Hot Autumn Kayak Fishing for Largemouth Bass

After yet another disappointing fishing season on the Columbia River we are back in the desert just in time for some hot autumn kayak fishing for largemouth bass on the lower Colorado River. Even though it’s near the end of September here in the desert southwest, it’s been exceptionally hot with daytime temps well into the mid 100 degrees Fahrenheit. It only “cooled off” to 80°F at night so it wasn’t much relief from the heat.

We were out on the water the first morning after arriving in the desert. We’ve had good success fishing at night and with the scorching daytime temperatures, we were on the Colorado River once again under a brilliant harvest moon. I pretty stoked to land the first largemouth bass of the season, which turned out to be a really nice fish.

Colorado River largemouth bass caught at night by kayak fisherman Ron Barbish

By the time the sun rose over the eastern desert, it was already about 90°F and not a wisp of wind.

Colorado River at sunrise with a full harvest moon

As it got light, we were able to see that much of this Colorado River backwater was full of thick vegetation. These weeds blocked about half of the potential fishing area. The weeds are home to lots of small fish and some big ones, but fishing in this thick tangle of weeds is not possible.

Colorado River backwater choked with aquatic weeds

We probably would have headed to another part of the Colorado River because of the seaweed, but we had not done much kayak fishing during the summer and were out of paddling shape. We needed a few days of paddling to get back into the swing of things before we went on the longer fishing trips.

Colorado River sunrise

Once the sun comes up, the temperature rises rapidly. It’s easy to get dehydrated and you don’t feel like eating that much when it’s so hot. There’s not much shade after a hot day baking on the kayak so you must pace yourself and be sure to drink a lot of water.

107°F desert heat

After a couple days of clear skies and baking desert heat, clouds appeared and the temperature dropped a few degrees but the humidity really went up so it was still uncomfortable. The forecast was for scattered thunderstorms as we headed out into the darkness. There were thunderstorms all around and lightning could be seen in the distance. Adding to the excitement was some pretty good kayak fishing.

Colorado River largemouth bass caught at night by kayak fisherman Ron Barbish

Thunderstorms were passing all around us as we continued to enjoy some great largemouth bass fishing.

Desert thunderstorm near the Colorado River
Colorado River largemouth bass caught by kayak fisherman Ron Barbish

The thunderstorms faded away without much rain but the clouds and the humidity remained. The hot early morning bass fishing also remained with some great battles and nice fish being caught and released.

Kayak fishing for largemouth bass with

The rising sun revealed another surprise. The water level in the Colorado River had dropped about a foot overnight. That’s a lot of water movement in a short period of time. You can tell by the “bathtub ring” on the river reeds and waterfront bushes.

Colorado River reeds showing river water level drop

When the water level changes quickly, it tends to put the fishing off for a day or two. That was the case this day when I only caught a couple fish, but the fish I caught were nice largemouth bass.

Colorado River largemouth bass caught by kayak fisherman Ron Barbish

After a week of paddling and kayak fishing, we’re ready to head out on big kayak fishing adventures to catch some big largemouth bass. Things are looking good for great kayak fishing so check back soon.

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