Summer was literally blown away last week with snow, high winds and cold temperatures over much of the West. Water temperature dropped from 78 to 70 during the storm which is the largest short term temperature drop in recent memory. Fish were understandably confused by the rapid changes and are still lethargic.
Striped bass which were regularly feeding on the surface have now moved deeper but remain in the same general area where they were boiling. Stripers are usually found in the main channel or main canyon where bottom depth is 40-60 feet. Look on electronics for shad or striper schools by cruising the last third of the canyon. Fish spoons or bait exactly where a school is seen on the graph. Use a floating marker when a school is marked. The float will allow visual reference when the boat drifts away from the spot. Don't be surprised if the school moves away. Stripers are still very mobile and are actively searching for food. But a spoon dropped directly into a school will results in instant hookups. Keep the boat over the school with the electric motor as long as possible. If the school is lost expect them to eventually return to the same home area where they have recently fed successfully.
Fishing success will improve as weather moderates and surface temperature stabilizes. A warming trend will cause more surface feeding while continued cooling will mean more bottom feeding and resting. Expect to find greater success on spoons and bait and less action on surface lures. Trolling may be a good way to approach stripers that want to feed on top but are trapped down deep by changing weather conditions. Remember that stripers like a fast moving bait. Always troll faster than 3 mph.
There will still be an occasional boil morning and evening. Look near Lone Rock (Wahweap Bay), Warm Creek (both arms), all canyons on north side of Padre Bay, Last Chance, Dry Rock Creek, Piute/Neskahi on San Juan, Rincon, Ticaboo, North Wash, Hite Marina and riverine area above Hite (Rock Canyon).
Smallmouth and largemouth were equally impressed with the cold front and have been slow to regain normal activity. When bass slow down take appropriate action with fishing techniques. Cast into deeper water. Retrieve the bait more slowly. Use a very slow swimming retrieve instead of a bottom hopping quick retrieve. Keep bait near the bottom as much as possible. In windy conditions use a spinner bait or crank bait which does not require bottom contact to fish effectively.