August 1, 2002
By Wayne Gustaveson   Home Page:
Lake Elevation: 3634  Water Temperature: 80-85 F

The very best fishing this week will be found in the evening on shallow sandy beach areas where catfish prowl searching for food. Fish any sandy place a boat can be beached for best success. Cats are caught quickly with soft stinky baits like chicken liver, anchovies, and table scraps. The plain old night crawler is a hard bait to beat. Some visit the grocery store and purchase out of date shrimp or imitation crab meat for a real catfish treat. Use a carolina or drop shot rig with a light weight or just put a piece of bait on a #4 hook with no weight and cast into shallow water (5-15 feet). This is one time that shore anglers can do better than boat anglers. Set up the lawn chair and enjoy the warm evening. Shore fishing is good in marina areas and near boat ramps and docks. A bonus striper may be attracted to some anchovy chum and it won't hurt the cat catching either.

Stripers in the main lake, which is anywhere other than Hite and the upper San Juan, are feeding in small groups or individually. Shad numbers are small and a large striper school just hinders feeding when only a shad or two can be found. Striper schools have broken down with individual stripers chasing slow swimming larval shad. As shad grow larger and faster, stripers will have to school up to effectively catch the elusive little bait fish. The bigger stripers will not even chase scarce larval shad because the food reward does not offset the energy spent in the chase. Catch scattered stripers by trolling at 4-5 mph to cover as much water as possible. Near Bullfrog, try trolling the wall opposite Moki canyon in the evening or at any location where ghost boils are seen.

Look for schooled stripers to be holding at 30-60 feet in the backs of canyons where the main channel bottom depth is 60 feet. These fish can still be effectively caught on bait with lots of chumming required to get them started. Look for schooled stripers in West Canyon, Last Chance, Dry Rock Creek, Mountain Sheep, and Reflection canyons. Don't fish in the backs of canyons where depth is less than 30 feet. The 83 degree water is just too warm for fish. They need deeper water to cool them off periodically

A trip to Hite or the upper San Juan will result in at least one good boil and will be worth the effort. Catching striped bass is almost a sure thing in the San Juan upstream from Spencers Camp and from Trachyte to Hite. Stripers are really quiet every where else on the lake.

Smallmouth fishing is getting better. There is little bass fishing pressure and the ever present shallow reefs are providing good fishing to the first angler to fish them each day. Drop shot grubs, senkos, tubes and lead head jigs are paying off very well. Early morning is good for topwater response from bass and stripers. Mid morning from 9-11 AM may be the best time of day to fish for bass.