Kayak Fishing and Desert Wind

Winter in the American desert southwest doesn’t have any snow. It does have some chilly days; 40°F with 20mph wind is quite cool anywhere, in the desert with no place to hide from the wind, it’s not very comfortable. The strong winds are the most prominent meteorological feature of winter in the desert. For the past few weeks, there have been days where the wind has reached 40mph. With no natural shelter from the wind, the blowing dust and sand are quite uncomfortable. The blowing sand and desert “moon dust” are tough on vehicles and machinery, the ripping desert wind can tear a camping tent to shreds in a couple hours.

As a kayak fisherman, all you can do is wait it out. We use this down time to edit photos and videos, and catch up on computer work and paying bills. After a couple days of non stop 20-30mph wind, you’ve pretty much had enough and are ready to get back out on the water. It seems that for every couple days of calm wind for kayak fishing, there are four or five days of double digit wind. The lower Colorado River is a relatively small river, totally man made and controlled, but paddling a couple miles against a 15mph wind is no fun. Safety is always the number one priority. The desert wind can come up very quickly, it can go from calm to 40mph in an hour. The NOAA weather forecast we use are usually correct on the trending wind conditions, but the timing is kind of hit and miss. Of course, as kayakers, like any other outdoor enthusiasts, it’s your job to learn the weather conditions from experience. When to go out on the water is the most important decision of all.

Anyway, we have enough experience to know that when the wind is not blowing, it’s time to go kayak fishing and that’s what we did. After a week of relentless desert wind, we got back out on the river. The good news was that the water level of this part of the river looks to have risen slightly, or at least stabilized. The bad news is that the largemouth bass did not seem very anxious to bite. After a week of minimal fishing pressure due to the wind, we were hoping the fishing would be better. I did manage to catch a few bass but had to work hard to get them. I caught this one under a fading half moon and just before dawn.

Colorado River largemouth bass caught just before dawn under a half moon

The sun rising over the river reeds can be blinding, which makes the fishing just a little more challenging.

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

Even though the fishing is the most challenging, or pretty poor, depending on how you look at it, you can’t give up. So many times I’ve caught the best fish of the day on the way back to the launch or on the famous “one last cast”. The was the case this day with the last fish of the day on the way back to the launch. The best fish of the day by far and the biggest fish in a while. You don’t catch fish like this every day.

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

After a day of challenging kayak fishing that ended pretty well, with calm wind predicted for the next day, we were ready to go. Unfortunately, the wind forecast was off and our kayak fishing day was blown away. The following day, the wind was calm enough in the morning for fishing and we were out there early. Again, the fishing was not exactly on fire, but there was a little early morning kayak fishing action.

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

We managed to scrape out a couple bass, the fish were not exactly jumping in the kayak. Most of the action was about sunrise and didn’t last very long. This was the best fish of the day and I was happy to catch it. This bass, and all the other largemouth bass made famous on this website, have been released to fight again.

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

We’re sitting out more wind, but there should be less wind and better fishing as spring approaches, so we are looking forward to the kayak fishing action picking up. We will be posting more and from more remote locations so stay tuned. Between posts, we’ll try to post images to Instagram. The link is at the bottom of this page on mobile devices and on the right if you are on a computer.

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