October 15, 1999
Lake Elevation: 3690 msl
Water Temperature: 67-70 F
By Wayne Gustaveson
The lower lake is improving steadily and the upper lake continues to be slow for striped bass but good for largemouth and smallmouth bass. Unseasonably, warm calm days are absolutely wonderful but have slowed the striper migration to the backs of the canyons that mark good Fall fishing for concentrated schools.
The best news is that stripers are moving into the back of Warm Creek. Good striper catches are still sporadic but becoming more predictable each day. It seems that all boats anchoring in Warm Creek directly across from the mouth of Crosby Canyon where the east shoreline rapidly drops down to 75 feet are catching good stringers of stripers on anchovies fished near the bottom. Best time has been from 10 am to noon.
Stripers move into coves early to search for shad and then return to deeper water as the sun rises in the sky. Spoons, jigs and shallow running crank baits (rattletraps) are very effective as active stripers move out toward the deeper locations where they can be found mid day. Cast surface lures and crank baits early and cover much water to locate the moving schools. Drop jigging spoons to the bottom when active fish are graphed. Trolling in mouths of coves in 40 feet of water works from 7 to 10 am.
Stripers are adhering to this pattern in Warm Creek, Navajo, Padre Bay, Last Chance, and Rock Creek. Look for birds that mark feeding spots, or shad trapped in the backs of coves, or large concentrations of fish on the graph in the backs of coves to let you know when in the right spot. Fishing is spotty. When you are in the right SPOT, it is just great.
Normally great fishing in the upper lake is on hold waiting for cooler temperatures. Stripers at Hite and in the upper San Juan are finding too many shad and becoming hard to find and predict because they are full and lazy. Fishing has been off for two weeks and it just has to get better soon. There are too many stripers and shad in those waters for the poor catches to continue. I expect good reports to start coming from those areas this weekend. Trollers are catching stripers in the main channel from the Colorado river bridge down to Trachyte but fishing is not fast. Boils are found in the San Juan in the evenings from Mikes Canyon to Piute Farms.
The shad situation is ideal in most of the lake. There are just enough shad to get stripers interested but not enough to fill them up. Stripers feeding on shad form predictable feeding patterns that can be exploited by knowledgeable anglers. When you know where to look at any given time then finding fish is easier. Follow the daily search pattern given above for best results. Use active lures in the morning hours and then switch to anchovies mid day for continued success. When stripers find shad in the morning but do not eat all they want they will still eat anchovies in their resting areas. That is the difference between improving fishing in the lower lake and continued slow fishing at Hite and the upper San Juan.
Bass fishing hasn't changed and is expected to remain good as long as the water temperatures remain the 60's. Catfishing is good on sandy beaches. Bluegill fishing is probably at is best in the Good Hope to Hite area right now.