September 13, 2001
By Wayne Gustaveson   Home Page:
Lake Elevation: 3665  Water Temperature: 74-78F

Lake surface temperature has cooled a few degrees. This marks the beginning of the Fall feeding spree. We are still a week or two away from great bass fishing but stripers are busting the surface at Hite and feeding deep in the remainder of the lake.

Hite is hot again for boils all the way from the marina to Good Hope Bay. The morning boils are fairly consistent. Expect to see some boiling activity on 2 out of 3 mornings with a repeat performance in the early evening.

The upper San Juan has a few morning striper boils near Nokai and Copper but fish are stacked in huge schools in Piute Canyon and in the main channel from Nokai to Zahn Bay. Graph the back of Piute canyon or the channel near Nokai and then fish bait or spoons to catch all the fish you can carry.

Some boils (really just slurps) were seen at Bullfrog, Halls Creek, Dry Rock Creek, Padre, Gunsight, Navajo and Cottonwood Wash in Warm Creek. Look in the back of the canyons where bottom depth is 40-60 feet early in the morning. Check every splash by throwing a surface lure into the splash ripples, followed immediately by a jigging spoon. Let the spoon go all the way to the bottom and then jig it briskly in long sweeps throughout the lower half of the water column (30-60 feet). It may take a while to realize that when the spoon doesn't fall it is time to set the hook.

Slurps mark the location of the roving school but serious catching is done with spoons or bait directly under splash. Magic time is 6-8 AM. Stripers are moving quickly searching for shad which are in short supply. They make excellent targets on the graph because they are off the bottom and moving. The spoon meets their prey image and they eat it with abandon. After 8 AM stripers rest near the same spots they prowled in the morning. Go back to these areas and fish with anchovy bait remembering to cut off 1/3 of the anchovy and place it on your hook. Cut the rest of the bait smaller and toss it in the water to keep fish active and searching near your location. Yearling stripers have been caught regularly from the Wahweap fishing dock (day and night) using an anchovy suspended under a bobber to keep the bait from tangling on cables and trees. Casting a piece of anchovy with no weight would achieve the same results.

Smallmouth fishing with topwater lures is excellent near Hite. In the remainder of the lake smallmouth are still deep (20- 40 feet) and responding to soft plastic tubes, grubs, and senkos. Cooling water temperature will allow smallmouth to return to the shallows and begin actively feeding. Expect smallmouth fishing to improve each day in September.

Catfish are regularly caught both day and night with bait fished on the bottom. Catfish frequent areas where stripers have been recently chummed or where houseboats have regularly parked. Soft odorous baits like chicken liver on a size 2-4 hook and a light weight are most effective.