A mild, calm night finally allowed the heat gained from the previous day to be retained throughout the night. Surface temperature climbed three degrees from the previous reading. Warming has begun!
This quick spike in temperature has created a bass response that, for lack of a better example, resembles "ice out". Cold fish that have been deep, slow moving to this point now feel the warming and are coming up to enjoy the experience. Normally a spike in temperature is found only in stained water requiring fish to move long lateral distances to find it. Clear water does not hold heat as well and lags behind stained water in most years.
This week, warming and lack of wind have allowed clear water fish to swim straight to the surface. Water clarity is easily 20 feet and more which allows a visual sighting of cruising bass. Strange as it may seem the best advice this week is to fish clear water along the edge of a drop off with visible brush and LOOK FOR FISH. Once sighted, cast 15-20 feet in front of the quarry, let the lure slowly and deliberately sink to the bottom, jig it up and set the hook. If the fish follows the lure it will normally hit on the first hop after it touches bottom. SO MAKE SURE IT HITS BOTTOM.
Fishing is really fun in these conditions. Seeing them first is a big thrill. Carp will be the most obvious fish. Don't panic when fish are sighted. Put on the Polaroid sunglasses and get a clear view of the tail. Carp will have a forked tail. Bass tails will be square. All fish are still slow moving and not very spooky. They wait for you to cast, and don't run from boats. They just slink away. It is almost like watching underwater photography on the Saturday morning fishing shows.
Cranks, jerks, and spinner baits all may work but my first choice is a bait that will slowly descend (free fall) and then can be worked along the bottom. The tube jig, plastic grub, plastic lizard or hair jig are my first choice with a 1/8th to 1/4 ounce weight . The strengths of these lures match the mood of the bass I have seen. Almost all black bass responding are mature bass. Little ones are not up yet. Expect to catch the biggest bass of the year in the next two weeks.
Stripers are still dormant with a few being caught by bait anglers from shore at the dam and gravel pile in Wahweap. Walleye are just completing the spawn and will bite better in April. Look for their numbers to increase steadily each week. Catfish are dormant. Bluegill are now moving into tree tops that have held crappie in the past.