Dec 102019
 

There’s been some wild weather here in the desert southwest. A significant amount of rain and winds in excess of 30 mph have been passing through the area. The storms are highly localized. There can be heavy rain and high winds in a relatively small storm area, while a few miles away, there is hardly a cloud in the sky. The cloudy weather, without the 20-30 mph wind, evens out the daily temperatures. It’s a bit cooler during the day and slightly warmer at night.

A cloudy desert morning on the lower Colorado River

The overcast mornings do not help our efforts to get good bass fishing videos, but to be honest, the fish were not exactly jumping in the boat. With runoff from the recent local rain and water being let out of the upstream reservoir, the water temperature may be too cold for good largemouth bass fishing. When the water is colder, you probably won’t catch as many fish, but usually the fish are bigger. After a long cloudy morning of nearly no fishing action, I caught this nice bass after the sun came out and I was in “just one more cast” territory before heading in.

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

The days between storms, there were few calm winds, but as long as the wind wasn’t too bad, we had to try and go fishing or we’d never get out there. We started out before sunrise, when the wind is most calm(and also the coldest) so we could paddle upstream before the daily downstream wind kicked in and drift fish our way back. Most mornings, there was at least, a light to moderate wind. The beautiful desert sunrises were replaced by ominous looking clouds and light rain.

Sunrise on a cloudy day on the lower Colorado River

This day started out cloudy, but the clouds moved out shortly after sunrise and it was a nice, but windy and cool, day on the Colorado River. The fishing has been challenging, but if you don’t have a line in the water you don’t catch anything, so you have to get out there. By about 11:00AM, I had caught three decent largemouth bass. The way the fishing has been, that would constitute a good day of fishing. The bass were all about the same size, this one might have been a few ounces bigger.

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

After catching and releasing the last largemouth bass, I noticed birds diving on the water. I paddled over, tossed out a shad crankbait on a light bait casting rig and trolled under the diving birds. It wasn’t long before I had a hit and after a nice fight, had a striped bass in the kayak. I released the striper, turned around and trolled back under the birds. Once again, a strike and another Colorado River striped bass. Three nice largemouth bass and two striped bass for the day is a great day of Colorado River fishing, especially with the slow bite.

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

Following another series of storms, encouraged by the previous fishing trip’s success, we headed back to the river, stopping to clear the road of blown down trees. It was like being back in the PacNW, except that here there are a lot fewer trees.

Blown down trees from desert storm wind

As we paddled up the river, the clouds started rolling in, the wind started picking up and worst of all, in three or four hours of fishing, I hadn’t had as much as a nibble. The wind quickly increased and blew us off the water by noon. A change of scenery was needed so we packed up and headed to another stretch of the Colorado River that faced a different direction and might be sheltered from the wind. For sure the fishing couldn’t be any worse.

By the time we reached the launch beach that afternoon, it had gotten very cloudy and dark, very atypical of this area. The wind had died down so we quickly paddled out to see if the fish were biting.

A cool, cloudy afternoon kayak fishing on the Colorado River

The conditions were much better, save for one. This part of the river has a fairly swift and steady current. Probably due again to the recent rain, the river level was high and the current as fast as it gets. If you stop paddling, you’ll be steady for a few seconds, then you are headed downstream.
A peddle kayak would be good here, but must be very careful of very shallow sandbars. Making pinpoint casts, trying to make the drifting lure and drifting kayak go where they are supposed to go. It gets real interesting when you hook up with a nice fish.

Kayak fishing for largemouth bass on the Colorado River with watermanatwork.com

We weren’t hauling them in, but we’d only been fishing a couple hours and caught a few fish, including a couple nice fish. That’s more than we caught in five hours of fishing this morning. We were hopeful the following day would have continued success.

We were up and ready to go at the crack of dawn. Not many places you can camp feet from the river, the kayak a few steps away, a great kayak fishing spot.

A cool and cloudy morning kayak fishing on the Colorado River

We caught a couple small bass, but we were hoping to do a little better, so we decided to fish downstream to a backwater spot where the fishing might be better. Heading downstream when the river current is as strong as it is means you have to paddle back upstream against the current. It’s a steady grind and you can’t stop so you have to be 100% sure you can make it back upstream. We hoped the fishing is worth it because it is going to be a workout getting back.

When we pulled off the main channel into the backwater, you couldn’t help but notice the entire open water area choked with weeds from the bottom to the surface. It’s hard to see how fish can live with all this vegetation in relatively shallow water.

Vegetation choking the backwaters of the lower Colorado River

Still, I managed to catch a couple small bass between cleaning seaweed off the lure. The wind started to pick up and mindful of the upstream paddle back, we headed to the main channel. One last cast into about a foot of water covered with seaweed,a big hit and a nice battle wrestling a nice largemouth bass out of the seaweed and into the kayak.

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

The nice bass on another “just one more cast” hail mary made the paddle upstream back to the launch a little easier, but not much. The wind had picked up, unfortunately, it was a headwind, but we cut across an irrigation ditch that was only a couple feet deep and six feet wide that had less current and nearly no wind. By the time we reached the launch, the wind had died and I had enough energy left to paddle a short way upstream and drifting quickly back to the launch, I managed to hook one last bass.

Kayak fishing for largemouth bass on the Colorado River with watermanatwork.com

The weather remains unsettled with the storms moving in and out making for some spectacular sunsets.

Clearing desert storm at sunset

The weather will probably be clearing up in the next few days and we will have to see about the wind. We may do a bit of exploring and see about some other fishing spots nearby. In the meantime, we are putting the finishing touches on a couple videos that will be released soon so check back soon.

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