October 30, 1997
By Wayne Gustaveson

There are currently two patterns for striped bass. The first pattern is in the upper reservoir near the inflows where shad are still present. In these locations, including Hite and the river above and the San Juan above the Great Bend, stripers are loosely grouped and feeding randomly on shad. The best technique to exploit this behavior is trolling. Stripers are still healthy and chasing shad. To be fooled into feeding on anything other than a shad, a lure must be moving quickly and be placed in front of a feeding fish. Trolled lures cover great distances in short time and consistently put fish in the livewell. On an average day one four pound striper is caught every 15 minutes. The trolling depth to shoot for is 30 feet. That can be achieved with deep running lures trolled on monofilament line or with leaded line measured out to 6 colors. The ultimate weapon would be shad lures trolled on light monofilament from downriggers with the cannonballs placed at the depth where most fish traces are seen on electronic fish locators. Any of these methods work well at Hite Bridge, Dirty Devil and the San Juan from Piute Farms down to Copper Canyon. Trolled single tailed white grubs have been hot at Hite.

The second pattern is more common to the majority of the lake where shad are scarce or absent. Stripers have gone deep to save energy and are bunched in huge schools in the backs of canyons where water depth is 60-100 feet. Motor to the back of the canyon and start fishing where electronic fish traces are found. Generally, there will either be no fish traces or numerous traces - there is no middle ground. Once traces are located throw out some anchovies for chum, drop a weighted anchovy to the bottom and get ready for action. Each of the last 3 times out, once a school of fish was located we were able to catch over 50 fish before we got tired and came home. The fish were still willing but we had enough action for the day. Average weight of fish caught on this pattern is 5 pounds. It is very possible to boat 250 pounds of stripers in 3 hours of fishing. The 12 inch yearling fish are feeding on plankton and will be found at 20-30 feet. Size of fish caught can be determined by depth fished.

The canyons in the lower lake where schools are stacked include all canyons from Wahweap to Rainbow. Any canyon may have this type action available on a given day. Fish in Gunsight Canyon one day may be in Padre Canyon or Kane Creek the next day. It may take a couple of tries before fish are located but the search can be extremely rewarding. When first located fish will be deep and near the bottom. Once feeding begins fish will rise off the bottom and it won't be necessary to go as deep with the next bait. I drift over a school of fish and then return to the starting point and drift again. Others like to anchor in a productive spot. Both methods work well.

Anglers Choice Bass Tournament is being held this weekend and the participants will catch lots of bass. Most fish will be caught deep on bottom structure but many fish are shallow in less than a foot of cloudy water. Weigh-ins will be at Wahweap Marina at 3 pm on November 1st and 2nd.