RV Travel – desert boating & fishing

boat beached

Boating  and fishing in the desert…………..I know….. what have I been smokin. Well believe it or not during the winter months there is some excellent boating and great fishing in the southwest desert. Many “lakes” most are man made reservoirs.

Dams have been built to redirect the water for irrigation or for flood control and the result is some good size bodies of water. Some of the reservoirs water levels are down in the fall but are pumped full in the spring to allow for irrigation during the growing season.

There is nothing like hopping into a boat and cruising the Colorado river on a nice warm summer (winter) afternoon. For a good detailed atlas of this area check out my review, click here.

A word of advice check with the state website for regulations before venturing  out on a boating or fishing trip. Click here to check out my previous article for the websites

Where’s the Fish


Colorado River Northwest

This area includes waters of the Colorado from Lake Havasu to Lake Powell. There are four major reservoirs in this area which offer a wide variety of fishing from striped bass to trout and largemouth bass to catfish. This area also includes the Grand Canyon and Lake Mead. With the exception of the area around the Grand Canyon, this area is desert and quite hostile in the summer.

Central Arizona

More fishing activity takes place on these lakes than in any other area of the state. They are also the closest waters to the largest population center in the state. These waters provide the best largemouth bass, crappie and catfishing in the state. Click here to check out a cheap inflatable boat with great reviews

Lakes Pleasant and Roosevelt are best for largemouth bass and crappie, while Roosevelt and Bartlett are best for catfish. One of the most overlooked fishing experiences in this area is trout fishing the Salt River below Saguaro Lake. Take advantage of this year-round trout fishery in the summer when the air temperatures are 100° F and the water is 65° F.


Southeastern ArizonaArizona’s grasslands run from Tucson and Wilcox to the Mexico border. This corner of the state offers small bodies of water nestled in rolling hills dotted with oak trees. These lakes offer bass, bluegill, and catfish in the summer and trout in the winter. The two exceptions are located on top of Mount Lemon and Mount Graham. Both of these lakes are in pine/spruce forests and are stocked with trout in the summer.

realeasing fish

Southwestern Arizona

This area covers that portion of the Colorado River south of Parker Dam to Yuma near the Mexico border. If you want to see the Colorado River as it was pre-settlement, this is the place to go. From Imperial Reservoir upriver through the Cibola national Wildlife Refuge, it is Arizona on the Colorado as it was. This stretch of river is excellent for flathead catfish from April through October. There are also trophy largemouth bass (over 12 lbs.) caught from backwater lakes along this section of river each year.

Boating in Arizona

house boat

With more than 30 lakes and countless rivers and streams, boating is a popular activity for Arizona residents and vacationers alike. Just a few popular destinations for boating, rafting, canoeing and kayaking in Arizona include:

  • Lake Powell
    In Northern Arizona, on the Utah border, Lake Powell offers recreational boating experiences in a stunning setting of crystal water, red rock formations and beautiful Arizona weather. It’s also a great location for houseboating vacations.
  • Lake HavasuJet boat
    Boasting the title of “Personal Watercraft Capital of the World,” Lake Havasu is the perfect place to rent a boat, or bring your own. Located along Arizona’s West Coast, it’s also a great jumping-off point for boating the Colorado River as it heads south to Yuma.
  • Prescott
    Boating, swimming, fishing, hiking and picnicking are just a few of the ways to enjoy the day in Prescott, Arizona, where three picturesque lakes dot the town. Enjoy the stunning Granite Dells from Watson and Willow lakes, or the pine-topped hills around Goldwater Lake.
  • Tempe Town Lake
    In the heart of Central Arizona, Tempe Town Lake is a two-mile boating wonderland. For a fun family activity, rent a paddle boat for the afternoon.
  • Black Canyon

    row boat
    This 11-mile stretch of the Colorado River begins in Bullhead City, in Arizona’s West Coast. Perfect for canoeing or kayaking, the area is home to hot springs, a “sauna cave” and beautiful scenery.

See I was not smokin something. Just another activity that can be enjoyed in the south west states during winter or summer during your RV travel adventures.

I hope you enjoyed this article. If you have any questions or comment please leave them below.

Thanks for visiting my website.

Gord B.

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