MAY 17, 2000
By Wayne Gustaveson
Lake Elevation: 3676
Water temperature 58-65 F

Recent storms front have brought incessant wind and mixed the warm surface with the deeper cold water dropping surface temperature back to 58 F. Forecast for the weekend is for wind to finally stop blowing. That would be very welcome.

Cold fronts with low barometric pressure reduce fishing success but there are ways to counteract the elements. Bass and stripers are more finicky after a front. Try going slower, deeper and lighter. Use light line (4-6 pound test), small jig heads (1/8th ounce), and have the patience to allow the rig or bait to get all the way to the bottom (20-30 feet). An anchor or wind sock can slow the boat enough to get the bait where it needs to be, even in the wind.

Smallmouth fishing is the best thing going. With the exception of cold, muddy snowmelt runoff areas around Hite, the upper San Juan and Escalante, smallmouth bass fishing is good to excellent. Fish clear or green-clear water around the edges of broken rock, points, and ledges with soft plastic jigs to catch 30-plus smallmouth a day. Most will be 8-12 inches. Larger bass are holding at 25-35 feet and can be caught by avoiding the small fish in shallower water.

Stripers have been difficult due to changing spawning condition, weather fronts, shad spawning, and migration. Spring spots (dam and intake) will produce fish less often while adjacent travel areas will now be more productive. Stripers are being caught by those willing to downsize equipment. Use light line (6 pound test) and small hooks. Cover the hook entirely with a two inch chunk of anchovy. Use a sliding sinker (Carolina rigged) exactly 12 inches above the bait. Big jig heads and anchovy hooks are being ignored in these tough weather conditions. Try using a 2 inch chunk of bait with no weight and let it descend to 40 feet exactly as chum descends.

DO NOT STAY IN ONE PLACE. Stripers are moving. The best search technique is to travel along steep canyon walls and stop at points, cracks, rocks slides, ledges or other places that stripers may use while traversing the walls. Stay within a short cast of the canyon wall. Chum two large handfuls of finely cut anchovies. Fish for 15-20 minutes at 20-40 feet. STAY OVER THE CHUM. If no results - move on and duplicate the effort. With persistence you will find a spot where stripers will turn on. The end result will be more stripers at the end of the day than if you stayed at the dam or intake all day long. Try steep walls in Navajo Canyon, main channel between dam and Padre bay, Padre Canyon and Cookie Jar, West Canyon, and Last Chance.

Uplake, try trolling at 4-5 mph in Bullfrog Bay from the dome rock near the houseboat field to the gravel islands in the back of the bay. Use anchovies on the bluffs in the back of Bullfrog bay, Moki Wall and canyon, Halls Creek, and cliffs in and between Cedar and Knowles. Troll at the main Colorado River mudline in Good Hope Bay (NE of buoy 126 and west of Castle Butte). Use the same light line and movement technique described above when fishing bait at these locations.

Walleye are still biting at first light but daily catch rate is declining. Big bluegill are often found in fairly deep water (25 feet) of Good Hope Bay and other main channel rocky areas