Now that spring has arrived, with winter behind us, we begin to think of escapes to the mountains and valleys for old-fashioned fishing and camping. Pack the tent in the trailer or truck and gather our fishing gear with all the equipment we think we will require and head out of town. I think almost every serious camper and fisherman has their favorite places they select from. Many folks in Arizona choose a location within the state. Arizona does have a rather large set of choices. What kind of fish are you going after? Perhaps rainbow, brook or brown trout.
Arizona enjoys large lakes and rivers as well as the small streams, brooks and lakes. Are you the type of camper that strikes out on your own to settle down near wildlife and rugged country or, do you choose a nice campground so you can be near some conveniences and other people?
Some folks choose Lake Powell and rent a boat for the fishing. Others may visit Lake Havasu, while more will pick a spot on the Colorado River.
Sinkhole Campground, in central Arizona’s Sitgreaves National Forest, sits on Willow Springs Lake, east of Payson on Highway 260 atop the Mogollon Rim. The lake is well stocked with rainbow trout and largemouth bass. The campground has 26 campsites with picnic tables, grills and fire rings, but no hookups. Campsites are all paved and nestled among ponderosa pines. You will find hiking and biking trails. It is managed by the National Forest Service. Phone (928) 333-4301.
Lake Powell straddles the Arizona-Utah border and is the country’s second-largest man-made reservoir. It is loaded with walleye. Wahweap RV campground, on the southern shore of the lake, is a great base camp for fishing. You will find 139 campsites with full hookups, ideal for RVs, and 113 campsites and six group sites with no hookups. The campground features restrooms, a laundry, showers, a lounge and swimming pool with hot tub. Phone (888) 896-3829 for more information.
Lees Ferry, in the heart of the Glen Canyon National Recreation Area is a large fishery along the Colorado, Lake Powell outflow at Glen Canyon Dam. Fly-fishing is the sport of choice at Lees Ferry campground as it sits right along the river. The campground includes bathrooms. Phone (928) 608-6200.
The Aspen Campground is rather tiny with only six campsites and close to the East Fork of the Black River, which is filled with rainbow trout as well as some other types of fish. Phone (928) 333-4301.
There are several sites available on the web to get detailed information at: toptencampgrounds.com, leesferry.com, powellguide.com to name a few.
And check out campgrounds + Arizona state parks for more information.
Near the Utah border is Monument Valley which is great for the entire family. So much recreation and fun is here for all.
Some will tell you Arizona camping is best south of Flagstaff. You be the judge.
The forest service urges everyone to practice campfire safety. Be sure to clear all flammable material away from the fire for a minimum of five feet in all directions; have a responsible person in attendance at all times, never leave a campfire unattended, avoid making a fire during the windy part of the day and finally, be sure to have a shovel and sufficient water to put it out.
A few campgrounds you may wish to check out include the Kingman area for Burro Creek, Wild Cow Springs and Windy Point Recreation Sites.
Lake Havasu offers Crossroads Campground and Bullfrog, Bass Point and Quail Hollow Day use areas. Around Safford there is Hot Well Dunes Recreation Area. At Tucson, St. David Cieneaga/Land Corral, Fairbank Historic Townsite, San Pedro House and Hereford Bridge Trailheads. Yuma has Squaw Lake Campground and Boat Launch, Senator Wash Boat Ramp and Senator Wash North, South Shore Campgrounds, Betty’s Kitchen Watchable Wildlife Area and the Ehrenberg Sandbowl off-highway vehicle area.
Don’t forget the lovely areas not far from Payson. Some would include the Mormon Lake district with Ashurst Lake Campground, Forked Pine, Canyon Vista, Dairy Springs, Double Springs, Kinnikinick, Lakeview and Pinegrove. The bar and restaurant at the Mormon Lake Village is popular Friday and Saturday nights plus they offer a small general store next door.
Remember, no one is allowed to reserve a campsite by parking a vehicle, placing a tent or other personal property on forest land in advance of occupying the site. This is a no-no.
When considering where to visit, also check out the White Mountains, the North Central Region, the Mogollon Rim, the Colorado River, Southeastern and Southwestern Arizona.
What should you include in your check list of camping and fishing needs?
For fishing, consider taking your rods, tackle boxes, depthfinder, charger, cords, map, sunglasses, caps, gloves and sunscreen.
For sleeping, you need the sleeping bags, pillows, heater or fan, flashlight, radio, lights, cords and a 3-way plug.
Under food, leave a lot of blank space for specific items but would include cokes, coffee, cream, sugar, salt, pepper and lunch sack. And, remember the potatoes, onions, bread, catsup and what ever else you may require in the boonies. Do you want to take steaks, lunch meat, mayo and juices?
Don’t forget paper plates, napkins, plastic utensils, tongs, and stove, serving spoons, paper towels, dishpan, soap, water jugs and thermos jugs.
For clothing, take warm pants, shirts, sweaters, heavy shoes and boots, socks and a warm coat. Carry several extras, also.
You will also need to take a medicine bag with first aid needs as well as band-aids, and prescription drugs.
For some, the most desired fishing trip in one’s life is to Alaska. There are companies that sell packages that will fly you out to a location for the best salmon and halibut fishing or to see whales and glaciers. These companies can sell you many wildlife adventures in “the big state.” You can arrange for two days out-back to five and more days in the wilds. You can purchase Fly-out fishing, Drift Boat Fishing, Halibut Fishing on Cook Inlet where you have a good chance to hook a 100- to 300-pounder, engage in salt water Salmon Trolling or do small stream fishing with a fly or use bait. They say this is an exciting way to land a king or silver. You can also secure rental of private cottages.
One company that can arrange the entire Alaska adventure for you is Soaring Eagle Fishing & Adventure. Vacation packages with airfare and car are priced on activities selected and run from $2,500 to $3,800 per person. Phone 1-877-567-3273 for more information.
Camping in and near our National Parks is always fun for the entire family.
The High Sierras in California, Yellowstone, The Grand Tetons and don’t forget the Canadian Rockies. What can be better than the freedom of the outdoors, good air and clean water.
Perhaps soon you will be “On the Road Again.”