American Oceans

The Biggest Fish Ever Caught in Arizona

Arizona is home to a diverse range of fish species, many of which are highly sought after by anglers. Over the years, many fishermen have caught some truly impressive fish in the state’s lakes and rivers, with some specimens weighing in at well over 100 pounds. In this article, we will take a closer look at the biggest fish ever caught in Arizona, exploring the species, locations, and techniques used to land these impressive catches.

a man holding an enormous catfish

One of the most notable fish species to be caught in Arizona is the flathead catfish. These large, predatory fish can grow to over 100 pounds and are known for their impressive strength and fighting ability. Flathead catfish are typically found in rivers and lakes throughout the state, and are often caught using live bait such as bluegill or sunfish. Other species commonly caught in Arizona include channel catfish, largemouth bass, and rainbow trout, all of which can reach impressive sizes under the right conditions.

For many anglers, catching a big fish in Arizona is the ultimate prize. Whether targeting catfish, bass, or trout, there are plenty of opportunities to land a trophy-sized specimen in the state’s lakes and rivers. With a little patience, skill, and a bit of luck, anyone can join the ranks of those who have caught the biggest fish ever in Arizona.

Record-Breaking Catches in Arizona

person holding a flathead catfish

Arizona is home to a diverse range of fish species, and anglers have been known to catch some truly massive fish in the state’s waters. Here are some of the biggest and most impressive catches on record in Arizona.

Largest Fish Ever Recorded

One of the biggest fish ever caught in Arizona was a 76-pound flathead catfish caught by angler Eddie Wilcoxson in 1988. The fish was caught in the Colorado River near Parker, Arizona, and remains one of the largest flathead catfish ever caught in the United States.

Another notable catch was a 53-pound, 8-ounce striped bass caught by angler John Davis in 2015. Davis caught the fish in Lake Pleasant, Arizona, and it was recognized as the largest striped bass ever caught in the state.

State and World Records

Arizona has several state records for various fish species, including the largest redear sunfish, which weighed in at 5 pounds, 12.8 ounces and was caught by angler Michael Eisele in 2011. The state record for the largest channel catfish was set in 1989 by angler Mike R. Goodwin, who caught a 33-pound, 5-ounce fish in the Colorado River.

While Arizona’s state records are impressive, they pale in comparison to some of the world records set by anglers elsewhere. For example, the world record for the largest fish ever caught on a rod and reel is held by angler Alfred Dean, who caught a 2,664-pound great white shark off the coast of Australia in 1959.

Fishing Locations in Arizona

a view of lake saguaro in arizona

Arizona is a popular destination for fishing enthusiasts, offering a wide range of fishing locations, including lakes, rivers, and reservoirs. Each of these locations has its unique characteristics and fish species, making them ideal for different types of fishing.


Arizona is home to several lakes that are popular for fishing. Lake Havasu, located on the Colorado River, is one of the most famous fishing spots in the state. It is known for its abundance of fish species, including largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, and striped bass. Bartlett Lake is another popular fishing location, offering anglers a chance to catch largemouth bass, crappie, and catfish.


Arizona’s rivers are also popular fishing spots, with the Colorado River being the most famous. The river is home to a variety of fish species, including rainbow trout, brown trout, and smallmouth bass. Canyon Lake, located on the Salt River, is another popular fishing destination, offering anglers a chance to catch largemouth bass, rainbow trout, and catfish.


Arizona’s reservoirs are also ideal for fishing, with San Carlos Lake and Lake Mohave being two of the most popular. San Carlos Lake is known for its abundance of largemouth bass, while Lake Mohave offers anglers a chance to catch striped bass, catfish, and rainbow trout. Ashurst Lake is another popular fishing location, offering anglers a chance to catch rainbow trout and brown trout.

Fish Habitats and Diets

a bullhead catfish swimming underwater

Arizona is home to a diverse range of fish species, each with its own unique habitat requirements. Some of the most common habitats for fish in Arizona include streams, rivers, lakes, and reservoirs. These waterways can vary greatly in depth, from shallow streams to deep lakes.

Fish in Arizona often seek out areas with cover, such as logs or other submerged structures, which provide protection from predators and a place to rest. Some fish, such as catfish, have whiskers that help them locate food in murky waters.


The diets of fish in Arizona can vary depending on the species and the habitat they inhabit. Many fish in Arizona feed on insects and other small aquatic creatures, such as crayfish. Some species, such as northern pike, are predators and feed on other fish.

Bait is often used to catch fish in Arizona, with popular options including worms, minnows, and artificial lures. It is important to use the right bait for the species of fish being targeted.

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