Lake Pleasant, AZ

Lake Pleasant, Arizona

With 10,000 acres of crystal-clear water, Lake Pleasant is a major water sports recreation center for the Phoenix metro area. Lake Pleasant is Arizona’s second largest lake being an excellent destination for boating, sailing, water and jet skiing, and fishing. For the diverse water enthusiast, throw in wake boarding, parasailing, scuba diving, kayaking to suit your interest. This newly expanded reservoir offers 114 miles of shoreline perfect for family recreation, as well as convenient amenities including a 10-lane boat ramp and parking for 200 vehicles.

Lake Pleasant Regional Park, managed by the Maricopa County Parks & Recreation Department, offers 23,662 acres of mountainous desert landscape, including the lake, and boasts a number of other recreational activities, such as mountain biking, camping, RV accommodations, picnicking, hiking trails, swimming, and bird and wildlife viewing.

The Desert Outdoor Learning Center offers excellent opportunities to learn more about the lake as well as the surrounding desert area. Books, pamphlets, and a variety of gifts are available for purchase inside the visitor's center. Step out onto the balcony surrounding the visitors center and you get a beautiful view of Lake Pleasant and an up close view of the Waddell Dam, the largest agricultural dam project in the world.

Cities Near Lake Pleasant

Lake Pleasant Fishingmore

Lake Pleasant Fishing
Lake Pleasant FishingIndividual or club fishing is available at Lake Pleasant by boat or shoreline. Various clubs and organizations schedule amateur to pro-national events each year. Fishing guide services are also available at Lake Pleasant.

To date Lake Pleasant is home to 8 species of fish, White Bass, Striped Bass, Large Mouth Bass, Bluegill, White Crappie, Black Crappie, Bigmouth Buffalo Fish, and Tilapia.

Spring is the best time for anglers with the water level being high. Largemouth bass are in the shallows. Try plastic worms, plastic lizards, top water lures or small shad colored crank baits. The best live bait to use is a waterdog. White bass and striped bass are looking for shad schools. Try rattle traps, small crank baits, top water lures or catch your own live shads or minnows. The catfish are feeding at this time of year. Try the muddy or sandy coves with liver, mackerel, night crawlers or stink baits. Crappie and blue gill are active in shallow water. Try live minnows and a bobber.

Summertime heat push the fish into deeper water where it is cooler. Night fishing is one way to increase your odds for largemouth bass. Try watermelon colored plastic lizards or worms 20-40 feet deep. Top water lures work early or late in the day. White bass or stripers are active in deeper water. Try the coves with live shad, live minnows, small deep running crank baits or trolling with spinners or crank bait in the deeper waters. Catfish are most active at night in the coves. Try the smaller bait like mackerel.

Fall brings a drop in lake levels making fishing for largemouth bass a challenge. Try crank bait and top water lures. For white bass and stripers try crank baits, rattle traps, vertical jigging spoons or minnows in the deep coves. Catfish are in deeper water. Look for drop offs and try stink bait.

Winter fishing is slow but not impossible. Try live bait as this works year round.

White Bass are a non-native fish found only in Imperial Reservoir on the Colorado River and Lake Pleasant. Effective lures for White Bass are spinners, jigs, spoons, and shad type crank baits. The meat of white bass is white, firm, flaky and good to eat.

Striped Bass can reach a weight of over 59 pounds. This non-native fish introduced in 1959 is found throughout the Colorado River between Lake Powell and the Mexican border and most recently in Lake Pleasant. Effective lures are spoons, plugs, jigs, crankbaits, and streamer flies or try shad or anchovies. The meat of the striped bass is white, firm, flaky and excellent eating.

Largemouth Bass, first introduced in 1897, are named for their very large mouth. In adults the upper jaw may extend beyond the rear margin of the eye. The largemouth is a warm water fish that prefers clear water with structure and cover. Like all bass the largemouth is carnivorous and will eat anything that moves. Largemouth can be caught on a variety of baits, both natural and artificial. Largemouth bass meat is also white, firm and flaky, but has a mild taste.

Bluegill is also a non-native species that was first introduced to Arizona in 1932. Bluegill are found in most reservoirs below 4,000 feet elevation. Worms are a popular bait, but also try small poppers, flies, small spinners and jigs. In 1998 the bluegill "Big Fish-of-the Year", according to Arizona Game and Fish, was caught at Lake Pleasant. The bluegill weighed in at 12.48 ounces and measured in at 10.13 inches. The meat of bluegill is white, flaky, firm, and sweet. Many consider the bluegill to be the best tasting freshwater fish around.

Lake Pleasant is the only lake where White Crappie are occasionally caught. This non-native species was first introduced to Arizona in 1903. Effective bait and lures are minnows, small jigs, silver spoons, spinners, and flies fished along the shorelines. In 1997 the white crappie "Big fish-of-the-Year", according to Arizona Game and Fish, was caught at Lake Pleasant. The crappie weighed in at 1 pound 10.88 ounces and measured 15.13 inches. The meat of the White Crappie is white and fine textured.

Black Crappie are far more abundant than the white crappie. This non-native species was introduced into Arizona in 1905. Effective bait and lures are the same as the White Crappie. The meat of the white crappie is also white and fine textured. In 1995 the black crappie "Big Fish-of-the-Year", according to Arizona Game and Fish, was caught at Lake Pleasant. This crappie weighed in at 2 pounds and measured 15 inches.

