apache Lake fishing with kids

In conclusion, I would highly recommend Apache Lake for an Arizona fishing trip. It’s remote enough that there are not many people, the lake is filled with fish, and it is much smaller than nearby lakes, including Roosevelt Lake. Learn more about the lake and resort on their website!

  • 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.

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