In reservoirs, flatheads nocturnally roam large flats that provide cover and shad. Smothers says it's important not to set the hook when you first get bit, rather to wait until the fish swallows it first. Wait until dawn before you run back to the launch ramp. The marinas sell some fishing bait, but are more concerned with selling beer and ice cream. For Smothers and other catfish hunters, summertime fits their schedule well. Smothers learned well and he's now hooked. The buddy system is imperative. A $3 Colorado River Special Use Permit is required. Mittry Lake - Has a variety fo bass, catfish, crappie, and sunfish. he bait and still leave the hook exposed," Smothers says. You'll need a cartridge that lives up to... Simplify breakfast or brunch for a crowd by making this savory venison chorizo quiche recipe. There is very little information available to anglers looking to tackle it. Or if you have to move, idle for short distances. 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. June through August, the Colorado River can be one of the wildest places in California. Smothers says that he pierces the hook between the dorsal fin and the tail, which allows the fish to stay alive after you've stuck the hook through it. Roughly a four-hour drive from Los Angeles, the Colorado River from Parker Dam on down to Interstate 10 in Blythe yields flathead catfish to a select group of diligent catfish anglers almost nightly. Learn more about his books at FishingCalifornia.net. The Colorado River originates in Rocky Mountain National Park. "The strikes are very exciting, especially at night.". But in a fast-moving current, you may need up to 6 ounces. There are few fishing the river, especially at night. (June 2007). "I check the baits about once an hour. We launched out of Squaw lake and headed upriver. "I mean, once you set your clicker, and you hear the bite for the first time, you'll be hooked.". These fish are looking for a meal, rather than a snack. 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? When faced with a slow current, 2 ounces will get you by. Flatheads are more likely to take live prey, be it tilapia, bluegills, redear, crappie, carp or goldfish. There's also lots of channel catfish that range from a few pounds to near 20 pounds. But use caution; there's shallow sandbars to reckon with in some areas. California law prohibits anglers from catching bluegills or other panfish in one water and transporting them to another for bait. When using the live bait, Smothers fishes with an 8/0 octopus circle or 10/0 Big River Bait Hook by Gamakatsu. published 24 times a year. It was 6 p.m. when Ronson Smothers noted that it was 119 degrees. The first step is perfecting your release. Several fish of similar size were harvested during a creel survey of the lake from July 2017 to June 2018, which means this record could be broken again. There isn't much great shoreline access. The headwaters of this mighty river begin high up Rocky Mountain National Park, where it flows south and west towards the Colorado Plateau before making its way through the Grand Canyon, eventually emptying into the Gulf of California between the Baja Peninsula and the Sonoran Desert. That's what I want to find out. Often the most productive areas will be along the bank, outside the current and near the tules. To Catmando, chasing after flathead catfish is new, but it's a skill that he's learned by tapping into a few locals. The goldfish last at least a couple of hours. The river is open to fishing all year, but summer months provide the most consistent action. And I know it wasn't a beaver or muskrat. The goldfish seem to last much longer. 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. Keep the anchovies frozen by using wrapped dry ice on top of them. |   The park includes a fishing pier, fish-cleaning station, boat launch ramp and ample shore access. When targeting flatheads, locating slow water is imperative. The California Department of Fish and Game doesn't take an active role in managing the Colorado River. With mono line, chances are you aren't going to be able to horse the fish out of the weeds and tules. FISHING REPORT: COLORADO RIVER OVERVIEW. Make sure you look at Arizona and Utah regulations before you get here. If you are going after channel catfish you can target the same areas, but you'll need to change the baits. Willow Beach is on the Colorado River approximately 5 miles down stream from the Hoover Dam. 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The locals that do catch them keep it quiet, or they aren't interested in publicizing them," Smothers said. The table below provides the species available in the waters within the Colorado River Northwest area. Use 1- to 2-inch pieces of cut up frozen anchovies for bait. Trotliners score well with their shotgun approach — set lines on 10 good flats and most will have a fish or two, maybe a bonanza on one. There's 50-pound flatheads out there and no one is fishing for them.". Summer months are good. The best way to catch flatheads, hands down, is with live bait: small carp, goldfish and bluegills. Hooking the fish properly is imperative. But then I saw the eyes. Also, once the sun goes down, the unwritten rule on the river is to stay put. Therefore, most anglers arrive in the evening and catch a dozen or so bluegills from sloughs or canals leading into the Colorado River. Details on individual sites can be found at the links below. This is important because that eliminates most of the river. 