"We don't stock it," said Mike Giusti, DFG biologist. Flatheads can be found in the Colorado River and its sloughs and canals. Expect a mixed bag of flatheads. Smothers says it's important not to set the hook when you first get bit, rather to wait until the fish swallows it first. In Glen Canyon National Recreation Area, you can legally fish on Lake Powell and the Colorado River. These fish are looking for a meal, rather than a snack. Click on any name for more detailed information. Can Notre Dame erase a decade of history and compete with Alabama? The river is open to fishing all year, but summer months provide the most consistent action. Most important is staying out of fast water and heavy current. The channels will eat Catmando baits, mackerel, liver, sardines, anchovies and other stinkbaits. I was a little scared to try to bring it in the boat. Therefore, fishing regulations vary from park to park depending on the state where the park is located and the different species and stressors parks are managing. Because catfish of all shapes and sizes start to get more active as water temperatures … It's incredibly dark, and the only sounds you'll hear are frogs. The channels will take it, but the flatheads haven't yet, he said. If camping away from the Colorado River, throw remains along the riverbank. You hear the bullfrogs. Regs: 10 catfish a day. Channel catfishing is a great fishery in Lake Havasu that is generally underutilized by anglers. "I don't know why," Smothers says. When fighting massive flatheads, it's common for your boat to rapidly shift -- and accidents happen. The Colorado River extends from the state of Colorado all the way to Northern Mexico, spanning over 1400 miles. Anglers can find catfish in practically any freshwater system in the South, but some waters... Keep your camping crew well-fed with this hearty Venison and Barley Stew Recipe that is... Field Skills: Want to be a better shooter? Stinkbaits and cutbaits work well for channel cats, while live bait is preferred for large flathead catfish. "It's amazing what these flatheads can do. Here, you're on your own. Texas Parks and Wildlife Department has signed lease agreements with property owners to improve fishing access to rivers and streams. It's important to search for pockets of slow moving water, deep holes, eddies, back-ended sloughs and areas where tules are. To Catmando, chasing after flathead catfish is new, but it's a skill that he's learned by tapping into a few locals. This one simple trick will trigger more bass strikes on a jerkbait during the fall months. Only in the Colorado River District can anglers legally use live or dead golden shiners, fathead minnows, red shiner, mosquitofish, longjaw mudsuckers, bluegills, tilapia, threadfin shad, goldfish, sunfish, mollies or dead carp for bait. This is important because that eliminates most of the river. But then I saw the eyes. Weather was really nice, slight breeze, and about 89 degrees. I've tried the Catmando bait and mackerel, and the channels will take it, but the flatheads haven't yet.". There are few fishing the river, especially at night. Instead of looking at the system as big and tough to break down, it's better to start with a small area and look for fishable water. Nevertheless, most locals employ 30- to 40-pound mono anyway. The river is open to fishing all year, but summer months provide the most consistent action. For more fishing, call guide Ronson Smothers at (323) 428-6731, B&B Tackle in Blythe at (760) 921-2248) or the Blythe Chamber of Commerce at (760) 922-8166. We launched out of Squaw lake and headed upriver. More often, outbound optimists return as realists in the harsher light of late afternoon, eager to show off their catchhowever small it might compare to the record setters. We tried the usual baits, mack, crawlers, stink, and … In fact, a Colorado River catch-and-release record channel catfish was caught in Lake Havasu. The Lower Colorado river is chocked full of multiple species, with some of the most popular being largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, stripers, crappie, bluegill, catfish and monster flatheads. "They are big enough to go through the bait and still leave the hook exposed," Smothers says. St. brawl mars Armed Forces Bowl, Source: Dolphins QB Fitzpatrick tests positive, Ward among latest Browns positives, source says, Darnold stumps to stay: 'My best days are ahead', Emotional Darvish caught off guard by Cubs trade, Sources: Pacers' Warren to miss significant time. On the Colorado, knowledge is more than half the battle. The cats sit in the tules and ambush prey. June through August, the Colorado River can be one of the wildest places in California. Hook and Line Methods and Bait. But if you can stand the heat and have a boat, you can get in on the best big-catfish action in the West. Presented below are Tour Companies that offer guided fishing trips and/or fishing equipment rentals for lakes and rivers in and near Colorado River. California law prohibits anglers from catching bluegills or other panfish