Fishing the Lakes of the Mogollon Rim

The Rim Lakes area of the Mogollon Rim is a paradise for anglers, offering an array of pristine lakes teeming with diverse fish species. Whether you’re a seasoned fisherman or a novice looking to cast your first line, this guide will provide you with the information you need for a successful fishing trip in this breathtaking region of Arizona.


Why Fish the Mogollon Rim?



The Mogollon Rim stretches over 200 miles and offers some of the most scenic and productive fishing spots in the Southwest. The Rim Lakes, including Woods Canyon Lake, Willow Springs Lake, and Bear Canyon Lake, are renowned for their crystal-clear waters and abundant fish populations.


Key Highlights:


1. Variety of Fish Species: The Rim Lakes are home to a variety of fish, including rainbow trout, brown trout, brook trout, and largemouth bass.
2. Stunning Scenery: Surrounded by lush forests and dramatic cliffs, the lakes offer a picturesque backdrop for fishing.
3. Accessibility: Most of the Rim Lakes are easily accessible, with well-maintained roads and ample parking.


Best Fishing Spots on the Mogollon Rim


## Woods Canyon Lake ##

Woods Canyon Lake is one of the most popular fishing spots in the area. Known for its stocked rainbow trout, this lake offers excellent fishing opportunities year-round. The lake also has facilities such as boat rentals and a store, making it convenient for anglers.

Fishing Tips:

– Use PowerBait or worms for rainbow trout.
– Early morning and late evening are the best times to fish.


## Willow Springs Lake ##

Willow Springs Lake is another top choice, known for its larger fish and scenic beauty. This lake is great for those looking to catch brown trout and largemouth bass.

Fishing Tips:
– Try using spinners and lures for brown trout.
– Fish near the submerged trees and rocky areas for bass.


## Bear Canyon Lake ##

For those seeking a more secluded fishing experience, Bear Canyon Lake is ideal. This lake requires a bit of a hike to reach, but the effort is rewarded with serene surroundings and plentiful fish.

Fishing Tips:
– Fly fishing works well here, especially in the evening.
– Use artificial flies and small jigs for the best results.


Fishing Seasons and Regulations


The fishing season in the Rim Lakes generally runs from April to October, but some lakes are open year-round.  Want to know the best time to go fishing?  You’ll want to check the lake stocking schedule. Be sure to check the latest regulations and obtain the necessary fishing license from the Arizona Game and Fish Department.  Be sure to get your fishing license online as the local stores no longer offer paper versions.


Important Regulations:
– Catch and release is encouraged for certain species to maintain healthy fish populations.
– There are specific bag limits for different fish species, so familiarize yourself with these before you go.


Tips for a Successful Fishing Trip


1. Plan Ahead: Check weather conditions and make sure you have all the necessary gear, including a fishing license.
2. Stay Hydrated and Protected: Bring plenty of water, sunscreen, and a hat to protect yourself from the sun.
3. Respect Nature: Always clean up after yourself and follow Leave No Trace principles to keep the environment pristine.





Fishing in the Rim Lakes area of the Mogollon Rim is an unforgettable experience, offering both novice and experienced anglers a chance to connect with nature and enjoy some of the best fishing Arizona has to offer. Whether you’re after the thrill of catching a trophy-sized trout or simply looking to enjoy a peaceful day by the water, the Rim Lakes will not disappoint. Pack your gear, get your license, and head out to the Mogollon Rim for a fishing adventure you’ll cherish for years to come.