Tough Kayak Fishing Conditions

It’s hard to come up with material for a kayak fishing blog when you can’t do much kayak fishing. Unfortunately, that’s the position we’ve been in for the past couple months. The winter months are not prime fishing time, even if it’s nice and sunny, but the big factor the past few months has been the nonstop wind. Nearly every day for the past few months has been 5-10 mph with many days in the 10-20 mph range with a few 30-35 mph days in there. When one of the few calm days comes along, we are out there at the crack of dawn before the wind comes up in the early afternoon.

Sunrise launch at Squaw Lake near the Colorado River

Most winter desert mornings, the wind is calm or light and variable. When the conditions are right, this area is great for kayak fishing as well as exploring the lower Colorado River basin.

Kayak fishing at Squaw Lake near the lower Colorado River

The Colorado River in this area is much as it is for miles upstream. There is usually a steady current that can be strong at at times. The fish tend to hang out near the shore vegetation, but the current can make fishing difficult. There are numerous backwaters and river channels that have fishing potential.

One of the numerous backwaters off the main channel of the Colorado River

Even with a calm day, the temperature of the river water this time of year can be too cold for good fishing. Water released from the bottom of reservoirs behind dams can be pretty cold, putting a chill on the fishing.

With everything else putting a damper on the kayak fishing, the wind came packaged with rain. Heavy downpours can cause flash flooding in the desert. When you see a halo around the sun in the desert, that means rain is probably on the way.

Halo around the desert sun means rain is on the way

After a couple months without anything near a successful kayak fishing trip, a ten hour light wind day between days of 15-30mph wind was the only opportunity. We headed out around Squaw Lake because with the uncertainty of the wind, we did not want to venture miles from the launch only to face a double digit afternoon wind.

Kayak fishing at Squaw Lake near the lower Colorado River

To add to the list of fishing challenges, the water level was low and the water itself was crystal clear. You could see big largemouth bass in the shallows and even bigger carp and tilapia as well. We were fishing by sight, casting where we actually saw fish. Of course the fish could see us too and were easily spooked. In spite of all this, I finally landed my first largemouth bass of 2020, having to yank it out of the riverside reeds.

Kayak fishing for largemouth bass on Squaw Lake with

It was great to have a fish on the line again. After a good fight, this nice bass was released with only a sore jaw and internet fame.

Squaw Lake largemouth bass caught by kayak fisherman Ron Barbish

I caught a couple more bass but they were smaller and had a couple half hits, so I’m hoping we’ve rounded the dead fishing zone of winter and off to what is usually a good time for bass fishing here. Keep checking in because the fishing has to be getting better!

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