Location & Overview
Looking for a place along the Colorado River where you can catch epic numbers of big largemouth bass and stripers? Then look no farther than Lake Havasu, along the border between California and Arizona about 50 miles downriver from Laughlin, NV (check out the map). In addition to its excellent fishing, Lake Havasu is also renowned as the home of London Bridge, which was purchased by American entrepeneur Robert P. McCulloch in 1968 and shipped in pieces from London to Lake Havasu City, AZ, where it was reassembled in its present location.
Fishermen rate Lake Havasu:
Fishin’ Lake Havasu
At Lake Havasu, it’s all about bass – both stripers and largemouth. During the winter and spring, stripers dominate. They follow schools of shad during warmer weather, and a popular method of catching them involves chumming with cut-up anchovies, then fishing with 6-8 pound line and a piece of anchovy or squid on a #6 hook. Depending on your preference, you can fish from anchor or drift.
Trolling is another popular method, either with downriggers or with deep-diving crankbaits such as a Hellbender when the fish are fairly shallow. Try attaching a short leader to your crankbait with a hook and a piece of cut bait for even better results.
In late winter, the stripers come to the surface to feed, and some awesome topwater action results. Locals recommend Zara Spooks, Rat-L-Traps, Pop R’s, and small swimbaits.
During the spring and fall, you can find amazing largemouth bass action in Havasu, with lots of fish in the 2- to 5-pound range and some as large as 7 pounds. Smallmouth bass run as large as 6 pounds, with 3-pounders being common.
If bass aren’t your thing, catfish, bluegill, and crappie can also be had here. During the winter months, when the water temperature drops, Havasu anglers can try their luck for rainbow trout as well. Try spinners, spoons, or Power Bait when fishing for trout.
Boat launching facilities are available at Windsor Beach, located just north of London Bridge, as well as at all of the resorts listed below.
Lake Havasu Weather
You can expect extremely hot conditions at Lake Havasu during the summer months, so be prepared. Air temperatures all along the river run the gamut from an average daytime high in the low 60’s or so in wintertime to 110 degrees plus during July and August. Water temperatures can vary from the high 60’s to the low 80’s depending on the season. Since the river sits in the middle of a desert, there is very little shade or shelter available to keep the sun off of you during the hot season. Sunscreen, a hat, and lots of water are a must!
If you plan on boating on the river, always check the weather forecast before going out.
Click here to see current weather conditions and forecasts for Lake Havasu City, AZ.
Lodging & Camping
A number of hotels are located in Lake Havasu City, as well as several campgrounds and RV parks. A series of resorts located around the shoreline of the lake also offer hotel rooms, RV and tent camping spaces, supplies, boat lauching and boat rental facilities. These include Havasu Landing Resort, Black Meadow Landing, Havasu Springs Resort, and Sandpoint Marina. Boat-in camping is also available along the river in most undeveloped areas.
Licensing & Regulations
All anglers age 16 and up require a fishing license from either California or Arizona. Since Lake Havasu forms the border between the two states, you will also need a special use stamp from the other state affixed to your license. Fishing licenses and the necessary stamps are available at any of the marinas listed above, as well as at tackle shops and sporting goods stores in Lake Havasu City.
Fishing is allowed year round, any hour of the day or night, except in those areas of Lake Havasu otherwise posted. Bag limits in the lake and in those adjacent areas of the Colorado River between the I-40 bridge (Topock Bridge) and Parker Dam are as follows:
Trout – 10 fish, no minimum length.
Black Bass – 6 fish, 13-inch minimum length.
Striped Bass – 10 fish, no minimum length.
Catfish – 10 fish in combination, no minimum length.
Crappie – 25 fish, no minimum length.
No size or possession limits on other game fish.
Snagging for carp, tilapia, and shad is allowed from January 1 through
March 31, and from October 1 through December 31.
Important Note! Travelers who plan on crossing Parker Dam should check first to see if any travel restrictions are in place. For security reasons, the dam is sometimes closed to truck and RV traffic, and may only be open to vehicle traffic during daylight hours. For additional information and current traffic restrictions, call (760) 663-3712 or the Parker, AZ Chamber of Commerce at (928) 669-2174.