June 20, 2002
By Wayne Gustaveson   Home Page:
Lake Elevation: 3642  Water Temperature: 73-78 F

Surface water temperature has reached the normal summer minimum range of 73 degrees. That means fish are slipping into summer patterns and will now be very predictable each day as they develop a routine that will hold up until temperature starts to drop in the fall. The general summer pattern is feeding at first light til mid morning with a slack period at mid day and then more feeding in the evening. During full moon periods there will be more night feeding and less during the day. Dark moon periods are better for catching fish during day light.

Smallmouth bass fishing is excellent from first light to mid morning. Fish topwater baits during low light periods and then dredge along the bottom with plastic tubes, grubs and worms. A technique, new to some, that has worked well this week is the drop shot system where the weight is placed at the end of the line and the plastic bait is looped two feet above the sinker. The suspended grub mimics a minnow holding horizontally above the bottom. Naturally curious bass see the different presentation and swarm to take a closer look. When fishing slows down toward mid day using a different look may extend the catching period.

The summer smallmouth location is the deep side of rocky points usually in the deep main channel or main canyon. Broken rocks which hide crayfish are the most productive substrate to target. Shad are hatching out so bass will be chasing fish up in the water column early in the morning and bass may be suspended at that time.

Striped bass have begun their random nomadic migration in search of food. Moderate size schools are found in almost every canyon on the lake. They search shallow water early mornings looking for spawning shad. Later in the day they move deeper to rest with periodic journeys into shallow rocky areas to look for crayfish. A good strategy is to cast surface lures and shallow running crank baits toward shore near the back of the canyon early in the morning. Then later in the day try chumming rocky main channel points and shade lines along the steep cliff wall. Fish 1/3 anchovy with a small weight or no weight at all. Try each point for 15-20 minutes. If no action then move to the next point. It won't take too many points before a school is found. Watch the descending chum for fish movement. Stripers will often come very shallow and can be seen taking the bait.

During the hot months it is very enjoyable and productive to use a light and fish at night. Once the sun sets relaxing with a baited hook is a great way to spend a few cool hours. A lantern works but a submerged light is better. Find anchorage along a steep wall or better yet anchor the boat fore and aft in 50-60 feet of water where stripers are likely to be. The light will attract bait fish and plankton which will be seen zipping around the light. Most stripers will be caught on bait about 10 feet above the bottom. Watching the graph will be very educational as stripers and many other species will be picked up by the transducer. Move the bait up and down to match depth where fish are seen The catch at night has potential to exceed that during the day.

Walleye are still showing up. Catfish are hot at dusk and after dark