Category Archives: Fishing

Check out our latest Lake Havasu fishing tips and news to see what’s biting and for the latest from the Lake Havasu fishing community. Drop us a comment and join the conversation!

Throw Like the Pros

Dean-Rojas-Bassmaster-Tournament

Dean Rojas

It was a very big deal when the Rayovac FLW Series Western Division event came to Lake Havasu in February 2015. Imitating shad was the primary method used to elicit strikes from prespawn, smallmouth and largemouth. When as many as 300 pros and co-anglers arrived for the first stop of the competition, they brought with them a veritable arsenal of lures.

The pros were fishing for a top award of $40,000, plus a Ranger Z518C with a 200-horsepower Evinrude or Mercury outboard. With those kind of stakes, you can be sure they took their choice of lure very, very seriously.

Here are the top baits from that event:

• Basstronix umbrella rig paired with Reaction Innovations Skinny Dippers

• White Z-Man ChatterBait tipped with a matching Skinny Dipper with tail-dyed chartreuse.

• Berkley Havoc Beat Shad rigged on a ¼-ounce ball-head jig

• A homemade umbrella rig featuring four blades and five wires

• Bailey Rig (a five wire, five bladed umbrella rig) matched with Predator and Keitech swimbaits

• Evergreen C-4 Jig or Buzzer Beater

• Gibbs Jig in brown and green pumpkin matched with a Zoom Speed Craw

• Yum Yumbrella Flash Mob Jr. rigged with Keitech swimbaits

• Drop-shot rig with a Roboworm (ox blood color)

• Phenix vibrating jig (3/8 oz.) teamed with a Zoom Fluke and a Lucky Craft LV 500

• Mann’s Alabama Rig rigged with Berkley Hollow Belly swimbaits

• Punch skirt with 1-¼ tungsten weight (sprayed grass color) and a Yamamoto Flappin’ Hog.

• Senko with a ¼-ounce weight and Spro Phat Fly

These have all worked before and will work again. Excuse us while we go restock our tackle box.

For more ideas on what to throw, see the FLW website:
https://www.flwfishing.com/tips/2015-02-09-gallery-top-10-baits-from-havasu

Take a look at Lake Havasu fish species at golakehavasu.com

What’s Working? Try Some Chug Bugs Why Don’t You?

One of six free fishing docks on Lake Havasu

Want to know what’s working out on the lake? Chug Bugs, white spoons, and if you can stand ‘em, anchovies.

Whenever we begin to wonder what to throw out on the lake, we turn to Chris Blythe, a 26-year resident of Lake Havasu City who has operated a guide service for the past four years. Going out with this master guide has been likened to learning from a grandpa in a young man’s body. Chris, a USCG Six-Pack (six passengers or fewer) Certified Captain and an Arizona licensed fishing guide, jokes he suffers from OCFD – “obsessive compulsive fishing disorder.”

Capt. Blythe says, “We’ve been catching a lot of fish lately – smallmouth, largemouth and stripers – by watching the birds and looking for fish boiling on the surface. The seagulls are returning and they have a bird’s eye view of the action below.

“We use Chug Bugs, and if that doesn’t work we switch to white spoons.”

Cutbait like anchovies are also working, he advises, ‘if you can stand the smell’.

“I can’t help myself sometimes – when I fish with anchovies I reach up and wipe my nose and then wind up smelling anchovies for the next two weeks. The good thing is if the fishing is slow, you can always have a little morning snack,” said Capt. Blythe,

“By mid-October through the end of February, try using a casting net to catch your own live bait. Take a look at YouTube to learn how to throw one without snagging your partner’s head,” he advises.

One other piece of advice: think about catch and release to help preserve the fishing for generations to come.

“When you land that trophy bass, give them a kiss, take a picture, and throw them overboard. Remember, fish always look bigger the closer you get to the camera. Just extend out your arms and say cheese.”

Learn more about Capt. Blythe at: www.fishinginlakehavasu.com

Learn more about fishing Lake Havasu at golakehavasu.com

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.

Save Lives; Receive Fewer Citations

Arizona Fish and Game Department life jacket loaner station.
Want to save lives and save on citations? The Arizona Game and Fish Department (AZFGD) is working to help prevent drownings at Lake Havasu with the installation of new Life Jacket Loaner Stations.

