Colorado River Northwest Fishing Report

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October 14th, 2009

LAKE POWELL — Report courtesy Wayne Gustaveson, Utah Division of Wildlife. Sept. 30, 2009
Lake Elevation: 3635. Water temp: 72-74 F.

In the last report the fall fishing pattern was explained. The pattern is all about shad and how game fish feed on the unusually abundant shad population. Shad have moved out of the open water into the backs of the coves where brush offers some relief from the relentless pursuit of predators. Predators hold in deeper water waiting for a feeding opportunity. Bass hold at 10 to 15 feet in close proximity to shad, while striped bass hold at the first deep break from 25-50 feet where water is cooler. Both species make frequent trips to the shallows to visit their dinner. This pattern will remain in place until water temperature cools enough to drive shad into deeper water. Expect shad to be in the backs of canyons through most of October depending on weather patterns.

Knowing shad location and striper feeding schedule gives anglers a starting point. Striper boils are not commonly working all the way to the thick brush in the far end of the canyon. Shad schools venture into open water to feed at first and last light. These open water and deeper shad are striper main targets of opportunity and not shad in 5-10 feet of water.

Find a short canyon near the main channel with shad along the shore where bottom depth is 20-40 feet. Canyons that fit this bill last week were Kane Creek and Kane Wash, Main Rock Creek, Rincon, Slick Rock, Knowles and Cedar Canyons. There were many other canyons with striper surface activity but these had significant boils reported at dawn or dusk.

Absence of visible boils should not be a deterrent. If conditions match the above habitat description, cast surface lures along the shoreline to create your own boils from stripers and bass that are looking up for an easy feeding opportunity.

Spooning striper schools seen on the graph at 40-60 feet is the best technique during most of the day. There are active striper schools in almost every canyon. They are easier to find in a short canyon like Rincon than in a long narrow canyon like Smith Fork. Just graph the areas where bottom depth is between 40 and 60 feet dropping spoons on all the fish traces within that zone.

Bass fishing with topwater lures around brush and shad in shallow water at the back of the canyon provides non stop morning and evening success. A surface popper worked slowly with frequent pauses is irresistible to 10-14 inch large and smallmouth bass. Bigger bass are feeding with stripers in the morning and evening boils.

Standard smallmouth techniques like bottom bouncing plastics baits on bare rocky points is not as effective as fishing topwater baits around shad and brush. All predators are keyed on shad now and shad live in or near brush. Adapt your fishing techniques to take advantage of the excellent fishing opportunities that currently exist. This may be the time to learn how to use surface lures or spinnerbaits even if your favorite technique is fishing with plastic along the bottom.


LEES FERRY Oct. 4, Lees Ferry Anglers by  Ted Welling
Oct. 4,  by: Ted Welling

Fly Fishing: Fall weather seems to have arrived, the flows are low and the fishing is reported as good. Flows are still 10,000 cfs and will remain at that rate until Nov. 1. We are fishing nymph rigs, dry flies & droppers, anchoring, drifting from the boat and wading as well. Anchoring above the riffle in the tail outs is producing a good number of fish. Wading the riffles is producing a good number of fish as well.

Same suspects, Zebra midges, laser midge, and the midge X,brassies, and San Juan worms.

Walk in: Word has it that this section is fishing well anglers are using the same bugs as up river. Dries –n- droppers, scuds, San Juan worms, and zebra midges. Anglers report fishing is productive from the boulder field all the way to the confluence. Fishing is more productive in the early morning and late afternoon.

Spin Fishing: I did a little spin fishing the past few days and did well.
I was using both a panther martin and a vibrax blue fox and I can’t tell you what worked better. Both did the trick. It was not on fire or nothing but, I was pleased. So, if you have been thinking of fishing,,,,,,,, C’mon down, fishing is good at lees ferry. There are a couple other lures that are working well, stop by the shop and I will put you on the right track. Ted

Visit www.leesferry.com for daily fishing reports and updates.