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. Field-proven big-game arrows for lethal hunting results. When darkness arrived the temperature gauge still hovered near 100 as California catfish legend Ronson "Catmando" Smothers grabbed a towel, wiped the sweat off his forehead, snatched a bluegill out of the livewell, pushed a 10/0 hook through its back and sent it and the 40-pound monofilament line into the Colorado River. Target riprap this summer for some of your best shots at channel catfish. But however big it was, it snapped my 40-pound leader in half. Material from Fishing & Hunting News Oddly enough, traditional catfish baits such as night crawlers, chicken and beef liver, stinkbaits, sardines and anchovies can be left at home. Usually in the city you know what's around, but out there you don't know what might come out. The shorelines are bare. Even so, anglers looking to step outside of their comfort zone and learn a new method of fishing can find what no other spot in California offers: great numbers of trophy flathead catfish and great fishing for channel cats. Remote Tributaries including Tapeats Creek - If camping near the Colorado River, throw remains into the Colorado River. On the Colorado, knowledge is more than half the battle. "It's a whole different kind of fishing," said Smothers. It's recommended that you use a jet boat. "I met a guy in a trailer park that showed me how to do it. Fishing Arizona & The Colorado River; If you allow your state or your country to legislate away any rights you give them the ability to legislate away all of them. They are pretty strong.". "For years I wanted to go fish the Colorado River for big flatheads," said Smothers, the former state-record holder. You pretty much need a boat to tackle the Colorado River's flatheads. 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? They are definitely the biggest in Southern California, but we don't do any surveys on them. They are pretty strong,". It's incredibly dark, and the only sounds you'll hear are frogs. The word "river" has a different meaning out here. In Glen Canyon National Recreation Area, you can legally fish on Lake Powell and the Colorado River. Mike Johnson holds a Lake Mead striper. Anglers may keep 10 catfish per day. There's simply no need -- the fishery is healthy and maintains itself. Colorado River - Laughlin Fish Report for 12-2-2020. Grand Canyon Fishing Activities on the Colorado River. 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. It might get down to 90.". Flathead catfish aren't going to be found in fast moving water. It's not like there's a patrolman to come pick you up. The previous record also was caught in the same Panhandle river. Gronk did what? AT a GLANCE When using the live bait, Smothers fishes with an 8/0 octopus circle or 10/0 Big River Bait Hook by Gamakatsu. We generally fish the sections from Gore Canyon to the town of Rifle bridge. Come evening, as the sun sets along the Western horizon, the crowds retreat to trailer parks, campgrounds and hotels. It can be a challenge to see it at night. Colorado River Fishing Access Downstream from Lady Bird Lake. The biggest is casting your live bait into optimal spots. However, the best fishing is concentrated between Parker Dam and downriver past the city of Blythe. By day, thousands of rowdy adults and rowdier teenagers turn it into a bar scene. Regs: 10 catfish a day. Here's a nice flathead. The Colorado is generally a wider and slower river with some faster canyon stretches and excellent hatches and beautiful scenery along the river corridor. Make sure you bring a long-sleeve shirt. Would you like camping info? However, outboard props can get you by, and you'll just need to watch the depth carefully. "They are big enough to go through the bait and still leave the hook exposed," Smothers says. "We are well aware of the big flatheads that are there. Anglers must fish with weights to properly approach the fishery. At first, I thought it was something other than a fish. The goldfish seem to last much longer. What: Fishing for lunker flathead catfish in the Colorado River. But in 2003, a Blythe angler caught a 72-pounder -- a record that still holds. The best jig fisherman are those that are always aware of what their jig is doing. Can Notre Dame erase a decade of history and compete with Alabama? But in the Colorado River downstream of Lake Havasu, they flourish. Havasu has the potential to produce some very large fish. If you cast your line in Colorado River waters, you will be able to catch: brook trout, cutthroat trout, brown and rainbow trout, largemouth bass, lake trout, bluegill, channel catfish, black … "It's exciting to get hit with a huge live bait in freshwater. "I'd say the flatheads here need to be 40 pounds and up to be a big fish," Smothers added. 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. I'd say it was at least 40 pounds. If at all possible, don't venture onto the river alone. "There might be some 70s or 80s in there. Me and my fishing buddy gary tried our luck yesterday for some catfish on the river. This one simple trick will trigger more bass strikes on a jerkbait during the fall months. I think the water drowns them," Smothers explains. 