August 28, 1998
Lake Elevation: 3691 msl
Water Temperature: 78-82 F
By Wayne Gustaveson
Fishing conditions have not changed. We are still in the heat of summer with water temperatures at their maximum even though it is cooling off at night. That means not much change in the fishing prospects. I went out today and tried to find some repeatable patterns for bass fishing and did come up with one new method.
In the lower lake smallmouth bass were consistently found in the shade of steep cliff walls. To find fish it was necessary to follow the main channel cliffs searching for shade first and then broken rock just barely hanging on the cliff face It didnít take much rock. Usually just the rubble around a large boulder or a crevice in the canyon wall was enough. Crayfish hide in the rocks and smallmouth are constantly on the look out for any movement around the rubble rocks. They attack soft plastic grubs when put on the bottom near the rubble. Fishing was not fast but it was consistent. Smallmouth ranged from tiny to one pound. It was surprising to find that really good looking coves with a gently sloping bottom and really fishy-looking submerged boulders were not productive. The fish were definitely on the steep walls and not on the flats or slopes.
The really good bass fishing remains in the upper San Juan and the Good Hope Bay areas. Here plastic grubs are catching fish just about all day long and surface fishing is good early and late. Be alert for any surface activity. Throw the grub toward any surface splash. Smallmouth are bunched up and chasing small minnows, sunfish and shad. They boil just like stripers but on a much smaller scale. A shad colored grub is attacked if delivered while the bass are near the surface. When bouncing the jig on the bottom try a fast retrieve occasionally to attract midwater bass in the mood to chase. There is more tail pulling than catching with this method but the bass will get hooked once in a while.
Striped bass remain on the steep walls searching the rubble rock for crayfish. Work the shade line with bait suspended at 50-60 feet for most effective fishing. Ledges and rocky structure at 40-50 feet near the otherwise plain cliff wall are real fish attractors.
There will be surface activity in any location where shad are present. The upper San Juan near Piute Farms has shad and occasional striper boils. There are shad in the canyons near Hite as well. Look upstream from Hite for shad concentrations.
Catfishing remains good particularly in the areas near any inflowing water. Use night crawlers, shrimp and liver for best results.