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Bartlett Lake Fishing Report 2022 [Tips, Spots, Pictures, Everything You Need to Know]

How To Fish Bartlett Lake + Bartlett Lake Fishing Map

photo: AZGFD

Bartlett Lake is a moderate sized desert reservoir that is located 55 miles away from Phoenix, Arizona.  Overall it’s a very popular lake being nestled in part of the central section of the state. In this post you’re going to be given the blueprint to fish this lake. 

So what are the best tips for fishing Bartlett Lake?  There are three important factors you must know  if you want to know how to fish Bartlett Lake successfully. First, you need to know what kind of fish is in Bartlett Lake. Second, it’s important for you to know which part of the lake each species can be found. Lastly, knowing what are the best baits that work on Bartlett Lake is vital.  However, tactics, baits, and locations will be different for each type of fish that you target. So let’s talk about the steps you need to take in order to give you the best chance of catching a fish on Bartlett Lake.

Key Takeaways

This lake gives locals and visitors the opportunity to test their luck in catching one of the many game species this lake has to offer, such as Largemouth Bass, Smallmouth Bass, Yellow Bass, Channel Catfish, Bluegill, and much, much more!

Here’s the most recent and updated Bartlett Lake Fishing Report – it gives you a quick and easy list of some really good fishing spots. If you’re looking for more detail on how to fish each spot scroll down into the article. 

  • Around Bartlett Lake Marina
  • Budge Island Area
  • Rattlesnake Cove to Rattlesnake Island
  • Sunny Beach To SB Wash
  • Verde Head To Sycamore Cove
  • Yellow Cliffs
  • Rocky Way Banks
  • Bass Flats and Crappie Cove
  • Rocky Point to Bootleg Cove
  • Teepee Hill
  • Moon Island
  • Panic Rock

Here are some additional fast and helpful tips just for you: 

  • The easiest way to fish this lake is by boat, but there are areas to fish from the bank, by kayak, or float tube.
  • There are multiple public boat ramps to use if the lake is at full pool.
  • Camping and RV parking is available.
  • You can buy tackle and groceries at the lake or at one of the tackle shops in Phoenix.
  • A permit is required to enter, camp, and fish this lake. Prices vary depending on your desired activity.

About Bartlett Lake

Located 55 miles just outside of downtown Phoenix, Bartlett Lake is a deep body of water with the average depth being 100 feet and a maximum depth of 174 feet when the lake is completely full. Being 12 miles long and spans over 2,830 acres. This is a reservoir within the Verde River chain lakes and plays a vital role in power generation agriculture. Anglers can fish a variety of locations from grass mats, river channel drops-offs, rock piles, cuts and points. Known for its great largemouth bass, bluegill and catfishing.  You can also see wildlife such as bald eagles and bighorn sheep.

What Kinds of Fish Are In Bartlett Lake?

  • Largemouth Bass
  • Smallmouth Bass
  • Black Crappie
  • Carp
  • Bigmouth Buffalo Fish
  • Channel Catfish
  • Flathead Catfish
  • Bluegill
  • Green Sunfish
  • Redear Sunfish
  • Tilapia

Key Details to Know About Bartlett Lake

Special Closures Areas or Dates:

Periodic closures due to wildfires. Check the status of the lake to see if it’s open, click here

Special /Annual Events:

Weekend fishing tournaments are common.

Bartlett Marina offers food, bar, live music, karaoke, and annual watch parties for all the big sporting events and tournaments (ie; March Madness, Superbowl, World Series), and much, much more.

Bartlett Lake Fishing Tips

photo: AZGFD

Bartlett Lake is a fun lake and relatively easy to fish. 

Bass, bluegill, crappie, and catfish will spawn in the spring in 1’-15’-feet of water notably on rocky structure, gravel flats, humps, and small creek inlets and cuts.  

In the summer bass will seek deeper haunts close to shallow flats, pockets, or coves. Try to find  drops offs, channels, points, submerged humps.

Furthermore they’ll typically be found in 15’-30’-feet of water. According to the US Forest Service, there were over 2200 fish-habitat structures placed to make the fishery even better. 

A recent census on the lake showed bass there weighed 12+ pounds were common. 

Aside from bass Bartlett Lake is an excellent lake for catfishing. 

