Southwestern Arizona

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November 28th, 2007
Southwestern Arizona

LAKE HAVASU – The striped bass are actively chasing and feeding on the shad schools. These schools of shad are located primarily in the coves in the main basin. Try the coves near and around California Bay, Spectator Point, and Black Rock.  You don’t need a fancy fish finder to locate these schools; they are visible by sight and the trick is to look for the sea gulls and grebes (diving birds) note their locations, flight activity and feeding actions. Another characteristic of the presence of shad is their strong odor they possess; this is evident when you’re in a cove that they are schooled and holding in.
 
The largemouth bass can be caught up in the shallows using small plastics such as a Canyon Brown Melon/with red and black glitter tube bait rigged weedless or a lightly weighted Reaction Innovation Sweet Beaver in the color of sprayed grass pitched at the base of cattails and in the shallow water shorelines in the back of the coves that hold grass.
 
Smallmouth bass can be caught in 5-10 feet of water in the areas that hold rock and or wood. These fish have a tendency to inhabit to this type of structure right now. They are feeding on crawdads in the rocks and they ambush the shad that pass by them while they hide in the trees and stumps.  Lures effective right now are purple drop shotted worms and craw colored tube baits.

Parker Strip — Cooler weather and lower water levels have cast a chill on the bass bite on the Parker Strip.  One local angler did have some unexpected success recently, while fishing for catfish.  Using live bluegill as bait, he landed a 14-pound striped bass.  Look for bluegills and other small sunfish in some of the calmer backwaters.  Channel and flathead catfish can be found throughout the river.  Stripers will prefer the main channel of the river with swifter currents.  Try just below the dam, upstream from River Island State Park, or near La Paz County Park.
 
For a fun fishing experience with the kids try the public access area at the Bill Williams River.  Small stripers are schooling in the fore bay at the CAP.  Use small bits of cut anchovies on a No. 2-4 hook with about an 18-inch leader, swivel, and an egg sinker. 

FORTUNA POND – The water level is low at the due to construction on the outlet structure and the well.  Exactly how long this condition will exist is not known.  As for the fishing, it has been excellent for channel catfish.  If you go to Fortuna Pond there are several special regulations in effect there.  The limit for trout is four trout (first stocking will be in December); the limit is two bass, minimum size 13 inches; the limit four catfish in any combination; the limit is 10 sunfish.

ALAMO LAKE – Our normal report provide, Mark Knapp, is recovering from neck surgery (get well soon). The trickle of reports from anglers still indicates that his is one of the better places for fall action on bass and crappie. Let us know how you do. Fishing should be great due to this mild weather.

PARKER STRIP – Tony Calabrese caught 15- to 17-inch smallmouth bass, stripers to 7 pounds and catfish from 6 to 12 pounds by drifting anchovies through the deeper holes along the strip.

Parker Strip (Colorado River):  Water releases from Parker dam have dropped off along with the daytime temperatures and boat traffic.  Fishing has picked up over the past month as local species start bulking up for the colder winter months.  The smallmouth bite has been good.  Local anglers report that crank baits with shad colors (black and white) are working well.  Smallmouth can be found throughout the Parker strip and down river but prefer the rockier shorelines. 

Look for largemouth to be actively feeding in the morning hours. 
Catfish have slowed down with the cooler weather, but the bite may be coming earlier in the evening or right around first light.  Night crawlers and goldfish are always good bets, but sunfish make good live bait too. 
You will find sunfish near shore in the weedy habitat.  As aquatic vegetation thins out this fall, anglers should look for redears or bluegills around brush piles or docks.  Dinner plate size redear-hybrids are not that uncommon on the Parker Strip.  Small earthworms work well as do live crickets are good bait.

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.

Fall Outlook (2007)
Alamo Lake:
The lake elevation has dropped to 1,111.67 msl.  Largemouth bass are present in all sizes and fishing is expected to be excellent this fall.  Crappie fishing is expected to be fair to good throughout the fall and winter.  Channel catfish continue to look good and fishing should be good also. There are other fish present such as bluegill, redear sunfish and carp that are a lot of fun to catch this fall.  All types of bait should work right now and as the weather cools off a shift to slowly working plastics in deeper water for bass could improve your catch.  For channel catfish any of the prepared catfish baits as well as chicken livers and anything else you can think of should work. 

In addition to the good to excellent fishing, both of the boat ramps are useable at this lake elevation.

The store at the lake has 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. The size will range from 13 inches and up with an occasional fish greater than 4 pounds. Striped bass will continue to be excellent for small fish (12-18 inches) with occasional fish over 8 pounds. Channel catfish as well as bluegill and redear sunfish will be fair to good. Flathead catfish fishing should be fair at the lower end of the lake (Bill Williams River Arm) through the fall. 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 cooler weather causes the bite to slow down so it is important to work your lures slower and in deeper water. Put away your topwater lures and switch to plastics, crankbaits, spinnerbaits and jigs. 

Colorado River (Parker Strip Area): Smallmouth bass with fish over two pounds are expected to be good this fall.  In addition, redear sunfish should also be good in the pound-plus sizes. Channel and flathead catfish are always fair in this section of the Colorado River.  Below the dam, striper fishing should also be fair using anchovies this fall.

Colorado River (between Palo Verde Diversion Dam and Walter’s Camp):
This area should be fair for both smallmouth bass (in the channel) 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 flathead catfish will be in the 2- to 5-pound size range with an occasional fish over 30 pounds. The time for fishing for both species of catfish is in the evening to midnight.  

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 fair to good for flathead catfish with sizes over 40 pounds. The best time for fishing for both species of catfish will be in the evening to midnight.  Largemouth bass and bluegill are also present in the various backwaters and slack water areas. Other species available in the main river are smallmouth bass, and striped bass.

Colorado River (between Picacho State Park and Imperial Dam):
This area is expected to be fair to good 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. Bluegills are also present in the various backwaters and an occasional striped bass will be caught in the main river channel.

Colorado River (between Laguna and Morelos dams):
This area will be fair 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 work the best. The lower end has had some dredging work done and the larger boat will be able to get on the river in that area.
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 and channel catfish.
Lake Havasu and Parker Strip will be good for striped bass, smallmouth bass, and redear sunfish.

Colorado River below Walter’s Camp will be fair for flathead catfish, channel catfish in the main river channel, and largemouth bass in the backwater areas.
For those looking for a tremendous watchable wildlife opportunity this winter, try a visit to the Cibola National Wildlife Refuge where you might see thousands of geese and hundreds of sandhill cranes.  
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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