May 17, 2001
By Wayne Gustaveson   Home Page:
Lake Elevation: 3664  Water Temperature: 66-72 F

Water warms into the 70's by afternoon. That allows another group of fish to get with the spawning program. Carp and shad spawn on the surface. The real noisy, splashy commotion in the shallows that lasts all day long is carp chasing each other. The quieter smaller splashes beginning at first light and continuing until about 7 am is shad performing the daily spawning ritual. Game fish don't really care about carp but they line up to get a bite of shad for breakfast. Fish at first light with shad imitating crank baits and plastic jigs to get in on some of the best fishing of the day. Action will be in murky water near the back of the canyon. Investigate every splash and swirl if you are lucky enough to find a canyon with shad.

Striper action has slowed in the lower lake. Most stripers have left the lower lake staging areas. There is still an hour or two of quick catching at the dam, intake and points in Navajo but the average catch has dropped to less than 10 stripers per boat. Location of new spawning schools is mainly undetected. Venture out to new locations to find moving striped bass. In the lower lake try Navajo (back of canyon), Last Chance, Rock Creek, Dry Rock and Oak. At Bullfrog/Halls try Moki canyon and Moki Wall.

At Hite, patriotic striper harvesting is happening in Red, White and Blue Notch. Battleship Rock area in White Canyon is good, as is the back of Red Canyon. There will be some shad spawning in Red Canyon. Remember to look for stripers running with early morning shad. Surface lures and shallow runners trolled or cast will work. Troll during the first hour after shad stop running. Then fish bait during the day. Try anchovies at the mouth of Blue Notch and Ticaboo. Harvest as many stripers as possible to save shad and allow them to grow up.

Walleye continue to bite in the Good Hope area. The mudline is at the Horn. Find clearer water (green color) for best fishing for all species when launching from Hite. Same advice holds true for upper San Juan.

Smallmouth action is ballistic. The 9-12 inch fish are hitting just about anywhere there is rocky structure next to deep water. They do like to be able to drop off an edge when danger threatens so look on the edge of rocky habitat. Use soft plastic, crank baits, or just about anything else. Smallmouth fishing is excellent. Keep a six-fish limit of smallmouth smaller than 11 inches each day. That will allow the remaining smallmouth to grow better.

Bluegill and catfishing is getting better. Catfish are even hitting bass lures occasionally throughout the day.