If you’re fishing from the shore you can fish around the docks or near the fishing platforms by the second ramp. 

There is another fishing platform and a trail that winds around the point and into the other adjacent cove.

Personally, I like to fish for the big bass in the morning and in the afternoon troll deeper cuts and shelves with spinners to catch some walleye for dinner.

WAIT! Before you go fishing...

Arizona Game & Fish placed artificial habitat around Bartlett Lake.  Take a look at the locations listed to give you a better chance of catching fish!

photo: azgfd

photo: azgfd

But Where Are The Best Places To Fish At Bartlett Lake?  

And in no particular order here is that list of the best fishing spots at Bartlett Lake.

DISCLAIMER:  The material provided is for general information purposes only. It’s important to understand that any information provided in this article can change at any time. Any maps or graphics featured are not to be used as navigational aids. Fishing Blueprint will not be responsible for any personal injury or property damage from any misuse of the maps or graphics provided.   It’s completely impossible to give you every single spot where you can potentially catch a fish.  But, what this list does do is to give you a helping hand and narrow down to the most productive fishing spots.

Around Bartlett Lake Marina

Fishing the area around Bartlett Lake is great because the shoreline is close to deep water and has a ton of fish structure around it. Making this area accessible to those who are fishing from shore, kayak, standup paddle board, and traditional fishing boat. 

If you’re fishing from shore you must take time to scan this area with a portable fish finder.

Fish around the habitat or structure if you see shad or bluegill in the area. 

So make sure you pick up a portable fish-finder to find all the best fishing spots.

Crappie will also hold in school at the mouth of the cove. 

Effective baits for this area include: topwater lures, buzzbaits in the morning or on cloudy conditions. Crankbaits, spinnerbaits, jerkbaits, chatterbaits, umbrella rigs, underspin jigs, swim jigs, hair jigs, lipless crankbaits, and soft plastic swimbaits perform well here in breezy conditions or during the midday.

In contrast, slower moving baits such as drop shot, football jigs, tubes, wacky rig, Texas rig, Neko rigs, and Carolina rigs can be phenomenal when the conditions are calm or the bass are holding close to the rocks.

Flutter spoons work great in the deepest part of the point or over any secondary structures directly related to the point.

Located: Mid lake (west side)

Structural features: Shoreline fishing, artificial submerged structure, artificial habitat, roadbed. 

Best species to target: Bass, crappie, and catfish

Most effective way to fish this spot: Boat, kayak, shoreline

Budge Island Area

Budget Island Area really spans from Prop Point  down to Budge Island South and is located straight across the lake from the marina. 

This area is has been known to produce for a few reasons. 

(1) Its filled with rock piles, and boulders. But the best rocky structures will be the isolated rock piles and large submerged boulders.

(2) You’ll observe nearly all the deep feeder cuts face west. Well most of the time wind blows in from the west. The westerly wind pushes floating debris across the lake and make floating debris mats making it a phenomenal area to flip and punch lures through.  

(3) You’ll also notice several a large amount of feeder creeks and channels with submerged brush and timber.  The deeper areas areas are great to hold bass and crappie.

Effective baits for this area include: topwater lures, buzzbaits in the morning or on cloudy conditions. Crankbaits, spinnerbaits, jerkbaits, chatterbaits, umbrella rigs, underspin jigs, swim jigs, hair jigs, lipless crankbaits, and soft plastic swimbaits perform well here in breezy conditions or during the midday.

In contrast, slower moving baits such as drop shot, football jigs, tubes, wacky rig, Texas rig, Neko rigs, and Carolina rigs can be phenomenal when the conditions are calm or the bass are holding close to the rocks.

Flutter spoons work great in the deepest part of the point or over any secondary structures directly related to the point.

Located: Mid lake (east side) 

Structural features: Rocky structure, feeder creeks, submerged standing timber

Best species to target: Bass, bream, crappie, and catfish

Most effective way to fish this spot: Boat, kayak, paddle board

Rattlesnake Cove to Rattlesnake Island

This area is a relatively shallow cove that primarily features a large sandy wash with isolated rock piles and boulders. 

Bordered by the large feeder wash this area offers, it has multiple feeder creeks, channels, and long submerged main lake points. 

Better yet, the area is also very easy to walk and fish from the shoreline. It is chalked full with submerged artificial habitat structures. Again, this where you need a portable fish-finder!