It’s now possible to borrow a Personal Flotation Device (PFD) before heading out, thanks to the two newest stations at Windsor Beach State Park. Each station holds jackets for infants, child/youth, adult and oversized passengers. However, users are reminded to return the jackets once they are done with them.

“We are excited to bring this lifesaving program to Lake Havasu,” said AZGFD Boating Safety Education Coordinator Josh Hoffman. “Now, those needing a life jacket for whatever reason may borrow one from the station, head out onto the lake and return it before they leave. The safety of our water users is our utmost concern and we want to make sure people have as safe and fun an experience as possible.”

Having life jackets not only provides immediate protection for the boater, but may save a boater from receiving a citation for not having their children in a life jacket. State law requires all passengers 12 years old and younger to wear a life jacket while on board and each passenger must have a properly fitting, Coast Guard-approved life jacket available. Anyone being towed by a boat or on a personal watercraft such as a Sea Doo or Jet Ski also must wear a life jacket.

For more information on boating in Arizona or to sign up for a safety course, visit: www.azgfd.gov/boating

For boating rules and safety tips specific to Lake Havasu, go to the Lake Havasu City Convention and Visitors Bureau website, GoLakeHavasu.com.

Their Mission is Fishin’

Captain Doyle fishing charters on Lake Havasu, AZ.

When we want to know what’s working on the river we like to check in with Capt. Doyle’s FunFishing based at I-40 and Topock66 Spa & Resort. Lucky for us, we “caught” them this month between coming in from a productive day on the river and going out on a river clean-up the very next day.

Capt. Jamie Gustafson, along with his father-in-law Capt. Doyle, are both licensed U.S. Coast Guard captains and Arizona licensed fishing guides who together have over 50 years experience fishing the Colorado River near Lake Havasu.

“I consider the Topock Gorge with its rich wildlife to be an absolute paradise. I feel privileged to be able to raise a family, work, and play in such an extraordinary place,” Capt. Jamie says.

With just two rods in the water that morning, they pulled in 32 fish. No record-breakers, but a fun day nonetheless for two visitors from the midwest who landed the largest sunfish they ever saw – a 14-incher under about 1-1/2 pounds. (They should visit more often; that’s tiny compared to the five pounders they’ve caught here).

The action was mostly in the morning using nightcrawlers. In addition to sunfish, the group pulled in smallmouth bass and stripers. That’s a lot of action for a six-hour guide service on flat-bottom aluminum boats that costs just $145 per person (two-person minimum).

Both captains consider themselves stewards of the river and, in fact, were about to go out the next day on their annual Rockin’ River Clean-Up – an effort that involves over 15 boats and 75 people. They award prizes for the largest trash, the most trash, and the most flipflops, and usually collect over 1,600 pounds of trash from the water and beaches along Topock Gorge.

Last year they retrieved 399 flip flops which makes us think they should match ‘em up and open a store. But fishing is their main line of work.

As Capt. Jamie likes to say, “Keep your sinker in the water and the plug in your boat.”

Lake Havasu Named a Top Spot for Family Fishing

Fishing is fun for all ages on Lake Havasu

The Recreational Boating and Fishing Foundation’s Take Me Fishing organization has named Lake Havasu one of the top locations for family fishing in America. Looking for family fun in the southwest?

Take Me Fishing collected a list of over 250 fishing spots in America, and gathered votes from over 23,000 outdoor and fishing enthusiasts to narrow the list down to the one hundred best. Nine of the best spots in the U.S. were located in the southwest, and Lake Havasu State Park was one of them.

Lake Havasu checked all the boxes in Take Me Fishing’s criteria: easily accessible; plenty of the common fish species; lots of amenities such as playgrounds, campgrounds, picnic areas, restrooms and parking spaces; plenty of places to cast a line on land and by boat; and the recommendations of other anglers. You go, Lake Havasu.

The RBFF has a wide variety of programs and products that make it easy for people to get involved in recreational boating and fishing. They hope this outreach will increase public appreciation for the need to protect, conserve and restore our national aquatic natural resources.

