Things to do in Phoenix : Urban FishingAs the sun sinks to the horizon the fishermen, women and children come out all over the Valley. Urban fishing is a popular, easy and affordable hobby for many.

Early mornings and early evenings are the best “biting” times in most lakes. From Scottsdale to Avondale, Surprise to Gilbert, bobbers twitch once, twice and then…

2010 is the silver (25th) anniversary Arizona’s Urban Fishing Program. There are 12 lakes and 4 ponds dotted all over the Valley. A “pond” in this case is less than 3 acres in size. Lakes are stocked several times a year, most often with trout, bass, sunfish and catfish and urban fishing is very easy: buy a cheap pole, some bait, a license (if you’re over 14), and you’re all set.

Urban fishing requires an Urban Fishing permit. Most lakes have “take” rules, which should be observed, but most have a generous allowance, and allow you to use all sorts of baits and fishing methods. You can try the traditional bobber, or trolling or even fly fishing if you’re particularly adventurous. You can use more than one pole, but need a second pole stamp to do so.

Bass and Catfish can be good fighting fishing, making the catch very exciting. You don’t have to keep your fish, as long as they’re alive, why not catch and release? After all, the fun is really in the “reeling in” bit…

Arizona Game and Fish Department manages the Urban Fishing program. There is a ton of information on the Game and Fish website (see below), including stocking schedules, regulations, records and weekly fishing reports. You can buy a license online at Game and Fish, at many sporting goods stores, Walmart, and fishing/bait stores.

It should be noted that an urban license is different from a “General Fishing License” and the two are mutually exclusive, so you will need an “Urban Fishing” license to fish in any of the parks in the Valley. There are combination licenses (see the Arizona Game and Fish website below).

Please ensure that you do buy a license. There are penalties if you’re caught without one. Also, be sure to observe park fishing rules, catch limits and littering laws. Most of all, have fun and be safe. Urban fishing is a wonderful family activity. As the weather begins to cool, the fish really begin to start biting!

Tucson also has Urban Fishing lakes. Information is on the AZGF website (below).

Often the same as park opening/closing times. Check local park information.

2010 Rates (annual license)

  • Adults (14+) $18.50
  • Children under 14 free
  • Optional Trout stamp $15.75
  • Two pole stamp $6.00
  • Super Fishing (General and Urban, plus trout stamp) $53.00
  • Many other license options available. See the Arizona Game and Fish website (below) for information.

Urban Fishing Locations

  • Chandler
    • Desert Breeze
    • Veterans Oasis
  • Gilbert
    • Water Ranch
  • Mesa
    • Red Mountain
    • Riverview
  • Peoria
    • Rio Vista
  • Phoenix
    • Alvord
    • Cortez
    • Desert West
    • Encanto
    • Papago Ponds
    • Steele Indian School
  • Scottsdale
    • Chaparral
  • Surprise
    • Surprise
  • Tempe
    • Hallman
    • Kiwanis
  • See the Arizona Game and Fish website (below) for park maps, rules and times.

Arizona Game and Fish Urban Fishing website
Arizona Game and Fish Urban Fishing park map and links
Arizona Game and Fish Urban Fishing Program guide book (PDF)
Arizona Game and Fish Urban Fishing license information, regulations and prices web page
Arizona Game and Fish Fishing license online purchase web page
Arizona Game and Fish weekly fishing report web page

As with any activity, check with the facility before you go for up-to-date prices, admission conditions, dates, restrictions, accessibility and other information appropriate to you and your party.

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