It’s great for beginners and for seasoned anglers who don’t want to take the boat out but still want to have a great time.

Effective baits for this area include: topwater lures, buzzbaits in the morning or on cloudy conditions. Crankbaits, spinnerbaits, jerkbaits, chatterbaits, umbrella rigs, underspin jigs, swim jigs, hair jigs, lipless crankbaits, and soft plastic swimbaits perform well here in breezy conditions or during the midday.

In contrast, slower moving baits such as drop shot, football jigs, tubes, wacky rig, Texas rig, Neko rigs, and Carolina rigs can be phenomenal when the conditions are calm or the bass are holding close to the rocks.

Flutter spoons work great in the deepest part of the point or over any secondary structures directly related to the point.

Located: River channel 

Structural features: Steep rocky banks

Best species to target: Bass, bream, crappie, and catfish

Most effective way to fish this spot: Boat

Sunny Beach To SB Wash

About a mile up river Bartlett Lake Marina is an area of the lake where the valley comes together to create a funnel.

Fishing a natural or manmade funnel can be one of the most productive spots on the lake.

Particularly on the west side, the area starts from Sunny Beach and extends to SB Wash is chalked full of steep rocky banks, boulders, as well as artificial habitat in the deeper pockets in cove of Sunny Beach and SB Wash.

There are so many elements to fish in this area you can spend all day here picking it apart.

Effective baits for this area include: topwater lures, buzzbaits in the morning or on cloudy conditions. Crankbaits, spinnerbaits, jerkbaits, chatterbaits, umbrella rigs, underspin jigs, swim jigs, hair jigs, lipless crankbaits, and soft plastic swimbaits perform well here in breezy conditions or during the midday.

In contrast, slower moving baits such as drop shot, football jigs, tubes, wacky rig, Texas rig, Neko rigs, and Carolina rigs can be phenomenal when the conditions are calm or the bass are holding close to the rocks.

Flutter spoons work great in the deepest part of the point or over any secondary structures directly related to the point.

Located: mid-lake, west side

Structural features: Isolated cover, large creek channels, main river channel, artificial fish habitat

Best species to target: Bass, bream, crappie, and catfish

Most effective way to fish this spot: Boat

Verde Head To Sycamore (Wash & Cove)

This area is directly across from the Sunny Beach-to-SB Wash area, is the other side of the midlake funnel.

In my opinion, it’s not as productive as the previously mentioned spot but offers more submerged bush and vegetation fishing opportunities.

The steep banks of Verde Head should be scanned carefully for bass as they will commonly be located here in the summer and late spring.

Just to the north of Verdy Head, Sycamore is best described as a combination of north-facing pockets and ending in a large cove.

While not very interesting on the surface the Sycamore area offers a few really interesting features.

First, the terrain in this area will create flats that drop into the main channel swing.

Secondly, I’ve seen this area become a floating mat of debris and branches in the deep pockets. It’s very common the day after a big thunderstorm.

This occurs because the wind coming from the north will push debris downstream and will get caught in the north-facing pockets.

Bass will suspend under the debris mats, and you can catch your limit in under an hour!

Lastly, Sycamore wash created a large creek channel that winds its way to the main river channel. This area must be fished if you’re in this area.

Effective baits for this area include: topwater lures, buzzbaits in the morning or on cloudy conditions. Crankbaits, spinnerbaits, jerkbaits, chatterbaits, umbrella rigs, underspin jigs, swim jigs, hair jigs, lipless crankbaits, and soft plastic swimbaits perform well here in breezy conditions or during the midday.

In contrast, slower moving baits such as drop shot, football jigs, tubes, wacky rig, Texas rig, Neko rigs, and Carolina rigs can be phenomenal when the conditions are calm or the bass are holding close to the rocks.

Flutter spoons work great in the deepest part of the point or over any secondary structures directly related to any points.

Located: mid-lake, east side

Structural features: Isolated cover, large creek channels, main river channel, sparse artificial fish habitat

Best species to target: Bass, bream, crappie, and catfish

Most effective way to fish this spot: Boat

Yellow Cliffs

Located in the upper river section of the lake, the Yellow Cliff area offers the angler several different fishing opportunities.

