January 15, 2002
By Wayne Gustaveson   Home Page:
Lake Elevation: 3654  Water Temperature: 47-50 F

The surprising mid winter striper bite continues. Conditions are identical to previous reports. There is a school of stripers residing in Gunsight Canyon that has remained in the same location for more than 2 months. Fish are found within a 300 yard radius on any given day. Schools of stripers are holding very tight and previous success should be duplicated even in the cold days of winter. The reason for prolonged winter striper activity is lack of fat reserves that cause fish to search for food when they would normally be dormant and living off fat reserves.

The Gunsight school is found in 50 - 60 feet of water directly out from the dry channel that once allowed boaters to pass from Gunsight into Padre Canyon. Graph the channel in a zig-zag pattern from the dry cut back out toward deeper water. Mark concentrations of fish with 3 or 4 different floating markers and then chose the thickest concentration, gently drop anchor, chum and wait. It will take 10-20 minutes for lethargic stripers to respond. After the first fish or two school activity will pick up dramatically and action will last for up to 2 hours. Then the bite will quit and it will be necessary to move to find a new school. Expect to catch between 15 and 40 fish depending on the day.

The initial striper bite is almost undetectable. The slow moving fish will gently mouth the bait and very slowly swim off. There is no jerk or discernable pull. Hold the rod and gently move the bait. When the "feel" of the bait changes - set the hook. Hooking the first fish excites the others and they hit with a bit more enthusiasm. Set the hook even when you are not sure. More often than not a fish will be on the other end. Set the hook when you think a fish is close for best success.

The Gunsight pattern described can be transposed to broader locations lakewide. Previous success from mid or upper lake can be duplicated due to the striper response to low forage. Pick a calm good weather day and try some "ice fishing" Lake Powell style.