Once again Margie Anderson brings us AZ Lakes, AZ Pros – Matt Shura.
A new lake opened in Arizona just this year – Hidden Lake near Buckeye. This is a private lake, and you pay to get in, but you pay to get into any lake, right?
Hidden Lake is being managed as a trophy bass lake, and has been stocked with Florida strain bass. The Gila River feeds this lake, which used to be a gravel pit. There is an inlet at one end and an outlet at the other, but for the most part the water is kept fresh because the Gila actually flows underground here, but the gravel pit was dug deeper than the water table.
This is a good-sized lake – 60 acres — and it is almost surrounded by tall bushes and trees, which grow right over the water. There are also lots of good structure and cover in the water.
Strictly Catch And Release
We went to Hidden Lake with Matt Shura in early April did some flipping and some Senko fishing. “You might only get 5 bites a day at Hidden Lake,” Matt had told us, “but they will all be quality bites.” He wasn’t lying – we got on the water at around 8:00 am (the lake opens at 7:00), and by noon we had three giant bass in the boat.
If Matt and John had boated every bite, they would have had a 30-pound limit! This lake is strictly catch and release, and no live bait is allowed, which means that all the big fish caught here stay here. It’s an awesome place to fish.
Matt was pitching Yamamoto Kreatures and Cowboys to the trees and brush, and John was pitching an unweighted Senko. Matt was throwing green and John was throwing a green/chartreuse laminate. The bite was subtle – no thumping, just a feeling of weight on the line. At one point, John had one on that snapped his 14-pound-test Big Game line!
Most of our bites came near where the water was either going out or coming in, but Matt said that the last time he was here there was a little kid on the bank near the ramp who caught a seven-pounder on a spinnerbait he was throwing on a closed-face reel.
This is still a very new place and under construction, but they have big plans. They started out by removing over 100 tons of trash left by people who had used the place as a dump. They have two dirt ramps right now, and facilities for events and music. You can camp here now, all primitive camping, but in the future, they hope to have improved campsites, hook-ups, and even glamping.
As I mentioned before, they are managing the lake toward making it one of the best trophy bass lakes in the Southwest, and they are already well on the way toward that goal. They are limiting visitors to eight boats on the water at one time max, to make sure you have a great time. When we were there with Matt, there was one other bass boat and one guy in a float tube, flyfishing. What an incredible day!
Since the Arizona Game and Fish Department has been so helpful to them, Hidden Lake does require an Arizona Fishing License. Prices are subject to change, so make sure you call them at 623-777-5814. The gates are locked, so call ahead for reservations.
Right now the prices are $15/day for shore fishing, $5 for kids 5-12, and under 5 are free. Boat fishing passes are $30 each person, kids 5-12 are $5, and under 5 are free. Boat launch fees are $25 for a boat with a motor, $15 for kayaks and manually powered boats and paddleboards. You can also get annual passes.
Visit their website at hiddenlakeaz.com for details, and remember that prices are subject to change. They also have boat rentals, so check that out as well. You can plan a special event at Hidden Lake as well – even a wedding!
In Addition To Bass
Hidden Lake has crappie, bluegill, catfish, carp, and tilapia in addition to the bass, and the catch and release applies to the bass, bluegills, and crappie. The launches right now are gravel, and you should be fine if you have a 4×4, but if you get stuck they can help you out. Porta potties are available, and there are plans for flushing toilets in the future.
This is such a cool place – you would never know there was a lake here! The birds are spectacular, and the owner told us that the Audubon Society had come out and counted over 150 species. While we were there we saw ibis, black necked stilts, black crowned night herons, egrets, great blue herons, the biggest flock of pelicans I have ever seen, and tons of songbirds.
Getting To An Amazing Place
It’s an amazing place and I highly recommend you check it out. Gate is at Miller Road and Sunrise road south of I-10 near Buckeye. Call them at (623) 777-5814 and make a reservation. When you show up, call again and they’ll unlock the gate for you.
More of Margie Anderson in Arizona’s great outdoors can be found here.