OCTOBER 1, 1999
Lake Elevation: 3691 msl
Water Temperature: 69-72 F
By Wayne Gustaveson
Uplake fishing has slowed dramatically while the Wahweap area is getting better. It seems that the shad migration is near completion in the lower lake. Shad are in the backs of the coves and when a cove with shad is located then good fishing ensues. In the upper lake, near Hite, shad are still in transition between open water and the backs of coves. Schools of predator and prey alike are small and scattered. Consequently, stripers are swimming in small groups instead of large schools and suspending in open water making fishing success only fair. Donít despair. Within a week, two at the most, the shad migration will be complete and fishing will pick up at Hite.
Regardless of location it is important to find shad schools or holding areas for striped bass schools. Shad will be in shallow water in the back of the canyon. Stripers feed shallow very early and then move to the closest deep spot (40-60 feet) to rest and plan the next attack. A good way to locate deep striper schools would be to review where boils have occurred in the past month. (See Anglers Corner on the Web Page). Find where stripers have been, then follow the submerged channel from the shallow end out to a depth of 40-60 feet graphing for shad or stripers. When a striper school is found resting on the bottom, they can be jump-started by dropping spoons, jigs or anchovies right into the school. Either mark the school with a float or triangulate your position so you can return to the same spot.
Last week the entire school would follow the first hooked fish to the surface and then the school would move on making it difficult to relocate them. This week the schools were staying in one spot and willingly taking lures which resulted in more fish in the live well. Spooning deep was the most effective technique although the surface action during the first hour of daylight is still very good.
Hammered silver jigging spoons (3/4 ounce) are my standard but this week I used a one and a half ounce shad finished spoon (slab spoon) with a chartreuse bucktail (wally lure) tied to the treble hook. The heavy weight got the lure down quickly to where stripers were holding tight on the bottom and the bucktail seemed to get them going better than the silver spoon with a plain hook. When fish were at mid depth the smaller lures worked better.
Smallmouth are still hitting topwater early in the morning and holding off steep vertical structure in the main channel during the day. The only good bass fishing in the backs of the coves occurs where shad are holding and bass have moved in to enjoy the action.