Kayak Fishing In The Twilight Zone

The unusual weather and fishing conditions have made this Colorado River fishing season like kayak fishing in the Twilight Zone. Relentless wind, day and night with hardly a break. The parched southwest states sucking every available drop out of the Colorado River to the point of not being navigable by boat. Now it appears the milfoil, or whatever the aquatic vegetation is, in on the verge of taking over many Colorado River backwaters, making fishing impossible.

The wind this past winter has been non-stop. Rare was the day with wind less than 5 mph for most of the day. Most of the kayak fishing has been done from when the wind usually dies down somewhat, usually about 3 AM, and when the wind increases to over 10 mph or more about 11 AM. The waters here are shallow and the wind usually picks up quickly so you have to pay attention.

It’s getting hotter and the days are getting longer as winter fades into spring. Sunrise is a nice time of day. Even nicer if you catch a fish or two.

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

The early morning kayak fishing conditions can be just about perfect but in a couple hours the wind will be blowing 10-15 mph making it impossible to fish.

Perfect morning kayak fishing conditions on the Colorado River

In addition to the incessant wind, it appears likely that invasive vegetation has taken root in the backwaters of the Colorado River. It looks like milfoil, which I have seen on the Columbia River. Here in the desert, it seems to flourish from about September to about April. The water temperature, coming from reservoirs behind dams, is relatively stable. Not near cold enough to kill milfoil and neither is the mild desert southwest winter. I probably slows down during the winter because of the short days but doesn’t die out. It’s been growing inches per day and won’t be long before all the water up to twenty feet deep is choked with milfoil.

Milfoil in the Colorado River

Usually, the fishing at night has been pretty good. At least no worse than fishing during the day. In shallow water, the fish tend to head for cover soon after sunrise on these hot desert mornings. The night fishing has been slow like all the other fishing, but managed to catch this striped bass while fishing for largemouth bass.

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

Adding to the wacky Twilight Zoneness of the season, this striped bass bit a green plastic worm. Usually, they go for white or shiny lures. The plastic worm would be my pick for the least likely lure to catch a striped bass.

The situation has changed and now a successful day of fishing may only mean one or two fish. Sometime you get them and sometime you don’t. If the fish are decent size, that’s not a bad deal.

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

When the fishing is tough like it has been, you have to work hard to catch fish. The kayak is good for getting into all the nooks and crannies of the Colorado River backwaters to try and find the largemouth bass hiding in the reeds.

High clouds over the Colorado River

I had fun casting a weedless frog lure in the shallow water reeds. There are big fish hiding in these reeds and will hit the frog lure the instant it hits the water.

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

As mentioned earlier, the night fishing has been about the same as the day fishing, which is not that great. We still managed to get a nice fish or two at night and it’s always cool to be out on the water under the desert stars.

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

Once again we are on wind delay but we will be looking for more mornings like this.

Colorado River sunrise

It’s 100% fishing effort from now until we head back to the PacNW or bake alive in the desert so check back soon.

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