OCTOBER 13, 2000
By Wayne Gustaveson
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Lake Elevation: 3677
Water Temperature: 67-70 F

Cool weather has begun to push the lake towards winter patterns and fish are responding accordingly. Water is still warm enough for good fish activity from bass and stripers but both species get sluggish during the cooling periods and may skip a few meals. That makes fishing less dependable but great catches are possible in short bursts. Fishing is really much like springtime when a lot of searching generally pays off with good catches by the end of the day.

Striped bass are resting at depths greater than 60 feet and feeding above that mark. There are many stripers in the back of Warm Creek, Bullfrog, Red Canyon and other habitual winter feeding grounds. Graphing these locations will show many traces which are probably shad and stripers but catching only works when stripers cruise above 60 feet actively looking for a meal.

The normal daily striper feeding pattern is to look shallow for an easy shad meal early. If there is a surface feeding opportunity it would most likely be from 6-8 am. Catching during the early period is better in the submerged creek channels leading to the back of coves and cuts off main bays where shad hide. Find fish traces over the submerged channel at 30-60 feet before 9 am and catch stripers on spoons and bait. After 9 am stripers move out into deeper water in adjacent bays and rest. Fishing deeper water is advisable midday but still suspend the bait between 50 and 60 feet even when bottom depth is much deeper. As evening approaches move back to spots where morning feeding occurred and fish reaction baits (spoons and surface lures) once more.

Smallmouth bass are feeding in packs in open water. Perhaps the best way to find the larger fish is to cover lots of water with a super spook jr. or similar surface lure that is effective on a quick retrieve. Since bass are in open water it is possible to use surface lures all day long. Have a grub rigged to cast to a bass that has just missed the surface lure. Once a bass is interested than the falling grub may be just the ticket. Coves with striper activity and shad presence are still the best locations for quick bass action.

Expect fishing to remain fair to good as long as surface temperature is in the 60's. Bass tend to shut down in 50 degree water. Stripers remain active from 55-65 and actually get easier to catch since schools enlarge and feeding location is predictably a third of the way out from the back of the canyon at a bottom depth of 50-60 feet.