Fishing Synopsis and Forecast by Terry Gunn 9/28/09
Recent Fishing Conditions
:
Fall is in the air and the weather is near perfect with cool nights and warm days. The current water flows are a constant 10,200-cfs, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. These flows began on Sept. 1 and will continue until Nov.1 when normal fluctuating flows will return. This is the second year of these experimental flows and we feel that they are preferable to the extremely low fluctuating flows that normally occur this time of year.

In years past, the flows in September and October have been the lowest flows of the year and have reset the “green line” to the 5,000-cfs level from the 12,000-cfs level of the summer flows. This has effectively reduced the food supply in the river by a significant amount. Then the higher flows of November and December arrive; but because of the declining sun angle and the shade of the cliffs, photosynthesis and aquatic production in the river declines and the areas of the river that were desiccated by the low flows do not regenerate until the following spring. This will not happen this year because of the steady flows in September and October the green line will stay high.

Fishing has been good and relatively predicable. The midge hatches have been prolific and the fish are feeding on the emergers in both shallow and deep water. The current fish population is better than we have seen in many years with several different year classes present in good numbers and perfect physical condition. I cannot remember seeing such a diverse range in fish sizes; we are catching fish from 12-in to 20-in and everything in between.

You may remember from my previous reports my mention of our prolific spawn of 2007 and that the river was full of small fish that disappear from the time that they reach 3” and reappear when they are 12” long…well, they showed up in mass immediately following the 8,000 constant flow in June. They are everywhere! For the first time in many years we are catching fish of all sizes, from 10’’ to 20” which is typical of a very healthy river. The only downside is that our average fish size has dramatically decreased; the river is still chock-full of big fish but the challenge is getting your fly past the smaller and not so smart little fish.

The current health of the river is outstanding…better than it has been in years. Last year’s above normal runoff into Lake Powell delivered and stirred up countless tons of nutrients into the water and this nutrient rich water is passing through the dam and into the river. Algae is everywhere in the river and this provides food and habitat for the aquatic food base that the trout depend upon. Lake Powell rose more than 30-ft this year which is good news for the fishing and all of the people in the southwest who depend on this water for household use and electrical generation. The rising lake and the nutrient load will guarantee this trend of healthy trout populations and good fishing will continue for the next several years.

The turning point and the beginning for the recovery of the Lees Ferry fishery occurred in 2005 when Lake Powell had the first above normal snow-pack and runoff year since 1997. Last year we had almost exactly the same conditions. The above normal winter snow pack and runoff into Lake Powell in 2007-08, stirred up a tremendous amount of nutrient laden sediment that had accumulated at the lake mouths of the Colorado River, San Juan River, and the Green River. Lake Powell elevation increased 43-ft. and the rivers flowing into the lake mixed the sediment and nutrients into the lake water. It usually takes several months before we see this mixing affect. The increased nutrient load in the lake and river is evident this spring by the dramatic increase in aquatic vegetation and aquatic organisms throughout the river.

For those of you that remember what the fishing was like in 1999 and 2000…you should be as excited as I am about the current conditions and what the increased nutrient load should do for the fishing at Lees Ferry.

Lots of stuff happening at the Ferry and it is all good!

Recent Fishing: With the steady water flows we are wading the riffles, drifting from the boat, and anchoring in the deep tail-outs of the riffles. Fishing techniques have been mixed between using a “heavy nymph rig” which is a 9 to 12-ft leader, strike indicator, split shot, and dual fly rig, or a “double tiny” rig with a long leader and 2 bead-head midges on 7X, or a dry and dropper rig. I have been using 6 and 7X fluorocarbon tippet and feel that the lighter tippet results in a much higher success rate than say 5X. Anglers might argue that they break fish off on such light tippet but my argument is that in order to break a fish off, you first have to first get a fish to eat your fly and you are going to get more eaters with lighter tippet than heaver tippet.

When wading the riffles you need long dead drifts. There are 2 types of drifts; perfect dead drifts and all other drifts. Perfect dead drifts catch fish at Lees Ferry; all other drifts don’t catch fish here. You get a dead drift by mending the line, then throwing slack line on the water. If your line is straight from your rod tip to your indicator or you move your indicator during the drift, then your drift is not perfect and will not catch fish. The key to success is to stay over fish, get the flies down to the bottom, and get a long, perfect dead drift.

