9 Best Fishing Spots Near Yuma and Southwest Arizona

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For a good part of the year, Yuma is a favorite place to escape the cold of more northerly climes.

But while you’re here enjoying the warmth, you probably want to get outside and fish.

This article will give you a brief overview of the better angling options in Yuma and elsewhere around southwestern Arizona’s Yuma and La Paz counties.

The Arizona Game and Fish Department seasonally stocks several of the small lakes in and around Yuma with trout and catfish. These small waters typically fall under the agency’s Community Fishing Program rules.

First, we’ll take a brief look at the Colorado River itself, which forms the southwestern border between Arizona and California. And then we’ll take you to both Yuma County and La Paz County hotspots.

Colorado River

The Colorado River below Parker Dam (Lake Havasu) offers much of the same wealth of fisheries as the river and reservoirs elsewhere along the Arizona side of the big river.

Bass, stripers, catfish, tilapia and a variety of panfish are all in the mix.

In the La Paz County stretch, look for good bank and boat access and overnight stays at Buckskin Mountain State Park and River Island State Park.

Into Yuma County, there are popular spots along the river near Imperial Dam.

Ferguson and Senator Wash lakes and the Picacho State Recreation Area are on the California side of the river and also offer angling opportunities, albeit with a bit of a drive if you’re in Yuma.

The river itself around Yuma, as well as the irrigation canals you’ll find along Avenue A and elsewhere, offer the possibility of catching the same species. There’s always a chance at catching a mammoth catfish anywhere in the river system..

Fishing in Yuma County

Council Avenue Pond

This small pond is in a city park in Somerton, about 20 minutes southwest of Yuma.

As with several Yuma locations mentioned in this article, the 1-acre Council Avenue Pond is regularly stocked with trout and catfish.

Trout plants are most likely to occur in the late fall and into the winter, when the water here is typically cool enough for trout. Catfish tend to be stocked on either side of the trout season, usually scheduled in spring and fall.

Largemouth bass and sunfish also can be stocked here.

Council Avenue Park (or simply Council Park) borders Jefferson Street on the north side of town.

Fortuna Lake

If you want to get out of town a bit but still catch stocked trout and catfish, Fortuna Lake might be the place for you.

This 9-acre lake is about 12 miles northwest of Yuma, along the Gila River in the Fortuna Hills area.

There is parking and plenty of bank access around the entire lake to give you opportunities to catch fish.

Prime times will be following trout stocking, which is likely to happen starting in about November and continuing periodically in the winter.

Catfish are also likely to be stocked a few times during the year, typically in spring and fall.

Stocked with catfish in October and then trout from November through January

Martinez Lake

This big, shallow lake along the Colorado River is a great spot to go bass fishing. Almost all of its more than 600 acres offer fish-holding structures, including tons of reeds and channels. While it’s classic largemouth water, smallmouths are also common in the Colorado River system.

Besides bass, Martinez Lake has the other species you would expect in the lower Colorado River.

Catfish, including channel cats and some potentially huge flatheads, are one of the other favorites here.

Crappies and sunfish are also plentiful, and you might even hook into a striper. Carp and tilapia also roam this river backwater.

Martinez Lake is about 45 minutes north of Yuma. There are marina facilities and other goods and services at the south end, where a channel also connects boaters to the river.

Mittry Lake

This large wetlands area a half hour north of Yuma offers a similar variety of fishing as in the Colorado River, whose waters feed the area via canals below Imperial Dam.

Mittry is a favorite Yuma-area spot for largemouth bass, including some big ones, and it also offers additional catches, including catfish.

Shore anglers have lots of opportunities here, including from L-shaped dikes that jut out into the lower lake area, mostly off Mittry Lake Road south of the main boat ramp.

A boat will get you to a wider variety of less-pressured fishing spots around the lake, including several uninhabited, roadless islands.

There’s a more primitive launch at the northern end of the lake, closer to where the canals feed in. That’s a great spot for kayak anglers and other small boats.

Mittry Lake also has some areas where primitive camping is permitted.


This small pond at the big Pacific Avenue Athletic Complex is seasonally stocked with trout and catfish.

Look for channel catfish to arrive in the spring and fall, with trout plants happening in the late fall and winter when the water is cool enough to allow them to survive long enough for you to catch them.

Largemouth bass and sunfish also are in the planting mix at the 1.5-acre pond, located at the edge of the ballfields.

The PAAC is located just on the other side of Interstate 8 from most of Yuma.

West Wetlands Pond

This small pond (a little over an acre) in West Wetlands Park is seasonally stocked with trout and catfish.

Expect trout stocking to occur only in the coolest months, likely starting in November or thereabouts and going into the winter. Catfish plantings are more likely in the spring and fall.

West Wetlands Park is located at 282 N. 12th Avenue, on the north side of Yuma, just south of the Colorado River and California border. The lake is at the east end of the park, with parking along Water Street.

Fishing in La Paz County

Alamo Lake

This desert reservoir on the Bill Williams River, on the county’s northeastern border, is a bit out of the way but often worth the trek if you like fishing for bass, crappie and catfish.

You’ll find lots of submerged timber in Alamo Lake that holds many of its largemouth bass and black crappie. You might need your electronics to find the timber at full pool in the early season, but there’s a good chance branches will be poking from the surface into the summer and fall.

Fishing the rocks along Bill Williams Dam is another excellent tactic because game fish hold there often.

Channel catfish are common the reservoir as well, with the best fishing in the warmer months from spring through early fall.

Expect catfish to hole up in deeper water during the bright light of daytime but go on the feed as the sun sets. Night fishing can be excellent in coves and from shorelines.

Bluegill, redear sunfish and green sunfish are common catches near cover or shore, and common carp and tilapia can grow to good sizes and put up quite a fight.

Alamo Lake State Park serves as an excellent base camp.

Do note that there are advisories about eating the most popular species of fish caught here. 

More: Complete Guide to Fishing at Alamo Lake

Lake Havasu

Lake Havasu is famous for its many excellent fishing opportunities as well as a massive playground for boaters of all types.

La Paz County has a relatively small portion of the giant reservoir, including the Arizona half of Parker Dam and the southern parts of the Bill Williams River Arm and National Wildlife Refuge.

Largemouth and smallmouth bass, stripers, catfish, and panfish, including the biggest redear sunfish in the world, are all big attractions here.

More: Complete Guide to Fishing at Lake Havasu