Martinez Lake, Arizona, USA

Also known as:  Lake Martinez

Welcome to the ultimate guide to Martinez Lake — things to do, where to stay, fun facts, history, stats and more. Let’s dive in!

Topics we cover in this article:

Looking for Martinez Lake cabins or other accommodations? Save time and use this interactive map to find, compare and book at the best rates. Or explore our comprehensive list of favorite travel partners.

All About Martinez Lake

Located 35 miles north of Yuma in Arizona’s West Coast Region, Martinez Lake is a 640-acre freshwater lake that was created in 1955 as a fishing camp. Controlled by the Bureau of Reclamation, it is now a year-round resort that welcomes winter snowbirds, sightseers, fishermen, boaters, water skiers, and hunters. Martinez Lake is part of the Imperial Reservoir, which was completed in 1935 with the construction of the Imperial Dam on the Colorado River. Lake Martinez is one of the many lakes along this route; other lakes include Lake Powell, Lake Mead, Lake Mojave, and Lake Havasu.

The Imperial Dam is part of the All-American Canal System, located in southeastern California, consisting of the 80-mile-long All-American Canal and the 123-mile-long Coachella Canal. Water diversions from the Colorado River at Imperial Dam provide irrigation water for nearly 600,000 acres of land in the Imperial and Coachella Valleys. The Imperial Irrigation District has constructed small hydroelectric power plants along the canal to provide electricity throughout the area.

With an average depth of 10 feet, Martinez Lake is ideal for fishing, boating, swimming, water skiing, and jet skiing. Anglers should expect to catch largemouth bass, catfish, bluegill, crappie, tilapia, whiskerfish, and striped bass. There are jetties and docks in the lake creating a bass fisherman’s dream; flooded flats, tree branches and stumps provide additional fish habitat. Cabins and vacation homes along the shore have spectacular views of the lake and surrounding desert, making it a wonderful place to relax and while-away the day.

Located just to the north of Martinez Lake is the Imperial Wildlife Refuge, a 55,000-acre refuge that fronts both sides of the Colorado River for almost 35 miles. As a stopping point for migratory birds, the refuge is home to 235 species of all types of birds. Other wildlife includes deer, big horn sheep, wild horses, wild burros, coyotes, raccoons, fox, beaver, muskrat, and bobcats. Activities in the area include canoe and boat rentals on Martinez Lake, historic boat trips on the Yuma River, hunting for quail, duck, geese, and deer, and a day at Picacho Peak State Park. Spend the day at Picacho hiking through the desert or visiting the exhibits and gift shop at the visitor center. Facilities include picnic areas, ramadas, grills, campsites, restrooms, showers, and historical markers along the trails.

There are two seasons in this part of Arizona: the high water period from spring through Thanksgiving, and the low water period from November to spring. While Martinez Lake is considered an oasis in the middle of the desert, there are other smaller lakes nearby including Hidden Shores, Ice Box, and Bullet Hole. All may be a bit crowded during the high water season, so call ahead for reservations in any vacation home or lodging.

While visiting Martinez Lake don’t forget to visit Yuma, the winter vegetable capital of the United States. Yuma is close to Kofa and Cibola national wildlife refuges and the Imperial Sand Dunes, the largest mass of sand dunes in the state. The dunes extend for more than 40 miles in a band averaging 5 miles wide. Yuma has a restored riverfront featuring the Yuma Territorial Prison State Park where you can walk through stone cell blocks like the prisoners of the old west, and the Yuma Quartermaster Depot where forts were resupplied in the Southwest.

With several launch sites on Martinez Lake, it is the ideal place to bring your boat for a day of fishing, waterskiing, or just hanging out. The lake, which is well developed with vacation rentals, restaurants, stores, and campgrounds, offers leisure boat rentals, tours, and river trips.

Things to Do at Martinez Lake

  • Vacation Rentals
  • Fishing
  • Boating
  • Swimming
  • Canoeing
  • Jet Skiing
  • Water Skiing
  • Camping
  • Campground
  • Picnicking
  • Cabin Rentals
  • Hiking
  • Horseback Riding
  • Hunting
  • Wildlife Viewing
  • Birding
  • State Park

Fish Species Found at Martinez Lake

  • Bass
  • Black Bass
  • Bluegill
  • Catfish
  • Crappie
  • Largemouth Bass
  • Striped Bass
  • Sunfish
  • Tilapia

Find Places to Stay at Martinez Lake

If you’re considering a Martinez Lake lake house rental or hotel, we’ve made it super easy to find the best rates and compare vacation accommodations at a glance. Save time using this interactive map below.

Recommended Sites to Book a Martinez Lake Vacation

If you want to take a deeper dive to find waterfront lake cabins, cottages, condos, hotels or resorts, check out our favorite Martinez Lake lodging partners.

  • VRBO – Use VRBO to find the perfect lake rental home, condo, cabin, cottage or other vacation property.
  • – One of the world’s leading digital travel companies, connects travelers to everything from cozy B&Bs to luxury resorts.
  • Expedia – Expedia is a popular online travel agency with more than 140,000 lodging properties worldwide.
  • – With more than 325,000 hotels in 19,000-plus locations, is an industry leader in online accommodations.
  • TripAdvisor – Read traveler reviews and compare prices on hotels, vacation rentals and more at TripAdvisor.
  • Trivago – Trivago helps travelers compare deals for hotels and other accommodations from a variety of booking sites.
  • KAYAK – KAYAK scours hundreds of other travel websites at once to find the best deals on hotels and other travel-related services.
  • RVshare –RVshare connects travelers interested in renting a motorhome with owners who have RVs to rent.
  • CampSpot – Campspot offers premier RV resorts, family campgrounds, cabins and glamping options across North America.

Note: These are affiliate links so we may earn a small commission if you book through them. While there is no extra cost to you, it helps provide resources to keep our site running (thank you)! You can read our full disclosure policy here.

Martinez Lake Statistics & Helpful Links


We strive to keep the information on LakeLubbers as accurate as possible. However, if you’ve found something in this article that needs updating, we’d certainly love to hear from you! Please fill out our Content Correction form.

Shop Martinez Lake Gifts

Custom Lake Tumblers

Captain / First Mate Custom 20 oz Tumbler

Custom Lake T Shirt

Personalized My Boat My Rules Unisex T-Shirt

Custom Lake Coffee Mug - On Lake Time

On Lake Time Custom Coffee Mug – 11oz or 15oz


Advertise Your Martinez Lake Business or Vacation Rental

LakeLubbers will soon offer businesses the opportunity to advertise and homeowners and property managers the ability to showcase their vacation rentals to the thousands of lake lovers searching our site daily. If you would like additional details, please contact our advertising team.


Looking for the Martinez Lake Forum?

LakeLubbers previously offered visitors the ability to create accounts and participate in lake forums. When we overhauled the site’s content management system in 2021 we had to disable those features. We’re evaluating options and welcome your comments and feedback here. We also encourage you to join our lake-lovin’ community on Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest!

Martinez Lake Photo Gallery

New photos coming soon!

Spread the word! Share our Martinez Lake article with your fellow Lake Lubbers!