OCTOBER 8, 1999
Lake Elevation: 3691 msl
Water Temperature: 69-72 F
By Wayne Gustaveson
My understanding of the current striper mind set goes like this. Stripers are young fish accustomed to feeding on plankton in open water and moving great distances to find food. They have recently found shad and seek them more than any other food item. But when shad are not found they will eat other items.
Each day stripers run to the back of brushy coves where shad are found. Some mornings they actively boil, other days feeding is done on the bottom or not at all. When the sun hits the water stripers move out of the cove and wait for a feeding opportunity on the bottom (submerged creek channel or depression) near the back of the canyon. They then alternate between resting dormantly on the bottom (35-50 feet) and periodically running to the shad holding coves.
Striper behavior makes them difficult to find with a chance encounter. Knowing what to expect increases the chance of success. My striper search pattern starts by fishing the backs of coves with surface lures for the first 2 hours of daylight. Then from 8-10 am spoons and/or white jigs are fished on the bottom for stripers that are still hungry and active but in holding areas. Lures should be bounced off bottom and worked vigorously for most effect.. Mid day is the time to anchor over schools found during the morning search and fish anchovies with frequent chumming to get the resting schools to come up and eat. Keep a surface lure tied on for the likely event of a midday “boil” erupting on the shoreline.
The pattern works lakewide but the most recent reports of shad and stripers have come from Warm Creek, (both Cottonwood and main), Navajo Canyon, Kane Wash, Last Chance, Rock Creek (Main and Dry), Rincon, Good Hope, Two Mile Canyon, Farleys, White, Trachyte and Dirty Devil.
Bass follow the same daily pattern with surface fishing early, crank baits during the middle period and then grubs deep during the day.
For every 10 coves fished only one or two will hold bass and stripers. When a fish-holding cove is found, action is fast. Find shad and stripers will come. It is just a matter of when they will arrive. Stripers tend to feed actively in one spot for a few days and then activity decreases or stops for a day or two. (I am not sure if stripers go off feed or just feed somewhere else). Then after a quiet period the cove erupts again with stripers and they feed voraciously for a few more days. My best guess is about two off days and four good days. Patience is required before finally getting into a killer school.
Warm Fall weather has slowed fish movement to typical winter type patterns and structure. Shad remain in good numbers so fishing should actually improve in the remainder of October and first part of November.