More cold weather and storm fronts are pushing the water temperature out of the 60's. One more storm will drop temperatures into the 50's and make fishing for bass more of a challenge. Striper fishing will improve as shad and stripers will move less, form larger schools and be found at the same locations for longer periods of time. Winter striper fishing will peak in mid November to early December.
In Fall stripers chase shad into brushy flood plains and feed shallow early and late. When temperatures plummet shad go deeper and stripers follow at a slower pace. Last month in Warm Creek, for example, stripers were found chasing shad into submerged creek channels (40-60 feet) which led to shallow flood plains. Now stripers have moved out deeper to the main channel where the canyon is wider. Bottom depth where stripers hold will be near 100 feet. Shad schools will often be suspended at 70-90 feet and appear as circular or cloud-shaped, grey-lining masses on the graph. Stripers lay below the suspended shad in a dormant state, but when hungry rise to the 45-60 foot range to capture a shad meal. Stripers appear as a moving mass with individual fish shapes apparent around the edges of the school. Striper schools will often have "X" shaped marks on the perimeter while shad schools have a smooth perimeter.
Begin the search for fish traces about 1/3 the way out from the back of the canyon. When concentrated traces are seen drop spoons, white jigs, or anchovy bait precisely into the school. Stripers are often dormant but can be started by feeding action of one individual. Hook one and the school will follow. Be ready with more baits when one fish is hooked. It may be wise to play the first fish for a long time at depth to get other schoolies interested.
Historical winter striper fisheries have been found in Warm Creek, Navajo, Last Chance, Rock Creek, Oak, San Juan near Piute Canyon, Rincon, Bullfrog, Good Hope Bay, Trachyte and riverine lake section above Hite. The pattern works in almost any canyon.
Stripers often feed nocturnally in cold weather. If traces are seen during the day without angling success try attracting shad with lights and fishing at night for large catches. Anchor boat in 50 feet of water near fish activity found during the day. Trachyte may be the best place to try right now.
Don't give up on bass fishing yet. It was still good this week despite some really awful weather. Slow plastic bait presentation is the most common technique but don't neglect to try a fast moving crank bait at each new spot. "Reaction" may overcome lack of feeding response in bass that are slowing down as temperature falls.