December 24, 2001
By Wayne Gustaveson   Home Page:
Lake Elevation: 3658   Water Temperature: 51-52 F
Christmas Eve 2001

Motored to Gunsight Canyon at 10 am. The ride was brisk with air temps almost at 40 degrees. Water temperature was 51-52 which is typical for this time of year. We were looking for dormant stripers lying on the bottom near favored holding spots. Stripers are creatures of habit and should be near where they were found earlier in the year. They return to spots they have used before when there is no new bait to be found that would cause them to change location.

We tried the submerged channel leading into Gunsight. I was looking for schools at 50 feet since these are easier to catch than deeper schools. The lowering lake made the entrance to the sandy houseboat beaches in Gunsight too shallow for what I was looking for. I retraced and concentrated on the channel near the small break in the wall that leads into Padre Canyon. Bottom contour sloped from 38 down to 65 right off the mouth of the dry cut. On the 4th pass I marked 5 good targets right on the break as the contour went from 48 to 55. I threw the marker and graphed within 100 yards of the marker but found no other traces. Gaging the drift I positioned the boat 30 yards upwind and dropped anchor. I was lucky and when the anchor rope was tight the boat had drifted right back to the marker which I then picked up to prevent fish from swimming around the line when being played back to the boat.

Next, 5 anchovies were cut into small chunks and these were distributed in all directions around the boat. Then we put 1/3 anchovy chunks on jig heads and short carolina rigs and lowered the bait to the bottom. I suppose the first fish hit in 5-10 minutes. The second followed immediately. Then with continual chumming every time a new bait was attached we had a hit every 10 minutes for 2 hours. They came in spurts with fish appearing on the graph followed immediately by a bite or hook up. We caught 15 fish in two hours, broke off 2 others and missed that many that bit without tasting steel. That's good fishing for a winter day.

A slight riffle on the water made for better fishing conditions. When the breeze stopped and the lake calmed, the fish quit and we came home. Fish condition was good. We filleted 12 of the 15 fish.