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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.