MARCH 15, 2000
By Wayne Gustaveson
Lake Elevation: 3677
Water Temperature: 50-58 F

The sun is out and warming has begun. While fishing at Hite on March 13, the water warmed from 48 in the morning to 58 in the late afternoon. The next morning at dawn water temperature was 49. Net warming was then one degree after overnight cooling. Fishing success is dependent on temperature in March. It is possible to find 58 or even 60 in stained water in the backs of canyons during calm, sunny afternoons. Remember that the warm layer is thin and will be lost over night. Look for the first temperature listed in the fish report to be 55 before getting excited. The first temperature listed is morning main channel temperature. Second temp is warmest water found in the back of the canyon in the afternoon.

My trip to Hite was premature. The last cold weather front was still controlling fish activity. We did not get a bite from bass, crappie, or walleye. Searching for prespawn walleye in the headwaters was not rewarded. Consistent, methodical dragging of night crawlers with flasher blade and worm harness in muddy waters resulted in only one catfish. I wouldn't be surprised to see fish being caught there by this weekend with continued warm, calm days. But we were too early or perhaps, late.

The only fish caught were taken between the Colorado River mudline, which is one mile above the Colorado River Bridge and the gravel points mile below the bridge. Trolling for stripers with Little Macs resulted in two 2-pound fish for each hour of trolling. It was definitely not fast fishing but stripers were in the area and could be caught. Directly downstream from the mudline water was a bright green color and consistently a degree or two warmer than water both upstream and down. This subtle temperature difference is enough to concentrate stripers but, so far, not enough to make them bite. We had many "short hits" as inactive stripers just bumped the lure but were not hooked.

Lakewide fishing is slow but it could heat up on any warm afternoon. It still beats working in the office.