Bass and crappie continue to spawn. Nests guarded by protective males are highly visible in the backs of most canyons and coves. Most of these fish have seen lots of lures and boats parked over the nest. Some males can still be caught by the first lure that is presented each day and then released to protect the young fish as they hatch. They are fun to watch as they chase large fish and lures away from the nest.
The most successful pattern is to fish for female bass that are holding on the secondary points and rock slides that are joined to the shallows at the back of the canyon by a deep water channel. Search for boulder size rocky slopes that descend at a 45 degree angle into the water. Position the boat 20 feet from shore and cast a plastic jig 20 feet deep and slowly retrieve it by bouncing along the bottom parallel to shore. The pick-up is often subtle with an increased sensation of weight or drag being added to the lure. When the lure feels "heavy" - set the hook. Chartreuse, pumpkin and smoked colored jigs are all working quite well. Color is not as important as proper location and presentation. Big rocks and the deep edges or "breaks" where light colored rock meets the deep blue color of the lake are the best bass spots now.
Striped bass are still absent. The abundance of shad that survived the winter and the great amount of fat reserves that the stripers are carrying have limited striper feeding to shad exclusively. Stripers do not eat anchovies when shad are abundant. Do not despair - this will change as the water warms and stripers spawn. Expect to start catching stripers mid May as they return from spawning runs into the rivers and begin their relentless pursuit of food in the reservoir. The fish will first be seen near the mudline at Hite and along main channel canyon walls. Some trophy fish will be caught in May by trollers working the main channel walls and by anglers fishing at night near spawning striper schools. Spawning occurs at dusk and during the first two hours of darkness. It is easier for anglers to fish under full moon conditions so that time period is recommended. The next full moon is the first week of May. Locate spawning fish in the upper reservoir by trolling across long prominent points. Males hold on points waiting for females to show up. If ripe males are caught return to that spot at night to find the trophy females.
Anglers planning to fish the Bullfrog area during the Memorial Day Holiday will need reservations if planning to camp at any of the Bullfrog beaches. There is no fee required but campers must get reservations by calling the NPS at 520 608-6200. Boaters may still launch and camp on the lake without reservations. This applies only to drive in beach camping at the Bullfrog area and only during the holiday weekend.