MAY 31, 1996


Fishing for bass has slowed with the cessation of spawning and the overwhelming presence of shad. Mature bass have left the shallow coves and are moving toward summer holding areas. Fishing will improve when bass reach the familiar summer feeding spots. Small bass are still on shore and catchable but the larger fish are now located on vertical structure like submerged points and isolated rock slides. They can be caught but fishing location and depth are important.

Shad continue to spawn at mornings first light and offer easy meals to all predators. Shad are seen everywhere - in backs of canyons, coves, and open bays. The best fishing of the day corresponds to shad spawning. For best results rise before daylight and fish hard for the first 2 hours of light. Late mornings have been slow fishing with an increase in activity in the afternoon. Remember that with shad being so abundant most fish are not hungry. React quickly to signs of fish feeding like boils near shad schools or fish activity observed in clear water. Feeding periods are of short duration but good catches can come in quick bursts.

Striped bass are catchable now, playing under the same rules described for bass. Early fishing is of prime importance. Stripers are attacking shad at first light and boils can be seen rapidly occurring near shad schools. The boils are quick and not easily approachable. Stripers are traveling in small bunches instead of large schools. They are definitely spread more evenly than normal. Stripers can be caught by trolling or casting in areas where shad or striper activity is seen. Use shad imitating crankbaits or live action grubs in shad colors. Fish shallow, from the shore line to 20 feet deep. Cast and retrieve quickly while moving along brush lines, coves, or points where shad are seen. When a striper is caught fish the area thoroughly before moving on. Expect only 2 or 3 fish in any one location. Stripers are being caught just like bass by anglers plugging the shoreline. Anchovies are not very effective.

Bluegill spawning is at its peak and offers great excitement for kids, fly fishermen, and anyone that likes to see the fish hit the lure. Move to the backs of brushy coves and look for nests or fish right in brush for big, broad shouldered bluegills. Nests are shallow, 2-3 feet deep, and very near the locations of bass nests seen 2-3 weeks ago. Fishing is more productive in the more isolated areas than near marinas that have been fished hard this spring. The upper San Juan is one of the most productive areas. The Hite and Wahweap areas have slowed down with mid lake locations holding up reasonably well this week.