August 6, 1999

Lake Elevation: 3693 msl

Water Temperature: 75-80 F

The hot days of summer are past and now pleasant warm days can be expected through the end of September. Afternoon cloud cover is common with occasional showers and associated wind. Fishing is only fair lakewide with some hot spots that are much better.

Large and smallmouth bass fishing is fair except during the magical hour at first light when top water fishing is great around brushy points and coves. Bass are shallow and "looking up" for the first meal of the day. I choose a 3-4 inch popper like tiny torpedo, Pop-r or Sugoi Splash. Most have a bucktail on the rear hook. The splash, slurp, and gurgle attracts fish which then hit the small bucktail. Grub fishing around reefs, shoals and main channel islands still works but the catch is 5-10 fish per trip instead of 30-50. The exception is the upper San Juan where 30-50 fish per trip is still possible.

Bait fishing along steep canyon walls for stripers is slow with only 5-10 fish per trip over most of the lake. The exceptions are locations where shad schools have been discovered and stripers are beginning to boil with regularity. The upper San Juan, and Good Hope to Hite are the places to be with daily boils occurring and good catches of stripers common for those chasing surface feeding fish. A boil can happen in any canyon at any time and instant response is required to put a fish in the boat.

My technique is to always have a surface lure tied on one rod.. When more than two fish are seen splashing on top I cruise to the spot at top speed. The trick is to get in range without running over the fish. While rushing toward the surface commotion, direction of movement of the school and speed of feeding are determined. The boat is stopped within casting range but slightly ahead of the school and parallel to direction of travel. Cast to feeding fish out of the side of the boat instead of the front. Boat momentum will over run a lure cast to the front but will pull a lure that is cast out from the side and get it moving in the boil that much quicker. Boils commonly last only long enough for 2-3 casts before fish move out of range or dive to deep water. To maximize catch from each boil it is possible to put the first fish caught in the live well and then cast to the boil again with another rod. The second fish can then be caught before the first is unhooked. By this time the boil is moving away and every one can regroup before the next skirmish.

Catfishing is really good in the evenings over the entire lake. Try liver, shrimp or night crawlers for fast action.