October 23, 1998
Lake Elevation: 3685 msl
Water Temperature: 60-64 F
By Wayne Gustaveson
This will be the last week of warm water fishing. Storm fronts and winds are mixing the warm surface layer with the cold deep water. Fishing for all species will become less productive as temperatures fall into the 50's. Fish in cold water can still be caught they just react a little slower and do not need to eat as often. This week fish will be trying to eat as much as possible before cold temperatures begin to restrict food intake.
Striped bass are moving around chasing the last remaining shad schools. There have been boils all over the lake but fish are not in the same cove consistently. Shad schools are small and constantly moving. Stripers will boil in Good Hope Bay and the San Juan and many other places but it will take searching and a little luck to find a school on top. Look from first light until 9 am by cruising the shore and watching for bird congregations. After 10 am most fish will be feeding and resting in the depths.
Prime locations for finding boils include all canyons from Hite to Good Hope, the upper San Juan, Crosby Canyon in Warm Creek, Padre Canyon, and Rock Creek.
Resting stripers hit spoons, jigs and anchovies. Try to locate a school on the graph for best success. I find schools periodically move to the backs of canyons to feed at about 20-30 feet. Then they go deeper and rest in the submerged creek channel where depth is 40-60 feet. They can be caught at both locations. Sometimes they do not show up on the graph when they are laying on the bottom. It is worth it to fish for a short time over a suspicious looking hump on the bottom that could be silt or a resting school of fish. Do not be foolishly economical at this point. Invest 5 or 6 anchovies in chum at each location fished. Getting a resting school started by chumming is a sure way to fill the boat with flopping fish.
Prime locations for finding resting schools are Wahweap Bay near mouth of Lone Rock Canyon, Padre Canyon, West canyon, Last Chance, Rock Creek, Oak Canyon, Hidden Passage, Iceberg, Slick Rock, Annies Canyon, Bullfrog Bay, and all canyons from Good Hope Bay upstream.
Smallmouth fishing is still very good and will be for one more week. Some bigger fish are now being caught. Total number of fish caught per day is declining but average size is increasing. Surface lures are steady producers in the morning while soft plastic jigs fished at 15-30 feet are the deadliest offering.