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Survey: Lake Havasu anglers seek bass over other species

March 19, 2019

It’s official: Lake Havasu is a great place to fish.

That news won’t come as a surprise to locals, of course, but the Arizona Department of Game and Fish says the results of a recent creel survey support why Lake Havasu is popular with fishermen around the region.

The survey, conducted between July 2017 and June 2018, included interviews with 650 boat anglers and 200 shore anglers about topics such as success rates and harvest numbers.”

According to the survey, the angler catch rate for Lake Havasu is .74 fish caught per hour of fishing.

Anglers targeting largemouth and smallmouth bass had a genus-specific catch rate of 0.49 fish per hour while anglers not attempting to catch largemouth and smallmouth bass had a genus-specific catch rate of 0.04 fish per hour.

The survey found the most targeted species were smallmouth bass. According to the department, 61.8 percent of the anglers interviewed were targeting smallmouth bass, followed by largemouth bass (61.2 percent), striped bass (28.1 percent) redear sunfish (6.2 percent), any sunfish species (.9 percent) and catfish (1.5 percent).

An estimated total of 293,926 fish were caught, including 119,292 striped bass, 86,920 largemouth bass, 51,441 smallmouth bass, 25,011 redear sunfish, 6,951 bluegill, 594 channel catfish, and 20 flathead catfish.

Anglers harvested an estimated 55,045 fish (18.7 percent of all fish caught were harvested). This included an estimated 44,201 striped bass, 8,621 redear sunfish, 1,445 bluegill, 376 channel catfish, 357 largemouth bass, 25 smallmouth bass, and 20 flathead catfish. Anglers interviewed during the creel survey released 99.2 percent of all largemouth and smallmouth bass that were caught.

“As expected, anglers fishing from a boat had higher success compared to shoreline anglers,” the Game and Fish Department said in its report. “However, thanks to the Lake Havasu Fisheries Improvement Program, there is ample opportunity for fishing from the bank at Lake Havasu.”

The report went on to describe how most of the land on Lake Havasu’s Arizona side is public land and open for fishing, with seven improved piers open to the public. Two piers are located at Havasu National Wildlife Refuge (Mesquite Bay North and Mesquite Bay South), one is at Site Six, two are at the Bill Williams National Wildlife Refuge, one is at Contact Point and one is at Take-Off Point.

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