Dead Horse Ranch Lake Fishing Report Guide

Dead Horse Ranch Lake Fishing Report Guide

Hey there, folks! Today I’m bringing you another exciting fishing guide. Today, we’re heading to the beautiful Dead Horse Ranch State Park in Arizona. Whether you’re a seasoned angler or just looking to have some fun, Dead Horse Ranch Lake offers great fishing and stunning views. Let’s dive right in and learn everything you need to know about fishing at Dead Horse Ranch Lake!

About Dead Horse Ranch Lake Fishing

Dead Horse Ranch State Park is a hidden gem located in Cottonwood, Arizona. This scenic park features three lagoons and the Verde River, providing ample opportunities for fishing, boating, and outdoor recreation. The park is named after the Ireys family, who owned the ranch and discovered a dead horse on the property when they first visited. Despite its name, Dead Horse Ranch is a vibrant and lively place, perfect for a family outing or a quiet day of fishing.

The park’s well-maintained facilities and picturesque setting make it a favorite destination for outdoor enthusiasts. Whether you’re looking to catch some fish, enjoy a scenic hike, or simply relax by the water, Dead Horse Ranch State Park has something for everyone.

Catfish are usually stocked twice a year here at Dead Horse Ranch Lake. The National Fishing Day is in June each year and the Verde River Day is the last Saturday in September.

Trout are also stocked here every other week from early November through late March. Go to the Arizona Game & Fish schedules stocking schedule to learn more.

Dead Horse Ranch Lake Fishing Details

Here are the key details you need to know about Dead Horse Ranch Lake:

  • Water Surface: Three lagoons with a total of 12 acres
  • Shoreline: 3 miles combined
  • Average Depth: 6 feet
  • Max Depth: 8 feet
  • Surface Elevation: 3,300 feet
  • Location: Cottonwood, Yavapai County, Arizona
  • Coordinates: 34.7509° N, 112.0167° W
  • Accessibility: Accessible via State Route 89A; suitable for all types of vehicles
  • Type of Lake: Man-made lagoons
  • Lake Amenities:
    • Boat ramps (non-motorized boats only)
    • Picnic areas
    • Campgrounds
    • Restrooms
    • Fishing docks
    • Hiking trails

Types of Fish in Dead Horse Ranch Lake

Dead Horse Ranch Lake is home to a variety of fish species, making it a prime fishing destination. Here’s what you can expect to catch and where to find them:

  • Rainbow Trout: These are stocked seasonally and can be found throughout the lagoons, especially in the deeper, cooler waters. They are most active in the early morning and late evening.
  • Largemouth Bass: Commonly found near submerged structures like fallen trees, rocky areas, and weed beds. They are more active in the early morning and late evening.
  • Bluegill and Sunfish: Common near the shorelines and around docks. They are usually found in warmer, shallow waters.
  • Channel Catfish: These bottom-dwellers can be found in deeper waters, particularly around the lagoons’ coves and channels. They are most active at night.
  • Crappie: Often found in schools near submerged brush piles and vegetation. Spring is the best time to catch them as they move into shallow waters to spawn.

Best Fishing Baits, Lures, and Tackle

Choosing the right bait and tackle is essential for a successful fishing trip. Here are some recommendations for Dead Horse Ranch Lake:

  • Rainbow Trout:
    • Baits: PowerBait, worms, salmon eggs
    • Lures: Spinners, spoons, small crankbaits
    • Tackle: Light rods, 4-8 lb test line
  • Largemouth Bass:
    • Baits: Live shiners, nightcrawlers
    • Lures: Plastic worms, crankbaits, spinnerbaits
    • Tackle: Medium-heavy rods, 12-20 lb test line
  • Bluegill and Sunfish:
    • Baits: Worms, small insects
    • Lures: Tiny jigs, beetle spins
    • Tackle: Ultra-light rods, 2-6 lb test line
  • Channel Catfish:
    • Baits: Stink baits, chicken liver, cut bait
    • Lures: Catfish rigs with sinkers
    • Tackle: Heavy rods, 15-30 lb test line
  • Crappie:
    • Baits: Minnows, crappie nibbles
    • Lures: Small jigs, spinners
    • Tackle: Light rods, 4-8 lb test line
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TRUSCEND Fishing Lures for Bass Trout Multi Jointed Swimbaits Slow Sinking Bionic Swimming Lures Bass Freshwater Saltwater Bass Lifelike Fishing Lures Kit
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YONGZHI Fishing Lures Shallow Deep Diving Swimbait Crankbait Fishing Wobble Multi Jointed Hard Baits for Bass Trout Freshwater and Saltwater
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Berkley Powerbait Panfish Nibbles Fishing Soft Bait, Earthworm, Small Jar
  • Same technology as our famed Crappie Nibbles exclusively formulated for panfish!
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Best Fishing Spot Locations

Finding the right spot is crucial for a successful fishing trip. Here are some of the best fishing locations at Dead Horse Ranch Lake:

  • North Lagoon: Great for rainbow trout and bluegill. The submerged structures and cooler waters attract these species.
  • Middle Lagoon: The nearby coves are excellent for largemouth bass and crappie. The submerged brush piles provide ideal habitats for these fish.
  • South Lagoon: Ideal for bluegill and catfish. The warmer, shallower waters attract these species.
  • Verde River: Known for a variety of species including bass, trout, and catfish. The mix of shallow and deep waters offers diverse fishing opportunities.
  • Fishing Docks: Excellent for families and beginners. These spots are easy to access and great for catching bluegill and sunfish.