The high flow experiment, 4/08, was basically a non event as far as the fishery is concerned. It came and went with few visible changes to the river or the fishery. For more details and to see my complete comments go here: http://coloradoriverconservancy.org/

For details on Lake Powell conditions and snow-pack, go here: http://lakepowell.water-data.com/

For a real time graphic view of water releases and ramp rates go here: http://waterdata.usgs.gov/az/nwis/uv?09380000

The AZ Game and Fish Department has detected whirling disease in a very small percentage of Lees Ferry trout that were collected for a random sampling. A more recent sampling turned up no sign of the disease, which may mean that it was a “one time” exposure, where the disease was not established or that the disease is present but at a very low prevalence.  Anglers should still use caution in cleaning their equipment both before and after they have fished here or in other waters. For more information visit: http://www.whirling-disease.org


LAKE MEAD –Lake Mead water level have remained fairly steady. The current level is around 1,094 feet above msl. The striper bite has been fair. Fishing under submersible lights at night can yielded large numbers of fish.  The lights are more productive when used around the new moon, on dark nights.  The next new moon is Oct. 18.  Most stripers being caught are in the 1-pound range, with occasional fish up to two pounds.  Stripers are being caught 12 to 60 feet of water.  Catfish are biting well on anchovies.  Largemouth bass are being caught in isolated coves around the lake.

Launching conditions at South Cove will continue to deteriorate as the water level continues to drop. The concrete ramp the National Park Service completed last year is one lane with cones marking the edges. Use caution not to go off the sides of the metal extensions at either side. National Park Service is working to keep the ramp open.  Temple Bar Launch Ramp is two lanes.  Launching conditions in general are better at Temple Bar than South Cove.

Important notice: With the discovery of invasive quagga mussels in Mead, Mohave and Havasu, proper cleaning of all watercraft is critical to help prevent the spread of these invaders.  Please drain and dry your livewell and bilge on land. Drain all the water you can from your engine. Also, inspect your vessel and trailer, removing any visible mussels, but also feel for any rough or gritty spots on the hull. These may be young mussels that can be hard to see.

For more information, go to the Arizona Game and Fish Department’s web pages at azgfd.gov or visit http://100thmeridian.org/.

LAKE MOHAVE – The lake level is around 633 feet above msl.  Fishing for stripers and catfish seems to be fair. Stripers and catfish are being caught still fishing with anchovies. Submersible lights are very effective for stripers when used on dark nights.  The next new moon is October 18th. Bass are located both in shallow water and on fish habitat in 15-20 ft.

Biologists from both Arizona Game and Fish Department and Nevada Division of Wildlife with the help of volunteers, National Park Service and Bureau of Reclamation personnel have continued to install fish habitat in Carp Cove, Box Cove and now Shoshone.  Fish habitat consists of PVC structures, wood pallet structures, tamarisk bundles, and some Christmas trees. The largemouth, bluegill and catfish are really utilizing the new structures. Additional habitat will be added at several locations over the next two years. These structures are fish magnets.

There is a wheelchair accessible fishing pier just south of the main launch ramp at Katherine’s Landing. If you fish Mohave and are having luck, please e-mail me at mchmiel@azgfd.gov so I can share your successes with others.

Important notice: With the discovery of invasive quagga mussels in Mead, Mohave and Havasu, proper cleaning of all watercraft is critical to help prevent the spread of these invaders. Please drain and dry your livewell and bilge on land. Drain all the water you can from your engine. Also, inspect your vessel and trailer, removing any visible mussels, but also feel for any rough or gritty spots on the hull. These may be young mussels that can be hard to see.

For more information, go to the Arizona Game and Fish Department’s web pages at www.azgfd.gov or visit http://100thmeridian.org/.

WILLOW BEACH – Trout are stocked every Friday. Trout anglers fishing from shore were catching trout on and around the pier area. Those successful at landing trout were fishing with salmon-egg scented Power Bait, flies, and Power worms.

