Wednesday, May 2, 2012


I just returned from a great trip to the Arizona desert, where I spent a few days fly fishing for largemouth bass.

The first leg of the trip was on Roosevelt Lake, northeast of Phoenix. The topwater bite never materialized as I'd hoped, instead we had to go deep with shad imitations and sinking lines, but the fishing was productive. It was my Dad's first attempt at largemouth bass with a fly rod, and a feisty two-pound fish made for a memorable first catch. The record setting heat was absolutely brutal, as was the heavy boat traffic.

Later in the week I met up with Kevin Krai to fish Martinez Lake and the lower Colorado River above Imperial Dam. This area is commonly referred to as the "Arizona Everglades" due to a seemingly endless network of backwaters and dense riparian vegetation. It was my first trip to the fishery, and Kevin had only been there a few times before, so we weren't exactly sure what to expect.

We didn't have to wait long to find out, soon after getting on the water our topwater frog patterns were bringing fish to the surface. That first day of the trip was an incredible one, we had scores of blow ups over the course of the day and managed to land the majority of those fish. The second and third days of the trip proved very challenging from a fishing standpoint, likely due to a low pressure system that rolled through. We fished hard, and enjoyed exploring this vast network of bass habitat, which Kevin says is some of the best he's seen outside of the California Delta.

There isn't a whole lot of information available on fly fishing the Martinez Lake and lower Colorado River region. That said, keep an eye out for a feature article about the fishery in an upcoming issue of Southwest Fly Fishing. I didn't write it, but I did get a sneak peek at the article and it is very informative; it will provide a good starting point for those interested in fishing here. A few of the photos that I took at Martinez will accompany the article.

Check out Kevin's report on the trip as well, the guy loves to fish and I hope to share some time on the water with him again someday. Best of luck with the move, Kevin, and have fun exploring all that new water in AR!

Kevin with a solid Martinez Lake bass.
My Dad at Roosevelt with his first bass on a fly.
Largemouth bass and topwater frog patterns are an awesome combination!
Searching for topwater action on Martinez.
A resident angler on Martinez Lake.
Exploring the vast network of backwaters on the lower Colorado River.


  1. Great post and pictures Will. Kevin is a good guy. I was bummed to read that he was going to be leaving AZ.


  2. Thanks, Ben. Yes, I have no doubt that Kevin will be missed by many in AZ. Hope the spring season is treating you well.

  3. Looks really fun. Good post and pics. Thanks.

  4. Bucket Mouths on top water flies!! I going to the big pond this evening to try my luck.