March 9, 1999
Lake Elevation: 3678 msl
Water Temperature: 49-54 F
By Wayne Gustaveson
Itís way too early to do this but the number of calls and E-mail traffic indicate a lot of interest in fishing. All my sources tell me that fishing is generally slow, as would be expected in March. Results of the normal trip now is a catch of 2-5 fish. You will find a mixed bag composed mainly by stripers, followed surprisingly by crappie, then walleye, largemouth and finally smallmouth bass. Ten fish in a trip is a really exceptional catch.
Striped bass are found in the backs of canyons, usually near brush where small fish are hiding. They will be 20-60 feet deep depending on time of day and where forage is located. Hammered silver jigging spoons are as effective as anchovies in the cold water. A slowly fished white jig may be even better.
Fishing was hot near Hite two weeks and good in many other locations but has since died. That flurry let us know that there are good numbers of fish to be caught in the Dirty Devil near Hite and canyons close by. Schools still prowl in Navajo Canyon and Warm Creek. The back of Bullfrog and Hallís hold striper schools. All of these fish are waiting for just the right environmental cue before feeding begins. My guess is warming temperatures. Keep checking these locations and your thermometer and one day the fish will reward you.
Crappie have been caught at 20-25 feet near visible trees by casting artificial lures near the brush and letting it sink near bottom before retrieving. By the time you read this the crappie fishing will probably be over but anglers have been catching 4 or 5 crappie near Hite and in Navajo Canyon.
Largemouth and smallmouth fishing is just plain tough. The Bass Masters will be here March 18-20 and they will catch some really nice fish. Average bait dunkers like me need to wait another two weeks before getting really serious about bass fishing.
The one bonus right now is big walleye as prespawn females are thinking about shallow water with the slight warming that is occurring. Males do not eat during the spawn but females can be caught occasionally. A few 3-7 pound walleye have been caught near Hite recently. Currently a catch of two walleye would be as much as could be expected.