by Louis Bignami

Lake Havasu offers wonderful fishing, nifty houseboats, quality camping, some of the best water-skiing California and, during the summer, a world class collection of hard body water skiers in minimal attire.  It?s enough to make one invest in those expensive binoculars some insist they buy for birding. About the only drawback, aside from summer's heat, is getting there. It's grim across the desert even if you stay on the California side instead of heading for Parker in Arizona.

By the time the Colorado Rivers gets down to Havasu it?s been through enough dams to filter our the siltation and brown water that can be problems upstream. As a result the water's clear blue, the fishing's good, and the late fall to winter camping's better than that.

Lake Havasu City has the best amenities of the area although some favor Parker City and there are at least 10 major marinas on both sides of the lake. When we visit during the cool of spring or fall, we hit the super to stock up for the boat-in campgrounds on the Arizona side of the lake that we favor. Otherwise we stay at the Havasu Hot Springs Resort. If you don't own a boat, this is an excellent spot to rent one. Houseboats, fishing skiffs, ski boats and even canoes at the upstream "river-like" section of the lake offer a host of choices.
Tip: action on both sides of the Highway 10 bridge is a hit in the winter.

Fishing's scattered for much of the warmer part of the year, but stripers head up towards the river in spring and drop back down to Parker Dam in the fall. So even if you have a boat, the best bet is to hire a local guide to help locate the fish. However, if you simply want to catch catfish, black bass or stray stripers with bait off the bank you can set up just about anywhere. Add a cooler, an umbrella and that pair of binoculars for watching birds of all types and its easy to laze away the day.

At night it's just a short trip to Nevada -- we hit Vegas for the shows -- or the country and western nightlife in Parker or Lake Havasu City. If you visit in the late fall, and camp away from the resorts, you'll find the black, star-studded sky entertaining. These days, with so much space junk up, you can usually see a satellite or more an hour. Add the quiet of the lake, coyote and bird noises and you know you're not in LA!

Lake Havasu Chamber of Commerce 602-855-4115