May 5, 2001
By Wayne Gustaveson   Home Page:
Lake Elevation: 3662  Water Temperature: 59-66 F

It would be hard to visualize fishing conditions and results that were any better than those experienced this past week. Bass moved into the shallows en mass to spawn. Stripers were very cooperative, particularly in the lower lake, with warming water enhancing the spawning instinct. Walleye were caught in large numbers in the upper lake.

The Million Dollar Striper contest started May 1st and will run through May 24th. Stripers were tagged (25 fish) last week and evenly distributed between Hite and Wahweap. Tagged fish will rejoin existing schools and move throughout the reservoir. During the May spawning season it is not uncommon for stripers to move over 100 miles in a three week period. So fish where stripers are congregated for the best chance of capturing a tagged fish. Stripers are attracted to current and will run upriver to flowing water. Increased current and temperature induce spawning. The Colorado and San Juan river mudlines are good bets for trolling up good numbers of stripers. In muddy water use a highly visible long, minnow-shaped lure that will run at least 15 feet deep (wally diver type lures). Troll fast, at least 3-4 mph (1100 rpms) for best results.

Stripers spawn in the main lake in the absence of current. A sudden increase in temperature triggers females to spawn but males continually move to long prominent points near prespawn staging areas where stripers have been caught all spring. Large schools of males can be located by concentrating on isolated points especially in areas where steep cliffs are the main habitat type. Check points in main channel between dam and power plant, Navajo Canyon, steep cliff wall near Cookie Jar in Padre Bay, Boy 23 in Padre Bay, Last Chance and Rock Creek in the lower lake. Halls Creek and Moki wall midlake. These "clear water" stripers respond best to bait. Find a likely point, chum 5 or 6 finely cut anchovies, fish a one inch chunk of bait at 40 feet for 15 minutes. If they don't start in 20 minutes of bait drifting, move and try another point. Watch other anglers and share information. Schools move in and out on a schedule of their own liking. Early morning and late evening are best but there is still a persistent afternoon bite in most of the lower lake. Realize that fish will feed voraciously for an hour and then not feed at all for 2-3 hours. Patience will be rewarded. A change in the weather, a slight breeze or advancing shade line may be all that is needed to get a school started. Once the school is activated look for a good hour of catching.

Black bass nests are visible in the shallows and will mark location of good fishing spots. Try to understand the subtleties of habitat in which bass are nesting and then key on that habitat to duplicate success in the next cove. Expect to have more wind during this reporting period. Spawning bass often become activated by wind following a calm period. Fish long shallow points and reefs during windy periods for some quick catches. Look for wind induced mudlines for temporary fish catching locations.

Walleye are hitting plastic baits and live worms on deep (20-35 feet), shady rock structure associated with main channel, main canyons and narrow cuts from Good Hope to Hite.