March 24, 1999
Lake Elevation: 3677 msl
Water Temperature: 54-58 F
By Wayne Gustaveson
Hey! Itís starting. Bass are just moving into the shallows and stripers are beginning to stage in the normal springtime locations. Fishing is certainly not red hot yet but good things are right around the corner. Remember that springtime fishing is really weather related. As the water warms fish move to the surface and try to get in the warm water layer. As soon as the wind blows the warm water is mixed with the colder water underneath and fish get grumpy and lethargic all over again. If the weather stays good the fishing should shape up like this.
Striped bass are schooling in deep water, 50-60 feet. They make periodic excursions into shallow water to look for food. Check the graph on the way to the back of the canyon where the bottom depth is near 60 feet. If deep schools are seen fish with anchovies, silver spoons or jigs. If none are located try the very shallowest and warmest water available. Canyons with perennial flowing streams are most likely to hold schools of stripers. It would be unusual if stripers were found in clear water. Look in murky water for best success. It warms up the quickest.
Bass and crappie follow the same rules. All the fish are looking for the warmest available water - that is stained water that is fairly shallow. Crappie will be around brush. Sometimes they are only 3-8 feet deep enjoying the warm water layer. If the wind blows they may be at 25 feet but near the same area. Crappie have been caught in the canyons near Hite, Navajo Canyon, Last Chance and a few other spots. Do not expect large stringers of crappie. Five fish will probably be all that are caught in one spot. It will not be a big year for crappie harvest but there are some hitting right now. Bonus bluegill will bite while fishing for crappie. Have some live worms and really small hooks along to load up on bluegill.
It is almost warm enough for smallmouth to get excited. Temperature really has to be over 60 before the good smallmouth fishing starts. Largemouth are active and moving shallow. They will be the most likely bass to catch. Remember to look for them in the murky shallow water at the backs of the canyons. Use small plastic baits in chartreuse and pumpkin colors on a 1/8th ounce jig head as a starting point.
Striper schools have recently been located in the lower lake at the dam and in the back of Navajo, Warm Creek, and Last Chance. The best spot has been the NGS power plant intake. The midlake area has been slow as it usually is in the spring. Stripers run to either end of the lake as water warms. Wait till May for stripers to take off at Bullfrog/Halls. At Hite, stripers are stacked in the Dirty Devil, Trachyte, and as far down as Good Hope Bay. Key in on the mudline where river water dumps into the lake. Stripers are usually not too far there.
Fishing is still only fair. Expect to catch 5-10 per trip with more on a really good day.