OCTOBER 22, 1999
Lake Elevation: 3689 msl
Water Temperature: 65-67 F
By Wayne Gustaveson
Many anglers moved to the back of Warm Creek in response to our last report. Results were mixed. It seemed all caught a few fish on anchovies but no one was doing really well. Some boats were lucky enough to find a school while others nearby caught only stragglers. It is a strange situation. There are many shad schools holding at 40-60 feet in the submerged creek channel of main Warm Creek. Stripers seem to be ignoring these big schools in deep water in favor of smaller bunches of shad in the shallow coves. Stripers are feeding in the coves early and then moving out deeper as the sun comes up. They are still easier for me to catch on spoons at 40 feet in the mouths of the coves.
My technique is simple. I start by going into the coves looking for shad dimpling on the surface or for stripers on the bottom that show up on the graph. Throw surface lures for the smallmouth and largemouth that are in shad-holding coves. Often stripers will blow up my jumpin minnow as I cover the entire back end of the cove with 2-3 casts. When I find shad or active stripers I pull back out to the first 40 foot drop and fish spoons on the bottom as soon as any fish is seen on the graph. If nothing happens within 15 minutes I move to the next cove. In Warm Creek today there were shad in 3 of 5 coves that we looked at. I caught one striper on top in one cove and got one school of stripers going on spoons in another.
After 10 am it seems that anchovy fishing is most productive in the deeper water of the main channel. Since there are many shad available bait fishing is hit-and-miss with striper schools happening by at irregular intervals. It is good for a short time and then slacks off until the next school comes by.
This pattern works lakewide. We tried fishing in Navajo Canyon and found stripers willing to eat spoons on a main channel hump at 50 feet while surrounding water was 110 feet deep. We also found shad in shallow coves guarded by yearling stripers willing to feed on top once in a while.
Stripers are not being caught in big numbers as often happens in the spring but it is fun moving around and finding active stripers and catching 5-10 in a hurry. Sometimes 2-3 bunches are contacted and a stringer of 30 fish can be caught in a day. Anchoring in one spot will probably result in 10-20 stripers in a day.
Bass are really active in the backs of the coves with shad. Fishing surface lures is fun but shallow running crank baits like Fat Raps ripped back to the boat as quickly as possible is a deadly technique. Bass should stay active until water temperatures drop below 55 F. Stripers will become stationary and more predictable as temperatures continue to decline.