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Northeast of Tucson in the Coronado National Forest, between mile posts 17 and 18 on the Catalina Highway is Rose Canyon Lake, the only lake in the Santa Catalina District that is managed for recreational fishing. Constructed in 1959, it is relatively small (7 acres) and is tucked away in a picturesque stand of mature ponderosa pines high on the slopes of the Santa Catalina Mountains. A paved road through Rose Canyon Campground leads to a small parking area a short walk from the water. Anglers fish in the lake throughout the summer, though rainbow trout are stocked only during the cooler months of the season. Fish large enough to catch and take home generally are released in the lake about once a month from early May through the end of June, when water temperatures become a little too warm for these cold water fish. In mid-September, stocking resumes after water temperatures moderate a bit and continues for another couple of months. All stocking and fishing regulations for Rose Canyon lake, as well as all the other lakes within the Coronado are managed by Arizona Game and Fish.
This is a beautiful place, and many people come here to enjoy the other features that it offers in addition to fishing. Tall trees and rocky slopes line the shore and are reflected in the lake’s sheltered waters. Rose Canyon Lake Trail #37 leads around the water’s edge and provides good opportunities for photography, bird watching, and just plain strolling. A few downed logs close to the water provide good places to sit and enjoy a snack or a bit of quiet meditation.
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