UPCOMING EVENT: PHOENIX BASS FISHING LEAGUE - 2020 - Lake Wylie

Two Species Spawning at Havasu 

Two Species Spawning at Havasu 

The weatherman did it again. About two weeks prior to today’s kickoff for the Toyota Series Western Division season at Lake Havasu, the forecast called for highs in the mid-80s and sunshine for three straight days during the tournament. Instead, practice was rainy, and the current forecast calls for precipitation for at least the first two days and highs that likely won’t top 70 degrees. 

Never mind being a little wet, however, because conditions are lining up for one of the better Havasu events FLW has held on this Arizona-California border reservoir. Largemouth and smallmouth bass are on beds all over the lake, and the ones that aren’t are staging in predictable prespawn areas or cruising nearby. It shouldn’t be overly challenging to catch fish. Finding and catching the right ones in the rain will be the difference in a check finish and going home empty-handed. 

 

About the fishery

Situated on the Colorado River on the border between California and Arizona, Lake Havasu is a desert reservoir that’s home to healthy populations of both largemouth and smallmouth bass. At a little more than 19,000 acres and 26 miles long, it’s not a huge fishery, and habitat is somewhat limited to man-made fish cribs offshore, rocky points and structure along the bank, and tules or brush in shallow tributaries. 

FLW typically visits Havasu during the winter or prespawn period of early February. However, in mid-March, the scenario is totally different. Bass should be on beds in shallow bays or setting up in their final staging areas. 

Havasu is an oasis of sorts where tourists flock to enjoy watersports and other outdoor pursuits, in addition to fishing. And this week, it’ll be a busy spot. The tournament coincides with spring break for many students. 

 

Current conditions

Day one dawned mild and pleasant, with a high of 69 degrees and a 7-mph east wind. Rain is in the forecast for the afternoon, however, and it could linger on into Friday. Saturday looks nicer, with a much lower chance of rain and, hopefully for sight-fishing, more sunshine. 

Currently, the water temperature ranges from the upper 50s to low 60s.

California pro David Valdivia, who won the Strike King Angler of the Year title in the Western Division last year, says he’s not worried about the weather this week. 

“I’ve gotten about two and a half days of practice in,” says Valdivia. “So far it’s been cloudy and rainy here and there. It’s been drizzling. Tuesday, at the end of the day, it was raining really good. We had a big storm come through. But it’s so warm it didn’t hurt anything. Even at night the temperature is in the low 60s or high 50s. During the day it’s getting up in the high 70s, so even though it’s raining it’s still warm.

“In the tournament we’re supposed to get three straight days of rain, but it’s supposed to stay pretty warm. I think some of the fish are going to back off a little bit, but most of them are going to be roaming around making beds or looking to make beds.”

 

Tactics in play

Bed-fishing will most likely be the talk of the tournament this week. Valdivia says it’s pretty easy to spot both largemouths and smallmouths on beds. The smallmouths are a little deeper and could be more challenging to see if the wind blows or the rain is heavy. 

“It is fishing good. Practice for me went fairly well,” Valdivia adds. “I was just really looking at them. I have some areas deeper that I wasn’t really fishing. There are still prespawn fish along with some spawning fish. There’s not really a lot of postspawn fish. 

“The ones I’ve been seeing, I don’t know how hard they are going to be to catch. In areas where the water is really clean, you can sight-fish despite the conditions. And you’ll be able to get inside some pockets and get out of the weather and be able to see them.”

Typical bed-fishing approaches should work, including sight-fishing with Texas rigs or drop-shots and blind-casting in bedding areas with finesse plastics. There could even be some more aggressive tactics used, such as ripping a topwater over beds. 

Of course, the rain could actually open up other patterns. Havasu is a clear-water fishery. When runoff stains shallow water, it’s possible to get bit throwing reaction baits and staying on the move. 

Prespawn bass will be susceptible to the usual finesse approaches, including the West Coast favorite drop-shot, a Ned rig or a small jig. Jerkbaits and other treble hook baits might factor in, too. 

 

Critical factors

1. Rain – It’ll be important to monitor the severity and timing of any approaching foul weather that might make sight-fishing difficult or create opportunities for a reaction bite. Also, if the minor cooldown does hold up some fish in their transition toward beds, having a prespawn pattern as a backup might be helpful. 

2. Spring break – It’s not that many spring breakers are interested in fishing at Havasu. They’re a factor because of boat traffic, particularly up the river, where the reservoir narrows down and boat wake washing back and forth can make navigation dicey.

3. The species factor – Valdivia can’t imagine anyone winning this tournament solely with smallmouths, but a mixed bag is absolutely in play. There are enough 3 3/4- to 4-pound smallies in Havasu for anglers to make some money on brown fish, but the real kickers are green. If largemouths bedded in shallow water get picked over, or if those areas are crowded, it might pay off to try and sack up a limit of smallies and then hunt a 6-plus largemouth or two. Regardless, we should see plenty of both species in the top 10 bags come Saturday.

