Feb 142019
 

With much of the United States dealing with a series of serious winter storms, it’s hard to complain about cold weather in the Arizona desert. There’s no snow here, at least at sea level, but it has been cold in the mornings with temperatures dipping into the low 30’s Fahrenheit. While there is no precipitation, the low humidity and temperatures ensure cold fingers and chapped skin. On top of that, the river water temperature has been 52-54°, which is too cold for largemouth bass to be active. Even with the challenging conditions, we put our kayaks in the water every day we can because we came here to fish.

Launching fishing kayaks on the Colorado River in mid winter

Along with the basic winter cold temperatures, there has been some wild weather for this part of the country. Windy days and rain storms are not quite normal weather for the southwest desert. A fast moving rain shower made this double rainbow right at sunset. Double rainbows in the Columbia River Gorge hardly get a second look. Here in the Sonoran Desert, they are quite rare.

A rare double rainbow in the Sonoran Desert just east of the Colorado River

We like to get up early and be on the water before sunrise. Really tough to do when it’s freezing cold and the fish have not exactly been jumping in the kayak, but we’ve had pretty good luck early in the morning so we keep crawling out of bed at o’dark thirty to go fishing. The cold morning temperatures are uncomfortable, but it’s the cold water temps that are the major cause of concern. Anyway, being out on the water before sunrise paid off because for the past few days, all of the fishing success was early in the morning with only a few small fish after that. This largemouth bass was the best fish of the day, caught before sunrise.

Early morning Colorado River largemouth bass caught by watermanatwork.com kayak fisherman Ron Barbish

A couple days later, I caught this nice largemouth bass on a 35° desert morning when the water temperature was 53°. When the water is this cold, only the bigger fish are going to be moving and you have to drop your lure directly into their mouth. This was the only fish of the day and given the conditions, I was pretty lucky to catch it.

Nice Colorado River largemouth bass caught just before sunrise by watermanatwork.com kayak fisherman Ron Barbish

All of the bigger bass we caught were in the morning before 9:00AM. After that we did a lot of paddling and casting for a few fish. After the sun comes up and it warms up a little, the fishing conditions couldn’t be much better, especially for the middle of winter, but the exceptionally cold river water has really slowed the fishing down. You can check out the Bass Fishing and Water Temperature video on YouTube if you want the cold water details.

Largemouth bass kayak fishing on the Colorado River with watermanatwork.com

The largemouth bass were not biting, but there are other fish in the Colorado River. This is a pretty good size tilapia. Usually, the closest you get to these fish is in the seafood section of the supermarket. Tilapia are primarily vegetarian so they are not commonly caught by sport fishermen. I got this one trolling a strip of bell pepper with ranch dressing.

Colorado River tilapia caught by watermanatwork.com kayak fisherman Ron Barbish

We’ve got a bit of a break from fishing with wind and cold water continuing for a few days but we know that winter has turned the corner towards spring. It doesn’t seem like it in most of the country right now and with the way the climate seems to be changing, at least we hope spring is coming.

Sunset on a day of kayak fishing with watermanatwork.com

We haven’t been catching a lot of fish, but the fish we have caught have been pretty big. We’ve got some good video. Check back for more kayak fishing action.

Feb 052019
 

Water temperature has a significant role in successful bass fishing. In this YouTube video, watermanatwork.com kayak fisherman Ron Barbish, explains how the temperature of the water can be a real factor in whether or not you catch any fish. Pretty basic stuff that every bass fisherman should know.

Click HERE to view the Bass Fishing and Water Temperature video on YouTube

Click HERE or on the photo above to check out the Bass Fishing and Water Temperature video on YouTube. We will be posting a higher quality video on the watermanatwork.com website so stay tuned for that. More kayak fishing videos are also on the way. Always something happening at watermanatwork.com.

Feb 052019
 

While most of the lower forty eight states are shivering in the grip of deadly winter storm, we are fortunate to be kayak fishing on the Colorado River in southwest Arizona. The weather and fishing have not been ideal, but we can’t really complain too much.

Cloudy sunrise over the lower Colorado River in southwest Arizona

We’ve been looking around, trying to find the bass in a river where the water levels are changing rapidly, resulting in very cold river water that is really putting a damper on the fishing. The fishing for largemouth bass has been slow due to the cold water. We are looking for the backwaters where the water might be a bit warmer and the fish more active.

Kayak fishing in the southwest Arizona desert with watermanatwork.com

As usual, we are out there every morning the weather and fishing conditions permit, trying for the big bass. Or, when the fishing is as slow as it is now, trying for any bass. Even if the fish aren’t biting, being out on the water is nearly always better than being on land.

