Fishing

It’s no secret that the Verde River is home to fantastic angling opportunities for a wide variety of sport fish. The stretch of river found here at Rockin’ River Ranch is no exception! Visitors can fish for three species of bass (largemouth, smallmouth, and redeye), two species of catfish (channel and flathead), a variety of panfish (like bluegill and green sunfish), and occasionally rainbow trout amid this scenic section of the Verde River in Camp Verde, Arizona.

Note: Woods Ditch Pond near the park entrance is off-limits to fishing and other forms of outdoor recreation. Due to safety concerns, please do not enter the fenced area. 

Largemouth Bass

Slow river flows, tons of cover, and an ample supply of baitfish make this section of the Verde River one of central Arizona’s most prolific river bass fisheries. Electro shock samples conducted by the Arizona Game and Fish Department revealed a number of trophy-sized largemouth bass using the river areas within the park. Largemouth are the most common bass found at Rockin’ River Ranch and provide anglers a legitimate chance to catch larger-than-average specimens. Shallow diving crank baits that resemble prey species and topwater frog lures are generally good choices when trying to locate Verde River largemouth at Rockin’ River Ranch. Bait anglers can try a bluegill hooked through the dorsal and free floated downstream or nightcrawlers on a bobber with 18" leader.

Please keep a couple of largemouth for dinner if you're so inclined but practice catch and release as often as possible to ensure this amazing central Arizona bass fishing resource continues to produce great fish for generations to come!   

Redeye and Smallmouth Bass   

Although largemouth bass get most of the attention at Rockin’ River because of the trophy potential here, catchable populations of redeye and some smallmouth bass are available for patient anglers within this serene setting. Generally, both smallmouth and redeye bass will bite small spinners, poppers, and small crank baits that simulate prey species. Soft or hard plastic crawfish baits work especially well for the smallmouth bass here as do pumpkin and watermelon color jigs on a small jig head. Finesse is the name of the game when targeting redeye bass. Try casting an unweighted 4" finesse worm into the slow current and let the river do the rest. 

The redeye bass found in the Verde, including Rockin’ River Ranch, are descendants of stock from the Coosa River system of Alabama, Georgia, and Tennessee. These beautiful small bass often contain a bluish hue and represent a unique angling opportunity rarely found outside of the southeastern United States. 

Verde River Catfish

The slow, deep, prey-rich pools found at Rockin’ River allow both channel and flathead catfish to grow to trophy-sized dimensions! There are plenty of great spots to pull up a couple of chairs and a cooler right at the river’s edge on your search for Verde River catfish. Generally, if you’re not getting bites, move a little up or downstream and try again. Repeat until you’re catching some fish! Channel catfish will readily bite a variety of baits including prepared “stink” bait, nightcrawlers, shrimp, and hot dogs while the flathead catfish prefer live baits like bluegill or small carp. You can learn more about catching both species of catfish here by visiting this comprehensive guide to catching Arizona catfish

Patience is key, and anglers who wait out bites while taking in the beautiful scenery will catch more fish. It’s typically regarded as a good idea to bring (and try) a variety of baits while fishing for catfish at Rockin' River Ranch. The fish will let you know which one they prefer on any given day.

Bluegill and Green Sunfish

If you’re raising your kids in an outdoor family, or if you’ve never tried it and would like to delve into fishing as a hobby, panfish like bluegill and green sunfish are the perfect place to start! These delicious little fish are generally willing to bite a variety of baits submerged near cover and below a bobber. Try worms or corn about 18’-24” below a small bobber and cast near anything that looks like it could house some fish. Dead, submerged trees, vegetation that lines the river, undercut banks, and large rocks offer great cover and are all awesome spots to start your search for both bluegill and green sunfish. If they’re not biting, try a different bait, adjust the depth you’re fishing, or move up or downstream and try again. There are plenty of fish at Rockin’ River Ranch but sometimes it takes a little patience to figure out what they want on any given day.

 

 

Rainbow Trout

Occasionally, rainbow trout that were stocked upstream at White Bridge or Tuzigoot find their way further south at Rockin’ River Ranch. Most of these wayward rainbows are caught incidentally while fishing for redeye and smallmouth bass. If you’re interested in learning more about trout fishing in Arizona, check out these great nearby spots that are stocked regularly (October through March) with hungry rainbows.


Visit our Fishing in Arizona page to learn more about fishing opportunities throughout the state park system.

A valid Arizona fishing license is required for anglers 10 years and older. Arizona fishing licenses and limit information is available on the Arizona Game and Fish website

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