4-19-04 - Pretty even though totally futile...
Waters Fished: Willow Beach on Lake Mohave, Colorado
Fish Caught: 0/0
Outing Date: 4-19-04
Weather: Sunny all day
Air Temp: in the 70's
Water Temp: 56F
Water Level: normal? Lake Mead upstream is low
Water Color: crystal, I mean CRYSTAL clear!
Fish Species: Carp!
Pattern Fished: The gamut
Pattern Color: Everything
Fishing Quality: very very very very very poor
Hmmm...let me start by asking if you can handle
a consisting of nothing more than pictures??? Perhaps, but let me
at least tell you a little about the trip.
I got into Vegas to visit my folks and my brother,
who had come out from NJ. Originally we were going to fish that
Saturday, but my folks said the weather forecast wasn't "good".
Well, Saturday was partly cloudy, mid 70's....that
was considered "BAD" weather by my folks!!! We did some
hiking in Henderson; the first shots through the lizards were all
on that hike. Let me tell you, the hiking was fun, spotting lizards
and trying to get the best pictures was arguably the highlight of
Which brings me all the way to Monday, when we
ended up going fishin'. We drove over Hover Dam into Arizona and
about 13 miles downstream on the Colorado to a place called Willow
Beach. My brother and mother had done some "pre-scouting"
and talked to a Park Ranger who HIGHLY suggested Willow Branch as
the best/closest place for trout fishing. Some quick online research
informed me that both the State Record White Bass and Rainbow Trout
were caught on Lake Mohave at Willow Beach. This sounds promising!
So we stop at the little shop that's there, let
me tell you at first it looked promising. Licenses were reasonable
for the day. The rules were pretty simple, we only needed an Arizona
license to fish from the Arizona shore of Willow Beach...good deal
or so I thought.
We set up, geared up, and hit the water. Right
off the bat we saw a fish jump and my heart jumped...cool...there
be fish here!
HA! Joke's on MP...I waded the shoreline in crystal
clear 56F water...very pleasant with the air temps in the mid-70's
and not a cloud in the sky. Willow Beach was "big", but
I figured maybe the story was that we'd catch fish cruising the
shallows looking for a meal.
I NEVER SAW A FISH! Well, I take that back, we
spotted MANY fish in the harbors, specifically carp. I personally
saw 2 more fish jump, heck those could've been CARP too. As I made
my way north along the shore I spied an outflow at the base of the
Willow Beach State Fish Hatchery. A pair of cormorants were floating
there...this had to be "the" spot. I wade up, and find
out that it's TOTALLY off limits to fishing. I cast just outside
this boundary, but pretty much I'm getting pretty close to my chest,
don't see anything going on, and still haven't seen a fish. Meanwhile
all the "jumpers", whatever they might have been, were
well out of casting range too.
Time to bite the bullet, my bro and I head back
to the shop and rent a canoe...the only way we're going to get to
where the fish are is in one! We have to up our licenses with special
use permits from NV so we can fish this shared waterway. Turns out
that rainbows haven't been stocked for a month or so, the hatchery
is undergoing repairs or something....
Well, thinking the obvious thing, we head in the
canoe back "upstream" (if you can call it that) towards
the hatchery boundary. If we get lost or tired we can drift back
No fish, nada, nothing. The water is DEEP and crystal
clear...we've switched from the 9' 4wts at this point to my 9wt
and my 10' 6wt..the heavier gear I had brought, and tied on Whitlock's
Hare Scuplins. It was the heaviest pattern I had with, it's
very fishy, if anything was gonna give us a chance to hook into
something, anything, it'd be a big heavy fly. Hey, I would've been
more than happy to hook into stripers.
And then thing get WORSE...we head to the opposite
shore, which looks VERY VERY VERY fishy. Next thing you know, a
wind kicks up and we're flyin' downstream, getting blown into shore,
then blown too far out, casting goes to crap and I'm ticked.
So how did we deal? We did our best, more or less
flatlining our streamers off one side of the canoe while the wind
pushed us around.
How can I really sum this up? At best, despite
being as well prepared as we could've been all things considered,
this was ANYTHING BUT what I had expected. This was big casting
water; i.e. chuck a huge spoon way out and do it "polish style"
like we do in Kenosha Harbor. Or heck, even better, get a boat with
fishfinder, planer boards and downriggers and spend the evening
driving up and down the lake.
I gave up early...I had a flight soon anyway and
resigned myself to not let my folks pick the fishin' location next
time. And to top it off, I heard that the weekend while I was in
NV/AZ the steelhead were on fire. Figures (sorry, I KNEW that was
Next time, it'll be the White Mountains, or somewhere
in the Grand Canyon, heck, someplace that is KNOWN to be fly-fishin'
friendly! Marble Canyon, Lees Ferry, I don't know, but I can guarantee
that if I'm bringin' fly gear I'm NOT going back to Willow Beach.
Who knows, maybe we just hit it at a really bad time, but my opinion
is that I've seen water like this before with more fish and better
opportunities. 45 lb. strippers (mounts in the shop) aside, this
isn't going to be a repeat for me.
At least I came away with some gorgeous pictures
which I've continued below.