April 3, 1997
By Wayne Gustaveson

Imminent plans for bass spawning were thwarted by the major winter storm gripping the west this week. With water temperatures reaching into the 60's largemouth and smallmouth bass had moved in to the shallows and nest building had begun. The wind driven snow chilled the lake to near 50 degrees and chased bass back into the depths.

The report for this week is patience. Just as soon as the sun peeks back out bass will emerge from the depths to probe the shallows. The key to success in April is to fish structure and habitat that provide for fish needs. Bass move up and down with changes in the weather but do not travel long distances. They will invariably be located near the edge, the breakline, or the precipice of the cliff. Bass will not be on long flats - only at the edge where that flat falls into deep water. That way they can descend quickly when danger threatens or move into the shallows when the sun warms the shallow surface layer. Largemouth prefer an edge with brush while large rubble rocks suit the needs of smallmouth bass.

The most effective technique is to find a steep slope, park the boat in deep water (50 feet) and cast to shallow water (15 feet). Let the crayfish colored plastic grub settle to the bottom after each hop. Work the grub deeper down the slope until a fish is caught. Pay attention to the depth of the strike and then key on that depth with each succeeding retrieve. Spinnerbaits work well since they can be fished effectively at a variety of depths and in brushy conditions.

Bass fishing is the best bet but some crappie and bluegill will be taken. Those species will be caught more regularly two weeks from now.

Striped bass have started to give away there position. We have had just enough reports to know that the turbid water in the backs of the canyons hold shad and rapidly moving schools of stripers. My best guess is to search the back of the canyon where water color is green to brown and depth is near 40 feet. Some 10 pound stripers have been taken incidentally by bass fishermen. Expect striped bass action to heat up in late April and early May.