July 31, 1998

Lake Elevation: 3695 msl

Water Temperature: 79-84 F

By Wayne Gustaveson

Itís summertime and the living is easy but the fishing is tough. Early and late are the best times to maximize the catch. There is still a little sporadic striper and smallmouth catching going on but really fishing is only fair.

Channel catfish and bluegill are the most agreeable fish in the heat of midsummer. Look for cats on shallow sandy beaches at dusk and just after dark. Fish shallow with shrimp, nightcrawlers, chicken liver, anchovies or table scraps. Use a plain hook with no weight in shallow water on calm nights or add just enough weight to keep the bait on the bottom.

Bluegill are in every cove with brush. They hit small grubs and jigs dressed with fish attractant. Wet flies work well but the very best bait is a piece of live worm on a very small hook. The biggest bluegill are the most aggressive and will be the first fish to hit at each spot. Move from cove to cove to catch the bigger fish.

Smallmouth bass are not very active near marinas due to fishing pressure and boating activity. Getting away from the crowd increases bass catching success. The upper San Juan, Good Hope Bay, the most distant Escalante canyons and those unimpressive looking spots in the main channel generally ignored by most anglers are the best bets for smallmouth. Plastic grubs fished on a lead head or free floating some 18 inches down from a split shot weight is the most effective offering. Concentrate on the 20-35 foot strata for concentrated fish.

Striped bass are still in the same locations they have been all year long. The number of willing fish has declined. Anglers are only taking 5-15 fish in a morning of fishing instead of the incredible numbers caught earlier in the year. Isolated boils are still erupting in the early morning hours but they happen very quickly and most anglers are not getting in position in time to catch fish.

Fishing is as tough as it gets in the summer. That means you should be able to go out and catch 5-10 smallmouth and a similar number of stripers in a morning of fishing. I guess itís really not all that bad.