Southwestern Arizona

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September 29th, 2008

ALAMO LAKE – Well folks, the morning bass bite is hit-and-miss. A friend of mine, Denny, from Prescott, stated that he caught fish on topwater throwing a chartreuse buzz bait, and then really did good throwing white colored crankbaits.  I’ve also had people report that they did fair throwing white spinnerbaits right up in the brush. With that in mind, and Denny swearing by a white crankbait, I decided to do an experiment.  Training wheels vs plastics.
Day one: I launched at the main ramp, never even fired up the ol Black Max, used the trolling motor and fished all the way to Cholla Ramp. Armed with a white and black Shad Rap on pole one, and a 4-inch watermelon Texas-rigged lizard on another, I was set. I worked every point and cove between both ramps.  I kept it fair and made a point to make 10 casts with each pole, at each piece of structure I fished.  The night ended with a tie: Caught 14 fish total, seven on each bait. All fish were caught off of points in case you want to make a big note of this.

The next evening I went out to settle the tie breaker. This time I focused on the north side of the lake and fished between the buoys lines. Once again to keep it fair; 10 casts per spot per pole.  I spent seven of the 10 casts hung up in the brush.  Retrieving lures out of brush cuts into valuable fishing time. I was pretty honked off the last time the bait got stuck and broke it off in about 20 feet of water.  I did manage to catch two fish with it before loosing it. Anyway I stuck with the lizard for the rest of the night and ended the night with 22 bass. All caught off of points in case you want to make a note of this.
In my opinion, if you really want frustration, aggravation, and spend a lot of time  stuck in the brush instead of fishing, then knock your selves out with training wheels.  If you want to catch fish, then learn to throw plastics.

My grandkids Anthony (14) and Kaitlyn (12) came out and stayed with us for a week. I took each one out fishing every night. I armed them with a spinning reel, 6- pound test, and showed each of them once how to  tie and rig plastics.  They mentioned something about all the neat looking lures in the tackle box and I told them they needed to learn to fish with plastics then we would play with training wheels. Although Kaitlyn caught 10 bass, I think she had a better time diving off the back of the boat and swimming.

Anthony reminds me a lot of me and was born to fish.  At age two he could cast an open-faced reel better than some people I’ve fished with for years. This was  the first time I’ve been able to take him fishing since he was about 5 years old. After he tied on his bait I gave him crash course of toss out, let the bait sink to the bottom, lift pole, let bait settle, and if feels weird then set the hook. Second cast he boated his first bass.  Come to think about it I think he caught first fish every night out. Anyway, he caught over 20 bass in three days – all on plastics.

On his last night out I opened up the tackle box and told him to pick out one of those fancy looking lures. He just smiled at me and said he would rather stick to throwing plastics.  That’s my boy! I was very proud of both of them.
I’ve been getting mixed reports on crappie fishing. One thing I know for sure is up by the dam is a bust. The few people that have been catching any crappie have been working coves on the north side of the lake up past the buoy lines. The best report I heard this week was 24 in a night.  The bite started around 9 at night and lasted for about an hour then turned back on about 2 a.m. till dawn.

Cat fishing is fair. They have been catching some Nice sized cats from the shoreline around the main ramp area so you gotta’ figure it’s good all over the lake. The lake level is at 1,119 with releases of 50 cfs. We’re still shooting for opening the new store at the first of the year but in the meantime we still have bait, ice, wood, and fishing licenses at the ranger station. Office hours are 8 to 5 daily.  We’re still getting afternoon winds starting every day around noon. The biting flies are out in force, so bug spray is still a way of life out here. That’s all I got.

LAKE HAVASU/TOPOCK GORGE – Anglers are finding striper boils throughout the lake off-and-on. Topwater lures and small casting spoons can work well. When the boil quits, try using anchovies with little or no weight and let them flutter down. Watch the birds — feeding birds are a sign in the sky that there is surface action.

OUTLOOK:
Alamo Lake: The lake elevation continues to be good. Alamo Lake has had a couple years of good reproduction, and the fishing should be excellent for largemouth bass and crappie. There are a fair number of bass over the protected slot, and a couple of strong year classes of smaller bass that have grown into, or are just about to enter the slot.  We believe that the bass population would benefit from a higher harvest of the smaller bass.  Fishing for channel catfish is expected to excellent this year. Our netting surveys indicate there are incredible numbers of smaller catfish in the upper portion of the lake. Given the ideal water levels all of the boat ramps will be useable this summer.
The store at the lake has not yet opened, so you need to 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. The certified scale that was located at the store is now located at the Alamo State Park office. The Park office also carries live bait.

Lake Havasu & Topock Gorge:  Fishing for largemouth bass, as well as smallmouth bass, is expected to be good to excellent. The size will range from 13 inches and up, with an occasional fish greater than 4 pounds. A 12-pounder was landed this spring. Striped bass will continue to be excellent for small fish (12-18 inches), with occasional fish over 8 pounds. Fishing for channel catfish, as well as bluegill and large redear sunfish, will be fair to good. If your interest is flathead catfish, fishing should be fair at the lower end of the lake (the Bill Williams River arm) late in June, and on through the summer. Flathead catfish in Lake Havasu have been caught as large as 40 pounds, although they can potentially become much larger.

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. Our surveys last fall 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.

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. Our annual surveys in the spring each year generally turn up a couple of 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.
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 & redear). Other species available in the main river are smallmouth bass, channel catfish, and striped bass.

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.
Bluegills 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.
I
f I were to pick a hot fishing area for summer in the Yuma region, I  would have to go with the Colorado River below the Palo Verde Diversion Dam (near Blythe), all the way down to Imperial Dam (near Yuma) for flathead catfish. There is an incredible amount of flathead catfish biomass in the river. In seven days of survey this spring, we handled (and released) a total of 2500 pounds of flathead catfish.  Another good bet would be Alamo Lake. It should be good to excellent for largemouth bass, crappie, and channel catfish, with the bluegill fishery also picking up.

If you need any additional information or additional areas covered 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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