Lower Salt River Fishing Guide

Check out the Lower Salt River that is a stretch of river located just below Saguaro Lake for the only cold-water trout fishery in the U.S. that’s located in a desert that is very close to metropolitan Phoenix and Trout fishing  reputation is growing quickly.

The Lower Salt River has a unique distinction of being the only cold-water trout fishery in the nation located that is located in the Arizona desert.

The lower Salt River contains rainbow trout, largemouth bass, sunfish, and catfish and is open for fishing year-round.

Arizona Game and Fish Department Information Officer, Rory Aikens stated the Lower Salt River "...is truly a remarkable fishery" and "have run across people who fish for trout before going to work in the morning or after getting off work in the evening."

Best Areas to Fish at Lower Salt River:

Blue Point Bridge (High water flow),
Phon D Sutton (Lower water flow and fish below where the Verde River comes in) & Water Users

Best Time To Fish:
All day

Fishing Season:
Year Round

Fishable Miles:


Fishing Stocking:
Usually starts the beginning of November each year for Rainbow Trout

Video: Fishing the Lower Salt River, Mesa, AZ

Popular Types of Fish at Lower Salt River

There's a wide variety of fish that is offered at the Lower Salt River such as rainbow trout, largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, sunfish and catfish. Every winter the The Lower Salt River is stocked with catchable-sized rainbow trout. The Lower Salt River is one of the most overlooked local fishing experiences. At the Lower Salt River, below Saguaro Lake, is known for its Rainbow Trout, Catfish, Sunfish and Largemouth Bass fishing. Year-around, you can take advantage and enjoy the Lower Salt River's trout fishing. Even though it could be a 100°F during the summer time the Lower Salt River the water temperate could be 65°F that the Rainbow Trout can thrive in.

For Trout fishing at the Lower Salt River try using  nightcrawlers, Kastmasters, flies and small spinners in this unique desert river trout fishery.

Take advantage Ranbow Trout fishing at the Lower Salt River year-round trout fishery in the summer when the air temperatures are 100°F and the water is 65°F.


Common Carp

Highly Recommended Bait, Tackle & Gear for Rainbow Trout

Highly Recommended Bait, Tackle & Gear for Bass

Highly Recommended Bait, Tackle & Gear for Bluegill & Sunfish

Highly Recommended Bait, Tackle & Gear for Catfish

Directions to Lower Salt River

The Lower Salt River is located along Bush Highway between Usery Pass on the south and Beeline Highway (State Route 87) on the north. From Phoenix, AZ take U.S. Route 60 east from Mesa, AZ and exit on Bush Highway. Travel north for 6 or 7 miles to Granite Reef Dam.

Most anglers will park and fish near the Salt Rivers paved lots. To find secluded area to fish you will need to follow the unmarked paths leading from the Bush Highway to the Salt River's.

Better yet, using a Inflatable Fishing Float Tube will certainly get you away from the crowds and in better fishing position.

Top locations to fish

  • Phon D Sutton G8WR+G9, Mesa, AZ 85264
  • Coon Bluff Recreation Area, Coon Bluff Rd, Mesa, AZ 85215
  • Blue Point Recreation Area, Unnamed Road, Fort McDowell, AZ 85264
  • Water Users Recreation Site, Tonto Basin, AZ 85553