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2:14 PM Thu, Nov. 15th

Alamo Lake trips full of surprises

Linda Kaufman with the 16 channel catfish that she and Don Martin caught at Alama Lake.

Photo by Don Martin.

Linda Kaufman with the 16 channel catfish that she and Don Martin caught at Alama Lake.

Every spring I try to get down to Alamo Lake on the southern border of Mohave County to enjoy the fishing there. In the past it has been one of the best largemouth bass, crappie and channel catfish fisheries in Arizona.

But the glory years seem to have passed with the drop in water levels at this Army Corps of Engineers flood control reservoir.

However, this past winter saw a huge turnaround for this man-made lake. The lake has risen about 42 vertical feet after filling up with huge amounts of water from the thousands of miles of drainage from the Big Sandy and Santa Maria watersheds.

This influx of water has literally created a new lake.

I watched with interest as other anglers commented on social media on how muddy the water was and how much debris was floating around in it. Calls to the State Park at Alamo Lake revealed that the fishing reports were all bad, but with the promise that maybe in a week or two, it would turn on.

So I put off going to Alamo in March, hoping the lake would clear up and the fishing would be good.

To put things into perspective: Last year I went there with a couple on friends and we did great. We fished from March 17-20 and caught bass, crappie and a lot of channel catfish. I think I even caught a softshell turtle.

This year, I lined up a number of friends and family who wanted to go fish there.

First on the list was my friend and Kingman resident, Linda Kaufman.

Linda and I have fished on Lake Mead together in the past, but never at Alamo. She had not been to Alamo for years.

So a plan was made to go and fish for a few days in mid-April.

I rented a space for a month at the Wayside Oasis RV Park, which is about 10 miles from the lake.

Linda and I arrived late on a Thursday afternoon, and after setting up the 5th wheel, we headed down to the lake to see what it looked like.

The lake had a lot of water in it, but it looked like weak coffee with a distinct brown tannic color. Visibility in the water was less than 18 inches in most places.

The lake has lots of cover, as the water has backed way up into the old river channel.

Big desert willow trees were in full bloom, and there was a lot of bird life to be seen and heard.

But the anglers we spoke to during the two days we were there said the bass and crappie fishing seemed to be off. And no one knew why.

Friday we got onto the lake about mid-morning, and like everyone else, found the fishing slow.

Later in the day we went to the upper end of the lake, in amongst the flooded trees in the river channel, and started fishing for catfish in about 6 feet of water.

About 3 p.m. the catfish started biting. Linda’s fishing poles were bouncing. In two hours she caught 10 channel cats, while I got five.

Then the bite stopped. I finally got one more catfish at sundown.

Final tally was 16 for the day.

On Saturday morning we were out on the water early. We tried bass fishing near the dam and noticed lots of bass boats on the water. There was a bass tournament going on.

By mid-morning we had spoken to anglers in 10 different boats. Only one boat had a fish; a small one-pound bass.

Despite using a variety of past lures, neither Linda nor I got a bite.

That afternoon, we went back to the catfish.

But this day it was Linda, and not I, who was jinxed.

I caught six catfish while Linda didn’t get any.

Despite the slow fishing, Linda brought back a lot of catfish filets.

Bill Schleeter and I go bass fishing

The very next afternoon I was on the water with Golden Valley resident Bill Schleeter.

Bill and I have fished together on Lake Havasu a few times, but he had never been on Alamo.

We were only going to target largemouth bass.

Despite some serious angling, we managed to put only three bass and one catfish in the boat before sundown on Monday.

Tuesday morning we were out at dawn and fished hard for about six hours.

It was dismal; I got two bass and Bill got one.

Then the winds came and we decided to pack it up and head back to Kingman.

I’ve got a few more trips scheduled in the next week or so, but I am at a loss to explain why the bass and crappie fishing there has been so tough.

The good news is the cat fishing is OK and should remain that way all summer. Try nightcrawlers for the best results.

This spring so far has been a bust at Alamo Lake for me and my fishing friends. But the spawn should be terrific, which means in the next two years the fishing should be awesome at this lake.