How many fish were harvested from Lake Havasu in 2017-18? Most targeted species? See our creel survey results
Results of 2017-2018 Lake Havasu Creel Survey
Arizona Game and Fish Department personnel conducted a creel survey on Lake Havasu from July 2017 – June 2018. A total of 85 days of creel surveys at access points to interview boat anglers, 28 days of roving creel surveys to interview shore anglers, and 28 days of aerial boat count surveys to estimate total effort were performed. A total of 650 boat anglers and 200 shore anglers were interviewed during the 2017-2018 field season. Anglers polled were asked a number of questions to determine angling pressure, preference, success, and harvest.
Below are the results from the creel survey:
- Angler use days. During the creel survey, there was an estimated 67,076 angler use days.
- The most targeted species by anglers were: smallmouth bass (61.8%). The next most targeted species (or categories) were largemouth bass (61.2%), striped bass (28.1%), anything (15.1%), redear sunfish (6.2%), any sunfish species (0.9%), channel catfish (0.8%), and flathead catfish (0.7%).
- 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.
- Angler catch rate. When averaged across all fish species, angler catch rate was estimated at 0.74 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. Anglers targeting striped bass had a species-specific catch rate of 0.96 fish per hour while anglers not attempting to catch striped bass had a catch rate of 0.05 fish per hour. Anglers targeting sunfishes had a genus-specific catch rate of 0.62 fish per hour versus anglers not targeting sunfishes caught an estimated 0.01 fish per hour.
- Total fish harvested. Anglers harvested an estimated 55,045 fish (18.7% 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% of all largemouth and smallmouth bass that were caught.
The survey skinny: Lake Havasu fishing tips
If you would like to fish Lake Havasu, it is highly recommended to target a specific species or group of fishes. As expected, anglers fishing from a boat had higher success compared to shoreline anglers. However, thanks to the Lake Havasu Fisheries Improvement Program, there is ample opportunity for fishing from the bank at Lake Havasu.
Most of the land adjacent to the lake on the east side is public land and open for fishing. There are also seven improved fishing piers open to the public on Lake Havasu, including two piers located on the Havasu National Wildlife Refuge (Mesquite Bay North and Mesquite Bay South), one at Site Six, two at the Bill Williams National Wildlife Refuge, one at Contact Point, and one at Take-Off Point.
The Lake Havasu Fisheries Improvement Program partners continue to look for additional opportunities to provide free shoreline fishing access.