Yes, this is a large area however, there are a few features you need to find to quickly and easily  narrow down to fish this section of the lake:

  1. Find small cuts and washouts that separate the sections of cliff walls will provide the best opportunity to catch fish.
  2. Identify the subtle points that the cliff walls create.
  3. Scan for any rock shelves or large submerged boulders.

Since the main river channel flows directly into that section of the bluff walls this area is can be extremely productive.

Crankbaits and soft plastic swimbaits work well if fished parallel to the bluff walls. Otherwise, fishing a Texas rig, drop shot, football jig, tube, or a wacky rig is strongly recommended.

Located: River channel 

Structural features: Steep bluff walls, rocky shelves, boulders, cuts, washouts, river channel

Best species to target: Bass, bream, crappie, and catfish

Most effective way to fish this spot: Boat

Rocky Way Banks

Located upriver from the Yellow Cliffs, the Rocky Way Banks give the angler the combination of fishing steep banks with submerged brush and timber.

Be sure to target the areas that are shaded first when targeting bass.

Effective baits for this area include: topwater lures, buzzbaits, crankbaits, spinnerbaits, umbrella rigs, chatterbaits, jerkbaits, underspin jigs, swim jigs, hair jigs, and soft plastic swimbaits perform well here in breezy conditions.

In contrast, slower moving baits such as drop shot, football jigs, tubes, wacky rig, Texas rig, Neko rigs, and Carolina rigs can be phenomenal when the conditions are calm or the bass are holding close to the rocks.

The river channel will often harbor bass, crappie, and catfish that retreat away from the midday heat and can be fished in a similar way.

Located: River channel 

Structural features: Steep rocky banks, boulders, artificial fish habitat, ledges, river channel

Best species to target: Bass, bream, crappie, and catfish

Most effective way to fish this spot: Boat

Bass Flats and Crappie Cove

This area is located on the northernmost river section on Bartlett Lake. 

Different from other spots on the lower and main lake, these spots offer a high volume of exposed and submerged brush piles and standing timber, and in my opinion, the water is much dirtier.

If you like flipping dirty water these areas are meant for you.  

In contrast to other spots on Bartlett Lake, Bass Flats and Crappie Cove are not very pressured.  Most likely due to their remoteness… however, you’ll need some different tackle. 

In these areas, you’ll probably want to use heavy flipping lures tied on a 65-pound test braided line or 20-25-pound fluorocarbon fishing line.

Anything less, the wood can slice through a lighter line. 

Rest assured, since the water is dirtier, the fish won’t notice the larger diameter line.

What To Expect: Exposed Timber & Brush Piles

Depending on the water level of the lake sometimes the vertical timber or brush can  be exposed in low water. 

Most of the standing timber will be located near the bank however, there are some areas where you’ll encounter exposed timber in the middle of the river, so use extreme caution as you approach this area with your boat. 

Of all my years fishing this lake there are so many different ways to fish this area. Here are some of the ways I fish for bass in this area: 

  • Fishing a heavy flipping lure at the base of the trunk or the middle of the brush pile. You’ll have the best success using a  ½-to-¾-ounce flipping jig, or flipping a Texas rigged creature bait (a Zoom Brush Hog for example) using a ½-to-¾-ounce tungsten weight. A Tokyo rig also works really well here.   Let your lure fall to the base and pause, give it a few shakes or small lifts and pause again. If you don’t get bit move on to another structure. 
  • Thread on a weedless wacky rig Senko or stick bait. 
  • Swim a soft plastic swimbaitspinnerbaits, frog, buzzbait, and even a squarebill crankbait over the external branches or beside the main trunk. Be sure to make contact with the trunk and it’s branches, pausing briefly after you make contact with it.
  • Fish the outer edge branches with a jigging spoon rigged with a weedless hook.

What to Expect: Submerged Timber

If the standing timber is submerged swimming a crankbait, umbrella rig, jerkbait, chatterbait, swim jig, hair jig, or underspin jig over the tops of the trees to pull out bass. 

Conversely, when the fish are really picky, consider a drop shot bait or suspending jerkbait just above the treetops for bass.

There are several submerged patches of trees located in the central section of Alamo. At these locations is where you’ll find crappie at this lake.

To catch over the submerged timber, slow trolling live minnows, roadrunner head jigs, and crappie tubes are great choices. 

