Southwestern Arizona

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February 28th, 2008
Southwestern Arizona

LAKE HAVASU – The striper bite is fair to moderate with the best times being pre-dawn and mid morning and reports of night time fishing are revealing larger catches of stripers in the 10-15-pound range. These after dark hour fish are being caught on white or glow in the dark 5-inch Sassy Shads or 5-inch paddle tail Bass Assassins. To recharge your glow-in-the-dark baits, flash them with a high intensity flash light or flash from a camera. During the daytime hours, switch to slow-trolling anchovies in the 25- to 30-foot range. Reports of recent catches have been at Site Six, Three dunes (south end of the Lake) and at Havasu Landing. Try slow-trolling from Havasu landing to the mouth of the river on the California shoreline in 15-30 feet of water, or from Windsor North to the mouth of the River in the same depth.

The large and smallmouth bass fishing is fair right now, however the bite is getting better daily and is generally best in the early morning before the sun fully rises. Try using crankbaits in the early morning and switching to soft plastics when the suns up. These fish are beginning a transition process of their pre spawn stage and can be caught in 10 to 20 feet of water off rocky points with deep water nearby. Try baits that imitate the natural forage in the lake such as crawdad or shad colored lures.
If you’re fishing the backwaters up North in the river, jigs and Senkos are working well. The lake is very low right now so caution must be taken when entering these areas as the water fluctuates with the course of the day. Always bring a 100-foot tow rope or push pole in the event of getting stuck on sand bars.

Important notice: Quagga mussels have been found in Lake Havasu so proper cleaning of all watercraft is critical to help prevent the spread of these invaders. Please move to the parking lot, DRAIN your live-wells and bilge where the water does not return to the lake. Drain all the water you can from your engine. Also, INSPECT your watercraft 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.

PARKER STRIP – Water levels have been restored on the strip for the most part. Local anglers report good fishing for sunfish using mealworms and a slip weight on the bottom. Bass fishing has been slow, but may start turning on in the next month or so depending on the weather. Catfish may start biting as well. Try live bait like bluegill or shad for flatheads. Channel cats will take night crawlers, chicken livers, and other stinky baits.

Beginning Feb. 9, Game and Fish will have stocked some nice rainbow trout in the ponds at La Paz County Park in support of the 29th annual Take a Kid Fishing event. Everyone is invited to participate with registration beginning at 10 a.m. and fishing from 11a.m. to 2:30 p.m. All bait and tackle will be available to borrow.

ALAMO LAKE – The Alamo Lake Cleanup is set up for Saturday, March 1 from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. State Parks will waive camp fees for those that stay in the group use area. For all the details contact Stewart Kohnke, wildlife manager at (928) 684-3763 or (928) 342- 0091. Those who would like to donate items for the raffle should also contact Kohnke.

This report courtesy Mark Knapp, Alamo Lake State Park: Well folks, your not missing a lot out here as far as fishing goes. We had quiet a few folks out here for the three-day weekend and as far as I know, nobody caught any fish. It’s just a matter of time. They can’t stay on strike forever. The lake’s starting to settle and visibility is about a foot. The water temp is hitting 52, and 55 in the back of coves. Although we’re hitting 70 degrees out here, they are calling for rain later this week, and this could mess things up even longer. Now’s the time to change out the water pump impeller on your outboard. While you’re replacing the water pump impeller, change your lower unit oil. If nothing else, pull the prop off and look for fishing line wrapped up on the shaft. I did all the above last week and cringed when I pulled out about 20 yards of fishing line wrapped up in the shaft. All it takes is for the line to were through one of the seals and fill the lower unit with water and you’re in for some high dollar repairs. When you change your lower unit oil, look for water in the oil. If you see water in the oil there’s a good chance you ruined a seal caused by fishing line. Now that you’ve gotten this far, and are motivated so to speak, take a minute and squirt some grease into the trailer bearings. Check the trailer tires for dry rot. Check your spare and make sure it has air in it. If you decide to take on the engine repairs yourself, then by a manual. Most manuals can walk you through the simple things like changing plugs, fuel filters, etc. If you’re like me, I can tear anything apart but need pictures and cue cards to but it back together. The lake level is 1,124 with releases of 40 cfs. Both ramps are in operation. No word on when we will be moving into the new store. While writing this I had a guy stop in and say he caught two bass today throwing a brush hog in 10 ft of water. That’s it for now.

