July 2007

Fun Fishing The Topock Gorge

Story, Photos Submitted By Georgia Craig
Capt. Doyle's River Excursions/FunFishing Guide Service
www.funfishing.net — e-mail captdoyle@citlink.net

What possesses fishermen? Is it the desire to be a hunter-gatherer? Is it the timelessness experienced the moment the fish takes the bait? Or, is it the clear blue waters in pristine surroundings?

Whatever the reason, the lure of fishing is overwhelming, and Topock Gorge on the Colorado River minutes north of Lake Havasu City , Ariz. , is an angler's paradise. This extraordinary place abounds with a variety of fish like striped bass, largemouth and smallmouth bass, bluegill, redear and green sunfish, as well as channel and flathead catfish.

Fishing is not the only draw. The shear majesty of the red rock walls that form the canyon holds all who enter spellbound.

Striper activity — like everywhere on the Colorado from Lake Mead to Parker — has been running the gamut between exceptional and lukewarm. The fish are still coming up from Lake Havasu on their journey north to Davis Dam, so hot spots vary depending on the day.

When you're in an active spot, there are limits enough for all, but if you're not, only the patient fisherman will reap the reward. My advice is to keep prospecting until you hit the mother lode.

Andrew Burns, a Topock local, landed a fat 4-pound striped bass while fishing from the shore in an area called the “pipeline,” which is located minutes south of the I-40 Bridge. Another local — who wishes to remain anonymous — took first, most, and biggest (a 3 ½- striper) on her recent outing.

As most anglers, she is keeping the whereabouts of her favorite site close to the vest. Still fishing with anchovy is working well, but for bigger fish, drifting the middle of the river with either cut boat or lures is the way to go.

Anchovy is the stripers' and the majority of the anglers' favorite bait in this neck of the river. Kyle Villamor from Old Western Trader, Topock's one and only bait shop, boated a 3- and a 6-pound striper throwing a Bomber Long A while drifting the middle of the river near the top of the gorge at Park Moab.

The most productive bite has been between 4 a.m. and 10 a.m. The Offroaders, a home-town club whose members spend the majority of their time exploring the desert in sand rails, take to the water once a year for their annual fishing derby.

This year, 22 members signed in at 6a.m. and fished their hearts out for nine hours. The total pounds of fish weighed in at the end of the day determined the winners.

First place went to Marty Dunlap with 18.9-pounds of striped bass. Shane Price took second place with 16.13-pounds of striper. And, with only an 8.08-pound carp to show for his efforts, Virgil Bryant had to be content with third place.

Third place isn't a bad spot. The problem is that Virgil probably won't be eating his catch.

If you're a possessed angler hooked on angling and the thrill of the catch and would love to experience one the most beautiful locations along the Colorado River where fishing is only enhanced by the splendor of the surroundings, the Topock Gorge is the place for you.

Only 45 minutes south of Laughlin , Nev. , the Topock Gorge is nestled within the Havasu National Wildlife Refuge, which runs between Needles, Calif. , and Lake Havasu City , Ariz.

“If people concentrated on the really important things of life, there'd be a shortage of fishing poles.” — Doug Larson