Important notice: With the discovery of invasive quagga mussels in Mead, Mohave and Havasu, proper cleaning of all watercraft is critical to help prevent the spread of these invaders. Please drain and dry your livewell and bilge on land. Drain all the water you can from your engine. Also, inspect your vessel and trailer, removing any visible mussels, but also feel for any rough or gritty spots on the hull. These may be young mussels that can be hard to see. If you fish Willow beach and are having luck, please e-mail me at mchmiel@azgfd.gov so I can share your successes with others.
For more information, go to the Arizona Game and Fish Department’s web pages at www.azgfd.gov or visit http://100thmeridian.org/.

TOPOCK MARSH – The water level is up and the bite has been fair. Both bass and catfish are biting. Catfish are biting on anchovies and night crawlers.

You can access the marsh by boat at the North Dike, Catfish Paradise, and Five-Mile Landing. All three also provide plenty of area for shoreline fishing too. For more information on the marsh, contact the Havasu National Wildlife Refuge at (760) 326-3853 or go to http://www.fws.gov/southwest/refuges/arizona/havasu/index.html.

Important notice: With the discovery of invasive quagga mussels in Mead, Mohave and Havasu, proper cleaning of all watercraft is critical to help prevent the spread of these invaders. Please drain and dry your livewell and bilge on land. Drain all the water you can from your engine. Also, inspect your vessel and trailer, removing any visible mussels, but also feel for any rough or gritty spots on the hull. These may be young mussels that can be hard to see.

For more information, go to the Arizona Game and Fish Department’s web pages at www.azgfd.gov or visit http://100thmeridian.org/.

COLORADO RIVER BELOW DAVIS DAM – One angler reported catching good size trout and small stripers in the area of Veterans Bridge.  The striper bite has been pretty good.

Trout stocking resumed Tuesday Oct. 13.  Rainbow trout are stocked by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife service monthly. The fish are stocked in two locations; Davis Camp and near The Riverside. Trout fishing at the stocking sites is great immediately following the stockings, then the fish move out and you need to find them. Anglers typically report catching trout on the Arizona side across from the Riverside and off the shore of Davis Camp. USFWS will be stocking trout once a month from October until March. Remember to fish for trout, you need a trout stamp on Class A and Lifetime fishing licenses. The 2009 Class A Fishing License goes on sale for half price in November and December. Community Park is good place for the morning fishing. Anchovies work best for catching stripers, but you may also catch catfish and trout.

The water level will go up later in the day, but it will drop after sunset. Water levels on the river fluctuate, so be careful. You can check the Bureau of Reclamation Web site for flow predictions http://www.usbr.gov/lc/riverops.html before you go. If you fish the river below Davis Dam and are having luck, please e-mail me at mchmiel@azgfd.gov so I can share your successes with others.

Important notice: With the discovery of invasive quagga mussels in Mead, Mohave and Havasu, proper cleaning of all watercraft is critical to help prevent the spread of these invaders. Please drain and dry your livewell and bilge on land. Drain all the water you can from your engine. Also, inspect your vessel and trailer, removing any visible mussels, but also feel for any rough or gritty spots on the hull. These may be young mussels that can be hard to see.

For more information, go to the Arizona Game and Fish Department’s Web pages at www.azgfd.gov or visit http://100thmeridian.org/.

SOUTHEASTERN ARIZONA

HAVASU –No recent angler reports, but this is the time of year to experience topwater action for striped bass, smallouth bass and largemouth bass. Let us know how you do.

Sandpoint Fish Report for Oct. 1, 2009 — WELCOME BACK TO ALL THE SNOWBIRDS

Only one fish was turned in when I was on vacation last week

9-26 Jason Herring got a 40 and one half pound flathead catfish using anchovies at Jack Ass Cove.

will are open from 8am to 2 p.m. every day of the week. You can ring the buzzer on the gas dock to get gas from 2 p.m.-5 p.m.

