Discover The Deepest Lake In Arizona

Written by Cindy Rasmussen
Updated: August 2, 2023
Share on:


Key Points:

  • Lake Powell might be a little deeper, but the drought has now made Lake Mead the deepest lake in Arizona at 532 feet.
  • Lake Mead is a very popular destination for boating, water sports, swimming, fishing, and more, although current drought conditions have left some boat ramps and docks on dry land.
  • Lake Mead is great for fishing rainbow trout, largemouth bass, catfish, and crappie.
Infograph for Lake Mead, deepest lake in AZ
Lake Mead was created by the Hoover Dam on the Colorado River.

About a third of Arizona is arid, meaning it is dry and cannot support much vegetation. But the rest of Arizona is a mix of humid and semi-arid climates with a varied landscape. The Colorado River runs through the vast red rock slopes of the Grand Canyon. When the river reaches Nevada, it runs into the Hoover Dam. The Hoover Dam on the Colorado forms Lake Mead, but is it the deepest lake in Arizona? Lake Powell is another large reservoir in the state, but both bodies of water have had record low water levels recently due to climate change and drought. Which one of these lakes is the deepest now? Read on to find out everything about the deepest lake in Arizona.

What Is The Deepest Lake In Arizona?

Lake Mead

Lake Mead is 112 miles long, creating a total of 759 miles of shoreline.


The deepest lake in Arizona is Lake Mead. Lake Mead is also the biggest reservoir in the United States. Located along the Colorado River on the Nevada border, the lake is made by the Hoover Dam. The Lake is 112 miles long, creating a total of 759 miles of shoreline. This massive lake is 162,916 acres and at capacity holds 30,167,000 square feet of water. However, it is currently nowhere near capacity due to recent droughts and climate change.

How Deep Is The Deepest Lake In Arizona?

The deepest lake in Arizona is 532 feet deep. In comparison, if you sunk the Seattle Space Needle in Lake Mead, just the top 70 feet or so would poke out.

How Does Lake Mead Compare To Lake Powell?

Man on Boat in Arizona

Drought has caused Lake Powell to lose over 100 feet of depth.


Lake Powell used to have a maximum depth of 558 feet but as of August 2022 it is only 404.05 feet deep. Both lakes are comparably deep, but the drought is affecting the whole Colorado River Watershed.

Could Lake Mead Dry Up?

Technically Lake Mead could dry up. In fact, other lakes like the Aral Sea have shrunk to almost nothing. The water in Lake Mead needs to maintain a certain level or officials will have to turn off the Hoover Dam. This would end hydroelectric power to millions of residents. If it gets even lower, they have to stop releasing water downstream altogether. Measured by elevation, the full pool level is 1,219 feet. The level at which hydroelectric power would have to be suspended is 950 feet, and the “dead pool” level at which they can’t release any water is 895 feet.

What Is The Elevation Level Of Lake Mead Today?

The current elevation level is 1,044.14 (November 17, 2022). On January 1, 2022 it was 1066 with the lowest levels in late July and early August. One of the Drought Contingency Plans suggests waters from the upstream Flaming Gorge in Utah be released into the Colorado River to ease some of the water level issues. 500,000 acre-feet of water has been and will continue to be released between May 2022 and April 2023.

Is Lake Mead A Recreational Lake?

Lake Mead is a very popular destination for boating, water sports, swimming, fishing, and more. The drought conditions have put a damper in the tourism industry this season. Many of the boat ramps and docks were left on dry land as the lake receded. Lake Mead is only about 30 miles from Vegas, so it is a great outlet for visitors as well as locals. Renting houseboats was popular, so tourists could explore areas along the Colorado that are out of reach by land.

What Kind Of Fish Are In Lake Mead?

Full frame of silver / blue striped bass in water, appears to be an aquarium. very blue background.

Striped bass are a mainstay in Lake Mead.


