March 13, 1997
By Wayne Gustaveson

Warm afternoons have caused some activity among largemouth and smallmouth bass and an occasional crappie. Temperatures are still theoretically too cold for smallmouth bass but anglers keep coming back to the dock with smallmouth bass in the livewell. The combination of warm calm days and really high numbers of smallmouth have caused this early activity.

Fishing is generally slow in the mornings with a flurry of activity during the warmest part of the day when bass and crappie can be found moving into the shallows to absorb the suns warming rays. Most of the time bass will be 10-30 feet deep and relatively inactive. Crappie schools may be found suspended mid channel, usually in water that is warmer than the majority of the lake. Green or brownish water will warm more quickly than clear water so seek out cloudy water areas.

Effective fishing techniques are basically the same all year long. There are times in warm water when fish are active, aggressive and will chase lures. When it is cold there is not much chasing and baits are taken very gingerly. Plastic grubs fished slowly along the bottom may be picked up by a bass who then swims along with the grub. The pickup is very subtle and difficult to detect. I suggest reacting with a hook set to any feeling of "heaviness" or "weightlessness". Often a fish will mouth the bait without running in the opposite direction. Do not wait for the "two tap" signal often given by an aggressive fish. Set the hook with each hunch that a fish might be close.

Lake access is limited in the upper San Juan Arm due to declining lake levels. Launching of small trailered boats with 4wd trucks is possible at Piute Farms Wash only at lake elevations above 3668. Launching at Copper canyon can be done only above elevation 3664. At the current lake level the San Juan River is flowing near the old Piute Farms launch ramp with a sand bar and a line of tamarisk trees preventing access to water deep enough to get a boat into the channel and downstream. We have no reports on launching at Farleys or Blue Notch Canyons.