Alamo and Havasu Lakes Should be Fishing Hot Spots

January 25, 2005

A hot fishing area this year should be Alamo Lake, which is located west of Wickenburg. Along the Colorado River, Lake Havasu should be a fishing hot spot, thanks to all the nutrient-laden runoff from Alamo.

Alamo Lake
With the wet winter the state is having this year, Alamo Lake has been brought up to its upper operating elevation of 1,125 feet. "If these lake elevations continue, the fishing in the spring this year should be excellent for largemouth bass and crappie," says Brad Jacobson, a fisheries biologist for the Arizona Game and Fish Department stationed in Yuma.

Jacobson says there is currently a good number of bass over the slot limit and a couple of strong year classes of smaller bass that are just ready to enter the protected slot. Channel catfish is also expected to be excellent this year. In addition to excellent fishing, all of the boat ramps will be useable.

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 the small community of Wenden. The certified scale that was located at the store is now located at the Alamo State Park Office.

Wildlife Manager Stewart Kohnke says he expects to see some 3.5-pound crappies being caught this spring. "Last year, anglers were catching some 3 pounders. Those fish should be about 3.5 pounds by now."

Lake Havasu & Topock Gorge
Largemouth bass and smallmouth bass are expected to be good to excellent once the water temperatures exceed 58 degrees Fahrenheit at Lake Havasu and Topock Gorge. The size of the bass 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 5 pounds," says Jacobson.

Channel catfish, as well as bluegill and redear sunfish, will be fair to good. "If you're interested in flathead catfish, fishing should be good at the lower end of the lake around the Bill Williams River Arm during late May and on through the summer. Sizes of flathead catfish can reach as high as 40 pounds," Jacobson says.

Because Alamo Lake received so much runoff, the Bill Williams River was running at almost 7,000 cfs during the January storms. That runoff provided much-needed nutrient inflows to Havasu. That should help fish grow-outs.

A good strategy for anglers is to fish along the mud line in the lake. Slow trolling can be effective, so can spooning.

Colorado River (Parker Strip Area)
The Parker Strip is expected to be good to excellent for smallmouth bass with fish over 2 pounds this spring. In addition, redear sunfish should be good to excellent in the pound-plus sizes. Channel and flathead catfish are always fair to good in this section of the Colorado River.

Colorado River (between Palo Verde Weir and Walter's Camp)
This area of the Colorado River should be fair for smallmouth bass (in the channel) upriver from the Interstate 10 bridge. Largemouth bass should be good 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 20 pounds. The time to fish for both catfish species is from late spring through the end of summer. "Generally speaking, when fishing for catfish: the hotter the weather, the better the fishing," Jacobson says.

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, such as bluegill and 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 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 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 work best. The lower end has had some dredging work done, and larger boats will be able to get on the river there," says Jacobson.

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