Since Bartlett can be very windy, it’s strongly recommended to use a quality drift sock to help slow your drift so you don’t have to worry about using up all your trolling motor battery.   

Located: River section

Structural features: Submerged or exposed timber and brush, river channel, isolated rock piles, and boulders

Best species to target: Bass, bream, crappie, and catfish

Most effective way to fish this spot: Boat

Rocky Point to Bootleg Cove

This section of Bartlett Lake features the reservior’s longest rocky bank. The bank is characteristically very steep and made from large chunk rock to boulder-size substrate.

Naturally, crawfish, bluegill, minnows, and shad seek shelter in this area.

Given this embankment’s large area, it’s best to focus your efforts on cuts, points, and boulder piles.

Effective baits for this area include: crankbaits, soft plastic swimbaits, spinnerbaits, jerkbaits, chatterbaits, swim jigs, hair jigs, and underspin jigs when the bass are aggressive. Flutter spoons work great in the deeper main lake sections as well.  

If the bass are timid, then drop shot, tubes, Ned rig, Neko rig, Mojo rig, Carolina rig, and jigs all work really well.

Located: Lower end, west side

Structural features: Steep rocky banks, drop offs, and ledges

Best species to target: Bass, bream, crappie, and catfish

Most effective way to fish this spot: Boat and kayak

Teepee Hill

Teepee Hill is another steep rocky bank on the southernmost section of Bartlett Lake.

The bank is characteristically one of the steeper banks in the lake and made from large chunk rock to boulder-sized substrate.

Side scanning this area for active fish should be a must if you plan to fish the lower end of the lake.

Effective baits for this area include: crankbaits, soft plastic swimbaits, spinnerbaits, jerkbaits, chatterbaits, swim jigs, hair jigs, and underspin jigs when the bass are aggressive. Flutter spoons work great in the deeper main lake sections as well.  

If the bass are timid, then drop shot, tubes, Ned rig, Neko rig, Mojo rig, Carolina rig, and jigs all work really well.

Located: Lower end, west side

Structural features: Steep rocky banks, drop offs, and ledges

Best species to target: Bass, bream, crappie, and catfish

Most effective way to fish this spot: Boat

Moon Island

Located adjacent to Teepee Hill, Moon Island is really a long point with a large rocky mound at its tip.  When the lake is high it appears to be an “island”.

To the east of Moon Island is a moderate sized creek channel next to a pile of large boulders that will harbor bass and catfish.

Effective baits for this area include: topwater lures, buzzbaits in the morning or on cloudy conditions. Crankbaits, spinnerbaits, jerkbaits, chatterbaits, umbrella rigs, underspin jigs, swim jigs, hair jigs, lipless crankbaits, and soft plastic swimbaits perform well here in breezy conditions or during the midday.

In contrast, slower moving baits such as drop shot, football jigs, tubes, wacky rig, Texas rig, Neko rigs, and Carolina rigs can be phenomenal when the conditions are calm or the bass are holding close to the rocks.

Flutter spoons work great in the deepest part of the point or over any secondary structures directly related to the point.

Located: Lower end, west side

Structural features: Steep rocky banks, rock piles, main lake humps

Best species to target: Bass, bream, crappie, and catfish

Most effective way to fish this spot: Boat

Panic Rock

Panic Rock is an eastern facing point on the lower end of Bartlett Lake. 

What makes this area so special is this location is littered with artificial habitat, large isolated rock piles and boulders, and a large creek channel that flows into the main river channel. 

Make sure you graph this entire area to find all the habitats. Oftentimes, bass and crappie will travel between the different habitats throughout the day. 

Another cool feature is the creek channel is relatively straight and has several large stair-step drops that bass will locate around. 

As a warning, it can get pretty windy so make sure you have a strong trolling motor. And if you’re trolling for fish make sure you slow your drift

Effective baits for this area include: topwater lures, buzzbaits in the morning or on cloudy conditions. Crankbaits, spinnerbaits, jerkbaits, chatterbaits, umbrella rigs, underspin jigs, swim jigs, hair jigs, lipless crankbaits, and soft plastic swimbaits perform well here in breezy conditions or during the midday.

In contrast, slower moving baits such as drop shot, football jigs, tubes, wacky rig, Texas rig, Neko rigs, and Carolina rigs can be phenomenal when the conditions are calm or the bass are holding close to the rocks.

