Southwestern Arizona

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November 26th, 2008
ALAMO LAKE – Report courtesy Mark Knapp, Alamo Lake State Park. Well folks, winds and cold fronts pretty well sum up this week out here.    According to the weather forecast, and my neck, we’re in for some decent weather for the rest of the week.   This morning the lake was like glass and like clockwork the winds picked up at noon.   The winds are out of the west so that’s doable.  When they’re out of the north I go golfing.   Anyway, bass fishing is still decent.

Prescott Bass Masters had a two-day tourn out here this last weekend, and a congratulations goes to Ron Harness  and Josh out of Bagdad with a winning weight of 19 1/2 pounds.  Not bad for this time of year.  I just talked with Ron a few minutes ago on the phone and tried to get the scoop from him.  All he had to say is, “I ain’t tellin you nothin!”  That’s o.k. though.  He was at my house the night before the tourn, pop quizzing me about fishing. I’m pretty sure I talked about flipping lizards in the upper end of the lake in 3 to 15 feet of water. I think I mentioned throwing a white skirted spinnerbait also. I’m positive the lizards did the trick. I also recall mentioning green as a color. I also passed this information on to any one that asked.  So before everyone wants to go get a rope and hang Ron you might start with Steve and a few others, they knew this too.

The all-purpose bait is training wheels.  Angles are catching bass, crappie and cat fish throwing a deep-diving white colored crankbait. Once again the upper end of the lake is the hot spot. Get up past the second buoy line and troll as slow as you can go. Once you catch a fish just do circles around that spot.

A friend of mine Bob, went out today and caught 13 crappies. He said the bite started around 9:30 a.m. (Alamo time) and was over by 11:30. Kevin and Glenna tried this last weekend and ended up with 9 crappies and 2 catfish. The catfish are very active right now. Anything from hot dogs to night crawlers should work.

Shore fishing is pretty slow.

If you want to mix it up a little we are having our second annual “Night Under the Stars” event out here on Nov. 22. A bunch of astronomers from the university’s bring out some really cool telescopes and show you stars and stuff. It starts a 7 p.m. but there’s activities going on throughout the day. For more information go to or give us a call at (928) 669-2088.  It really is a lot of fun weather permitting. You’re also welcome to bring your own telescope out and there will be plenty of people that can show you the do’s and don’ts of how to use it properly.  I’m no expert but I would say don’t drop it or look directly into a cars headlight would rank up in the top 10 of don’ts.

The lake level is at 117 with releases of 25cfs.  Both ramps are in operation.  We’re working on the new store.  The deck is now built.  We have some painting to do inside followed by stocking it and moving in.  The target date to open is January.  That’s all I got.  Mark

Angler reports:

Where:Alamo Lake
Caught:6 bass 37 catfish 4 carp
Technique:Old Faithful (Worms)
Comments:My wife and I got to the lake at 7:30am fished all day till 4:30pm. It was windy and the water was pretty choppy. Anchored in the upper end pass the second buoy line near the limbs sticking out the water. We caught two nice 3 pound bass and two 4 to 6 pound catfish. The carp was 4 to 6 pound also. We had the best time ever.
Name:Kenny Walker

Where:Alamo Lake
Caught:6 bass 37 catfish 4 carp
Technique:Old Faithful (Worms)
Comments:My wife and I got to the lake at 7:30 a.m. fished all day till 4:30 p.m. It was windy and the water was pretty choppy. Anchored in the upper end pass the second buoy line near the limbs sticking out the water. We caught two nice 3- pound bass and two 4 to 6-pound catfish. The carp was 4 to 6 pound also. We had the best time ever.
Name:Kenny Walker

LAKE HAVASU/TOPOCK GORGE – Report courtesy John Galbraith of Anglers Pro Shop, Lake Havasu City: Lake Level 446.89. Water temp. 66-70 degrees
Striped bass action has been good throughout the main Winsor basin south to Whipple Bay using Rat-L-Traps, LC Pointers and Sassy Shads cast or trolled near surface action where stripers are pushing schools of shad to the surface.  Bottom fishing cut anchovies and squid is also producing some decent limits of stripers.  Cut mackerel fished in chunks on the bottom has been producing some quality channel catfish near Copper Canyon south to Steamboat cove.  Smallmouth and largemouth bass are hitting good on topwater Vixens, spooks and poppers early, then switching to jerk baits like the Trophy minnow and Staysee later in the day.  The ½- to ¾-ounce Rat-L-Traps have produced some nice bass when fished near the shoreline side of open water shad schools.

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Lake Havasu Field Office, working in cooperation with LaPaz County, will close Lake Havasu’s Take Off Point
Recreation Site and Boat Launch beginning on Monday, Nov. 3, to begin a
major construction project.

The following report is courtesy Georgia with Capt. Doyle’s River Excursions/Fun Fishing Guide Service: The chat in the Topock Marsh is that a few largemouth bass are being caught in between a lukewarm crappie bite. The Old Western Trader is selling plenty of minnows, but anglers working the crappie are either not catching or not telling. Water temperature in the Topock Gorge is 65F and striped bass should be putting on the feed bag for winter. The line-sides are being taken, but the number of fish on the stringer remains down from previous years. Artificial lures are not producing strikes. It seems the fish only prefer protein based bait–mostly the ubiquitous anchovy. Striper action may be uncertain, but over the last four weeks the catfish bite has been voracious. Channel cats ranging from 3- to 10-pounds have been–and continue to be–picked up. Look for deep pockets with plenty of structure. In order not to get hung up, fish to the side of the hole.