 

Dock talk

Expect big things this week from Havasu. Valdivia does. 

“I think the weights are going to be bigger than pretty much any of the FLW events we’ve had here,” he says. “I think legit for top 10 it’ll take anywhere from 17 to 19 a day. That’s what I’m guessing. I think they [the weights] are going to be pretty tight, but just better weights than usual.”

 

Tournament details

Format: All boaters and co-anglers will compete for two days. The top 10 boaters and co-anglers based on cumulative weight after two days of competition will advance to the third and final round, with the winner in each division determined by the heaviest cumulative three-day weight.

Takeoff Time: 7:00 a.m. MT (Arizona does not observe Daylight Saving Time)

Takeoff Location: Lake Havasu State Park - Windsor Beach, 699 London Bridge Road, Lake Havasu City, AZ

Weigh-In Time: 3:00 p.m. MT

Weigh-In Location: Lake Havasu State Park - Windsor Beach

Host: Lake Havasu City Convention & Visitors Bureau

Complete details

Tags: curtis-niedermier  morning-story  2020-03-12-havasu 

Nixon Eyeing Early June Return

Nixon Eyeing Early June Return

You couldn’t choose just one word to describe Larry Nixon’s professional fishing career. But right now, if you had to try, the most applicable word might be “resiliency.” READ MORE »

10 Pro Circuit Highlights So Far

10 Pro Circuit Highlights So Far

We’re almost halfway through the 2020 Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit schedule, which means we’re far enough along now for a little retrospective on what’s happened thus far. READ MORE »

Sight-Fishing with Swimbaits

Sight-Fishing with Swimbaits

Ron Nelson, the Pro Circuit Angler of the Year leader and a renowned sight-fisherman, used a Keitech Swing Impact FAT for blind-fishing and sight-fishing at Martin and earned a runner-up finish. California’s Kevin Hugo took seventh at Lake Havasu and caught some of his biggest bass sight-fishing with a Little Creeper All American Trash Fish or Sunfish. Though the reasons why they settled on swimbaits varied, both pros can offer valuable lessons for any angler tackling a spawning scenario. READ MORE »

Top 10 Baits and Patterns from Havasu

Top 10 Baits and Patterns from Havasu

Results from the Toyota Series Western Division event at Lake Havasu probably didn’t surprise any Western anglers who are familiar with the fishery. For folks in other parts of the country that might only have followed FLW’s early February events on the Colorado River reservoir, the tournament results might have opened some eyes to just how good the fishing can be on Havasu. Particularly on day one, the lake delivered, kicking out 12 limits of more than 20 pounds, including Tai Au’s limit of 26 pounds, 1 ounce. The success on day one resulted from a perfect storm of conditions for catching spawning bass on beds.  READ MORE »

Glendale’s Au Leads Wire-to-Wire, Wins Toyota Series Tournament at Lake Havasu

Glendale’s Au Leads Wire-to-Wire, Wins Toyota Series Tournament at Lake Havasu

LAKE HAVASU CITY, Ariz. – General Tire pro Tai Au of Glendale, Arizona, brought five bass to the scale Saturday totaling 16 pounds, 15 ounces to win the three-day Toyota Series at Lake Havasu event in Lake Havasu City, Arizona. Au won the event by a 1-pound, 12-ounce margin after bringing a three... READ MORE »

Co-angler Farage Gets Win No. 5

Co-angler Farage Gets Win No. 5

If you weren’t already aware, you need to be paying attention to the name Jack Farage. This week, the Discovery Bay, Calif., co-angler won his fifth Toyota Series Western Division tournament since 2013 by catching 43 pounds, 3 ounces at Lake Havasu. For his latest win, Farage earned a Phoenix 518 Pro with a 115-hp Suzuki outboard. READ MORE »

Au Finishes Strong at Lake Havasu

Au Finishes Strong at Lake Havasu

Tai Au of Glendale, Ariz., weighed in a five-bass limit worth 16 pounds, 15 ounces today to finish off a wire-to-wire win at the Toyota Series Western Division season opener on Lake Havasu. Au’s three-day total was 61-3.  READ MORE »

Lake Havasu Midday Update – Day 3

Lake Havasu Midday Update – Day 3

It was another slow morning on Lake Havasu at the Toyota Series Western Division opener. Though, that was to be expected. Most of the top 10 pros have had their best luck in the middle of the day and early afternoon. Mornings have been tough. READ MORE »

Au Stays Ahead on Tougher Day Two

Au Stays Ahead on Tougher Day Two

Tournament leader Tai Au managed to stay in first place by recognizing key environmental factors and knowing when to change up his baits. Yesterday, four of the five bass that Au weighed in were bass he caught sight-fishing. Today, he didn’t look at any of the bass he brought to the scale. Au still managed to weigh in 18 pounds, 3 ounces, taking his two-day total to 44-4. He’s searching for his first FLW victory this week.  READ MORE »

