10 East Valley Fishing Holes


10 kid-friendly East Valley fishing holes.

Fishing is a great way to spend a morning with the family. A few fishing poles, a can of worms, and a stocked picnic basket are all you need. I grew up in Texas where the lakes are plentiful, the catfish are big, and the boats are bigger. My daddy loved fishing. So our garage was filled with fishing tackle of all sorts – from red bobbers to red rubber worms full of fish hooks. We had a fancy motorboat for skiing, but my daddy also had a little red fishing boat. He loved that little boat, and to tell you the truth, he taught all of us kids and all of our friends, and eventually all of his grandkids to ski behind that little red boat. But, in the summer when we were staying at the lake, he would get up early in the morning, while we were still sleeping, and push his fishing boat out onto the glassy smooth blue water and drop a few hooks in the water. Just as we were waking, he would return for breakfast, usually carrying a stringer full of catfish, crappie, or largemouth bass.

It is a long way from the lakes of Texas to the desert of Arizona. There are plenty of places to fish if you head out of town. But there are also plenty of places right in the middle of our urban sprawl that have been set aside for recreation that includes fishing.

The Urban Fishing Program is a cooperative effort between the Arizona Game and Fish Department and the Cities. There are 15 lakes in 8 Valley Cities. The program is mostly funded by the sale of urban fishing licenses. Fishermen aged 14 and over will need a $16 Class U Urban Fishing License. (There are some special programs available for blind Arizona residents; youth groups, disabled Veterans; and Eagle Boy Scouts/Gold Award Girl Scouts). The Class U Urban license is good for all species of fish in the urban lakes and can be purchased online; at any Game & Fish office; or at any of 300 dealers in the state. For more information on the licenses, go to Arizona Fish & Game Department website

Arizona Game & Fish Department stocks the city lakes with a wide variety of fish species, including catfish, largemouth bass, rainbow trout, sunfish, bluegill, carp, and white amur. The fish are raised on fish farms with strict health standards and quality control. The lakes, which are stocked several times a year, are monitored to ensure compliance with state standards and regulations, guaranteeing that the fish are safe to eat.

Each recreation area is unique and different from the others, but they all have certain basic amenities which include restrooms, picnic tables and ramadas, and walking/hiking trails. Swimming, wading, glass containers, and littering are prohibited. Be sure to check with each park for specific park times and regulations.

So what are you waiting for? Grab your fishing pole, your can of worms, your stocked picnic basket – and – oh yes – the kids – and head out to one of these really great fishing holes.


Red Mountain Lake at Red Mountain Park includes a multigenerational center. 7745 E Brown Rd, Mesa

Riverview Lake at Riverview Park is right next to the new Cubs Stadium, the Spring training home of the Chicago Cubs. It  includes a 50 ft tall Genesis climbing tower, a 60 ft long caterpillar mesh rope climbing structure, and a Splash pad. 2100 W 8th St, Mesa

Desert Breeze Lake at Desert Breeze Park boasts a train ride, a carousel, splash pad, and a Hummingbird habitat.  600 N Desert Breeze Blvd East, Chandler

Veteran’s Oasis Lake  includes an equestrian trail and bird watching. 4050 E Chandler Heights Rd, Chandler

Riparian Preserve at Water Ranch Lake is next to a library. 2757 E Guadalupe Rd, Gilbert

McQueen Pond is at 525 N McQueen Rd, Gilbert

Discovery Ponds at Discovery Park has a community center. 2214 E Pecos Rd, Gilbert

Freestone Lake at Freestone Park  has batting cages, a model railroad & amusement area w/train, carousel, a mini Ferris wheel, and a skate park. 1045 E Juniper Rd, Gilbert

Kiwanis Lake at Kiwanis Park Mill Avenue & All America Way, Tempe

Tempe Town Lake in the center of Tempe

And if you really do want to get out of the heat for the day, want to do some fishing with the kids, and want guaranteed success, head up to Rancho Tonto Catch-A-Trout. Just outside of Payson, you can have a picnic and let the little ones enjoy the thrill of catching a fish. But beware, the fish bite fast, and you have to buy what you catch.

PS. Take a solar oven with you on your adventure. Set it up in the sun when you get there, pop in some chili and hotdogs or a batch of cookies, and in an hour have a great hot lunch.Chili Dogs cooked in a solar oven