July 2007

From Bass To Catfish: All Await Roosevelt Anglers

A DAM SITE BETTER -- The original Roosevelt Dam, completed in 1911, was the highest masonry dam ever built. In 1996 it was upgraded by encasing the original construction in new concrete (shown). The structure created one of the most popular boating and fishing lakes in Arizona.


Once the largest man-made lake in the world at 17,000 acres, Roosevelt Lake is created by the confluence of Tonto Creek and the Salt River . You can find it all here: boating, fishing, hiking, wind surfing, camping, boat rentals, and picnic grounds. You can even hunt here during certain times of the year.

There's parking for 10 RVs. The Tonto Basin Ranger Station is onsite for information and emergency service as well as the Spring Creek Store for anything you forgot. There are lodging, food, a boat ramp, and gasoline.

Cross the Roosevelt Bridge to Highway 188 and Punkin Center to find a paved highway that parallels the shoreline. Bachelor's Cove, six miles away, has more picnic grounds, camping (trailers shorter than 16 feet and tents), more fishing and boating.

Beyond there is the Cholla Boating Site and campground. Bermuda Flats Recreation site is popular but has limited facilities. It is closed from mid-November to mid-February to make a refuge for migrating geese.

It's nothing but hot at this lake during the summer, as with other Phoenix area lakes, but the water is refreshing. In the winter, temperatures are quite comfortable. Fishermen can expect to catch largemouth and smallmouth bass, crappie, sunfish, catfish, and carp.

To get there from Phoenix , head east to Apache Junction then north on Highway 88 past Canyon and Apache lakes. The road is not paved much beyond Canyon Lake , and it's slow going on the mountainous road, but well worth it.

From Tucson , take I-10 north to Hwy 77 to Coolidge then Highway 60 to Highway 88. From the eastern part of the state, take Highway 188, which is paved.

For information or reservations, contact the Tonto National Forest , 2324 E. McDowell Rd. , Phoenix , 85006, (602) 225-5200 or visit www.fs.fed.us/r3/tonto

To find out about other boating and fishing sites around Arizona, pick up a copy of Mary Young's book, Arizona Waterways , a pocket guide to boating and fishing in Arizona from Arizona Boating & Watersports , Amazon.com or your nearest AAA store.