Flutter spoons work great in the deepest part of the point or over any secondary structures directly related to the point.

Located: River channel 

Structural features: Steep rocky banks, rock piles, main lake humps, and artificial habitat

Best species to target: Bass, bream, crappie, and catfish

Most effective way to fish this spot: Boat

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How To Catch A Fish at Bartlett Lake?

Largemouth Bass Fishing at Bartlett Lake

You may be wondering… How do you fish for bass in Bartlett Lake?The Largemouth bass is a carnivorous member of the sunfish family. Bartlett Lake holds the Northern strain species.  The Northern strain is thought to be considered more aggressive and offers a better fight than their large Florida strain cousins found on Saguaro Lake.

Listed below are a handful of facts, top spots, and best lures to use to help you out…

If you’re still not sure how to catch a bass, do worry. A complete section on Bass Fishing 101 was written to help you out. In that section, you’ll learn about the top ways to get you catching bass fast.

Read more: Beginner’s Guide To Bass Fishing Basics – Tips, Secrets & Things To Avoid

General Largemouth Bass Details

Spawn: Spring, March-May

Food: Shad, bluegill, crayfish

Arizona State Record: 16 lb. 7.68 oz. 28.0 in., Canyon Lake Randall E. White, Mesa 4/22/97

Table Quality: Decent. Firm white meat. 

Angling techniques:

Smallmouth Bass Fishing at Bartlett Lake

Smallmouth bass are sibling species closely related to largemouth bass. They have a pretty brown/golden color and carry the nickname of “bronzeback”. Some physical features make it different from the largemouth bass. Aside from being bronze in color, they will have grey-brown vertical bands and most definingly is the jaw does not extend past its eye. 

Overall, smallmouth bass are most likely going about half the size of largemouth bass. However, pound for pound, a smallmouth can be increadably aggressive and will put up an amazing fight. 

General Smallmouth Bass Details

Spawn: March-May

Food: fish, crustaceans. 

Arizona State Record: 6 lb. 4.48 oz. 21 in. Lake Havasu Sue Nowak, 2/23/17

Table Quality: Similar to a largemouth bass it’s firm, white, flaky, mild-tasting

Angling techniques:

Black Crappie Fishing at Bartlett Lake

Introduced to Arizona in 1905, Bartlett Lake holds black crappie. These fish tend to linger over submerged brush and timber and are found in schools.

The black crappie are much more tolerant in cooler water than their white crappie cousins. 

Black crappie can be described as having an irregular black dots and blotched on the back and have more of a “silvery-olive” background.

Average weight of a crappie in Bartlett Lake is going to be 0.5-0.75-pounds, however electro-netted samples show they can get over 3-pounds in size!

General Crappie Details

Spawn: April – mid-June

Food: Larvae, small fish, and crustaceans. Threadfin shad make up their main diet. 

Arizona State Record: 4 lb. 10.0 oz. –in., San Carlos Lake John Shadrick, Mammoth 1959

Table Quality: The meat is excellent. It’s firm, flaky and white. 

Angling techniques:

  • Live minnows under bobbers
  • Crappie jigs
  • Crappie tubes
  • Silver spoons
  • Spinners

Catfish Fishing at Bartlett Lake

Channel Catfish

Channel catfish weight will range from 0.5-to-15-pounds in and of the Roosevelt chain lakes, including Bartlett Lake. However, the average weight will be between 1-4-pounds.

Flathead Catfish

Conversely, “smaller” flathead catfish will weigh in at 15-pounds and can grow around 75-pounds.  A flathead survey conducted in 2016 and 2020 caught a flathead that weighed over 48-pounds!    

General Catfish Details

Spawn: March-June

Food: Carp, bluegill

Arizona State Record:

Channel catfish – 33 lb., 5.76 oz., 39.5 in., Upper Lake Mary Carson Pete, 3/26/17

Flathead catfish – 76 lb. 8.64 oz., 53.5 in., Bartlett Lake Eddie Wilcoxson, Surprise 04/13/13

Table Quality: Soft white meat. In the summer the meat will taste muddy.

