August 22, 1997
By Wayne Gustaveson
Lake Elevation: 3692
Water Temperature: 77-80 F

The Wahweap striper boils have cooled to a simmer. While an occasional boil still occurs in Warm Creek early and late the angler intent on maximizing his catch will head for the dam. Huge schools of stripers have moved into deep daytime resting areas near the barricade guarding the dam. During major feeding periods small chunks of anchovies are immediately consumed as the bait descends through 25-45 foot depth strata. Yearling fish, 11-13 inches, are present in unbelievable numbers and a hit every cast is likely. Larger 3-7 pound stripers are holding at 45 to 60 feet. It takes a large bait, even a whole anchovy, to pass through all the tiny mouths so that the larger fish can then have a chance at the bait. Once the anchovy reaches depth, move it slowly by using the electric trolling motor or letting the boat drift to provide the most enticing action to the bait. The best time to fish has been from 8 am to noon and during the last 2 hours of daylight.

Shad are now extremely rare over the majority of the lake. Striped bass are still hungry with a high metabolism induced by warm water temperatures. They will eagerly attack any shad-like offering presented at a depth of 45-55 feet. Perhaps the best lure for this situation is the jigging spoon like a Kastmaster, Hopkins or CC spoon. Let the lure descend to the desired depth - then rip the rod tip high over the head and then drop the lure and let it flutter back down. Game fish mistake the spoon's fluttering action for an injured shad and will hit the lure on the way down. Vertically jigging a spoon can result in some huge striper catches in a short amount of time.

Jigging with silver spoons has paid some major dividends for anglers fishing at Castle Butte and Bowns Canyon during the past week. Look for similar results in Hall's Creek, Red Canyon, at some main channel rockslides, and at the dam. Use a fish finding graph to mark striper schools, park over the school and then drop the spoon to the exact depth noted on the graph.

Smallmouth bass fishing is only fair but will improve as water temperatures drop beginning in September. Isolated areas away from marinas are the best bet. The best pattern is to fish a plastic grub at 25-35 feet vertically under the boat while repeatedly bouncing the lure off the bottom as the boat drifts along the edge of steep breaking structure.

Catfishing is excellent particularly in the tributaries of the San Juan and from Good Hope to Hite. Expect to find catfish on just about every sandy beach.