JANUARY 20, 2000
By Wayne Gustaveson
Lake Elevation: 3679
Water temperature 50-52 F

Cold winter temperatures have slowed the fishing. I finally figured out what it takes to catch fish in these conditions. My mistake was moving too quickly from spot to spot. Here is the technique.

Graph the back of the canyon. I am using Warm Creek for an example since I know that it is holding lots of stripers. When fish are traced put out a marker and keep graphing. Find the general location that holds the greatest number of fish and after a thorough search drop anchor.

Then chum about one half bag of anchovies. Use more chum than needed when fish are active. Then WAIT.... Stripers will run away from the shock wave created when the anchor hits bottom. It takes at least 30 minutes for fish to return.

Cold winter stripers will rest and move in close proximity to the bottom. They will forget about the anchor and eventually resume the slow search for food.. They pick up the chum off the bottom instead of from the water column as is the case when water is warmer. That is why it takes longer to get a reaction from them. They are not tightly schooled but will steadily work along the bottom of the area of concentration that they have chosen.

Fish a one inch chunk of anchovy on a short carolina rig (hook only 8-10 inches from sinker) to keep the bait near the bottom. When stripers resume the normal search mode expect to catch one fish every 15-20 minutes. On a good day a 30 fish catch is possible. On most days 10-15 fish will be caught from one anchoring spot where chum is consistently used as the price of admission.

The most favored depth at Warm Creek now is about 45 feet. Search with the graph over most of the area before dropping anchor in the area of most fish traces. Then stick with your decision. If you made the right choice you can catch some fat healthy winter time stripers.