Fishing Tips and Recommendations

Here are some tips to help you make the most of your fishing trip to Dead Horse Ranch Lake:

  1. Early Morning and Late Evening: These are the best times to fish, as fish are more active during cooler parts of the day.
  2. Seasonal Patterns: Spring and fall are prime fishing seasons. Fish are more active and feed more aggressively during these times.
  3. Weather Watch: Overcast days can be great for fishing, as fish are more likely to be near the surface.
  4. Stay Mobile: If the fish aren’t biting, try a new location or change your bait/lure.
  5. Local Knowledge: Talk to local anglers and park rangers. They can provide valuable insights and current fishing conditions.

Dead Horse Ranch Lake Fishing Reviews

Here are some positive reviews from fellow anglers who had a great time fishing at Dead Horse Ranch Lake:

  1. “Dead Horse Ranch Lake is my favorite fishing spot! The trout fishing here is fantastic, and the scenery is just beautiful.” – Mark S.
  2. “Had an amazing weekend at Dead Horse Ranch Lake. The bass were biting all day long, and we caught some big ones!” – Laura K.
  3. “Great place for a family fishing trip. Plenty of fish, beautiful surroundings, and the lagoons are just so peaceful.” – John D.
  4. “If you love crappie fishing, Dead Horse Ranch Lake is the place to be. We caught a ton of them, and the lagoons are gorgeous.” – Emily R.
  5. “Peaceful, quiet, and the fish are biting. What more could you ask for?” – Dave K.

Top-Rated RV Parks, RV Resorts, and Campgrounds Near Dead Horse Ranch Lake

For those who love RVing and camping, here are five top-rated spots near Dead Horse Ranch Lake:

  1. Dead Horse Ranch State Park Campground:
    • Features: Lakeside camping, hiking trails, fishing docks
    • Amenities: Restrooms, showers, dump station
    • Hookups: Electric and water hookups
    • Distance to Lake: On-site
  2. Rio Verde RV Park:
    • Features: Scenic views, Verde River access, picnic areas
    • Amenities: Wi-Fi, restrooms, showers
    • Hookups: Full hookups
    • Distance to Lake: 5 miles
  3. Verde Valley RV & Camping Resort:
    • Features: Family-friendly, swimming pool, playground
    • Amenities: Wi-Fi, restrooms, showers
    • Hookups: Full hookups
    • Distance to Lake: 8 miles
  4. Pine Flat Campground:
    • Features: Quiet setting, large sites, picnic areas
    • Amenities: Restrooms, picnic tables, fire rings
    • Hookups: No hookups
    • Distance to Lake: 10 miles
  5. Rancho Sedona RV Park:
    • Features: Scenic views, hiking trails, creek access
    • Amenities: Restrooms, showers, laundry facilities
    • Hookups: Full hookups
    • Distance to Lake: 15 miles

Dead Horse Ranch Lake Fishing Summary

Dead Horse Ranch Lake is a hidden gem in Arizona, offering fantastic fishing opportunities and stunning natural beauty. With its variety of fish species, beautiful surroundings, and excellent camping facilities, it’s a must-visit destination for any angler. Whether you’re catching trout, bass, or catfish, you’re sure to have an unforgettable experience. So pack your fishing gear, hop in your RV, and head to Dead Horse Ranch Lake for a great fishing adventure!

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

  1. What is the best time of year to fish at Dead Horse Ranch Lake?
    • Spring and fall are the best times, as the fish are more active during these seasons.
  2. Are there boat rentals available at Dead Horse Ranch Lake?
    • No, Dead Horse Ranch Lake does not offer boat rentals. You’ll need to bring your own non-motorized boat or kayak.
  3. Can you swim in Dead Horse Ranch Lake?
    • No, swimming is not allowed in the lagoons, but you can swim in the nearby Verde River.
  4. Is there a fee to enter Dead Horse Ranch State Park?
    • Yes, there is a small entrance fee for day use and an additional fee for camping.
  5. Are pets allowed at the campgrounds in Dead Horse Ranch State Park?
    • Yes, pets are allowed but must be kept on a leash and under control at all times.

That’s it for today, folks! I hope this guide helps you plan your fishing trip to Dead Horse Ranch Lake. As always, happy camping and tight lines!

Fishing Lake Report - 3Gyre T0884

Directions To: Dead Horse Ranch Lake Fishing Report Guide

From Interstate 17 go West at Exit 287 (Highway 260 toward Cottonwood). Continue approximately 11 miles to Main Street in Cottonwood (Hwy 89A) and turn left. Continue through Cottonwood on Main Street (the street will gradually curve to the left). Turn right (North) on North 10th Street. You’ll see a brown information sign for the park before the 10th Street turn.

Best Fishing Bait, Lures & Tackle

Here’s some of the best fishing bait, fishing lures and fishing tackle Dead Horse Ranch Lake Fishing Report Guide: