Don’t Fight It: We’re All Hooked on Bass

New Horizons Pro-Am fishing tournament on Lake Havasu
You know you love to fish for bass. That’s good because this May, Lake Havasu will be the epicenter of the southwest’s bass fishing world for many of us. Consider what we already know: largemouth are known for their greater overall size and resistance when hooked, favoring short, powerful runs. They are great fighting fish and some may say the king of the sport fish. They escape to hide around submerged logs or weedbeds. Smallies tend to jump more and fight aggressively on the surface when hooked, in order to throw the hook. Arguably they fight harder than any other fish on a weight scale basis and is one reason why we love them so.

There are three tournaments to consider entering this May:

National Bass West Open, May 7

This is the last National Bass West Open tournament of the season and is open to anyone, no membership required. Similar to other bass tournaments, they’re looking for the best of five fish at least 13 inches long. The competition is 100 percent catch and release with penalties for any dead fish.
This event is a qualifier for the 14th annual Havasu Classic scheduled for Oct. 14 to 15, which brings together competitors from all four western regions.
Organizer National Bass West, based in Valley Center, Calif., says the event is open to anyone with a boat, anyone who knows someone with a boat, or anyone ready to rent one for the day. Of course, NBW co-owner Lynne Peterson will gladly sell you a 21-ft. Phoenix bass boat with a 250 hp Mercury or Yamaha, although that might set you back a bit more than the basic $195 entry fee.
The tournament starts at Lake Havasu State Park, Lot 4 and is run by local retailer John Galbraith, 928-486-2502 (voice or text), Bass Tackle Master, 362 London Bridge Rd. On the day of the tournament, sign-up at Windsor Beach starting 1-1/2 hours before safe light.

Wild West Bass Trail, May 14

Husband and wives, boyfriends/girlfriends, women’s teams – all are invited to compete in the Wild West Bass Trail. Best of all, there is 100 percent payback – the $310/team registration goes directly into the prize pool thanks to major sponsors Evinrude Outdoor Motors, Lucas Oil and Ranger Boats. With over 70 teams expected, that’s a lot of prize dough.

It’s a seven fish limit, minimum 13 inches, artificial lures only. Fish must be live to avoid a .25 dead fish penalty.

Jim Kirkwood has been a tournament director for bass events on the Colorado river for 18 years and says of Lake Havasu, “The production of the fish is superb. You can go to Lake Havasu almost any time of the year and catch bass which is a great game fish.”

To register, teams first need to join Wild West Bass Trail for $60/year per angler. Online registration closes May 9. Teams can also register at Windsor Beach – just look for the 40-foot trailer with “Wild West Bass” on the side.

For more information, Mike Brillhart, director, 623-261-2159, mikebrillhart@aol.com or Jim Kirkwood, jim@wildwestbasstrail.com, 928-692 -5086.

JML Outdoors Weekend Warrior Bass Series, May 21

The Weekend Warrior Bass Series, based at Lake Havasu State Park, is designed for the beginner or average fisherman, rather than the professional. In other words, it’s for the rest of us. It’s a two-person team competition for large and small bass only, with a five fish limit. No live bait is allowed; artificial lures only. Boats must have a live well and ignition cut-off device. Phoenix resident Justin Locatis, who was born and raised in Lake Havasu City, is the tournament owner and promoter.

“What is it about the appeal of bass fishing?” we asked.

“They’re more challenging to catch, they move around a lot, and another reason we organize bass tournaments is that they are hardy and can remain alive until we weigh and release them.”
Entry fee is $200 per team. First place prize is $1,500 to $2,000 per the team. The WWBS will take place north of the London Bridge Channel under the group ramadas located at the south ramp of Lake Havasu State Park.

Justin continues, “We love Lake Havasu. Everything in town is within close proximity. It’s easy and affordable to get there, without a lot of driving around.
“It’s a phenomenal fishery, one of the best in the country,” he adds. “A lot of that credit goes to the local fish habitat program.”
In order to participate in any of these fishing tournaments, certain requirements must be met. Please review the rules, eligibility, and requirements at www.jmloutdoors.com
Contact: Justin Locatis, 602 791 0023, jmloutdoors@gmail.com

Learn more about all of May’s bass fishing events in Lake Havasu City on the GoLakeHavasu.com calendar of events.

Pray for Fish

hobie_stand
Chris Blythe, 57, is one of the most successful guides in the Lake Havasu area and has set six IGFA world fly-fishing records for redear perch caught on his 25-ft. pontoon boat using hand-tied terrestrials, mostly crickets.

So what’s working this month we wondered?

“We’re catching on live bait and topwater plugs,” he says. “Use topwater plugs early in the morning and switch to spoons later in the day so you can go deeper. That may sound funny, but it’s a trade secret of mine. Just jig the spoon on the bottom and it looks like crippled bait.”

Chris continues, “Another way to catch more is to stand up. My boat has no seats. We sit on ice chests when we have to. You get more bang for your buck that way if you’re standing and concentrating on catching. Watch any pro bass angler, they’re standing and fishing.”

An Oklahoma native, Chris enjoys teaching people how to catch fish and then release them back into the wild. “A fish is too valuable to catch only once. Let them grow up.”

He remembers last fall when a blind angler hired him and boated 75 stripers. “They were all caught and released. He had an amazing feel for fishing. But let me tell you, his arm was very sore at the end of the day.”

As you might expect from a preacher, his boat is drug and alcohol-free. “It’s not the place to come drink, it’s a place to be serious about catching fish. You can drink on your own time,” he says. Pastor Chris and his wife Nancy also run a volunteer program called the Beach Reach during spring break. Last year their team of volunteers served 38,000-plus pancakes and doled out more than 17,000 bottles of water – all free of charge thanks to the support of Lake Havasu’s New Hope Calvary Church and other donations. They flip flapjacks where London Bridge State Park meets the channel, an area nicknamed since 2007, “Pancake Village.”

Chris is available for hire; he doesn’t advertise and schedules his own bookings. Obviously, the word is getting around. “We’ve been busier than a cat in a room full of rocking chairs,” he says.

“I have been striper and bass fishing on Lake Havasu for 25 years. As a pastor, you’ll find I’m pretty patient.”

Spend a day with Chris Blythe by contacting him at 928 486 8371, Chris.blythe@live.com, www.fishinginlakehavasu.com

A Clean Sweep – Divers Clean Up Copper Canyon

SCUBA Lake Havasu City
Here’s a quiz: what do a waterlogged iPhone, a rubber mat and a shopping cart have in common? As far as Lake Havasu is concerned, they represent a clean sweep.

For the sixth consecutive year, the Lake Havasu Divers Association and Scuba Training & Technology, is hosting the Copper Canyon Underwater Clean-up, an effort to clear manmade debris from Copper Canyon. The date is Tuesday, May 31, 2016, from 6:15 a.m. to noon, departing from Lake Havasu Marina. At least three dozen divers and other volunteers, accompanied by pontoon boats, will scour the bottom of the canyon for whatever doesn’t belong there.

Last year’s clean-up netted nine 55-gal. trash bags worth of bottles, cans and assorted flotsam and jetsam, including left and right shoes, but rarely a complete pair.

Joel Silverstein, the association’s vice president, tells us, “If more people respected the environment, we wouldn’t have to host these underwater clean-ups, but that’s the reality.”
He continues, “On the positive side, our clean-up under the London Bridge and in Bridgewater Channel yields less and less garbage each year. I think the message is getting out there – plus peer pressure comes into play that it’s not cool anymore to toss beer cans overboard.” (Editor’s note: Coors Light beat out Bud Light during a recent clean-up).

The group leaves May 31 from Lake Havasu Marina, and celebrates their booty afterwards with a BBQ. Copper Canyon will be closed to other boaters and divers at that time.

Divers and non-divers alike are welcome to volunteer by contacting Capt. Kathy Weydig
at kathy@trimixdiver.com, or 928-855-9400.

Boat-In Dining Includes Skateboard Pizza Deliveries

Pizza delivery to Bridgewater Channel In Lake Havasu City, AZ.
There are drive-in pharmacies, drive-in movie theaters, and even drive-through supermarkets. When it comes to dining, why should Lake Havasu be any different?

Want to spend as much time on the water as you can? Consider what we so cleverly call a “boat-in” restaurant. Whether you want breakfast, lunch, dinner, or a great gourmet coffee, there’s a boat-in restaurant to fulfill your craving.

But if you’re feeling extra indulgent, Papa Leone’s, family owned for 25 years and overlooking the London Bridge at 304 English Village, will deliver your order by skateboard.

Cody Hull, an employee at the store, says there’s no minimum order and deliveries will be fast – and horizontal – not slung vertically over some skater dude’s shoulder turning your pepperonis and tomatoes into mush.

“We hire kids who know how to ride a skateboard,” Cody tells us. “Boaters absolutely get a kick out of it. It also helps with tips when a boater sees their pizza rolling up. It’s a lot faster than walking.”

No hoverboard deliveries are planned for the future, although considering how many have burst into flames, maybe that’s one way to order your pizza piping hot.

Boat Registration in Lake Havasu City Coming Soon

Boating near the London Bridge in Lake Havasu City, AZ.
For decades, if boaters purchased a boat in or near Lake Havasu City, they were required to travel an hour each way to Kingman (Ariz.) to register. The alternative was to wait weeks to apply by mail. Those days are coming to an end, thanks to efforts by the Lake Havasu Marine Association and the Arizona Game and Fish Department.

Ty Gray, the department’s deputy director, announced recently the department would work with the Lake Havasu Marine Association to offer boating permits in Lake Havasu City. The proposed pilot project would bring Game and Fish agents to Lake Havasu several times per month to accommodate the city’s boaters, according to Today’s News-Herald, the local paper.

To Lake Havasu Marine Association President Jim Salscheider, it’s the culmination of eight years of input from the Lake Havasu community.

“This is a big deal,” Salscheider said. “In my eight years with the Marine Association, I’ve been hearing relentlessly about people having to travel 60 miles to landlocked Kingman for new registrations. Seeing Game and Fish reaching out and trying to accommodate us is not how bureaucracies usually work. But in this case, they listened and boaters certainly have something to cheer about now that the registration process is going to become more convenient,” adds Salscheider.

The timing and location for local registrations are not yet confirmed, so stay tuned.

Hiking Near Lake Havasu City? Please Leave No Trace

Leave No Trace while hiking near Lake Havasu City, AZ.
Want to help ensure our trails are there for many generations to come? Leave No Trace is a universal philosophy that could and should be part of any outdoor experience.
There are Seven Principles to remember.

The idea is simple – leave the places you enjoy as good or better than you found them. The Leave No Trace organization believes that if people do something, even something simple, to help take care of the recreational resources they cherish, we will all benefit. Cleaner water, fewer wildfires, fewer negative encounters with wildlife, less damage/loss of cultural and historic artifacts are just a few of the benefits of adhering to Leave No Trace.

It’s impossible to leave absolutely no trace of your visit to the outdoors. However, the primary goal of Leave No Trace is to prevent the avoidable impacts and minimize the unavoidable impacts. By doing so we can protect and preserve both natural resources and the quality of recreational experiences. This can also minimize the need for restrictive management activities by land managers.

“Areas like Lake Havasu City attract many visitors that the economy relies on. With that, comes increased lake activities such as water sports, camping, and trail usage, to name a few,” says Tucson-based Cindy de Leon Reilly, Arizona Leave No Trace Advocate and Master Educator.

“These increases create negative impacts such as trash, erosion, wildlife (in the water and on land), and vegetation impacts. Educating both visitors and residents in Leave No Trace ethics is a start to caring for the region and its resources.

“As a hiker, gear up with your essential gear and pack out your trash. Packing out others’ trash would also help. Additionally, know where you are going and respect the wildlife at a distance. Leash your pet, as to not disturb others. Enjoy the beauty of nature and leave only your footprints. And know the rules and regulations in the area, as it will be beneficial to the region,” Cindy advises.

“Ultimately, the bird species, insects, fish, and other wildlife will increase in numbers. Visitors will become more considerate, and residents would be more appreciative of the results.”

The Leave No Trace Seven Principles are:

  1. Plan Ahead and Prepare
  2. Travel and Camp on Durable Surfaces
  3. Dispose of Waste Properly
  4. Leave What You Find
  5. Minimize Campfire Impacts
  6. Respect Wildlife
  7. Be Considerate of Other Visitors

Learn more at: www.lnt.org
For more information on hiking trails in the Lake Havasu City region, visit the hiking section of GoLakeHavasu.com.