Spring Outlooks:

Alamo Lake:

The lake elevation continues to be good. Largemouth bass are present in all sizes and fishing is expected to be good to excellent throughout the spring. It looks like most of the bass are in the protected slot with a fair number over the slot. Exactly what is going on with the crappie is unknown. The bite has not developed as usual but we anticipate fishing to be fair to good throughout the spring.

Channel catfish will be good to excellent this spring and throughout the summer. 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.

As the weather warms, shift from slowly working plastics in deeper water to crankbaits, spinnerbaits, and topwater lures for bass.

For channel catfish any of the prepared catfish baits as well as chicken livers, shrimp, and anything else you can think of should work.

Both of the boat ramps are useable at this time and the store at the lake is still closed so you need to bring everything with you. If you run short of anything you might be able to pick it up at the Wayside Inn or in Wenden. The certified scale that was located at the store is now located at the Alamo State Park Office and the park office also has live bait for the crappie fishermen.

Lake Havasu & Topock Gorge:

Largemouth bass, as well as smallmouth bass are expected to be good to excellent this spring. The size will range from 13 inches and up with an occasional fish greater than 5 pounds. Striped bass will continue to be excellent for small fish (12-18 inches) with occasional fish over 3 pounds. The lake is also full of smaller striper that will make it challenging to catch the larger fish. Channel catfish as well as bluegill and redear sunfish will be good to excellent. Flathead catfish fishing should be fair at the lower end of the lake (Bill Williams River Arm) through the spring. Sizes of flathead catfish can reach as high as 40 pounds. When fishing for them select the interior points in the coves and the areas where artificial structure has been placed.

The warmer weather causes the bite to increase making crankbaits and topwater lures a good choice. Also, spinner baits, jigs, cut fish, live shad, etc. should work depending on the species you are looking for.

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 water by accident.

Colorado River (Parker Strip Area):

It is expected to be good to excellent for smallmouth bass with fish over two pounds this spring. In addition, redear sunfish should also be good to excellent in the pound plus sizes. Channel and flathead catfish fishing will be fair to good in this section of the Colorado River as the weather warms up.

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 water 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 in the 2 to 5 pound size range with an occasional fish over 40 pounds. The time for fishing for both species of catfish will be late spring and throughout the summer. Generally speaking, when fishing for catfish the hotter the weather the better the fishing.

This section of the Colorado River all the way down to Yuma is where invasive species known as Giant Salvinia is located as well as quagga mussels. If using a boat make, sure the boat, live wells, engines, and trailer is 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 over 40 pounds. The best time will be late spring and on into the summer (the hotter the better). 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 invasive species known as Giant Salvinia is located as well as quagga mussels. If using a boat make, sure the boat, live wells, engines, and trailer is 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 present along with flathead catfish as large as 40 pounds. Other sunfish such as bluegill and redear are also present in the various backwaters as well as an occasional striped bass will be caught in the backwaters and main river channel.

This section of the Colorado River all the way down to Yuma is where invasive species known as Giant Salvinia is located as well as quagga mussels. If using a boat make, sure the boat, live wells, engines, and trailer is 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 Laguna and Morelos dams):

This area will be good for largemouth bass and flathead catfish. Bass in excess of 5 pounds is common and flathead catfish over 20 pounds is a good bet. In this area accessibility to the river is dependent on the amount of water being released. Usually shallow draft boats are a must. The lower end has had some dredging work done and the larger boat will be able to get on the river in that area.

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

With the increase in border issues and illegal activity on the lower end of this area I would away from that area (Pilot Knob to Moreles Dam).


Regional Hot Spots:

Alamo Lake will be the hot spot for largemouth bass, crappie and channel catfish. Since there appears to be more fish in the lake at the present time, I recommend keeping as many of the smaller bass as you can legally possess in order to try and reduce the population a little.

Next choice would be Lake Havasu for striped bass, Parker Strip for smallmouth bass and redear sunfish, and the Colorado River below Walter’s Camp for flathead catfish.

If you need any additional information or additional don’t hesitate to contact the Yuma Regional office at (928) 341-4051 and I will be happy to accommodate you.

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