Local Hot Spots

One of six free fishing docks on Lake Havasu

Spring breakers may think the London Bridge Resort’s Kokomo is a real hot spot, but Lake Havasu anglers beg to differ. A hot spot to them means one thing: where are they biting most?

Whether you’re fishing from the shore or a boat, Lake Havasu offers great fishing to both types of anglers. Lake Havasu shore fishers can take advantage of the many free public access fishing docks including: Site Six, Havasu Springs, Take-Off Point, and Mesquite Cove, while boaters can take advantage of free boat launch locations. According to www.havasufishing.com, Lake Havasu offers anglers the choice of fishing for:

  • Striped Bass, where the hot spots are Site Six, Havasu Springs, Windsor Basin, and Bridgewater Channel.
  • Largemouth Bass, biting at main lake points, submerged brush or weed beds and boat docks.
  • Smallmouth Bass are active in Parker Strip, Rocky Point, canyon areas
  • Catfish – look for them most at Parker Dam, Bill Williams River arm, coves, and Bridgewater Channel.
  • Panfish (Crappie, Sunfish, Bluegill) are active near docks, reeds, rocky areas, cattails, structure, and shallows.

Learn more about fishing Lake Havasu here

Lake Havasu is Fishing the Best in 40 Years

Kayak fishing on Lake Havasu

“Phenomenal” – that’s the word Arizona Game and Fish Department is using to describe the fishing in Lake Havasu. The results of a survey conducted in October have been made public, and Lake Havasu is at its most fishable level in four decades.

Fish biologist Russ Engel of the department’s Yuma office and his associates counted more than 2,300 individual fish over three nights. More than 500 of the fish were redear sunfish and more than 200 were largemouth and smallmouth bass. Striped bass made up 18 percent of the survey.

“They are the best conditioned bass in the region; they are fat, happy, sassy fish,” Engel said. “And we’ve got some whoppers now.”

A huge quantity of food, in the form of forage species and quagga mussels, is thought to be a leading cause for our healthy fishery, along with an on-going fish habitat program that has been in place for more than two decades. The bottom line? There are literally tons of fish ready for the catching in the waters of Lake Havasu.

For more on all things fishing and Lake Havasu, visit the fishing page of GoLakeHavasu.com.

Bye Bye, Blackbirds

You’ll find references to blackbirds in a nursery rhyme that begins, “Sing a song of sixpence.” The Beatles sang about blackbirds. Now hundreds of bass fisherman are singing its praises, although the propensity for bass to sneak up on blackbirds doesn’t bode well for our feathered friends with the yellow bills.

Bass pro Aaron Martens made it suddenly popular to stalk blackbirds during the Bassmaster Elite Series tournament on Lake Havasu last May. Don’t laugh. Martens’ unique strategy to land hog-sized monster bass paid off to the tune of $100,000. He caught five bass weighing a combined 19.5 pounds to seal the deal.

Martens, one of over 100 pro anglers in town for the event, planted himself way back in the thickest thicket of bulrushes he could find along the Colorado River, relying on big bass’ affinity for eating blackbirds.

“I do that all the time,” Martens said on Bassmaster.com.”I don’t know why people don’t believe me when I say it. The birds fall out of the nest, and the bass eat them. Birds are definitely part of their diet.”

To confirm the theory, Martens said there were black feathers in his live-well that bass had spit up. He also said a dragonfly pattern can be good on Lake Havasu, but it’s more of a midsummer selection. Martens was quoted as saying, “This is my favorite lake. I’ve learned a lot here … I worked hard changing rods, changing baits, and meditating.” Martens finished with 68 pounds, 9 ounces to win by three pounds over third-round leader Cliff Pirch, for his seventh career B.A.S.S. title. Local favorite Dean Rojas finished sixth and took home a $13,500 prize. More Lake Havasu Bassmaster Elite results can be found here.

This was the first time the Bassmaster Elite tournament was held in Lake Havasu City, and the first Bassmaster tournament of any kind to visit Lake Havasu since the 2003 Western Open. Since then, Lake Havasu City has cultivated its bass population by installing manmade fish habitats throughout the lake and shoreline, according to Doug Traub, president/CEO of the Lake Havasu Convention & Visitors Bureau. “Our habitat program created an environment for these fish, where small fish could gather in places they couldn’t before,” Traub said. “It’s a habitat for fish to grow bigger, and it provides smaller fish for the big ones to eat. Because of that, Lake Havasu has a better environment for bass fishing than ever before.”