Fishing Report provided to you by Karen Coats (Sandpoint Bait and Tackle Shop Supervisor)


Capt. Doyle’s Guiding Service: North Dyke in the Topock Marsh is seeing some smallmouth bass up to 3-pound being taken on a black and blue jig head with a trailer. Also producing action is jerkbait in silver and blue, crankbait in baby bass, and white spinnerbaits. South Dyke is quiet this time around. One LAKE
shore angler fishing under the pipeline in the Topock Gorge reaped 3 respectable stripers at day break on anchovy. A Golden Shores’ local boated a plump 4-pound line-side while trolling with a small Rapala. Later that day, he also caught a 2-pounder while still fished with cut bait. The smallmouth bass bite continues to be excellent. The fish are averaging between 1- and 3-pounds and can be taken on dark colored plastics. The catfish are ranging from 2- to 5-pounds and are hitting their favorite bait, the anchovy. Night crawlers and plastics continue to entice bluegill up to a pound.

Thanks,
Georgia

Sandpoint Fish Report for Sept.10, 2009

9-6 Ryan Lampercht of Peoria Az got 2 large mouth bass weight was 3 pounds and 3 and a half pounds using top water working up river from Sandpoint

9-7 Ryan Lampercht of Peoria Az got 10 large mouth bass up to 3 and a half pounds using frog buzz bait down at Bill Williams.

The little kids fishing in the marina are having fun catching all the blue gills.
They are using night crawlers.

Please note Bait and Tackle winter hours will start September 15 this year. We will be open from 8am to 2pm

Report provided by Karen Coats (Sandpoint Bait and Tackle Shop Supervisor)

ALAMO LAKE – Report courtesy Mark Knapp, Alamo Lake State Park.
Well folks, here’s the deal. For the last couple of weeks you have been reading articles that were outdated for the most part. Pretty much accurate, but a week late.  So I’m going start writing this a few days early and see if we can’t get some current information out to you.  O.K., today is Monday, Columbus Day, and I’m here. See, were off to a good start already!  Anglers reported bass fishing as fair this weekend.  Since the temperatures have dipped down into the nippy 90’s for highs, the boil action is pretty much over.   ou can still catch allot of fish throwing plastics. I still find that watermelon is a good color when all else fails. Right now I’m holding my own working main points in 2 to 15 foot of water.  I Texas rig every thing with a 1/4 ounce weight. I’m sure dropshotting will work too. The last few times I fished up by the dam it was pretty much a bust so I would suggest trying the mid to upper end of the lake.

I see a flotilla of boats every day just outside of Bollards Wash.  I’m not sure if there into crappie or bass.  My money is on bass.  Crappie fishing has been really slow this year.  I had one angler report that he caught 10 up by the bouy lines night fishing.   It will not be long before the day time crappie bite turns on.

Cat fishing is o.k. at best.  Shore fishing is slow.  Snakes are out.  Remember to kick it before you pick it up.  If it rattles, run! That pretty much covers fishing.

I want to take a minute and remind everyone not to leave fishing poles and tackle box’s out at night.  Times have changed. The days of leaving stuff out are over.  I have been working with La Paz County Sheriffs Deputies and were determined to catch anyone stealing stuff out of here, but again, put you stuff away. I will be mentioning this from time to time in up coming reports. It’s not to scare anyone.  I just don’t want to see anyone get ripped off. The lake level is at 1116ish. There still doing the pulse releases and shooting for 40 cfs.  I will be glad when they fix the bypass valve and can monitor the releases with a little more accuracy.  More than once this year I have launched my boat, looked at the shore line and thought,” you’ve got to be kidding me?”  Anyway, both ramps are still in operation at this time.  That’s all I got.  mark

OUTLOOK:
Alamo Lake:
The lake elevation continues to be good, presently at about 1,121.5 feet. Largemouth bass surveys conducted by AGFD in April indicate that bass are very abundant, although a large proportion of the population remains in the protected slot.  Fish are still in poorer condition than they were a year ago, which may be a result of low shad numbers. Fishing is expected to be good throughout the summer.

