ishing during the summer months will always
be warm, but fishing the lakes in the desert
southwest during summer is a different world. Extreme temperatures over 100-degrees are typical, shade is
limited, and hydration and sun protection are just as crucial
as your fishing tackle choices. One angler who lives this
every summer is Major League Fishing pro Roy Hawk of Lake
Havasu City, Ariz.
Even though the weather is sweltering, he says it can be
some of the best fishing of the year.
“Summer is a super-fun time of year to fish in the
desert,” Hawk said. “The fish are predictable and when you
find them, you can really catch them.”
As with all seasons, locating the bass is the most
significant piece of the puzzle and Hawk keeps it simple by
looking for several key things on desert lakes.
Speaking of baitfish, Hawk believes shad activity is paramount to summertime success in the desert.
“Early in the year, the bass are shallow and focused on crawfish and then they get on more of bluegill deal around the spawn,” added the Arizona pro. “By summer, it is mainly around shad and being around them is the deal in open water reservoirs like we have here.”
Finding shad can be done in numerous ways and some of them simply involve Hawk looking around, while other methods are left up to his electronics.
“You’ll sometimes see birds diving or stripers busting up on them,” Hawk added. “You might even see the schools of shad under the surface because the lakes are so clear. I’ll also watch my electronics to look for balls of shad in deep water. The important thing to remember is how much shad move from day-to-day, but it will always give you a good general area to start on the next time you are out there.”
The desert lakes such as Mead and Mohave are unique fisheries in that they are vast water bodies in the middle of the desert that are void of multiple rivers and creeks flowing into them. Havasu has more current influence, but Hawk said it pales compared to fisheries he has visited on the professional circuits.
“There is current, but it is not like the discharges on TVA lakes like Guntersville,” Hawk said. “That’s why on the desert lakes, I am looking for windy banks because they congregate the baitfish and bass will be nearby.”
MADE IN THE SHADE
Like humans in the middle of the desert, bass will seek out whatever shade they can find. That becomes easy to spot for shallow water, but Hawk uses this same approach in deeper water.
“In shallow water, I am always going to look for those little ‘hidey-holes’ around tules, grass, or bushes in the water because they provide some shade,” Hawk said. “These are prime targets for throwing a frog or pitching a Yamamoto Flappin’ Hawg into the shady holes.”
He also looks for shade lines in deeper water, which becomes