Arizona Bass Fishing Spots

Fishing for Bass on Saguaro Lake with Cliff Tenberg

Saguaro Lake is a popular Arizona bass fishing spot near Phoenix. Cliff Tenberg who is an accomplished angler talks about how he approaches catching bass on Saguaro Lake.

How long have you been bass fishing Saguaro Lake? 

I have been fishing Saguaro Lake since the very early 80’s. I fish there at least monthly year round. During the spring months, I am there more often however. Also for tournaments.

Describe Saguaro Lake from a bass fishing perspective for someone who has never fished it before.

Saguaro is a man made reservoir on the Salt River chain that has a marina and a couple of Tonto National Forrest approved launch ramps. The main lake and the upper river channel provide varying habitat that include tullies, grass mats, rip rap and rocky humps and points.

On a scale of 1 to 10 with 1 being very easy to 10 being very tough, how do you rate the difficulty level of bass fishing on Saguaro?

Overall I would say 6 or 7 depending on the time of the year and levels of Golden Algae blooms that have affected the lakes in recent years. Certain times of the year it’s a 1. Other times it’s closer to the other end of the spectrum.

Does the lake get a lot of recreational boating traffic?

A lake in Arizona? Lol. All kidding aside, there is a tremendous amount of recreational traffic on all of our lakes and Saguaro is one of them with the easiest access. The lake is highly pressured. Having an arsenal and knowing what to do with it helps. There are places to hide from the traffic…up the river channel and inside some of the pockets and coves that are no wake zones.

Cliff with Two Typical Saguaro Lake Largemouth Bass

What do you consider a good 5 fish limit on the Lake? 

10 pounds. Saguaro has a healthy population of 3 plus pound fish. Personally my best day I’d say was a recreational day, we started at sun up and only fished for a couple of hours. But landed a 6.5 on Zara Spook and 4 other 4 plus pounders on spinnerbaits and a crankbait. It was perfectly overcast for morning topwater and we had fish post spawn feeding.

What are the primary forms of vegetation and/or structure on the lake?

Tullies, grass mats, rip rap and rocky humps and points. You can find bass pretty shallow most times of the year here. In the colder weather months, jigging a spoon on schooling fish in deeper water is popular. I personally, am not good at it or patient enough for spooning. I still fish fairly shallow, just smaller baits and slower presentations in the “cold.”

What do you consider the best time of year to target big fish on the Lake? 

Without question during the spawn you will see a large number of huge fish on beds. Our water is pretty clear here and sight fishing “tanks” is perfect in the Arizona spring time! Saguaro is known for having good numbers of quality sized fish, and they can be targeted year round.

What are your favorite baits to throw on the Lake

I love the top water bite. I’ve had recent success with a Whopper Plopper and the Zara Spook. But if it’s not a topwater bite, which it’s not most of the time. My go to favorite is a Vibrating Wobble Jig from Phenix Baits with a Zoom Chunk trailer. I personally have caught more quality fish with it in the last 2 years than anything else I throw! 

Overall, what are 5 pieces of advice that you have for bass anglers fishing Saguaro Lake? 

  1. Never pass up a point, no matter the depth.
  2. When the water is moving through the river channel… so are the bait fish
  3. 3. Night fishing and early morning bites are good most of the year4.
  4. Be versatile, even out of the box due to the pressure.
  5. Learn to be an effective drop shotter. Saguaro can be tough due to the fishing pressure and recreational traffic. So be willing to try different techniques. One day  they will hit every reaction bait you throw, and the next day they won’t. When all else is failing, drop shot usually will get you bit.
Good Day on Saguaro Lake

Who do you pro staff for?

I pro staff for Enigma Fishing, Vicious Fishing, Glo Pro Lures, X Zone Lures, Phenix Baits, Amphibia, Linecutterz and Connect Scale. I staff for these companies because their products work and help me fill the livewell. I enjoy promoting these products because of their quality and performance. I stand behind them as if they were my company.

Thank you Cliff. Will be following on Instagram @cliffy___t4.