Angling techniques:

Flathead catfish:

  • live bait such as smaller carp, full sized bluegill, or tilapia

Channel catfish:

  • chicken liver
  • hotdogs
  • stink bait
  • small bluegill
  • small carp

Bluegill Fishing at Bartlett Lake

Introduced to Arizona in 1932, the bluegill has teal-blue coloring on the bottom portion of the chin and gill plate. It also has a solid black opercula flap just behind the gill plate.

Bluegill are found on the shoreline and prefer nearby structures. Bluegill are incredibly aggressive and will quickly attack anything that looks like it could be eaten. Due to their aggressive behavior, they are one of the easiest fish to catch and are a great way to introduce someone to fishing.  

Spawn: April and May

Food: Small fish and insects

Arizona State Record: 3 lb. 15.68 oz. 15.75 in., Goldwater Lake. Christopher Ray Mapes, Prescott Valley 5/2/04

Table Quality: Firm, white meat 

Angling techniques: 

  • Worms
  • Dough balls
  • Slim jim sausages pieces on a small hook (not lying… it really works)
  • Small spinners
  • Trout flys

Carp Fishing at Bartlett Lake

Carp are an oily freshwater species of fish and are native to Europe and Asia. Carp are considered invasive to the United States.

The big, hard fighting fish are really fun to catch. Many anglers will fish for carp at night and bowfishing from the shore or from a boat!

Carp can be consumed however, their muddy taste and boney meat make it one of the least desirable fish to eat.

Spawn: March-June

Food: algae, plant matter, fish eggs, insects, aquatic worms, small crustaceans (snails), and small crayfish

Arizona State Record: 37 lb. 0.0 oz. 40.0 in., Bartlett Lake Jonathan Gardner, Phoenix 8/8/87

Table Quality: Poor. Soft white flesh that is muddy and riddled with bones

Angling techniques:

  • Dough balls
  • Corn
  • Worms
  • Cherry tomatoes (not kidding)
  • Commercial carp baits

Best Species-Specific Fishing Spots at Bartlett Lake

Top Largemouth Bass Fishing Spots at Bartlett Lake

  • Rattlesnake Cove To Rattlesnake Point
  • Sunny Beach To SB Wash
  • Bass Flats and Crappie Cove
  • Yellow Cliffs
  • Moon Island

Top Crappie Fishing Spots at Bartlett Lake

  • Bass Flats and Crappie Cove
  • Sunny Beach To SB Wash
  • Panic Rock
  • Yellow Cliffs
  • Around Bartlett Marina

Top Catfish Fishing Spots at Bartlett Lake

  • Moon Island
  • Teepee Hill
  • Rattlesnake Cove To Rattlesnake Point
  • Bass Flats and Crappie Cove
  • Yellow Cliffs

Top Bream/Bluegill Fishing Spots at Bartlett Lake

  • Sunny Beach To SB Wash
  • Verde Head To Sycamore (Wash & Cove)
  • Bass Flats and Crappie Cove
  • Rocky Point to Bootleg Cove
  • Panic Rock
  • Around Bartlett Marina

Marinas/ Boat Ramps at Bartlett Lake

Bartlett Lake Marina / Jojoba Boat Ramp

Address: 20808 E Bartlett Dam Rd, Rio Verde, AZ 85263

Phone number: (480) 221-0503

Groceries/ Snacks: Yes

Bathrooms: Yes

Boat Rentals: Yes

Electric: Yes

Gas: Yes

Camping nearby: Yes

Other Boat Ramps Can Be Founds at...

  • Yellow Cliffs Boat Launch

Places to camp, lodging and RV parks

Traditional camping areas

  • Yellow Cliffs recreation area
  • SB Cove
  • Riverside Campground (below Bartlett Dam)
  • Bartlett Lake Flats

Lodging

  • None

Boat camping areas (primitive)

  • None

RV Hook-Ups (electric & water)

  • Jojoba (<40 feet) and Yellow Cliffs recreation area

Tackle Shops & Tackle Retailers Near Bartlett Lake

Phoenix Fishing Supply

Located in central Phoenix, Phoenix Fishing Supply has been around since the 1980’s! Even before the big-box stores came into town Phoenix Fishing Supply has been catering to all types of anglers and offers a huge selection of products. 

Liar's Korner

Liar’s Korner Fishing Bait & Tackle is nestled in the far east side of metro Phoenix. This tackle shop is proudly run as a small family business that is serious about giving you the right gear to help you catch fish. It doesn’t matter if you’re fishing bass, crappie, walleye, or trout.  They have what you need. They carry all the name brands of tackle and gear, and frequently offer better prices than the big-box companies. 

