Rains revive once troubled Alamo Lake; Game & Fish predicts good spring fishing

Alamo Lake as it looked in 2008. Artillery Peak in the Arrastra Mountains is in the background. Recent rains have revived the once troubled Mohave County fishing hole.

duroc2006/Courtesy/ https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Alamo_Lake_and_Artillery_Peak.jpg

Alamo Lake as it looked in 2008. Artillery Peak in the Arrastra Mountains is in the background. Recent rains have revived the once troubled Mohave County fishing hole.

The recent storms that have soaked the state are providing some much needed relief for Alamo Lake, which is located on the southern border of Mohave County, according to George Knapp at the Alamo Lake State Park.

Knapp said recent rains have caused the lake to rise about three feet, and while that means the catfish will be biting, the lake is full of floating debris and has the color and consistency of chocolate milk!

As soon as the rains stop and flows into the lake have subsided, then the fishing is going to pick up.

In December, the Game &Fish conducted its annual fall electrofishing survey at the lake, and despite record low-water levels at that time, the department determined that the lake’s fishery is in pretty good shape.

The lake, which was constructed in 1968 as a flood control reservoir by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, has in the past been the site of some of the best largemouth bass, crappie and catfishing to be found in the Grand Canyon state.

But with dwindling water levels in the past 5 years, the lake has fallen on hard times.

The lake had been subject to a slot limit, but that was taken off by the department a few years ago.

Now it appears that the physical condition of the bass has improved since last year’s survey. Department biologists say that the number of young bass and bass up to 1 lb. has improved.

The department said they had 16 survey stations and that they collected a total of 2,891 fish, which included 235 largemouth bass. The largest bass they measured was 19.9 inches long and weighed 4.6 lbs.

Forage fish, which included threadfin shad, blue tilapia and bluegill, made up 89 percent of the fish collected. The department said that means there is abundant food for the lake’s sportfish.

Alamo Lake has long been recognized as having one of the state’s most underutilized cat fisheries.

Retired AZGFD Wildlife Manager Stewart Kohnke was assigned to Alamo Lake for many years.

The veteran wildlife manager noted that when they were conducting gill net surveys at the lake, sometimes the nets would be so heavy they could hardly move them. And they were full of channel catfish that weighed from 1 to 8 lbs.

The best area to catch channel catfish is on the northeast side of the lake and around partially submerged structures.

Anglers who use hotdogs, shrimp, minnows, anchovies and nightcrawlers as bait will be able to put a number of these hard-fighting whisker fish in their livewells.

Channel cats, when feeding on shad, will readily take any shad lure that an angler may toss around a structure.

Despite the rising water, currently anglers can only launch from one area in the lake.

Boaters who use the launch ramp inside the park must pay a fee to the State Parks Department, which manages the lake.

There are many campsites around the lake, including those that offer full hook ups, and there are even several cabins that can be rented.

There are restrooms, some even have showers and a couple of fishing cleaning stations are found within the park.

For more information or to make reservations, especially for weekend use, call the Alamo Lake State Park at 928-669-2088.