HAVASU CITY, Ariz. Ė For many people, the arrival of September and
Labor Day signal an end to summer fun, and an end to boating.
In Lake Havasu City, that couldnít be further from the truth
Boaters still flock to this desert paradise in September and
beyond according to Lake Havasu City Convention and Visitors
Bureau Vice President Jarrod Lyman.
"We get a lot of boat regattas throughout the summer here on
Lake Havasu," said Lyman. "September is no exception with no
[fewer] than five regattas," he said.
Campbell Boats leads off the month, followed by Dana
Performance Boats, Playcraft Boats, Laveycraft and Advantage
Two more regattas take place in October ó the Moomba Supra
Boats Regatta and the Absolute Speed and Marine Regatta.
"They truly come here because of how close it is to Southern
California, and just how much fun it is to boat on Lake Havasu,"
said Larry Reese, marketing manager for Jokerswild Promotions, the
company responsible for the overwhelming majority of the regattas
that take place on Lake Havasu.
"So many lakes in Southern California and beyond have so many
regulations they take the fun out of boating. Lake Havasu
understands boaters respect the lake they like, so while the lake
is unfettered with rules, it still lures the family boater," Reese
Another event that starts in September and runs into October is
the 25th Annual IJSBA World Finals. "The World Finals
is synonymous with Lake Havasu," said Lyman. "After all, itís
because of the World Finals that Lake Havasu City is known as the
Personal Watercraft Racing Capital of the World."
The World Finals take place along the beach of Crazy Horse
Campgrounds each year as competitors from all over the world vie
for the right to say they are the best on the planet. "We have 38
different countries represented this year and ages from 10 up to
68, so itís a universally enjoyed event," said Nedra Atwood,
billed by the PWC racing community as the Worlds Biggest PWC
Atwood said the cityís reputation as a haven for PWC Racing is
well-deserved. "Iíve been all over the world, and Lake Havasu, in
the minds of the international competitors, is Jet Ski Mecca,"
Atwood said. "I think part of the draw is the fact that it is
small, so this town becomes like an Olympic Village."
Atwoodís comparison of the city to Olympic Village is, in the
minds of many, an accurate one, as no other event except the
Olympics themselves brings representatives from more nations to
the field of competition than the IJSBA World Finals.
"It really is humbling to know that my city is known by so many
in so many countries," Lyman said. "How many other cities this
size have this kind of notoriety?"
Of course those who prefer to take the more relaxing route can
do so just as easily. Camping is a popular activity on Lake
Havasu, and with over 100 sites available on the Arizona side of
the waterway alone, there is plenty of space as well. "There are
87 Bureau of Land Management campsites only accessible by boat.
"Plus there is also a cluster of 36 boating campsites that
Arizona Parks run," said Diane Williams, public affairs officer
with BLM. "Amenities include shade structures, boat mooring
points, picnic tables, trash cans, and more than half of them have
restrooms," Williams said. Fees for the sites vary between the
BLM charges $10 for the day and $10 for the night. Payment is
dropped in the ballard on the shore. According to Williams, itís a
small cost for the seclusion offered at the campsites. "Itís a
nice experience to be out there with your family in one of the
quiet coves," she said.
Fishing is more popular than ever on Lake Havasu, and with the
quality of fish that are being caught, itís no surprise. "A huge
fishery program that took place over the past decade has brought
the angling on the lake to a whole new level," Lyman explained.
"Through the natural cycle of the lakeís ecosystem, a lot of
the habitat began to be lost. Thanks to the efforts of scores of
volunteers and officials on just about every government level,
that habitat was recreated," Lyman explained.
The result is some of the greatest fishing to be found. "The
striper fishing has improved immensely," said Sam Manning, a local
fishing guide, avid fishing proponent in the community and one of
the volunteers who put countless hours into the restoration
"The fish that were 2 pounds five years ago are 6 pounds now.
Then thereís another herd of fish, there are going to be millions
out there, that are over a pound, pound and a half," he said.
Striper arenít the only fish that have benefited from the
project. "The large and small mouth fishing has gotten
astronomical. Ten years ago to win a tournament 12 pounds would be
fine. Now if you donít have 19 or 20 pounds, donít even come to
the scale," Manning said. A recent bass tournament was won with a
limit of five fish weighing over 21 pounds.
As a result of its reputation for producing quality fish, Lake
Havasu plays host to numerous tournaments throughout the year.
Lake Havasu City hosted the WAL-MART FLW Stren Series last
February as a kick off for the tournamentís western series.
"Lake Havasu is a great opener for us because of the number of
fish, the size of the fish. Overall, itís one of the best
fisheries in the West. I believe itís the best fishery on the
Colorado River," said Chris Jones, tournament director for FLW
just prior to the tournament.
For those looking to get into the angling action, The Lions
Club is hosting a Striper Derby Saturday, Nov. 4. This will be the
first tournament the club holds, and they plan on having a big
turnout ó meaning not only a lot of competition, but also a lot of
prize money up for grabs.
While anyone would love to spend all their time on the water,
the time will come that you will have to bring the boat ashore.
Fortunately, a vast number of restaurants, hotels and attractions
await those who make their way back to the mainland.
Challenging golf courses, scenic hiking trails, fun shopping
and more all await those who spend time off of Lake Havasuís
But, as always, the sparkling blue lake always calls, and
people end up back on the water. With so many sights to see, and
fun to be had, itís no wonder that this lake sees more boat-use
days than any other reservoir in the state.