Safford Ranger District
711 14th Avenue, Suite D
Safford, AZ 85546
Photo by Monika Ragland
More about Frye Mesa Reservoir Lake
When high-elevation Riggs Flat Lake atop the Pinaleños is snowed in and covered with ice, trout anglers who come to the Safford District can still find a place to fish at Frye Mesa Reservoir. Lower winter temperatures and longer winter nights cool the waters of this small body of water surrounded by Sonoran Desert sufficiently, so that the Arizona Game and Fish Department can stock it with rainbow trout.
Stocked with rainbow trout (December-February)
Scenic desert setting
A valid Arizona fishing license and trout stamp (available at outdoor stores around the state) is required for all anglers 14 years of age and older. Six trout is the daily bag limit and the possession limit. Using live bait fish is prohibited. During summer, the water becomes too warm for trout.
Directions: Drive northwest from Safford to Thatcher on U.S. Hwy 70. Turn left, (south) on Stadium Street and follow it to Forest Road 103. Drive about 10 miles on FR 103 to Frye Mesa Reservoir. This road is very rough in spots and requires a high clearance type 2-wheel drive vehicle.
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Hiking and Walking Trails
Frye Mesa Reservoir Lake has the following hiking and walking trails available to the public.
Frye Canyon Trail #36
About a half-mile beyond the reservoir, at the end of FR 103, the Frye Canyon Trail #36 heads out toward the upper slopes of the mountain.
If the fish aren’t biting, you can always take a hike.Because there are usually plenty of songbirds to watch along Frye Canyon Trail, and good views of both desert and mountain scenery to enjoy, it is one of the more popular trails on the Safford Ranger District. For much of its length the Frye Canyon Trail follows an old road bed along a gently sloping course through a pleasant riparian setting. Sycamores, cottonwoods, willows and other water-loving trees and shrubs hug the creek, while just beyond the area nourished by the stream’s flow the bristling and brittle plants of the Sonoran desert hold sway. As you wander along you may occasionally lose the trail among the rocks; however, if you remember that the route basically follows the streambed and keep a watchful eye out for traces of a pathway, you can usually find it again rather easily.
As the canyon steepens nearer the mountain, the trail crosses onto the ridge for the last few yards of climbing before it intersects the Round the Mountain Trail #302. A now abandoned ranger station named Inception was once located here and the area still retains that name on Forest recreation maps. The Ash Ridge Trail #327 also intersects the Frye Canyon Trail about two thirds of the way between the trailhead and the Round the Mountain junction. Both of these trails provide alternate access to Frye Canyon and possibilities for extended trips.
Length: 2.8 Miles
Access: Drive northwest from Safford to Thatcher on U.S. Hwy 70. Turn left, (south) on Stadium Street and follow it to Forest Road 103. Drive about 10 miles on FR 103 to Frye Mesa Reservoir. This road is very rough in spots and requires a high clearance type 2-wheel drive vehicle.
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Other Water Recreation options
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Dankworth Pond State Park is three miles south of Roper Lake.
Hot springs, river rafting, birdwatching, and miles of trails make this National Conservation Area popular among those in the know.
Riggs Flat Lake is located at the end of Swift Trail, a road that winds along the top of the Pinaleño Mountains.
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The San Carlos Apache Reservation requires a permit and has many guides for hire