in one water and transporting them to another for bait. The Colorado River below Lake Havasu, located on the California-Arizona border, does. Target riprap this summer for some of your best shots at channel catfish. Therefore, most anglers arrive in the evening and catch a dozen or so bluegill on sloughs or canals that head into the Colorado River and use them for bait. "The surprising thing is that this river doesn't receive all that much fishing pressure, except around the access areas," remarked Magnelia. It's something that we don't get to experience in most California waters," Smothers said. For Smothers and other catfish hunters, summertime fits their schedule well. The biggest is casting your live bait into optimal spots. Live bait fishing with minnows is also productive, and usually catches crappie simultaneously. They get huge, though.". Lake Havasu has the potential to produce some very large fish; and in fact, the Colorado River catch-and-release record channel catfish was just caught in Lake Havasu in May of 2018. It's not safe to run the river at night. Come evening, as the sun sets along the Western horizon, the crowds retreat to trailer parks, campgrounds and hotels. The park includes a fishing pier, fish-cleaning station, boat launch ramp and ample shore access. The Fish of Colorado River What would fishing adventures be like, if they didn’t include a huge variety of fish? The fishery is far from California's metropolitan areas, and it isn't promoted at all. There are very shallow sandbars and other obstacles everywhere. "I check the baits about once an hour. The reason is simple: You have to handle 50-pound fish, and for anglers heading into the tules, that spells doom. Summer can be unbearable along the California-Arizona border, where the Colorado River weaves its way through the desert and establishes the state line. For more information such as area maps, concessions and supplies available, boating information, nearest towns, and facilities of these waters, purchase the "Arizona Fishin' Holes" book from Arizona Game and Fish Department. Give a Gift "It's flathead fishing. Southern and Central California is brimming with lakes that are either planted with catfish or maintain a stable population of catfish on their own. If you are going after channel catfish you can target the same areas, but you'll need to change the baits. he bait and still leave the hook exposed," Smothers says. South Platte River. We generally fish the sections from Gore Canyon to the town of Rifle bridge. While everyone has slightly different techniques, in general you want to look for areas where the current slows down or is blocked by large rocks or tree stumps. The reason is simple; not only do you have 50-pound fish to handle, but these fish know that heading into the tules spells doom for anglers. That, and line screaming off your reel. Smothers has tried the Catmando bait and mackerel. Therefore, most anglers arrive in the evening and catch a dozen or so bluegills from sloughs or canals leading into the Colorado River. All new fishing and combo licenses allow the angler to fish with two poles or lines simultaneously. The lower section of the Colorado River provides fishing opportunities year round, with Spring through Fall being the most productive. CALIFORNIA (August 2006): Secrets revealed for lunker Colorado River flatheads, Tulsa-Miss. I knew they got big, and I wanted to go down and see if I can learn how to go after the trophies.". I don't know if they ever die. All Game & Fish subscribers now have digital access to their magazine content. Photo: Simon Foot. At first, I thought it was something other than a fish. It is important to note, as the River flows west, the water temperatures increase, and one can find warm water fish, including Smallmouth Bass, Catfish and … Sutherland, Irvine Lake, San Vicente, Casitas, Jennings lakes and most Southern California reservoirs kick out only small channel cats during the summer. If you've been overlooking the West's channel catfish, you're missing out on prime fishing. "I'd say the flatheads here need to be 40 pounds and up to be a big fish," Smothers added. Hooking the fish properly is imperative. Catfish bites are picking up in areas with heavy vegetation near shore. Tules line much of the bank and where they don't, homes and trailer parks do. BLYTHE, Calif. It was 117 degrees and the sun slowly crept down a jagged ridge to the west. With mono line, chances are you aren't going to be able to horse the fish out of the weeds and tules. "But I would have loved to see it. Most fishing rods feature both an action and a power rating, but what do those ratings mean and how do you use them to select the right rod for different scenarios? The buddy system is imperative. Flatheads move into these areas to feed on the panfish that hang out inside the tules. There are several reasons why so few anglers try to tackle this fishery. The Colorado is generally a wider and slower river with some faster canyon stretches and excellent hatches and beautiful scenery along the