The fishing in Lake Mead is excellent. Striped bass are the mainstay, but other fish are abundant as well. Good-sized rainbow trout, largemouth bass, catfish, and crappie are all present in the lake. The Willow Beach Fishing Pier and the Katherine Landing Fishing Pier are great options for fishing from land but taking out your boat to explore the 290 square miles of water is the best way to find the perfect fishing hole.

Are There Any Fishing Records On Lake Mead?

Surprisingly, there are no fishing records from Mead in Arizona but there are a couple from the Nevada side. The biggest largemouth bass was snagged in Lake Mead on March 8, 1999, by Michael R. Geary. His bass weighed in at 12 pounds and was more than 2 feet long at 26 inches. There is a tie for the biggest silver salmon but based on the stats you have to ask if it is the same fish caught twice! On May 9, 1974, William Musso reeled in an 8-pound 12-ounce silver salmon. Fast forward five months and on October 25, 1974, Charles W. Caskey caught an 8-pound 12-ounce silver salmon! Caskey’s salmon was just a tad longer than Musso’s, which would make sense if it had five months to grow.

How Does The Deepest Lake In Arizona Compare To The Deepest Lake In The US?

Crater Lake National Park - Winter

Crater Lake in Oregon is almost 2,000 feet deep!

©Matthew Connolly/

The deepest lake in Arizona, Lake Mead, is 532 feet deep. In the US, the deepest lake sits in an old volcano in southern Oregon. Crater Lake is almost 2,000 feet deep! At the deepest point, it is 1,949 feet deep. What makes Crater Lake unique is that it is located atop an old volcano. There are no inlet rivers or streams, so the water is crystal clear. That is the origin of the lake’s signature blue waters. The National Park Service that manages the lake established strict rules to be sure no invasive species are introduced that might compromise the ecosystem. No gear is allowed in the lake, such as scuba equipment, snorkeling fins, or inner tubes. Although you can fish, you cannot use live lures or bait.

How Does The Deepest Lake In Arizona Compare To The Deepest Lake In The World?

Lake Baikal, Russia

Lake Baikal is 5,387 feet deep and contains the most freshwater by volume of any lake in the world.

©Nikitin Victor/

The deepest lake in the world is Lake Baikal in Russia. It is located in southern Siberia and is considered a rift lake, meaning it is on the edge of continental plates, which once shifted and created a large hole essentially. The hole filled with water and that is what is now Lake Baikal. The lake is 5,387 feet deep and contains the most freshwater by volume of any lake in the world. The lake has some unique animals and fish species, including the earless Baikal seal which can only be found in Lake Baikal. These seals are a little smaller than a harbor seal and have adapted to live exclusively in freshwater.

The lake is a thriving habitat for a variety of fish including grayling, whitefish, and omul. Other fish include the Siberian sturgeon, which can live to be 60 years old! Lake sturgeon are the biggest species of fish in Lake Baikal with some reaching 6 feet long and 300 pounds!

Where Is Lake Mead, Arizona Located On A Map?

Lake Mead, located on the main stem of the Colorado River, is on the Arizona-Nevada border and is about 25 miles east of Las Vegas and 95 miles west of the Grand Canyon. Arizona is located in the southwestern region of the United States and is part of the four corners region, the only location in the United States where four states meet – in the southwest with Utah to the north, Colorado to the northeast, and New Mexico to the east. Arizona is also bordered by California to the west, Utah to the north, New Mexico to the east, Nevada to the northwest, and the Mexican states of Sonora and Baja California to the west.

The photo featured at the top of this post is ©

Share on:
About the Author

I'm a Wildlife Conservation Author and Journalist, raising awareness about conservation by teaching others about the amazing animals we share the planet with. I graduated from the University of Minnesota-Morris with a degree in Elementary Education and I am a former teacher. When I am not writing I love going to my kids' soccer games, watching movies, taking on DIY projects and running with our giant Labradoodle "Tango".

Thank you for reading! Have some feedback for us? Contact the AZ Animals editorial team.

  1., Available here:
  2., Available here:
  3., Available here:
  4., Available here:
  5., Available here:
  6., Available here: