March 13, 1998
Lake Elevation: 3674 msl
Water Temperature: 48-52 F
It is still really early in the fishing season but everyone is anxious, so the report is as follows. Water temperature is the key to finding fish. The main lake is cold. Find temperatures in the mid 50's to locate active fish of all species. It is critical to target muddy looking water which warms more quickly and holds heat longer than clear water. There are bass in clear water which will follow a jig but they will not often bite. The murky water will be 55-58 degrees where active fish are found.
Bass come up shallow to take advantage of the warm afternoon sun. Largemouth are starting to get active and some of the best fishing of the year can be had on warm afternoons during March. Smallmouth won’t really start hitting well until April. Use a large plastic jig, or jig and pig for bottom bouncing but also have a rattletrap rigged to rip through the murky shallows. The two techniques used together can be very effective.
Crappie, catfish and walleye are hard to catch until April. Walleye are just beginning to spawn and do not eat while spawning. Crappie can occasionally be caught in the warmest dirty water available.
The best action now is from striped bass. The adult fish are malnourished but fun to catch. The schools have broken down into groups of fish which are scattered in the backs of the canyons where the bottom depth is 40 to 60 feet. Stripers are suspended at 25 feet and can be taken trolling or casting. It is most effective to quickly cover a lot of water to find a group of active fish. Another effective method is to wait in one spot on shore for the constantly moving groups of stripers to swim by. Stripers generally follow the steep canyon wall during their travels.
Steady catches of stripers come from the steep walls near the dam and power plant intake but more fish are stacked in the backs of the canyons. Groups in the back of the canyon feed sporadically. When they are active fish are constantly caught. When they are dormant no fish are taken.
Fishing for all species will get better near the end of the month. But warm afternoons right now can be very productive.