Channel catfish should be good to excellent throughout the summer. Alamo Lake is loaded with small channel catfish, especially at the upper end of the lake, but larger fish are present.  During the spring surveys, AGFD encountered far more channel catfish than usual, the majority in the 2-6 lb range, and they were in very good condition.  A hoop-netting survey specifically targeting channel catfish was conducted in early June, with abundant catfish captured, up to 7 pounds.  Based on the sampling, the most productive area appears to be on the western side of the lake, especially the middle third of the lake shoreline.

There are other fish present such as bluegill, redear sunfish and carp that are a lot of fun to catch.  All types of bait should work.  Large tilapia in the 5-6 pound range are abundant, and are an unexploited resource.  As the weather warms, shift from slowly working plastics in deeper water to crankbaits, spinnerbaits, and top-water lures for bass.  For channel catfish, any of the prepared catfish baits, as well as chicken livers and shrimp will work.  Occasionally channel catfish are even caught on bass lures.

Both of the boat ramps are useable at this time.  The store at the lake is now open, although fuel is not available.  The certified scale that was previously located at the Park office is now located in the store.  At the store you can get ice, snacks, fishing tackle and bait, as well as information on the fishing bring everything with you. If you run short of supplies, you might be able to pick it up at the Wayside Inn in Wayside, or in Wenden.

Lake Havasu & Topock Gorge:
Fishing for largemouth bass, as well as smallmouth bass, is expected to remain good through the summer. The size will range from 13 inches and up (remember, there is a 13-inch minimum size limit on the lower Colorado River), with an occasional fish greater than 5 pounds.

Striped bass fishing continues to be somewhat problematic this year, with catch rates far below what has been experienced the past couple of years.  Shad numbers are lower this year, which affects the striper fishing, as striped bass tend to concentrate mainly on shad.  Remember, shad schools move around, and populations tend to fluctuate, so spots that have been “hot” in the past may no longer be so if the shad have moved elsewhere, or are in lower numbers.  The majority of striped bass in Lake Havasu tend to be smaller fish of 1 to 2 pounds, but the occasional 20-30 pound fish is caught.

Channel catfish as well as bluegill and redear sunfish will be good to excellent.  Lake Havasu is well known for large (2-3 pound) redear sunfish, and with the proliferation of the quagga mussel in the lake, we may see larger numbers of large redears.  Redear sunfish are also known as “shellcrackers,” due to their preference for eating clams and mussels, so they may actually benefit from the presence of the invasive quagga mussel.  There have also been reports of crappie fishing picking up, a species that used to be sought after in the lake, but has declined in recent years.  Flathead catfish fishing should be fair at the lower end of the lake (Bill Williams River Arm) through the spring, although surveys in the fall indicated that they are taking up residence farther north in the lake than in the past. Flathead catfish can reach as high as 40 pounds or better in Lake Havasu. When fishing for them, select the interior points in the coves and the areas where artificial structure has been placed.

Carp fishing is likely to be poor, for some time into the future, depending on the final result of the Koi Herpes Virus outbreak currently affecting the carp in Lake Havasu.

Take precautions to make sure your boat and equipment is clean before leaving the water to make sure you don’t spread quagga mussels to other waters by accident.  This invasive species certainly has profound effects on water delivery and control structures, boat engines, and likely on fish populations.  Quaggas are abundant and widely distributed in Lake Havasu, but are absent from many of our interior lakes.  Help keep those lakes quagga-free.  Make sure your boat and trailer are free of the mussels, drain all bilge and livewells before leaving the area, and most importantly, let your boat bake in the sun for 3-5 days in the sun before you launch it at another lake.

Colorado River (Parker Strip Area, between Parker Dam and Headgate Rock):
Fishing is expected to be good to excellent for smallmouth bass, with fish over two pounds in size common. The best smallmouth bass fishing can be found in the upper half of the Parker Strip, while largemouth bass are more numerous in the lower half, in very respectable numbers. In addition, redear sunfish should also be good to excellent in the pound-plus sizes. AZGFD’s most recent surveys turned up good numbers of redear sunfish in the two-pound range. That is dinner-plate sized, folks! Channel and flathead catfish are always fair to good in this section of the Colorado River.

Take precautions to make sure your boat and equipment is clean before leaving the water to make sure you don’t spread quagga mussels to other waters by accident.

