biggest fish in arizona

Biggest Fish Caught in Arizona: Casting for Giants

Arizona, a state known for its arid deserts and towering cacti, may not be the first place that comes to mind when you think of fishing. While the state is renowned for its stunning vistas and desert beauty, it also holds a lesser-known secret beneath the surface of its water bodies; a world teeming with aquatic giants.

This article takes you on a journey into the depths of Arizona’s waters, revealing the biggest fish ever caught in the state. From the record-breaking Flathead Catfish to the formidable Northern Pike, we will explore the tales of these giants of the deep, focusing on the biggest fish ever caught in the Grand Canyon State.

1. The Record-Breaking Flathead Catfish

arizona catfish

The crown for the biggest fish in Arizona goes to the Flathead Catfish. This behemoth was caught by angler Steve Cooper in Parker, Arizona. The fish, which was more than three feet in length, tipped the scales at an estimated 79-80 pounds, breaking the previous state record for a flathead catfish of 76 pounds.

Cooper and his fishing partner, Mark Henry, used live bluegill as bait and fought the fish for half an hour before finally reeling it in. This record-breaking catch was made even more special as it was caught in a fishing hole passed down through three generations by Cooper’s father.

2. The Northern Pike of Fool Hollow Lake

Northern Pike Arizona

Another notable catch in Arizona was a massive Northern Pike caught by Skyler Koury at Fool Hollow Lake. The fish, which was about four feet long and weighed around 20 pounds, was caught while Koury and his friends were actually fishing for bass.

Northern Pikes are carnivorous fish native to the Northern Hemisphere, but they were illegally placed in waterways like Fool Hollow Lake for people to fish for them.

The Top 10 Biggest Fish Species in Arizona

Striped bass

While the Flathead Catfish holds the record, Arizona is home to a variety of large fish species. Here’s a list of the top 10 biggest fish species you can find in the state:

  1. Flathead Catfish: Up to 5 feet in length and 120 pounds.
  2. Striped Bass: Up to 4 feet in length and 60 pounds.
  3. Channel Catfish: Up to 4 feet in length and 58 pounds.
  4. Blue Catfish: Up to 5 feet in length and 150 pounds.
  5. Largemouth Bass: Up to 2 feet in length and 22 pounds.
  6. Carp: Up to 4 feet in length and 50 pounds.
  7. Smallmouth Bass: Up to 2 feet in length and 10 pounds.
  8. Rainbow Trout: Up to 2 feet in length and 20 pounds.
  9. Walleye: Up to 3 feet in length and 20 pounds.
  10. Green Sunfish: Up to 10 inches in length and 1 pound.

Fishing Tips

Fishing is a skill that requires patience, knowledge, and a bit of luck. Whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned angler, here are some fishing tips and advice to help you have a successful and enjoyable fishing experience:

  1. Research and plan: Before heading out, research the fishing location, local regulations, and the species you’re targeting. This will help you understand the best techniques, baits, and times to fish.
  2. Use the right equipment: Choose the appropriate fishing rod, reel, and fishing line based on the type of fishing you plan to do. Match the gear to the size and species of fish you’re targeting.
  3. Learn basic casting techniques: Practice your casting to improve accuracy and distance. Learn different techniques like overhead casting, sidearm casting, and roll casting to adapt to various fishing situations.
  4. Pay attention to the weather and water conditions: Fish are more active during certain weather conditions. Cloudy days, early mornings, and evenings are often good times to fish. Additionally, pay attention to water temperature, clarity, and current patterns, as these factors can affect fish behavior.
  5. Understand the fish’s behavior and habitat: Different fish species have different habits and preferences. Learn about their feeding patterns, preferred habitats, and the types of bait they’re likely to go after.
  6. Be patient and observant: Fishing requires patience. Pay attention to subtle movements or changes in the water that may indicate fish activity. Be prepared to adapt your approach and try different techniques if you’re not getting any bites.
  7. Practice catch and release: If you’re not planning to consume the fish, consider practicing catch and release to help preserve fish populations and ecosystems for future generations.

When it comes to angling, Arizona isn’t just a one-trick pony. Yes, there’s the thrill of reeling in some of the biggest fish, but the state also offers other unique experiences. After a successful day on the water, you can indulge in another of the state’s pleasures – camping under a sky dotted with countless stars amidst breathtaking landscapes, as depicted in this helpful guide

Conservation Efforts and Regulations

While the thrill of the catch is a significant part of fishing, it’s also essential to consider the conservation of these species. Some fish species in Arizona are considered endangered or threatened, including the Apache Trout, Gila Trout, and Sonora Sucker.

Therefore, it’s crucial for anglers to be aware of fishing regulations before heading out to fish. These regulations help ensure the sustainability of the fish populations and preserve the joy of fishing for future generations.

Casting a line and waiting for a bite from Arkansas’ biggest fish can be a thrilling experience. But, once you’ve had your fill of the water, there’s no need to rush home. The state is brimming with an array of excellent sites perfect for setting up camp and soaking in the natural beauty. Discovering these hidden gems is a breeze with this comprehensive resource.


The state of Arizona offers a rich and diverse fishing experience, with the potential to catch some of the biggest fish species in the country. From the record-breaking Flathead Catfish to the elusive Northern Pike, the thrill of the catch is alive and well in the Grand Canyon State.

However, it’s essential to remember that fishing is not just about the size of the catch. It’s about the connection with nature, the thrill of the chase, and the stories that you create along the way. Whether you’re a seasoned angler or a beginner, the waters of Arizona are waiting for you, full of potential and adventure. So grab your fishing gear, head out to the water, and who knows? You might just reel in the catch of a lifetime.