While the damming of the Colorado reduced the flow of water at Yuma’s doorstep, it created a nearly limitless landscape of backwater channels and hidden lakes upstream. These cool waters are home to world-class fishing for largemouth, smallmouth and striped bass, as well as flathead and channel catfish, tilapia, crappie, mullet and bluegill.

Popular spots include the Imperial Dam area, with Senator Wash Reservoir and Squaw Lake; the Imperial National Wildlife Refuge with Martinez Lake, Ferguson Lake and the meandering channel of the Colorado River; the Picacho State Recreation Area along the California side of the Colorado north of Yuma; and Mittry Lake, just north of Laguna Dam.

For more info, contact the Bureau of Land Management or Arizona Game and Fish. Fishing licenses can be purchased at more than 300 dealer locations across the state.

Local fishing clubs conduct tournaments throughout the year. Search Facebook for local tournaments, ask at bait shops, or watch our Calendar of Events.

In town, casual recreational fishing is permitted along the canals and Colorado River, in case you brought your pole but not your boat. You still must have a valid fishing license, but just head over to any of the docks in the East and West Wetland, or throw in a line from the side of a canal. Farmers ask that you stay out of the farm fields, where canals bring in water, for the sake of food safety, but the canal along Avenue A is a popular spot for testing your skills and bringing in monster-sized catfish.


Whether you want to feel the power of opening up the throttle of a speedboat, putting along on a pontoon, or heading for a fishing hole, the Colorado River and lakes north of Yuma provide lots of deep water for everyone. Carved into the desert landscape, the lush greenery along the lakes and...

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