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. Because catfish of all shapes and sizes start to get more active as water temperatures … I can't swim in a river, and I was afraid if I tried to lift it in the boat, it would pull me in. People come here with their boats. The Colorado River extends from the state of Colorado all the way to Northern Mexico, spanning over 1400 miles. Few out-of-towners fish this section of the river, perhaps because there's almost no fish reports that come out of the region, even fewer fishing guides and tackle shops to gain insight. "You don't have to worry about keeping your spot, because there's almost nobody on the water. However, none harbor flathead catfish. Channel Catfish Colorado Pikeminnow Colorado River Cutthroat Common Carp Creek Chub Cutbow Trout: Cutthroat Trout Emerald Shiner Flannelmouth Sucker Flathead Catfish Flathead Chub Freshwater Drum Gizzard Shad Golden Shiner Golden Trout Goldfish Grass Carp Green Sunfish Greenback Cutthroat Hybrid Striped Bass(wiper/palmetto) Kokanee Lake Chub: Lake Trout Largemouth Bass The fish was 53.5 inches long and had a 36-inch girth. 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 … "The surprising thing is that this river doesn't receive all that much fishing pressure, except around the access areas," remarked Magnelia. Ponds That, however, is the story by day. Smothers says that he pierces the hook between the dorsal fin and the tail. The river system and its sloughs and canals are loaded with flatheads. "But the locals say that the flatheads will only take the live bait. As the sun fled the desert, the temperature slowly fell in sync. For the former California state record catfish holder, this was far from the record-producing waters of San Vicente Reservoir and Irvine Lake, where he's used to fishing for some of the largest blue catfish in the world Ñ and an entirely different style of fishing. 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. Chris Shaffer is the author of The Definitive Guide to Fishing Southern California. "These allow the hook to pierce the inside of the fish's mouth and get set. They don't get that heavy or fight that hard.". You have to always go with someone else.". 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. There are very shallow sandbars and other obstacles everywhere. Colorado River Raft on the Colorado River by Grand Junction and CO Nat’l Monument. © 2020 Outdoor Sportsman Group. They get huge, though.". Once in a while, that dream of glory comes true. The Hobie MirageDrive 360 pedal propulsion system is the pinnacle of kayak control with more efficient fin designs, glide technology and allows the boat to be moved in any direction. But this can get expensive -- quick. Give a Gift   Smothers has tried the Catmando bait and mackerel. It also features several fishing jetties including one that claims to be barrier free for handicapped. At night, fishing is a straightforward game, meaning you cast the live baits out, and sit and wait. As you probably know, it's against the law to fish with live bluegills just about anywhere in California. Southern and Central California is brimming with lakes that are either planted with catfish or maintain a stable population of catfish on their own. The channels will eat Catmando baits, mackerel, liver, sardines, anchovies and other stinkbaits. Useful Fishing Tips and Articles The Stick Worm Phenomenon Wacky Worming: Some Tips for Fishing Braided Line: While most anglers haven't been exposed to braided line here, it may be the best option. The river isn't like a reservoir, where loads of thousands of fish are stocked each week, fish reports are easy to come by and hotspots are well mapped out. All Game & Fish subscribers now have digital access to their magazine content. BY GUNDY GUNDERSON. Channel cats are well established, but rarely targeted -- most likely because the flatheads are larger. "It's weird. While every other Southern California angler is chasing blues and channels at Irvine and San Vincente, take a friend and head to the Colorado River near Blythe for some excellent catfishin' away from the crowds. Info: Guide Ronson Smothers (323-428-6731), B & B Tackle in Blythe (760-921-2248), Blythe Chamber of Commerce (760-922-8166). But don't look at the river in this manner. "I'd say the baits last up to an hour. The Colorado River below Lake Havasu, located on the California-Arizona border, does. When fishing for catfish in fast-moving rivers like the Colorado River, the key to success lies in knowing where to cast your bait. You can get a little scared if you are too close to the tules. 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. I know of a few good places to park your RV.". I knew they got big, and I wanted to go down and see if I can learn how to go after the trophies.". All new fishing and combo licenses allow the angler to fish with two poles or lines simultaneously. While fish near 70 pounds have been caught, you are more likely to catch them between 5 and 20 pounds. "Sometimes you wonder what might swim out of the tules. I mean, come on! Finding slower water is part of your job, and make sure you do so an hour or two before you fish. With seemingly endless miles of fishable river, there's no shortage of holes to target. Channel catfishing is a great fishery in Lake Havasu that is generally underutilized by anglers. "I don't know why," Smothers says. Flatheads move into these areas to feed on the panfish that hang out inside the tules. CALIFORNIA (August 2006): Secrets revealed for lunker Colorado River flatheads, Tulsa-Miss. It's not advertised in the magazines, so no one goes there.". Things get crazy. Weather was really nice, slight breeze, and about 89 degrees. Most important is staying out of fast water and heavy current. 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 have to always stay alert. 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