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AKA: Horseshoe Reservoir

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Guide to fishing for largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, channel catfish, flathead catfish, black crappie, rainbow trout and bluegill at Horseshoe Lake in Arizona.

By Rick Seaman

Horseshoe Lake, AZ

Located northeast of Carefree, AZ, Horseshoe Lake is a 2,200-acre reservoir when full. Lake levels often fluctuate dramatically - often limiting access and fishing success. The boat launch is primitive, and parking is often limited. As a result, the lake receives limited pressure. When the fishing is good, avid Horseshoe fans may have it all to themselves. Fed by the Verde River, the lake has big catfish along with bass, crappie and sunfish. The primary road to the lake ends at the boat ramp, and offers access to some shoreline for bank fishing. Other shorelines are accessible via four-wheel drive roads, or walking the lake bed when water levels are low. Note that the lake bed may be muddy and unstable for vehicles.

Horseshoe Lake is located in the Tonto National Forest of Arizona. When full, it offers a great fishing experience for anglers. The lake is known for its diverse fish species and scenic beauty, making it a popular destination for fishing trips.

Lake Video

Horseshoe Lake is home to a variety of fish species, including largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, catfishand sunfish. This wide range of species provides anglers with ample opportunities to target different fish and enjoy a varied fishing experience. Whether you're casting for bass, angling for catfish, or seeking a lively sunfish bite, Horseshoe Lake offers something for every angler's preference.

Horseshoe Lake in Arizona provides anglers with a diverse fishing experience, abundant fish species, and the opportunity to enjoy boating in a beautiful natural setting. Whether you're a seasoned angler or a recreational fisherman, Horseshoe Lake offers a memorable fishing adventure with its varied species and stunning surroundings.

Primary fish species residing in Horseshoe Lake

Click images for fishing tips and details about each species.

Largemouth bass Smallmouth bass Channel catfish Flathead catfish Black crappie Rainbow trout Bluegill

Fishing Boats For Rent In Arizona

Horseshoe Lake Amenities

Marina: NO
Boat Rental: NO
Boat Launch Ramp: YES
Campgrounds: NO
RV Hookups: NO
Lodging: NO
Convenience Store: NO
Bait & Tackle: NO
Restaurant: NO

Today's Weather & Forecast

Boating is a popular activity at Horseshoe Lake when water levels are up, with both motorized and non-motorized watercraft allowed. Anglers can launch their boats from the primitive boat ramps and explore the lake's expansive waters. Whether you're cruising in a motorboat, kayaking, or canoeing, boating allows you to access different fishing spots and cover more water to increase your chances of success.

Horseshoe Lake's size and open waters make it an excellent location for boating enthusiasts who enjoy water skiing, wakeboarding, or simply cruising along the lake's shores. However, it's important to note that during periods of low water levels, certain areas of the lake may become shallow or inaccessible to boats, so it's advisable to check the current conditions and restrictions before heading out.

Boat Launch Ramps & Landings

Catfish Point Recreation Area
A primitive launch area in the southwest corner of the lake, near the Horseshoe Dam.

Click here for a Arizona Fishing License.

Campgrounds & RV Parks Nearby

There are places for primitive camping near the lake. However, the closest campground is at nearby Bartlett Lake, approximately 45 minutes away.

Horseshoe Lake AZ Map - Fishing & Camping Areas

Contact Information

Horseshoe Lake
Tonto National Forest
602 225-5200


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