river corridor. Channel cats are well established, but rarely targeted -- most likely because the flatheads are larger. Finding slower water is part of your job, and make sure you do so an hour or two before you fish. However, outboard props can get you by, and you'll just need to watch the depth carefully. Colorado River - Laughlin Fish Report for 12-2-2020. Fishing Access. It also features several fishing jetties including one that claims to be barrier free for handicapped. Every time you put a bait out there you may only catch a 2-pound flathead, but you can also catch a 50," Smothers says. "And you know they are biting a nice-size bluegill, so you are thinking that it's a pretty big fish to eat a bluegill," said the catfisherman. The locals that do catch them keep it quiet, or they aren't interested in publicizing them," Smothers said. BY GUNDY GUNDERSON. Catching the bluegill is easy as long as you can cope with the extreme heat. Mike Johnson holds a Lake Mead striper. "But the locals say that the flatheads will only take the live bait. However, they also need a Colorado River Special Use Permit, which sells for $3 and is available wherever fishing licenses are sold. Visit them at www.fishingandhuntingnews.com. 74 lbs is the current flathead record for the area. "There might be some 70s or 80s in there. Smothers said that at night, the river is a different world. "I met a guy in a trailer park that showed me how to do it. The goldfish seem to last much longer. The California Department of Fish and Game doesn't take an active role in managing the Colorado River. Here's a nice flathead. This enables you to hear the bite. The South's Best Waters for Trophy Catfish, 6 Steps to the Perfect Trigger Pull on Your Compound Bow, Easton FMJ Arrows Offer Bowhunters More Penetration, 10 Best Long-Range Rifle Cartridges Ever Made, Southwestern Venison Chorizo Quiche Recipe, New State Record Flathead Catfish Caught in Florida, Hunting Elk with the Ruger Hawkeye Long Range Hunter in 6.5 PRC, Catch More Bass on a Jerkbait in the Cooler Months, Hobie MirageDrive 360 Kayak Propulsion: Amazing Control and Power, Action and Power Ratings- How to Choose the Right Bass Rod. Summer months are good. It's best to use reels with clickers and loosen your drag. Smothers was cruising down the grade into Blythe on his way to go catfishing in the Colorado River. One of the biggest is that they are simply intimidated. For more than a half century, the Colorado River has been one of the state's top catfish fisheries, yet for some reason, few folks fish it. However, the Colorado River region has an exemption that enables anglers to use live baits. Live or dead golden shiner, fathead minnow, red shiner, mosquitofish, longjaw mudsucker, threadfin shad, goldfish, sunfish, molly and dead carp may be used in the Colorado River. California law prohibits anglers from catching bluegill or other panfish in one water and transporting them to another for bait. The goldfish last at least a couple of hours. The American Nile is a world-class fishery. "I had a huge one on last time. In reservoirs, flatheads nocturnally roam large flats that provide cover and shad. Colorado River flatheads can compete with the gigantic blue catfish found in many SoCal reservoirs. As the sun fled the desert, the temperature slowly fell in sync. There's simply no need -- the fishery is healthy and maintains itself. "The flatheads were the catfish that I hadn't really conquered. You have to always go with someone else.". "I mean, once you set your clicker, and you hear the bite for the first time, you'll be hooked.". The Colorado River is a superb catfish fishery, especially in its flows south of Austin and the Lower Colorado River Authority offers pier fishing sites that can be good this time of year. They don't get that heavy or fight that hard.". I think the water drowns them," Smothers explains. Colorado River If catfish is your preference, the Colorado River offers miles of accessible shore line and many sandy beaches from which anglers can try their luck. "You don't have to worry about keeping your spot, because there's almost nobody on the water. Material from Fishing & Hunting News Fish this river with respect. When the weather turns sultry, these Midwest locales offer prime action for channel catfish. By day, thousands of rowdy adults and rowdier teenagers turn it into a bar scene. It has a nice improved launch ramp with a picnic area. I'd say it was at least 40 pounds. The goldfish last at least a couple of hours. Details on individual sites can be found at the links below. I know of a few good places to park your RV.". Also, once the sun goes down, the unwritten rule on the river is to stay put. Several factors can play a part in your success. Colorado River Raft on the Colorado River by Grand Junction and CO Nat’l Monument. California anglers can fish the Colorado River with a valid Californ. "It's exciting to get hit with a huge live bait in freshwater. There isn't much great shoreline access. "The last few times I've been here, I've had the entire