Apache Lake

Apache Lake was formed in 1927 when the Horse Mesa Dam was completed. Outstanding trout and warm-water fishing. Wet winters bring a profusion of spring flowers. This lake is set among sun-painted canyon walls, which form scenic backdrops to the lake itself. Both Non-motorized and Motorized boating is allowed at Apache Lake. During the summer months, Apache Lake is very popular in the cool water and beautiful scenery.

At a Glance

Group events may require a permit. Contact the Tonto Basin Ranger Station. The upper end of the lake is closed to water skiing (please observe buoys). Waters near developed sites and many coves are “No wake” areas. The direction of travel on the lake is counterclockwise. Maricopa County Sheriff Office, Arizona Game and Fish Department, and USDA Forest Service personnel enforce lake regulations. Please use trash receptacles when available, or PACK IT IN, PACK IT OUT!! Rules and regulations are posted at all fee station areas. Please read and observe. CAUTION: Rocks and other obstacles may be near the water surface. Be aware that motor boating involves various hazards, and people engaging in this activity assume the associated risks. Arizona State fishing license required to fish. Know the creel limits for the fish you take. Waters near developed sites and many coves are “No wake” areas. Rules and regulations are posted on bulletin boards. Please read and observe.

Closest Towns

Tonto Basin, Punkin Center



Available at Apache Lake Marina/Resort & various recreation sites around the lake.



The entire route is paved with the exception of the five-mile section of State Hwy. 88. From Mesa: Take the Beeline Highway/State Hwy.87 north for approximately 60 miles to the junction of State Hwy. 188. Turn right and follow State Hwy. 188 for 33 miles to the junction with State Hwy. 88. Turn right on State Hwy. 88 and drive past Roosevelt Dam. Follow State Hwy. 88 for 5 miles to Forest Road (FR) 183; turn right and continue an additional mile to the site.

From Claypool (between Globe & Miami: Take State Hwy. 188 northwest for 29 miles to the junction of State Hwy. 88. Follow State Hwy. 88 (it heads southwest and becomes an unpaved road) for 5 miles to FR 183; turn right and continue an additional mile to the site.

Information Center

Tonto Basin Ranger District 602-225-5395



SUP Paddle Boarding at Apache Lake

Kayak and SUP PaddleBoard Rentals

Riverbound Sports can supply all the equipment you need to get on the water starting at $40 a day. Check out our pricing and options for Paddleboard Rentals in Arizona.

Rent A Paddleboard or Kayak Now

So if you SUP about the seas of the Carribean or areas like this, you likely could not care about falling into the water.

If you’re searching to come out to Apache Lake at AZ to try out SUP for the very first time, then it might be another story. I love Apache Lake and could not be more thankful we’ve got it here in the city but it isn’t the cleanest body of water. That said I don’t have any problem paddling it at all.

Talking to individuals who are considering coming out paddling SUP together with us, many are concerned about falling into the water and they shouldn’t be.

The things is, it is highly, highly unlikely that you’re likely to fall in the water that your first moment. The majority of the days that I’ve dropped in the water were after I had been paddling for a couple weeks when I began working on pivot works & performing some other goofy stuff. If it’s your very first time, the chances are that you aren’t going to be attempting anything too mad. The boards which you’ll probably snore are around 34″ broad. That’s pretty wide. Race boards might be a great deal more tippy however they’re much thinner down to around 25″. I have been on a 27″ wide board (Surftech Bark Competitor) that has been definitely less secure but that’s unlikely to be the plank you paddle your initial time. 

The other people who I’ve seen have some equilibrium challenges were heavier people — like 250 lbs-ish. We’ve got some fairly large boards and the rentals in Apache Lake would be the exact same. Using those, you can certainly paddle safely if you’re about that weight. At that point though, a bit of balance does help. As the person to board ratio goes up, you will need a little more balance and skill.

Of course, some suggestions regarding SUP make a huge difference too. A number of the crucial ones we always share with individuals are:

Start out with a low center of gravity. We usually have family & friends start on their knees & then stand up since they feel comfortable.
Your balance is significantly better when you have the paddle in the water. It serves as another stage of balance/support. So keep paddling.
Balancing is also simpler when the board is shifting. Same thought as riding a bicycle. As the board gets moving, it gets increasingly steady.
It’s also a lot easier to equilibrium when the lake is still. The end comes up at the afternoons and then melts in the evenings. So snore ancient or later if it’s your very first time to enhance your chances of flat water. Also, assess the trees where you are when you are contemplating heading to the lake. If you find them blowing up top, there is likely a little chop on the lake.
The simplest approach to drop in is waiting for someone with your board in a halt and awaiting you. If you are a bit uncomfortable with your balance and you are out there and awaiting someone, fall down to you knees when you’re not paddling.
Wait a while or two before you try pivot turns.
So with this quit worrying about falling into Apache Lake and go SUP!


Bass Fishing At Apache Lake

This deep-canyon lake is a flooded section of the Salt River. In the upper six or eight miles, it looks and feels much more like a river than a lake. There is very little brush or vegetation in the lake, so rock and contours become the structure of choice for bass. There is a healthy population of largemouth bass, but the real attraction are the smallmouth. This lake produces quality smallmouth with 3 and 4-pounders common – and larger smallies not uncommon.


Thanks to its seclusion, Apache Lake is the perfect location for all watersport lovers. Don’t battle with the choppy waters of overcrowded lakes. Instead, opt for a slightly longer drive, and enjoy glassy waters perfect for wakeboarding, wakesurfing, waterskiing, and much more.