Desert Southwest Kayak Fishing Ends – Part 1

With the future just about as uncertain and as unsafe as it can be, we’ve loaded up the kayaks and fishing gear one last time after a great spring kayak fishing season in the desert southwest.

We’ve been kayak camping in the desert since before the coronavirus pandemic hit. This is a remote area with few people and very limited personal interaction. As far as spread of the virus goes, this would one of the safest spots in the country. Due to the pandemic, the Bureau of Land Management(BLM), has closed nearly all facilities like restrooms, water and showers, but the land remains open for public use under BLM rules. Fishing was still allowed and a couple miles away, so not much reason to head back to the Pacific NW where the virus was spreading and most everything was closed.

Desert kayak camping near the Colorado River

Amid this life changing event, we are in this beautiful, natural place. Nature has stayed the same while the human race faces changes that will make life in the future much different than it is today. Paddling out on the lakes and rivers with the stars overhead as the sun rises over the desert mountains is like an escape to another dimension.

Kayak fishing at sunrise on the backwaters of the Colorado River

As summer approaches in the desert southwest, the temperature increases rapidly. 100°F during the day and 75°F at night makes for an uncomfortable and potentially dangerous environment. Most of the kayak fishing was done in the early morning. I think most of the largemouth bass fishing action was between about an hour before and an hour after sunrise.

Kayak fishing for largemouth bass with

Although it’s not cool, it’s the coolest time of the day in the desert. The wind has been mostly calm so the water is usually pretty glassy. It’s an ideal kayak fishing situation and the payoff can be a nice largemouth bass.

Colorado River largemouth bass caught by kayak fisherman Ron Barbish

As the sun rises over the hills, the temperature rises quickly and the wind increases. We usually start fishing well before sunrise and fish our way back to the launch. Even if the best fishing was around sunrise, the rest of the morning was pretty good as well.

Kayak fishing for largemouth bass with

Some days were just about perfect for kayak fishing. The desert wildlife is active in the morning before it gets too hot. Of course, fishing can be better on some days than others, but usually, there’s not much to complain about.

Late spring morning on a Colorado River backwater

You try to cover as much of the water as you can before it gets too hot, the wind picks up, or the fish stop biting.

Kayak fishing for largemouth bass with

After waking up hours before sunrise, paddling five or six miles, getting attacked by mosquitoes and horseflies and baked in the 100° desert sun, the hottest part of the day is still to come. Get loaded up and get ready for a few hours in the desert sauna.

Kayak fishing in extreme desert heat with kayak fisherman Ron Barbish

A quick glance at the news on the phone after coming in from kayak fishing is a quick reminder of the harsh reality away from this remote spot. We did not really want to leave, but the heat was becoming a bit too much.

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