BassWestUSA - Spring, 2012, Page 53

“The live release boat had some issues at that particular tourna- ment and there was a tremendous loss of fish as a result. Fish and Game officials were not pleased and ordered the organization in question to do a largemouth bass stocking to mitigate the fish loss.” This is where it gets a bit fuzzy for all in the know. “The bass were ordered and whether or not a mistake happened on the order or at the hatchery is unclear, but when the stocking truck ar- rived, it was full of smallmouth bass! Instead of refusing the load and sending the truck back, mum was the word and the fish were placed in the lake. From a fishing standpoint, it is the best thing that could have ever happened to the lake,” Naslund said. “I don’t know if this was an urban legend or fact,” said Kirk Koch, BLM’s Lake Havasu Project Manager, “but regardless, I sure don’t hear anyone complaining about it.” Today, recreational anglers and tournament organizations alike are reaping the benefits of this perfect storm. The baitfish population has exploded and weekend tournaments are seeing bags composed of all smallmouth bass that are tipping the scales at 20-25 pounds. Based upon the amount of forage fish in the water, the consensus is that these sacks will consistently reach the 30-pound mark in the next two years. But what does it take to be a successful smallmouth angler on Lake Havasu? “It’s all about keying in on the seasonal patterns,” states John Galbraith, whose Bass Master Tackle shop acts as the central clearing house for all that is fishing on Lake Havasu.

“The best time of the year for smallmouth on Havasu is defi- nitely spring and early summer”, Galbraith noted. “Come the first of March, the fish are typically on the move, staging off points and ready to move into the coves to spawn. While a number of lures will prove effective, the best baits to use during these times are tube baits, finesse jigs, and plastic craws in a brown melon, purple craw, or truly ugly (yellow-green) color. Since smallmouth are visual feeders, I will sometimes use a high visibility color like a bright chartreuse or white.” During the early summer, Galbraith notes that the fish are in a post spawn pattern and typically holding off of rocky points or banks in the early morning and later afternoon. “This is a fun time to be fishing as you can catch the fish on literally anything you throw,” John notes. “I will throw a lot of Yamamoto twin tail hula grubs in Cinnamon Green, or Green Pumpkin. Senkos, and Jackall Flick Shake worms wacky rigged are also a good bet.” Galbraith also commented, “Topwater baits like Rico Pop- pers and Lucky Craft Sammy 100’s in Shad and Chartreuse Shad patterns are effective in the afternoon when fish have pulled off the banks and are suspended during the direct sunlight hours. Reaction baits including shad pattern Rattle Traps, Spinnerbaits, and rip baits will also produce throughout the warmer water months.” During the hot summer months, catching becomes sporadic. “Surface water temps on the main body of the lake can go as high as 80 degrees pushing the fish into the cool, deeper water,” John notes. Mid to late summer can be plain tough, but fish

Spring 2012