Bass Pro Shops

Located on the east side Phoenix, Bass Pro Shops caters to very type of angler who wants to get their line wet.  Founded in 1972 by angler Johnny Morris in Springfield, Missouri Bass Pro Shops combines a massive tackle shop with their hunting, boating, conservation, and guide trips into a comprehensive outdoor and fishing retailer.

Sportsman's Warehouse

Sportsman’s Warehouse feels like a combination of a small outdoor outfitter shop with the capacity to hold a large amount of tackle, gear, and other outdoor accessories.  The staff is friendly, patient, and knowledgeable.  Sportsman’s Warehouse carries a wide variety of gear for every bass, catfish, trout, crappie, walleye, and pike to get you started. 

Other Things To Do Near Bartlett Lake

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For those who want to chill at the lake…

  • Biking
  • Bird watching
  • Boating
  • Skiing
  • Kayaking
  • Canoeing
  • Paddleboarding
  • Sailing
  • Swimming
  • Camping
  • Horseshoes
  • Picnicking
  • Hiking
  • Gentle walking trails
  • Nature photography trails
  • Wildlife viewing
  • Mountain biking
  • Stargazing
  • and most importantly… relaxing.

Do you need a Tonto Pass for Bartlett Lake?

Yes, a Tonto Pass is required if you are going to fish this lake. Luckily there are several types of passes that you can purchase.  There are also several different places you can easily purchase a Tonto Pass. 

Tonto Pass Options

Tonto Daily Pass – $8

Sold at Tonto National Forest offices, retail outlets and online.

Tonto Daily Passes are hangtags, designed to be self-validating.

Tonto Discovery Pass – $80

Sold at Tonto National Forest Offices only.

The Tonto Discovery Pass is an annual pass valid for one year (expires at the end of the month and year punched on the card) from the time of purchase.  The pass must be displayed in the provided hangtag from the rearview mirror. The Tonto Discovery Pass is valid for the pass holder (person(s) who signed the back of the pass) and the occupants of a single, private non-commercial vehicle.

Tonto Senior and Access Pass – $60

Sold at Tonto National Forest Offices only.

Persons ages 62 or older are eligible for the Tonto Discovery Senior pass. The Tonto Senior Discovery and Access Pass are two separate annual passes valid for one year (expiring at the end of the month and year punched on the card) from the time purchased. The pass must be displayed in the provided hangtag from the rearview mirror. The Tonto Discovery Pass is valid for a single pass holder (or person who signed the back of the pass) and the occupants of a single, private non-commercial vehicle. Please call any of our offices listed on the side to see if you qualify for the Senior pass or our Access Pass.

Tonto Discovery Vehicle Sticker: Free

(With purchase of Tonto Discovery Pass)

This pass is meant for OPEN TOP vehicles only where the regular Discovery Pass hangtag cannot be used or can be easily stolen. It is meant to be placed on your front windshield and used as a Tonto Discovery Pass. It is valid for a year from the day you purchase it. Only one sticker will come at request with the purchase of a Tonto Discovery Pass.

Proof of current registration/ownership of your open top vehicle/motorcycle is required at time of issuance to validate and receive the vehicle sticker.  Customer must carry their Tonto Pass Hangtag with them when driving a vehicle with a vehicle sticker.

Watercraft Use Sticker – $4

One sticker must be permanently affixed to a Tonto Daily Pass for each motorized watercraft that the vehicle tows or otherwise carries to the lake. “Motorized watercraft’ means any watercraft that is propelled by machinery whether or not the machinery is the principal source of propulsion.

Where Are the Tonto Passes Sold?

There are several ways you can purchases Tonto Passes:

  1. At the Tonto National Forest supervisor’s and district ranger offices
  2. At a variety of retail outlets around Arizona and along routes that forest visitors use to reach recreation sites on the Tonto National Forest
  3. Purchase annual and daily passes online
  4. By phone or mail Purchase by Phone or Mail

One of the unique features of the Tonto Pass program is the participation of retail outlets, small and large local businesses that sell the pass at many locations throughout the Phoenix metropolitan area, other Arizona cities and towns, and within the Tonto National Forest.