Lake Havasu Midday Update – Day 2

Lake Havasu Midday Update – Day 2

After an afternoon and evening of intense rainfall yesterday, the Lake Havasu City area finally got a break from the precipitation today. But instead of rain, the anglers fishing the Toyota Series Western Division opener on Lake Havasu have had to deal with a stiff southerly wind that’s made it tough to sight-fish, some dirtier water in areas (particularly in the upper end) and a drop in water temperature of a couple of degrees. Not surprisingly of a post-frontal day, the fishing has been much more difficult so far on Friday.  READ MORE »

Au Clobbers 26-1 for Havasu Lead

Au Clobbers 26-1 for Havasu Lead

Tai Au of Glendale, Ariz., took the lead on day one of the Toyota Series Western Division event at Lake Havasu with a five-bass limit that weighed 26 pounds, 1 ounce. Au heads up a roster of Western hammers that managed to tally 12 limits of more than 20 pounds today.  READ MORE »

Lake Havasu Midday Update – Day 1

Lake Havasu Midday Update – Day 1

The fishing is hot at Lake Havasu. By 9:30, many of the anglers we’d seen on the water for day one of the Toyota Series Western Division season opener already had limits or had kicker largemouths in the box. Most of those fish were caught off beds, with the majority being caught sight-fishing and the rest coming just by fishing through likely spawning areas. Others were caught out in front of spawning areas and around marinas. The fishing should only get better, too. Currently, there are scattered rain showers, but the sun is shining across many parts of the reservoir, making it a little easier to spot fish on beds.  READ MORE »

Two Species Spawning at Havasu 

Two Species Spawning at Havasu 

The weatherman did it again. About two weeks prior to today’s kickoff for the Toyota Series Western Division season at Lake Havasu, the forecast called for highs in the mid-80s and sunshine for three straight days during the tournament. Instead, practice was rainy, and the current forecast calls for precipitation for at least the first two days and highs that likely won’t top 70 degrees.  READ MORE »

Game Day on Okeechobee

Game Day on Okeechobee

The second stop of the Toyota Series Southern Division is hitting Lake Okeechobee later in the year than usual for FLW. Typically, big, multi-day FLW events on the Big O go down in January and February, but this one runs March 12-14 and should offer a different look at the familiar and ever-changing body of water. READ MORE »

Wheeler Should Produce Mega Mixed Bags in March

Wheeler Should Produce Mega Mixed Bags in March

If you love mixed bags of big largemouth and smallmouth bass (and who doesn’t?), you’re going to want to pay close attention to the Toyota Series Southeastern Division opener on Wheeler Lake March 26-28. Local pro Sam George, who fishes the Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit, expects to see mid-20-pound limits cross the weigh-in stage, and predicts the winner will almost certainly weigh both green and brown fish. READ MORE »

College Open Prize Pool Bigger than Ever

College Open Prize Pool Bigger than Ever

The annual Abu Garcia College Fishing presented by YETI Open returns to Kentucky Lake and Lake Barkley in mid-March for the sixth consecutive season. This time around, however, the stakes are even higher, as teams compete for a brand-new Phoenix 518 Pro bass boat, 20 spots in the 2021 National Championship and 20 spots in the all-new Major League Fishing College Faceoff presented by Wiley X in Raleigh, N.C., later this spring. READ MORE »

Toyota FLW Series Set for Western Division Opener on Lake Havasu

Toyota FLW Series Set for Western Division Opener on Lake Havasu

LAKE HAVASU CITY, Ariz. – The 2020 Toyota Series will continue its season next week at Lake Havasu, March 12-14, with the Toyota Series at Lake Havasu event. Hosted by the Lake Havasu City Convention & Visitors Bureau, the three-day tournament will feature the best regional bass-fishing pros and co... READ MORE »

It’s Anyone’s Game on Overfull Hartwell

It’s Anyone’s Game on Overfull Hartwell

South Carolina’s Lake Hartwell kicks off the 2020 Toyota Series Eastern Division season this week with a three-day, mid-week showdown of the area’s best bass anglers, hosted by Visit Oconee South Carolina. Hartwell definitely has the potential to produce 20-plus-pound bags, but Mother Nature has decided to create some havoc with lake levels this winter, and it’s anyone’s guess as to how well the fishery shows out. READ MORE »

Red-Hot Spawn Bite Expected at Havasu

Red-Hot Spawn Bite Expected at Havasu

Spawning bass and spring break will be the story lines at the Toyota Series Western Division opener at Lake Havasu in mid-March. Well, OK … the spawning bass will certainly be the main focus of the anglers. But dealing with traffic from pleasure boaters will definitely contribute to the pros’ decision-making, particularly on the weekend.  READ MORE »

Despite Cold, Expect Mega-Bags at Chick

Despite Cold, Expect Mega-Bags at Chick

Freezing temperatures greeted anglers for the 2020 Toyota Series Central Division tournament on Lake Chickamauga this morning. As usual on Lake Chickamauga this time of year, every angler is hoping for a 30-pound-plus bag of bass during the Feb. 27-29 tournament. READ MORE »