Best Big Puddle

Arivaca Lake

Since Best of Tucson this year follows a circus theme, Arivaca Lake should fall in the category of livestock judging, as the once-mighty "Hawg Pen"--once considered a dead lake south of town--continues to roar back to life. Arivaca, a 90-surface-acre bowl of water with big bass ("big" being relative, but in this case, they range from 10-12 pounds), suffered flooding and algae infestation that destroyed most of the fish population several years ago. But re-stocking efforts in the fall of 2001 are proving successful. The overgrown puddle has been around, under Game and Fish management, since 1969. "Arivaca produces bigger fish faster than any other southern Arizona lake," says retired G&F Fisheries Program Manger Will Hayes, who managed the waterway for more than 20 years. Arivaca Lake lacks services. Pit toilets and a level piece of ground to set up camp are the only amenities awaiting the end of a bumpy ride over a gravel road when the pavement runs out just outside of the town. The remote location and lack of conveniences means fewer visitors and reduced angling pressure. If you're seeking quiet, you'll find it here.