Tilapia is an exotic fish from Africa. This fish, first introduced in the 1960's, can be found in the Salt and Gila rivers and isolated populations in Alamo Lake, Lake Pleasant, and Roper Lake. Fishing for the Tilapia should be done during warmer month using worms, crickets, or dough balls. The meat is a white, fine textured meat with a very mild flavor.

A valid Arizona Fishing License is required to fish at Lake Pleasant.

Lake Pleasant Boatingmore

Lake Pleasant Boating
Lake Pleasant BoatingLake Pleasant offers two boat ramps for boat launching. The largest boat ramp at Lake Pleasant offers 10 lanes for boat launching. This 10-lane boat ramp is paved and functional to a water elevation of 1,600 feet. Parking at the 10 lane offers room for 480 vehicles, 355 vehicles with trailers, and 124 cars. Restroom facilities are available at the 10-lane boat ramp.

The second boat ramp, located at the North end of the lake, offers 4 lanes for boat launching. This boat ramp is also paved and functional to the water level of 1,600 feet. Parking is available for 112 vehicles with boat trailers. Restroom facilities are also available at the 4-lane ramp.

Lake Pleasant Campingmore

Lake Pleasant Campgrounds
Lake Pleasant CampgroundsLake Pleasant Regional Park offers 148 sites for RV and tent camping. Desert Tortoise Campground has 76 campsites, 25 developed sites, 41 semi-developed sites, and 10 tent sites. Each developed campsite has water, electricity, a covered ramada, a picnic table, a barbecue grill and fire ring. Each semi-developed site and tent site has a covered ramada, a picnic table, a barbecue grill and fire ring. Restroom and shower facilities are available.

Group Campground - The group campground area will accommodate approximately eighty RV's. To reserve a portion or the campground, you must have a minimum of ten units.

All camping sites in Maricopa County Parks are available on a first-come first-served basis. The Developed Camp sites are available at $18.00 per night and the Semi-developed sites and tent sites are available at $10.00 per night. Roadrunner Campground and Picnic Area offers 72 sites for RV and tent camping. All sites are Developed sites meaning that each site has water and electricity hook-ups, a picnic table, covered ramada, barbecue grill and fire ring. Restrooms with shower facilities are available nearby.

Lake Pleasant also has shoreline camping during most of the year depending on water levels. Shoreline camping is available on a first-come first-served basis and the fee is $5.00 per night.


Lake Pleasant offers a Day Use Picnic Area and a Group Picnic Area. Roadrunner picnic area offers 10 picnic sites. Each site provides a covered ramada with a picnic table and barbecue grill. Drinking water and restrooms are available in the area. Cottonwood Day Use Area offers 23 picnic sites with picnic tables and barbecue grills. No covered ramadas are available in this picnic area. Cottonwood Day Use Area is open from 6 AM to 6 PM. Individual picnic sites are available to park visitors on a first-come, first-served basis.

Lake Pleasant offers two Group Picnic Areas, Ramada A and Ramada B, located between the 10 Lane Boat Ramp and Roadrunner campground. Ramada A offers 4 picnic tables with barbecue grills and 9 adjoining tables. Ramada B offers 4 tables with 8 adjoining tables. The adjoining tables do not have grills. Ramadas A and B can be reserved for $25.00 for the first 4 hours and $5.00 for each additional hour. Reservation fee for adjoining tables is 4 tables/$30.00; 6 tables/$40.00; or 8-10 tables/$60.00; 12+ tables/$80. Arrangements may be made for large groups and overnight stays in the picnic area by a reservation only.

Lake Pleasant Hikingmore

Lake Pleasant Trails
Lake Pleasant TrailsPipeline Canyon Trail has two trailheads. You can access the South trailhead by taking North Park Road to Peninsula Day Use Area.

You can access the Northern trailhead by taking Castle Hot Springs Road to the North entrance and follow the road to Cottonwood Day Use Area.

The construction of the floating foot bridge is anticipated to be completed by spring of 2004. The bridge will grant access across the canyon when the lake has reached the high water elevation. Once the bridge is in place this pedestrian trail will be 1.5 miles long.

Lake Pleasant Fishing Reportsmore

Lake Pleasant Fishing Report

This is just to remind you that fishing reports are given with the best intentions to help you catch fish. And do remember fishing reports given a few hours ago can change due to a whole list of circumstances. But ---- they are still one of the best ways to determine if fish are biting or not. You might consider calling someone local to find out if the report is still current. Otherwise go and have a good time in participating in the challenge of catching some fish while you have fun fishing!

And if your at your destination for a day or more check out the LASR menu above for local events, attractions and businesses that are there to help make your trip more enjoyable. And thanks to those who do their best to give us great fishing information!


Lake Pleasant Map

Lake Pleasant Information

Fees: Entrance Fees

Location: 19 miles NW of Peoria on State Rt 74 off Castle Hot Springs Road

Contact: 928-501-1710

Lake Area Attractions

Lake Area Events

Peoria (10)

Cave Creek (9)

Wickenburg (13)

Goodyear (1)

Tolleson (1)

Chandler (15)

Buckeye (12)

Lake Area Businesses