Angler report: I thought you might want to know for the fishing report that Topock Marsh water level has drop down really low again… as it unfortunately does every time this part of the year. My dad and his friend could not even put his  boat in — Matt from-La Mirada CA

Where: Lake Havasu
Caught: Catfish
Technique: All fish caught on mackeral
Comments: Left Windsor Ramp about 7:15 AM, went down the lake to the Steamboat area. Caught nothing until 11:30 AM and then fish went on a bite. We caught 6 nice cats from 2# to about 5# in about 45 minutes and then bite shutoff. At the cleaning station found most fish to be feeding on crawdads.
PARKER STRIP – The following report was provided by Anglers Central, Parker.

The Parker Strip: Water temps along the strip have been averaging in the lower seventies. The grass is still up in most areas, and the bass are holding close to it. Target areas with grass with baits such as 1/2oz. Terminator Spinner baits, GRN Senkos, Bandit 200 crank baits, ect. I’ve found good grass bed all over the strip. Polarized sunglasses are very helpful in finding under water structure such as logs, rock piles and grass beds.  Bluegill, and other sunfish have been caught in the same areas as mentioned above.  Catfish have been biting at night using live bait, and cut bait such as goldfish, bluegill, anchovies, and chicken liver.

C.R.I.T. Waters. Lower Colorado River: The lower river from Headgate Dam to P.V.D. is very productive this time of the year. A lot of small mouth bass are being caught near the Blue Water Lagoon area, and further south. Try using a Bandit 200 crank bait for high numbers of smallies. 7” Powerworms are also a very good choice for this end of the river.

Large flatheads have been reported on the river. Live bait will work the best for these monsters. Also try your luck in the drainage ditches. This years Big Cat Contest winner pulled his winning fish from one of these drain ditches.

Lower Lake Havasu: Target grassy coves if bass fishing. Fish are holing close to the tulies in most coves. Frogs such as a Bobby’s Perfect Frog are great baits this time of the year. Senkos are also deadly on the lake. Natural colors work best.
SOUTHWESTERN WATERS (Fall Outlook 2008):

Alamo Lake:

The lake elevation continues to be good, at 1,115-1,118 feet, and both the main and Cholla ramps will be usable.  Largemouth bass are present in all sizes and fishing is expected to be good to excellent throughout the fall.  Recent fisheries surveys showed a significant number of bass growing out of the slot, and there are many smaller fish below the slot.  Apparently we have had very good spawns the past two years, as there are plenty of young bass in the population.  Crappies are also doing well and fishing should be good throughout the fall.

There are an impressive number of channel catfish in Alamo Lake, especially in the upper portion of the lake.  Many of these are on the small side, but there are significant numbers in the 2 to 3-pound size range, as well as occasional individuals of 7 to 8 pounds, and larger.

There are other fish present such as bluegill, redear sunfish, tilapia and carp that are a lot of fun to catch.

During the fall surveys we noted an abundance of decent-sized redear sunfish, up to a pound.  This species commonly reaches sizes of over two pounds, although we have not yet observed redear sunfish of this size in Alamo Lake.

All types of bait, plastics, spinner baits and top-water lures should work.  As the weather cools off, try slowly working plastics in deeper water for bass.  For channel catfish any of the prepared catfish baits will work, as well as chicken livers or your own secret concoctions. Bass anglers even catch channels on crankbaits here.

Although the store at Alamo Lake is still closed at this point, the Alamo Lake State Park is planning on having it open by the first of the calendar year.  The store will be operated by the Park.  Gas, bait, ice and limited supplies and tackle will be available. You should plan on bringing with you any supplies you will need, in case the store does not open as planned, or does not carry what you need.  If you run short of anything, you might be able to pick it up at the Wayside Inn in Wayside, or in Wenden. The certified scale is presently located at the Alamo Lake State Park office, but will likely be moved to the store (which is located in the same location as the old store), once that facility is open. Currently the Alamo State Park Office and the park office sells live bait for crappie fishermen.

Lake Havasu & Topock Gorge:

Fishing for largemouth bass, as well as smallmouth bass, is expected to be good to excellent. Sizes 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) throughout the fall. Flathead catfish can reach 40 pounds or better in the lower portion of the lake. 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 more slowly, and in deeper water.  Put away your topwater lures and switch to plastics, crank baits, spinner baits, jigs, etc.

Colorado River (Parker Strip Area):

Smallmouth bass with fish over two pounds in size are expected to be fair this fall.  In addition, redear sunfish should also be fair in the pound-plus sizes. The Parker Strip is well known for its smallmouth bass fishing, especially in the area from the dam to several miles downstream. The Parker Strip is also home to some really impressive, dinner-plate sized redear sunfish of two pounds or larger. Channel and flathead catfish fishing is always fair in this section of the Colorado River.  Below the dam, striper fishing should also be fair, using live shad or 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 of the 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, or larger.  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 are common and flathead catfish over 20 pounds are 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 larger boats may 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 stretch, we recommend exercising extreme caution, avoiding nighttime use, or even staying away from the area altogether (Pilot Knob to Moreles Dam).

Regional Hot Spots:

Alamo Lake will be the hot spot for largemouth bass and channel catfish.  There are many fish in the lake at the present time (especially channel catfish), and keeping some to eat will not impact the population in the slightest, and will perhaps even enhance it.  Next choice would be Lake Havasu for striped bass, Lake Havasu and the Parker Strip for smallmouth bass, and Martinez Lake and Imperial Division backwaters for largemouth bass.   For the die-hard flathead catfish angler, large catfish can still be caught from Walter’s Camp down to Imperial Dam, although fishing likely won’t be as effective as in the warmer months.

If you need any additional information or assistance don’t hesitate to contact the Yuma Regional office at (928) 341-4052 and we will be happy to give you whatever information we have.

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