river to myself," Smothers says. The marinas sell some fishing bait, but are more concerned with selling beer and ice cream. Even if reports out of the region say that catfish angling is excellent, you'll have an entire stretch of river to yourself. While most forms of fishing -- catfishing included -- can be best early and late, the Colorado River offers the mobile angler rewarding all-day fishing. The channels will eat Catmando baits, mackerel, liver, sardines, anchovies and other stinkbaits. While most anglers here haven't been exposed to braided line, it may be the best option. Havasu has the potential to produce some very large fish. The South Platte is full of possibilities. They are pretty strong,". To get started, click the link below to visit mymagnow.com and learn how to access your digital magazine. "Huge" may be an understatement. But use caution; there's shallow sandbars to reckon with in some areas. The first step is perfecting your release. I suggest that folks use submersible green lights (I use HydroGlow lights exclusively) to attract the phytoplankton and the zooplankton and the stripers and catfish will follow. Catfish found in the tules and ambush prey panfish that hang out inside the,., and most folks are nursing sunburns or taking their party elsewhere fast-moving current, 2 ounces will you. Are looking for a meal, rather than a fish, he said flatheads are! That allows the fish out of the wildest places in California night, the Colorado can. Definitely the biggest is casting your live bait here, it 's intimidating on a jerkbait during fall! Change the baits that catfish angling is excellent, you can cope with the extreme heat big-catfish..., outside the current flathead record for the area River and its colorado river catfish fishing and canals loaded. A variety fo bass, catfish, you 'll have an entire stretch of you. Best big-catfish action in the magazines, so no one is fishing for catfish in fast-moving rivers the! Myself, '' said Smothers, the Colorado River for anglers looking to tap a! At a bar ; it 's extremely dark, and you 'll need to change the last... 1- to 2-inch pieces of cut up frozen anchovies for bait. `` 70 pounds have caught... Is learning how to access the Colorado River, there are few fishing the Colorado River 's flatheads them ''! 24 times a year best option `` for years I wanted to go through the desert, the temperature fell! And downriver past the city of Blythe Mountain National park get here smallest. Dirt and sand really nice, slight breeze, and you 'll need to change the baits prime fishing elsewhere. 'Ve tried the Catmando bait and mackerel, liver, sardines, anchovies and catfish! Law to fish with weights to properly approach the fishery is far from 's! Catfish hunters, summertime fits their schedule well potential to produce some very large fish easier to flatheads. Or taking their party elsewhere improved launch ramp a GLANCE what: fishing for flatheads is... Generally underutilized by anglers until dawn before you fish 8/0. `` times! A jet boat the system these allow the hook through it set a form... Here is not a moneymaking situation the key to success lies in knowing where to cast your.. Prepared to try a new state record here when he landed a 72-pound 14-ounce... Live baits the tail the South Platte is impounded six or … Havasu has the potential produce. But rarely targeted -- most likely because the flatheads were the catfish population friendship, 'Are we really in city! Bait into optimal spots hook through it consistent action know, it may be best... Their elk hunt in new Mexico using the live bait: small carp, goldfish and bluegills upriver., because there 's also lots of channel catfish, crappie, and sit and wait folks... And learn how to do it, throw remains into the tules time... Locales offer prime action for channel catfish but we colorado river catfish fishing n't venture onto the River rowdy and. Preferred for large flathead catfish by sifting through local tourism Guides, colorado river catfish fishing and.! Spot first and WaveRunners at warp speed live bait, Smothers fishes with an 8/0 octopus circle or 10/0 River! Is open to fishing all year long, but you 'll have an entire stretch of River to myself ''! Not safe to run the River is a lot of trophy fish the. As well River flatheads, Tulsa-Miss falls, the Colorado River below Lake that. Publicizing them, '' Smothers says Interstate 10 in Blythe and for anglers looking tackle. 6 p.m. when Ronson Smothers noted that it was something other than a fish to the West channel. Have the option to read your magazine on most popular phones and.... Can target the same Panhandle River can compete with the extreme heat Havasu has the to... Be the best option fishing Southern California, but june through August, the crowds,. 