Colorado River (between Palo Verde Diversion Dam and Walter’s Camp):
This area should be fair for both smallmouth bass (in the channel) up river from the I-10 Bridge and largemouth bass (in the backwaters) throughout the entire area. Channel and flathead catfish are always fair to good in this section of the Colorado River. Most of the flathead catfish will be smaller ones, in the 2 to 5 pound size range, with an occasional fish over 20 pounds. Annual fisheries surveys this spring turned up several fish in the 40 to 50 pound range, so trophy flatheads are always a possibility. Look for large deep pools formed at eddies for the larger fish. The best time for fishing for both species of catfish will be all summer and on into the fall months. Generally, the hotter the weather is, the better the cat-fishing.  Nighttime is the best time to go after both species of catfish.

This section of the Colorado River, all the way down to Yuma, is where the invasive vegetative species known as Giant Salvinia is located.  Quagga mussels are also found here.  If using a boat, make sure that boats, live wells, engines, and trailers are clean before leaving the area.  The last thing that we want to have happen is the movement of invasive species to other waters.

Colorado River (between Walter’s Camp and Picacho State Park):
This section of the Colorado River is relatively remote, and can only be accessed by boat from either end. Fishing is expected to be good to excellent for flathead catfish with sizes reaching over 40 pounds. The best time will be summer and on into the fall months. The hotter the temperature the better the fishing is. The various backwaters will be good for largemouth bass and other sunfish (bluegill and redear). Other species available in the main river are smallmouth bass, channel catfish, and striped bass.

This section of the Colorado River, all the way down to Yuma, is where the invasive vegetative species known as Giant Salvinia is located.  Quagga mussels are also found here.  If using a boat, make sure that boats, live wells, engines, and trailers are clean before leaving the area.  The last thing that we want to have happen is the movement of invasive species to other waters.

Colorado River (between Picacho State Park and Imperial Dam):
This area is expected to be good to excellent for largemouth bass, channel catfish, and flathead catfish. Bass and channel catfish in excess of 5 pounds are relatively numerous, along with flathead catfish as large as 40 pounds. Our survey this spring turned up an 89-pound monster that should still be lurking in the waters where it was found. Bluegill are also present in the various backwaters. Occasional striped bass will be caught in the main river channel, especially near Imperial Dam. Fishermen did quite well on small stripers this spring between Martinez Lake and Imperial Dam.

Colorado River (between Laguna and Morelos dams):
This area will be good for largemouth bass and flathead catfish. Accessing the water can be a problem, as river flows are much lower than historically, and launching a boat can be a challenge. Accessibility to the river is dependent on the amount of water being released upstream. A small shallow-draft boat or float tube should get you into some good fishing. Bass in excess of 5 pounds are common, and larger ones definitely exist. Flathead catfish over 20 pounds are also a good bet in the deeper pools. The lower end has had some dredging work done, and larger boats may be able to get on the river in that area.

Because of the increase in border issues and illegal activity on the lower end of this stretch of the river, we recommend using extreme caution while fishing the area from Pilot Knob to Morelos Dam.

Regional Hot Spots:
Alamo Lake will continue to be the hot spot for largemouth bass and channel catfish.  Since there appears to be an overabundance of small bass and channel catfish in the lake at present, we recommend keeping as many of the smaller bass and catfish as you can legally possess in order to try and reduce the population a little.  Remember, though, an advisory on mercury contamination is in effect for Alamo Lake, so refer to your fishing regulations for recommended consumption rates.  Next choice would be Lake Havasu for large and smallmouth bass and redears, Parker Strip for smallmouth bass and redear sunfish, and the Colorado River below Walter’s Camp for flathead catfish.  Our surveys in May revealed that there is a very impressive population of flathead catfish in the lower Imperial Division between Picacho State Park and Imperial Dam.  Expect many in the 5-10 pounds size class, but we know of at least one state record lurking in those waters.
If you need any additional information don’t hesitate to contact the Yuma Regional office at (928) 342-0091, and we will be happy to accommodate you.

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