With the weather being as good as it could be, more than 100 outdoor enthusiasts from all over Arizona participated in the Arizona Game and Fish Department's Alamo Lake cleanup.
This annual event, which was started 14 years ago by wildlife manager Stewart Kohnke, is designed to show the Army Corps of Engineers, the operators of this flood-control waterway, that sportsmen were willing to help keep the lake clean.
As it turns out, this is probably the cleanest lake you'll see in Arizona.
I have been invited to attend this event every year, but it always conflicted with my running of the Mohave Sportsman Club's annual Antelope Eaters hunt, so I never got the chance to go.
I decided to take a break this year from that hunt, so I planned to go down and give a hand, as I occasionally fish at this lake.
I was glad I did.
I rolled into the campground around midnight and tossed down a foam sleeping pad and my old Butler bag.
I was serenaded to sleep by burros and coyotes.
When I awoke, I found that the planning operation was in full swing.
Volunteers lined up to fill out paperwork and to receive areas that Kohnke believed needed some work.
Kohnke noted that a number of "snowbirds" who stay at the lake during the winter months were always active in picking up trash and litter on the south end of the lake.
"I usually get around a 100 volunteers each year," the veteran law enforcement officer said.
I saw Ted Roper, who also resides in Kingman, at the start of the cleanup. We were, unfortunately, the only ones from Kingman who were signed up, though I did see some other Kingman residents on an ATV ride on the north side of the lake.
I hope that next year I can get the word out to outdoor enthusiasts who aren't participating in Antelope Eaters - this is a great project to get involved in.
I wanted to do a little exploring while picking up trash, so I ventured toward Brown's Crossing. Kohnke told me there was an open ATV road there, and while I found it, I also figured out that it wasn't user-friendly for an F-350 Ford truck.
I found trash in several remote camping areas and was able to bring back a couple of large bags of trash and debris.
One of the very neat things about the cleanup is the support of the Yuma Valley Rod and Gun Club.
For many years, members of that organization have cooked a free steak dinner for all participants.
"Yuma Valley has been a huge supporter of this event," Kohnke said. "They come every year and cook up a great meal for the volunteers."
Kohnke said that different businesses from Salome and Wickenburg donated money to purchase the food and prizes.
And did they ever have prizes! Every person, including a lot of youth who were there, got one or more prizes.
This wasn't a raffle. These were prizes that were given away, courtesy of many donors.
I really liked the Handy Man Jack that was donated by a business in Salome, but unfortunately my luck at these events is usually very bad. I think I was drawn at the 87th spot out of 100.
I got some neat fishing lures.
The day ended with some folks packing up and going home.
But some stayed another night at the campground, and a number of others stayed to enjoy the fishing, which was just starting to turn on.
Kohnke told me that Ted Roper caught and released an eight-pound bass the next day.
Alamo was at the lowest level I've ever seen it, and that is a good news/bad news scenario.
But Kohnke said that the current level is not the lowest he has seen.
"In 1972, the lake was lower than it is now by a lot," Kohnke said.
A lower lake level that means the fishing should be great with the warm weather we are enjoying.
The slot limit for bass on this lake has been removed, and anglers are actually encouraged to catch and keep bass.
The lake is full of crappie too.
And if you like to fish for catfish, Kohnke said that Alamo Lake is the most underutilized catfish fishery in Arizona.
"When we have done studies out there and used our nets, they are filled with catfish most of the time," Kohnke said.
All that is good enough for me. When I go down next year, I'm going to take my Skeeter and do a little fishing on Sunday.
Posted: Monday, April 1, 2013
Article comment by:
Easiest way to Alamo Lake is to take I-40 east till you get to Highway 93 south. Go south on 93 until you reach State Route 71, which is about 15 miles north of Wickenburg. Turn right onto state route 71 and go west until you get to Highway 60. Turn right on Highway 60 and continue west until you you get to Wenden. At Wenden you'll see a sign for Alamo Lake. Cross the tracks and go north for about 35 miles to Alamo Lake. Neat lake, lots of fish, camping grounds, a small store, but make sure you fill up with fuel in Wenden. Enjoy your trip.
Posted: Wednesday, March 20, 2013
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Can someone give me directions to Alamo Lake from Kingman? Alamo Rd. is a little bit much for my old cruiser so maybe there's an alternate route?