The following appears in the June issue of California Sportsman:
By Todd Kline
Like many California sportsmen, I have been on lockdown, social distancing for about 45
days during the COVID-19 pandemic restrictions.
I have been spending time with my family and staying close to home, plus all my nearby Southern California lakes were closed. So I was itching to get out and clear the mind.
I needed a trip badly and wanted to get out to the Colorado River. I was waiting for the hotel to reopen at Katherine Landing at Lake Mohave Marina so I could stay there, as it is a great location. Once the lodge reopened, I reserved a room and prepared to head to the desert.
I got a room with a kitchenette so that I would not have to leave the room once I arrived to avoid contact and still practice social distancing. I packed my Igloo cooler with some food and hit the road.
LAST SPRING, MY SON and I did a trip to Katherine Landing (928-754-3245; katherinelanding.com) and we said we would make it an annual trip. Unfortunately this year with the pandemic, my son’s school is now online and he is doing more work than ever. So he was not able to join me and make the trip.
Upon arrival, I noticed that all the staff members were wearing masks and
I was assured that they were making sure that the facility was very clean, which made me feel comfortable and that I could relax in my room.
This resort rocks; the ramp was literally about 400 yards from my room. Once checked in, I launched and stayed local for the afternoon, as it was very windy. The moon was full and I expected to still see some fish on beds. But it wasn’t the case.
The fish had spawned already, but the fishing was great. The water temperature was about 68 and the lake was as clear as ever. I decided to target postspawn smallmouth, and on
the first day I caught all smallies and no largemouth. I targeted them with Coolbaits, drop-shot Roboworms, and an Ima Flit jerkbait in bluegill color. I was looking for bass in areas where they would have spawned and main lake points. They were there.
ON DAY TWO I woke up early and hit the water. The wind was blowing once again and I decided to target largemouth. I would fish for them near the coves.
In the morning I caught some nice largemouth, again using the Ima Flit jerkbait in bluegill, and I landed a
few more on the Ima Finesse Popper in baby bass in the back of the coves that were protected from the wind and would allow the popper to work right.
By midmorning the wind died down and the lake went glassy. I relocated and found a flat with grass in about 8 to 12 feet. I threw the baby bass popper over the grass and got on one of the best topwater bites I have had for smallmouth.
In a few hours, I caught about 15 solid fish. It was sick! With many of the bites I could see the smallie get under the bait and then smash it. It was epic.
I started to work my way back in the afternoon towards the ramp and fished outside points. I was able to sight fish cruising smallies while throwing a 4-inch Desert Craw Roboworm on a drop-shot rig to catch them. This was also super cool to watch them eat.
ON MY FINAL DAY, I decided to try some frog fishing and see if I could catch some nice largies. I ran areas that had structure in the water, whether it was wood or tules. My first fish of the morning was a decent largemouth that came on a shaded bank. The second bass was a major surprise. I caught a solid smallmouth next to a tree on the frog. At the time, that was the only smallie I had ever caught on a frog and I was so stoked.
That day I caught two more smallmouth on a frog. One of them was when I started to burn the frog back to the boat and I saw the fish come flying out at the bait. I stopped reeling and popped it once. Boom! It was killer.
As the temperatures really heated up, I ran areas that had shade pockets and kept throwing that frog. It was a slow grind, but I caught about 15 largemouth throughout the day.
The frog bite is the holy grail for us anglers and I was stoked to catch bass on the lure. There were a couple of times a bass would show itself but not eat the frog. I would quickly grab my rod rigged with a Yamamoto Senko and toss it to the same area. This put a few more fish in the boat.
AS THE SUN SET, I headed back to the ramp. I stayed the night and then hit the road in the morning after a good night’s sleep. I appreciated the staff at Katherine Landing for making my stay relaxing, safe and a great trip. I needed a fishing getaway like this in a big way during these crazy times. CS
Editor’s note: Todd Kline is a San Clemente-based fishing guide who can be reached at toddklinefishing.com and (714) 333-8576.