December 24, 1999

Lake Elevation: 3682 msl

Water Temperature: 50-53 F

By Wayne Gustaveson

Merry Christmas. As my present to you a new fish report which you can open Christmas morning. You may even be able to try out that new rod, reel, or lure on the striped bass which have actually moved slightly shallower making them easier to catch. The 80 foot contour in main Warm Creek near the mouth of Crosby Canyon has less fish traces. Just cruise toward the back where bottom depth is 50-60 feet and graph drop offs, humps, and the submerged creek channel until fish traces are seen. It may take 15-30 minutes of graphing to find the right spot. Once there, with the boat anchored over a school of stripers, the fun begins.

The technique hasnít changed but I have noted some slight adjustments that will increase success. Mark the fist school graphed with a floating marker buoy. Then continue to graph using the marker as a reference. Search in grids around the marker. Mark the next school with a second marker. With two markers out the decision is then made to drop anchor, hopefully over another school in the same vicinity. Next, finely cut about 5 anchovies and broadcast all around. Some are thrown well toward the floating markers with intent to draw in stripers from surrounding schools to your location.

One-third anchovy is then placed on the hook so that the barb is buried and very little metal is showing. Winter stripers hold tightly on the bottom. A sliding sinker suspended 10-12 inches above the bait is more effective than having an 18-24 inch leader on the carolina rig. Lower the bait to the bottom. Then lift up only 1-2 turns of the reel handle. Move the bait gently off the bottom and then lower it again. The bites may be very subtle in cold water. A hit may only be a sensation of heaviness not a sharp whack. When in doubt use a sweeping action not sharp enough to dislodge the bait. Fish gently mouthing the bait may swim with it and then turn setting the hook. A sharp jerk may only pull the bait off the hook and feed the fish. Try different techniques until the behavior of your school is understood.

I keep the school in place by cutting the anchovy into four pieces. Each time a fish is caught the hook is rebaited with one piece and 3 pieces are thrown into the water. A good winter time concentration of fish should provide continuous action. If only one or two fish are caught in a half hour pick up the markers and search for a different school. I keep looking at the graph to see when a large school of fish moves into range. When many fish traces are seen the spoon or white jig is dropped to the bottom to catch fish quickly without rebaiting. When the school leaves the anchovy is used to catch stragglers until the school returns.

The patterns are working lakewide with great success. I know they work in Warm Creek, Antelope, Navajo and Last Chance. Have a great holiday.