Colorado River sunrise

We have managed to catch a few fish that were hanging out in the warmer water. On the main river, the water is too cold for the fish to be active. In the backwaters and bays off the main channel, the water is a couple degrees warmer and the bass are more active.

Mid-winter Colorado River largemouth bass caught by watermanatwork.com kayak fisherman Ron Barbish

I think we’ve rounded the corner on mid winter here in the Arizona desert and we are hoping the river water starts to warm up and get the fish active again soon. Stay tuned for more kayak fishing action from the southwest desert as the 2019 fishing season gets going!

Jan 222019
 

The kayak fishing in southwest Arizona on the Colorado River has been very challenging lately due to the large swings in river water levels and seasonably cold river water. Spots that usually have plenty of bass fishing action have been nearly dead. All the fishermen we’ve spoken with have not had much success either. The fish just aren’t biting. There has also been significant rainfall here in the desert resulting in lots of mud and flash flooding. You don’t get many foggy days on the Colorado River in Arizona, but we’ve had it.

A foggy morning kayak fishing on the lower Colorado River

I have been recovering from a serious accident so my time in the kayak has been limited. That and the slow fishing makes me grateful to catch one decent fish.

Early morning Colorado River largemouth bass caught by watermanatwork.com kayak fisherman Ron Barbish

Largemouth bass are not the only fish in the Colorado River. This channel catfish saved me from being skunked one day. Not a nibble from the local largemouth bass.

Colorado River channel catfish caught by watermanatwork.com kayak fisherman Ron Barbish

The river water levels have stabilized and it looks like the water temperature is warming up, so as long as the people in San Diego County don’t take too many long showers, the fishing action should be picking up. There are a lot of big bass out there and they must be getting really hungry so keep checking back!

Dec 282018
 

The water levels in the lower Colorado River watershed continue to go up and down in large volume, that appears to put the fish off the bite, so the fishing for largemouth bass here in the desert southwest continues to be on the slow side. We are out there every day conditions permit and getting a a few fish, but it is mostly “fishing” and not a whole lot of “catching”. Can’t beat the scenery…

Colorado River sunrise. Kayak fishing with watermanatwork.com

The bass are not exactly jumping into the kayaks, but we have managed to pick off a few fish here and there. Most of the bass have been caught earlier in the morning an not a whole lot of action for the rest of the day.

Sunrise largemouth bass caught on the Colorado River by watermanatwork.com kayak fisherman Ron Barbish

The fishing will pick up sooner or later and we will be on the water when that happens. Until then, we keep on looking for the fish and enjoy being on the water.

Kayak fishing in the desert with watermanatwork.com

We’ll keep looking for the bass, that’s for sure. In the meantime, check out the high quality HD videos from last season we just uploaded to the watermanatwork.com website. The fish gotta eat, they are going to start biting, so check back soon!

Dec 282018
 

The kayak fishing here in the southwest desert may be a bit slow, but we have taken the opportunity to update the watermanatwork.com website. We have not updated the site for awhile, we will be doing so over the next couple weeks or so. If the fishing picks up, it may take longer…

Large Colorado River largemouth bass caught by watermanatwork.com kayak fisherman Ron Barbish

We’ve added HD videos of kayak fishing in the desert southwest from the 2017-18 kayak fishing season.

Click HERE to check out the latest HD desert southwest kayak fishing videos.

Dec 192018
 

We are back in the Arizona desert to do some kayak fishing. Mostly, we are after largemouth bass, but there are plenty of other fish here as well. We have gotten off to a somewhat slow start because I was injured in a serious accident on the way down here and I am still nowhere near 100%. I am getting out there as much as possible, but lots of recovery and rehab still ahead.

The fishing here in the Colorado River watershed has been kind of slow. The water levels in the reservoirs, lakes and rivers has been changing often and with dramatic rises and falls in water levels, sometimes as much as five or six feet in a few days. Just like the smallmouth bass on the Columbia River, when there dramatic water level changes, and the fish are inactive for a day or two. We’ve managed to scrape out a fish or two mostly every day and caught a couple nice fish, so it hasn’t been a complete skunkfest.

Colorado River largemouth bass caught by watermanatwork.com kayak fisherman Ron Barbish

We are hoping to get out fishing more as I recover from my injuries so keep checking back because the winter fishing season here in the desert is just getting started!

Oct 022018
 

We’ve got a couple works in progress going on here at watermanatwork.com, here’s a short preview, there will be more details coming up shortly.