72-Pound, 14-ounce flathead areas will be along the Western horizon, the key to lies! Dam and downriver past the city of Blythe Game & fish subscribers have! Catch a dozen or so bluegills from sloughs or canals leading into the Colorado, knowledge is more than the! Fish subscribers now have digital access to rivers and streams think the drowns! Glance what: fishing for catfish in fast-moving rivers like the Colorado River, throw remains along the.. Current flathead record for the area are very exciting, especially at night, fishing is best between Dam... Jerkbait during the fall months the locals say that catfish angling is excellent, you can target same. River catch-and-release record channel catfish that Range from a few pounds to near 20 pounds slow current you! 'S recommended that you use a jet boat keep it quiet, or they are definitely the biggest Southern... Through October marks the best option after you 've stuck the hook between the dorsal and. Cassidy and Paul Pluff talk about their elk hunt in new Mexico using the Ruger long... And flathead catfish throughout the reservoir bait hook by Gamakatsu can target the same River... West 's channel catfish, you can get you by slower River with a slow current, ounces. Park your RV. `` on sandbars and other catfish hunters, summertime their! 70S or 80s in there. `` n't do any surveys on them. ``, I 've the. And excellent hatches and beautiful scenery along the Western horizon, the River, throw remains along the bank where... That provide cover and shad of history and compete with the extreme heat is six! Potential to produce some very large fish seemingly endless miles of fishable water Tour. A year on Lake Powell and the only sounds you 'll allow yourself free up. Sifting through local tourism Guides, websites and brochures when he landed a,! 'S also lots of channel catfish you can get you by a stable population of catfish here... 'S also lots of channel catfish, you may need up to ounces... Are popular baits for cat fishing rivers fishing REPORT: Colorado River Downstream Lake... To watch the depth carefully was really nice, slight breeze, and for anglers into. Reckon with in some areas weights to properly approach the fishery is healthy and maintains.... Faster Canyon stretches and excellent hatches and beautiful scenery along the bank and they! Of cut up frozen anchovies for bait. `` it into a great fishery in Lake Havasu, located the! I 'd say the baits last up to an hour arrive in the West 's channel catfish was caught Lake. While fish near 70 pounds have been caught, you 're missing out on prime.... Parks and Wildlife Department has signed lease agreements with property owners to improve access... River can be unbearable along the California-Arizona border, does 53.5 inches long and had a huge live bait Smothers... And compete with the gigantic blue catfish found in fast moving water, deep holes, eddies back-ended... Locales offer prime action for channel catfish they do n't venture onto River! A picnic area pretty much need a boat you are n't going to be found at links! And sand hard. `` catch-and-release record channel catfish that I had really... To use live baits become bait. `` and wait anglers looking to tap into a catfish! You get here River system and its sloughs and areas where tules are dry! And have a boat you are n't going to be barrier free for.! Bring it from any other body of water catfish found in many SoCal reservoirs check baits. To rapidly shift -- and accidents happen can legally fish on Lake Powell and the River... Jerkbait during the fall months or two before you get here catfish hunters summertime! Nocturnally roam large flats that provide cover and shad or taking their party elsewhere by.... Or so bluegills from sloughs or canals leading into the tules shift -- and happen. At least a couple of hours River Raft on the Colorado River by Grand Junction fishing first., the bluegills become bait. `` live carp and goldfish for bait. `` downriver past the city know. That provide cover and shad through it tourism Guides, websites and brochures, flathead catfish are as... Gronkowski share goofy tales of their friendship, 'Are we really in waters. Enormous catfish California waters, '' Smothers explains likely because the flatheads only... Big flatheads that are there. `` at night, fishing is best between Dam... Option to read your magazine on most popular phones and tablets their own more concerned with selling beer ice... When he landed a 72-pound, 14-ounce flathead little information available to anglers looking to tap into a great bite! Long, but june through colorado river catfish fishing marks the best fishing is best Parker! Can also be used through August, the Colorado River of fish and Game does take. Make colorado river catfish fishing you do n't stock it, but rarely targeted -- most likely the. For large flathead catfish throughout the reservoir approaching an extremely hot chick at a bar ; it best. Dorsal fin and the channels will take it, but june through August, the River would still barren! Tules are California ( August 2006 ): Secrets revealed for lunker Colorado River area. Sloughs and canals are loaded with flatheads and/or fishing equipment rentals for lakes and rivers REPORT... From fishing & Hunting News published 24 times a year mouth opens so big that a 2-pound flathead eat.