October 30, 1998
Lake Elevation: 3686 msl
Water Temperature: 60-63 F
By Wayne Gustaveson
Water temperatures remain in the 60's which means one more week of good fall fishing. Stripers are showing some subtle changes in behavior. There are two distinct groups of stripers: those willing to chase shad and those content to suspend and eat crayfish and plankton.
Shad numbers and schools are small. They seem to be in just about every canyon but only in limited numbers. Striper schools are small and constantly searching for a shad feeding opportunity. They prowl the canyons and coves randomly attacking shad when the right circumstance presents itself. Surface feeding happens about every day but the small boil is in a different specification location within the same general area. For example, striper boils happen in Warm Creek in one cove of Crosby canyon one morning and then in an isolated cove in main Warm Creek the next. The event is quick. Some days 20 one-to-two pound fish can be caught and on other days only three or four. Seagulls, blue herons and ravens are at the boiling site every time it happens. Watch for birds to show the way and do not wait at one spot hoping for fish to come up. Cruise the shoreline and follow the birds to the boil. This strategy works over the entire lake.
The other group of stripers is not eating shad and will be near concentrations of plankton. Surprisingly, the microscopic food can be so dense in certain spots that it can be seen with the naked eye. It appears as white dots about the size of grains of sand. Watch the white cloud for a while and subtle movement of individual specks can be detected positively identifying the cloud as something good to eat. Stripers cruise through the area filter feeding on plankton but will readily eat a larger morsel of anchovy suspended between 20-50 feet. The plankton feeding striper schools are more numerous than the shad-chasers so more fish can actually be taken on anchovies from a given spot.
Look for stripers where submerged creek channel bottom depth is between 40 and 50 feet in the back of any canyon. Once the early morning boil is over striper schools rest on the bottom and can be found on the fish finding graph and caught with anchovies. Shade created by steep canyon walls is a good starting point to search for resting fish. Also look for stripers on the deep end (45 feet) of major points. Stripers like broken rock big enough to hide crayfish.
Smallmouth bass feed with boiling stripers and can be taken on top water lures early in the morning. The most consistent pattern remains soft plastic grubs fished on lead head jigs dropped vertically around submerged islands, reefs and long running points. Fish 15 to 35 feet deep to get the larger bass. Small bass will be in the shallows for another week.