Scout’s Honor

Jona Silverstein leads trail improvement project at SARA Park, Lake Havasu City, AZ
SARA Park just got a lot easier to navigate … and a bit safer.

A local 14 year-old, Jona Silverstein, has recently earned his Eagle Scout rank, an honor also held by the late astronaut Neil Armstrong, former President Gerald R. Ford, and former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

Jona’s road to the highest rank attainable in the Boy Scouts of America was actually a series of trails in SARA (Special Activities and Recreation Area) Park. Last month, the Lake Havasu High School ninth grader, with the help of 15 volunteers, completed his Eagle Project by installing location markers in the park.

Jona’s project was to put in signage to assist rescue personnel in locating hurt or lost hikers. The signs have been numbered which will correspond with a trail map of the park. Additionally, new signs have been installed to assist hikers to get to the picnic table on Lizard Peek Trail. Volunteers included ASU Outdoor Pursuit Club, Sea Scout Ship 450, Boy Scout Troop 55, one member of the Lake Havasu City Fire Department, Amanda Deeds of the BLM, and Tim O’Connor, head of the Leaping Lizards hiking group.

Since its introduction in 1911, the Eagle Scout rank has been earned by more than two million young men. The rank of “Eagle Scout,” which must be earned by age 18, is held for life, thus giving rise to the phrase “Once an Eagle, always an Eagle.”

Flower Power

https://flickr.com/photos/115357548@N08/12526162594

Image courtesy of Joshua Tree National Park

Hikers in the Lake Havasu region love wildflowers. Let’s face it, who doesn’t? The desert, at first glance, can seem like a barren, sandy wasteland of cacti and rocks. However, with a little rain and a little sunshine, Arizona’s desert flowers come to life. Desert wildflowers, tiny little miracles of nature that remain hidden much of the year, will come alive and burst with color and aroma in the springtime (and sometimes after the monsoon season in the summer). But beware: there’s one pretty flower you’ll never want to pick.

This spring is likely to be a very good blooming season, following an El Nino weather pattern that delivered fall and winter rains to much of the region. Some are calling it a “super bloom,” especially in Death Valley, perhaps the best wildflower year since 2005, a banner season deemed the best in 50 years.

This is the year to plan a series of outings during the next few months in search of wildflowers as they progress from low to high elevations. It might also be a good time to invest in a field guide to western wildflowers so you will know what you are viewing.

That’s especially important when it comes to the scorpion weed. More on that in a moment.

Margo Bartlett Pesek of the Las Vegas Review-Journal advises, “Look for early wildflowers along the highways toward the Colorado River, such as the scenic roads from U.S. Highway 95 through Nelson and Eldorado Canyon, through Searchlight to Cottonwood Cove and through the mountains down to Laughlin. Roadside flowers on highways paralleling the river south of Laughlin and Bullhead City, and the highway to Lake Havasu City, should also get an early start.”

She adds, “Desert wildflowers should keep blooming until the onset of hot days.”

That brings us to the scorpion weed, also known as Blue Phacelia or Wild Heliotrope. It’s a pretty purple flower that grows in abundance in the Lake Havasu area and has a vivid purple color. But don’t be tempted to pick this desert blossom, not that you should pick any wildflower. Coming in contact with scorpion weed can have a similar reaction as touching poison ivy or oak.

Scorpion weed flowers, stems and seed pods are covered in dozens, or even hundreds of “hairs,” each containing an oil that can cause rashes and itching comparable to the effects of poison oak or poison ivy. Scratching the itch does little more than to spread the oil on a person’s skin and making the problem worse.

Scorpion weed oil can also be transferred indirectly from clothing, furniture, rugs and family pets that have been exposed to the weed.

It’s best to look, but don’t touch.

The Desert Botanical Garden’s Wildflower Info Site, based in Phoenix, provides up-to-date reports on desert wildflower blooms. The site, a collaborative effort by 21 parks and gardens, is live during the months of March and April.

In western Arizona, participating parks and gardens include: Kofa National Wildlife Refuge and BLM – Colorado River District (Lake Havasu).

