Friends of the Bill Williams River and Havasu National Wildlife Refuges

Kayak fishing is one of today's fastest growing outdoor sports, combining the peaceful serenity of a quiet paddle with the excitement  [kayak bass] of the possibility of hooking and landing a trophy gamefish.

While you can fish from either a sit-inside or sit-on-top kayak, sit-on-top kayaks are preferred by most for their stability, space for gear storage, and for ease of access to your equipment. For a relatively modest expense, you can rig a sit-on-top kayak with a fishing crate and a few fishing rod holders and off you go.

As you get more involved in the sport, you can add an anchor trolley with anchor, a rudder, and even a fish finder with GPS. Many kayak manufacturers are now making kayaks developed specifically for the sport. There is nothing quite like the thrill of getting a free tow in your kayak from a striped bass or other game fish.

Kayak Fishing In The Refuges

The Bill Williams River and Havasu National Wildlife Refuges both offer a variety of opportunities to fish the type of water you prefer. Species of note are Small-mouth Bass, Large-mouth Bass, Striped Bass, Flathead Catfish, Channel Catfish, and various pan fish. Lake Havasu is rapidly becoming known as one of the best Small-mouth bass fisheries in the west. Some details about the Refuges:

Bill Williams River NWR:

The Bill Williams River National Wildlife Refuge includes the southern reaches of Lake Havasu and the long, narrow channel of the Bill Williams River. You can fish in the wide open spaces of Lake Havasu or among the reeds and flooded tree structures in the Bill Williams River. This area is a NO WAKE ZONE for boaters, so this is a perfect place for kayaking and fishing.  The area is easily accessible using a motorless boat launching ramp located at the Bill Williams River NWR Headquarters. Click here to link to the official Bill Williams River NWR Website

Havasu National Wildlife Refuge:

The Havasu National Wildlife Refuge offers multiple opportunities for kayak fishing. Topock Marsh, in the northern portion of the Havasu NWR, is a shallow marsh featuring reeds and the skeletal remains of a long-ago flooded mesquite forest. Further south, you can drift the current of the Colorado River from Topock Marina south through the Topock Gorge, or fish the northern portion of Lake Havasu from the gently flowing Colorado River at Castle Rock to the expanse of Lake Havasu at Mesquite Bay. Click here to link to the official Havasu NWR Website

Please note that some areas are closed to all access during certain migration and nesting periods. Please check the specific Refuge website for boating regulations, areas restricted to access, and other rules that may apply. In addition, there are several businesses in the area where you can rent boats, canoes, and kayaks; consult your local telephone directory or our sponsor page.

Area Boat Launching Information

There is a non-motorized launch ramp open during daylight hours at the Bill Williams River NWR Headquarters. Check the official Refuge website for more details.

Other boat launching ramps are available in the Topock Marsh area of the Havasu NWR at North Dike, Five Mile Landing, and Catfish Paradise. You cannot access the Colorado River by boat from the Topock Marsh; you can reach the Colorado River by launching at Topock 66 Marina. Non-motorized boat launching is also available at Castle Rock and at Mesquite Bay Central, both located in north Lake Havasu City at the south end of Havasu NWR.

In addition to the Topock 66 Marina, other local boat launches that allow access to the Colorado River, Topock Gorge, and north Lake Havasu include Park Moabi (located 11 miles south of Needles, CA on I-40), and Havasu State Park at Windsor Beach (on London Bridge Road in Lake Havasu City). There are many other private and public boat launches along the Colorado River.

Photos courtesy of John West and John Williams.

Kayak Fishing
National Public Lands Day

September 28, 2013

This 2nd Annual event was a great success; approximately 60 kayakers pitched in to help pick up litter along the shoreline between Castle Rock and Mesquite Bay Central in Havasu NWR.

Boats were provided at no charge by Jerkwater Canoe Company and Western Arizona Canoe and Kayak Outfitters (WACKO), two local Lake Havasu City kayak outfitters; experienced kayakers were welcome to bring their own equipment.

You can view a photo gallery of the event on our Event Gallery page.

Look for a bigger, better event next year. Check our event calendar for updates.