FEBRUARY 16, 2000
By: Wayne Gustaveson
Lake Elevation 3678
Water Temperature: 50 F

Fishing is slow. We are at the bottom of the fishing cycle for the year. But spring is coming and lengthening of daylight periods and warming temperatures will get fish going again during March. For now, if you just can't wait another two weeks the following possibilities are offered.

Striped bass are dormant but will eat occasionally. Try heavy chumming in areas where schools (loose aggregations?) are found on electronics. Then patiently wait for stripers to find chum and gingerly mouth your bait. They will be very close to the bottom and hit almost imperceptibly. Activity or feeding periods will be of short duration and possibly be better at dusk or just after dark.

Largemouth bass are more active in cold water than smallmouth. They will come shallow to feed in stained water. Look for them in stickups, tamarisk bushes and suspended in coves and backs of canyons. Flippin' (fishing close to the boat with long rods by vertically lifting the bait up and down) tube jigs in stickups in 10-15 feet worked to win the bass tournament held this past week. The other successful technique was casting jig and pig (heavy lead head with pork rind or plastic grub trailer) to cracks and shelves along steep cliff faces. Still 18 of 32 boats entered failed to weigh a single fish. Only one five fish limit was entered. Most participants caught only 1-2 fish above the legal size limit.

Crappie are found very sporadically but one school can really brighten your day. Look around shallow brush and trees in stained water. Use small plastic or feather jigs right in the brushy cover. Other crappie schools will be randomly located suspended in open water. A linear shaped school on the graph may prove to be crappie. They may be as deep as 25-40 feet but they can be caught on the same jigs when a school is found.

Walleye are getting ready to spawn. They are the one "cool water" species found in the lake that is at home in the existing temperatures. They are light sensitive so most feeding will occur after dark or in very murky water. Some big females can be caught in February as they build up energy stores prior to spawning. Males don't eat much when in spawning condition which includes most of the month of March. Females will eat except on the very day that spawning occurs.

Remember that fishing is slow and if you do find one of these species willing to participate in your angling enjoyment that it will be a bonus. But hey, it could happen.