We just returned from 2 days at Good Hope Bay where we found that smallmouth bass and bluegill fishing was very good, particular early in the morning. We discovered some patterns that should work lakewide. At first light both species were shallow along the shoreline and feeding actively. Surface lures worked great with hits on every cast from pugnacious 6-13 inch smallmouth bass. Rocky, 45 degree sloping shorelines, points and brushy coves were all alive with smallmouth bass. The shady side of the bay was more productive even in the dim light of morning. Surface action lasted for about an hour before the fish went deeper.
Probing the coves and canyons after the sun was up produced numerous bluegill and short smallmouth bass. Two inch grubs on 1/32 ounce lead heads caught fish all day long when thrown near brush in 5-10 feet of water. Large male bluegill and green sunfish were guarding nests and spawning. These fish were very aggressive and easy to catch. Larger grubs fished deeper took larger bass but the action was slower.
We saw no striped bass in Good Hope Bay but did find shad in the back of Red Canyon. We suspect small stripers will be feeding in the backs of canyons early in the mornings. There were reports of stripers feeding in White Canyon but we did not go up that far. The mudline was found near Scorup Canyon but no striped bass were caught there. The water temperature in the muddy water was 72 while the clear water on the opposite side of the line was 77. Visibility in the muddy water was 2 feet and 7 feet on the other side of the mudline. Campers in Blue Notch reported the road to be in good shape with launching of small to medium size boats possible. The only difficulty on the road were dips that were difficult for long wheel base vehicles like motor homes to negotiate.
With the water warming, striped bass fishing will improve. Fish larger than 4 pounds need to be in cool water which is found 40-60 feet deep. Shad inhabit the warm surface layers so the larger stripers are separated from their food. The bigger fish are getting hungry and starting to feed on anchovies. Try steep canyon walls in the main channels with anchovies. Using electronic fish finders to help find fish is recommended. Once located a deep striper school can be stimulated into feeding by broadcasting small pieces of anchovies all around the boat. Attracting stripers with anchovies was legalized in 1996 to help anglers harvest striped bass. As the broadcast bait settles slowly, the school is attracted to the sight of scales and flashing silver food with a strong aroma. Feeding activity in one fish will stimulate the whole school into feeding. An unweighted, one-inch chunk of anchovy that settles as slowly as the free falling bait is too tempting for a hungry striper to resist. The larger fish, 4-10 pounds, will be taken by trollers using down riggers and those fishing anchovies at 40-60 feet.