For a list of wildflowers commonly found in the Lake Havasu region, visit the Lake Havasu City CVB website at GoLakeHavasu.com.

Become a Hiking Insider: Follow the SARA Park Trails Association

Lizard Peek Trail, SARA Park Lake Havasu City

Lizard Peek is just one of the hiking trails in SARA Park.

Want to become a hiking insider when you visit? One way is to visit the Convention and Visitor Bureau’s website for a list of trails. In addition, to learn about upcoming group hikes, and see some truly amazing trail photos, including lots of animal images, head over to Facebook.

The mission of the SARA Park Trails Association (SPTA) is to promote, maintain and improve the SARA Park Trail System (which stands for Special Activity Recreation Area).

Founded 2009, the group is passionate about visiting 50+ miles of trails that are available for hiking, mountain biking, equestrian, dog walking, trekking, exploring, bird watching, orienteering, running, navigation and climbing.

SPTA coordinates volunteer trail maintenance crews, hosts trail workshop days, and applies for state and federal grants to improve trailheads.

“Lake Havasu City is a wonderful hiking destination because the trails are literally in your backyard. Most of the five- or six-mile return trip hikes are a 10-minute car ride to the trailhead,” said SPTA’s website administrator Kim Goodwin.

“I am an avid photographer and I am continually amazed at how unique and beautiful each hike is from the other.”

Kim helpfully adds, “The weather conditions are so good that you can hike for seven months, October to April, without worry about heat or snakes.”

There is no membership fee. Just “like” them on Facebook to view scenic photos, including a visit by an enthusiastic group of 44 people to Rovey’s Needle. You’ll even see an image of a gas station with a giant rooster on the roof.

Brooklyn’s Loss is Lake Havasu City’s Gain – Hiking Lake Havasu City with Steve Eskenazi

Steve Eskenazi hiking in Lake Havasu City, Arizona area
What Ansel Adams is to Yosemite National Park, and John Muir is to the Sierra Nevada of California, Steve Eskenazi is to Lake Havasu City. It’s not a bad legacy for a Brooklynite.

Steve Eskenazi, 67, has an enviable nomadic life. A lifelong bachelor, he lives out of a 24-ft. motorhome and has been hiking in the western national parks for the past 30 years. In the summer he moves his RV to Oregon. That way, as he put it over some breakfast bagels recently, he can “get my ocean fix.” Hiking? Not so much in the summer. “There are too many trees hiding the bears in Oregon.”

Originally from Brooklyn, he couldn’t be any more of a New Yorker. He grew up two blocks from the Coney Island Cyclone in famous Luna Park, right near Nathan’s Famous hot dogs stand. He started working at a Carvel ice cream store at age 16.

“I never had to pay for ice cream as a kid,” he boasts.

Steve first discovered Lake Havasu City in November 2000 when he came to visit a friend. He has been coming back to Crazy Horse Campgrounds on the Island to enjoy the mild winters from November to March ever since

Quick to admit his lifestyle is “not for everybody,” the retired Florida high school physics teacher with a degree in chemical engineering started off leading hikes for groups of his friends at the campground.

One day while visiting the Lake Havasu City Visitor Information Center, he met Visitor Services Director Jan Kassies. Jan immediately recruited him to update an old hiking brochure. The rest is hiking history. He turned it into a 32-page book with text and photos.

He also volunteered his time and energy to develop the vast majority of the editorial content and maps and provided many photographs contained in the Hiking section of www.golakehavasu.com. Much of the information is periodically updated to account for changing environmental conditions, such as natural erosion.

Today he leads hikes around the region. Dead Burro Canyon is his favorite. It travels through a deep scenic canyon in Havasu National Wildlife Refuge, a wilderness setting where very few trails exist. Wild burro and bighorn sheep are often sighted. Steve calls it a real adventure with drop-offs and two-foot ledges.

“It’s not a walk in the park,” he says, adding, “Hiking in the Lake Havasu area is growing. People are using the trails more and more and there’s a wealth of hiking information on the CVB’s website and at the Visitor Information Center.”

Steve also has a list of “secret” hikes he doesn’t like to publicize because of limited trailhead parking. You’ll just have to get to know him better to pry those locations out of him.