Bassmaster Magazine ranks Lake Havasu 20th in the “100 Best Bass Lakes” for 2014. Bassmaster’s managing organization, Bass Anglers Sportsman Society, recognizes Lake Havasu as the best desert lake in the country.

Obviously, they didn’t ask the blackbirds. They might have a slightly different opinion.

Learn more about fishing on Lake Havasu on the Lake Havasu City Convention & Visitors Bureau website.

Biggest Fishing Event in Arizona Makes History

Dean-Rojas-Bassmaster-Tournament

Arizona is no stranger to making history. For example, Pluto was discovered by scientists in Flagstaff in 1930, the iconic Hoover Dam was completed in 1936 on the Arizona-Nevada border, and in 2001, the Arizona Diamondbacks beat the New York Yankees in Phoenix to win the World Series.

Next month we’re poised for historical greatness once again when the largest fishing tournament in the history of the state arrives. Lake Havasu will be home to the Bassmaster Elite fishing tournament on May 7 to 10. Want in on the action?

Western tournaments are a rarity for the Bassmaster Elite series, but Bassmaster Magazine’s ranking of Lake Havasu as 20th in the “100 Best Bass Lakes” for 2014 made all the difference. The tournament will be the first Bassmaster Elite event this far west since the series traveled to Stockton, Calif., in 2010, and the first at Lake Havasu since 2003.

Lake Havasu earned its place as a series stop due to its “outstanding angling, beautiful venues and first-class hospitality,” said Bruce Akin, CEO of B.A.S.S.

“Lake Havasu is a unique spot in the country, and the fishing has really improved from what it was years ago. Our anglers are looking forward to competing out West again,” said B.A.S.S. tournament director Trip Weldon.

The 113 best anglers in the bass fishing world – every single ranked member of the Bassmaster Elite series – will head to Lake Havasu for a chance at a $100,000 top prize. Crowds of over 5,000 spectators are expected daily to watch the action and take part in the family fun festival (see details below) while the anglers are on the water.

“It’s the biggest fishing event this lake has ever had,” said Bassmaster Elite angler Dean Rojas, who will be the only fisherman from Lake Havasu City in the tournament. “It’s a big atmosphere for fishing, and the biggest names in the bass fishing world will be here at home. It’s a great stage for us to perform on.”

The anglers launch daily at 6:15 a.m., and return for the official weigh-in at 3:15 p.m. Event attendance is free, and best views for spectators will be from the Lot 2 area at Lake Havasu State Park at 699 London Bridge Rd.

Family Fun Festival

The tournament will include a family fun festival from 10am-5pm on Saturday and Sunday, with a significant percentage of the proceeds from vendors going to the United Way.

“The family fun festival will include games, education, painting, stocked pond fishing for practice and the possibility of a first catch, all for free, for the kids,” said Lake Havasu CVB Director of Event Recruitment Kathy Silverthorn.

Kids’ games will include an inflatable BB gun range and a Bone Box in which kids can make footprints of various animals. AZ Game & Fish will have educational exhibits on site, including the new Wildlife Portal with a variety of fish and wildlife mounts, the Operation Game Thief display trailer, a watercraft law enforcement patrol boat for kids to climb on, and a combo boating safety/aquatic invasive species information booth.

What’s an event without a great array of food vendors? Festival eats will include hamburgers, walleye, onion rings, and cheese curds from Scoops Diner, along with Scoops’ ice cream and shaved ice. Tri Tip sandwiches will be serving shaved beef, pulled pork, k-bobs, grilled chicken and beer battered French fries, and visitors can cool off with fresh squeezed lemonade or tropical twister freeze.

Music will be provided Saturday and Sunday by Lake Havasu City locals Matt Farris, Hollis Googe and Gary Peasley prior to the afternoon weigh-ins.

Those unlucky few who can’t make it here may watch the tournament broadcast nationwide on ESPN2 and The Outdoor Channel.