The kayak seat on my eleven year old Hobie Quest is really worn out. I need a new seat, but spending a couple hundred bucks on a kayak seat is a little out of my price range, so I bought a cheap Chinese kayak seat on eBay, made some modifications and will see if it can be reliable enough for every day use. More details to come.

Upgraded modified Chinese kayak seat

The original Hobie paddle is also beat. Still usable, but beat. The aluminum shaft is hot in the summer and cold in the winter. Time for a new paddle. Would love an all carbon kayak paddle, but $300-400 for something that will be on the rocks withing minutes of first use? I think not. Instead, I got a Werner Tybee Hooked paddle for a little over $100. I’m testing it out now, I’ll have more on this paddle shortly.

Werner Tybee kayak paddle at the watermanatwork.com testing facility in White Salmon, WA

Always something going on at watermanatwork.com so stay tuned.

Oct 022018
 

With salmon and steelhead fishing season closed on the Columbia River, local fishermen were trying to figure out what to do now that the best fishing time of the year is gone. Columbia River marinas and boat launches that would be packed with salmon fishermen are empty. The only fishermen left on the river were smallmouth bass and walleye fishermen looking for a few fish around all the gill nets.

Salmon fishing gear packed away after one day of salmon fishing, we got out the bass fishing gear and headed east to try and escape the wind and find some late season smallmouth bass. We don’t normally fish for smallmouth bass at this time of year so we really didn’t know what to expect.

We were up before the sun to take advantage of a few rare calm wind days on the Columbia River this year. The days are getting shorter as winter gets closer so there is less fishing time.

Sunrise on the Columbia River in eastern WA kayak fishing for smallmouth bass

As the sun came up over the eastern hills, we saw that we were not the only ones up early for the last sunny days of the season.

A deer on the bank on the Columbia River checking out watermanatwork.com kayak fisherman Ron Barbish

The smallmouth bass fishing itself was pretty slow. We caught some nice bass in the one or two pound range, but no real big fish. We also did not catch that many fish. Smallmouth bass are great fighters at any size, so at least you get your money’s worth out of the fish you do catch.

Columbia River kayak fishing for smallmouth bass with watermanatwork.com

Columbia River smallmouth bass caught by watermanatwork.com kayak fisherman Ron Barbish

The Columbia River was choked with underwater vegetation, including an abundance of Eurasian Milfoil, an invasive species that is taking over the river. On top of that, everything, and I mean everything, was covered with slimy green algae. The algae stuck to the lures on every cast. We saw the same thing at Mittry Lake in Arizona; when the slimy algae appeared, the fishing got worse. I don’t think you would find much disagreement that agricultural runoff has a lot to do with the increased vegetation in the water. Not sure what can be done, but the Columbia River does not seem to be in very good condition.

With no salmon fishing and the smallmouth bass fishing choked off by invasive seaweed, I think that will pretty much wrap up our fishing season here in the Pacific Northwest. This place is still spectacular and has it’s moments, but between the relentless wind and poor fishing, 2018 will not go down as one of the best years ever. The situation with the salmon and steelhead is especially troubling because we have to face the fact that it’s not “just one bad year” any longer.

Columbia River sunset

Fishermen are an optimistic bunch so we hope it will be better next year. In the meantime, we have a few things going on and some new gear to try out. We will be heading south for more kayak fishing soon, so check back because there will be a lot of kayak fishing action!

Sep 182018
 

With the salmon and steelhead season closed due to lack of fish, marinas and boat launch ramps the Columbia River, along with the small towns that make most of their income by catering to fisherman, are now ghost towns. The only salmon fishing activity on the Columbia River are the tribal fishermen gillnetting the salmon to extinction to buy new pickup trucks.

At least us non-indians have the smallmouth bass to fish for. The weather is getting colder but the river water is still fairly warm. The water levels are up and down like a yo-yo, but that’s the way it goes. We headed east from the salmon fishing ghost towns and hit the Columbia River to see if the smallmouth bass were biting.

Columbia River railroad bridge

It turns out the smallmouth bass were biting. The fishing was a lot like spring bass fishing; not that many fish, but the fish caught tend to be a little larger than average. I only caught five bass, but they were all nice fish, including this smallmouth that will probably be the biggest smallmouth bass of the season for me.

Columbia River smallmouth bass caught by watermanatwork.com kayak fisherman Ron Barbish

Between this year’s relentless Columbia River basin wind and the salmon season being cancelled, 2018 will go down in the books as one of the worst fishing seasons ever, especially for kayak fishermen. We may get out for another smallmouth bass fishing trip or two if the weather cooperates, but at this point, the PacNW fishing season is pretty much a wrap and we are starting to look ahead to largemouth bass fishing on the Colorado River.