September 2006

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End Of Summer Doesnít Mean The End Of Boating Season

LAKE 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 however.

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 Boats.

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 said.

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 Racing Fan.

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 agencies.

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 program.

"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 waters.

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.

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