AUGUST 21, 2003

By Wayne Gustaveson

Lake Elevation: 3606

Water Temperature: 80-83 F

Stripers are still boiling from Bullfrog Bay to Hite. Most boaters are launching at Halls or Bullfrog and making the long run upstream. Sometimes boils are seen at Moki, Hansen, or Warm Springs which makes the trip a lot shorter. Other days it is necessary to go all the way to the back of White Canyon. So far, no one has missed seeing a boil after making the trip. Expect to catch 10-30 stripers on topwater lures on a one-day round trip.

Shad are getting bigger making lure selection less critical. Choose a lure that can be cast a long distance and then retrieved on top or no deeper than one foot from the top. Stripers are looking up to find shad that have been trapped there by their schoolmates. Open-water boils are the easiest to see and they are happening regularly in the main channel upstream from Bullfrog and in the San Juan. But do not neglect to look against shore and in the backs of short U-shaped canyons adjoining the main channel. Evening boils are biggest but morning boils are now starting up again.

Stripers boiling near shore are more stationary, easier to catch and less likely to spook when a boat stealthily approaches. Use the quiet electric motor when possible. Try to stop at the outer limit of casting range. Long casts will show the lure to fish on the edge of the school without spooking fish actively working the shoreline. Stripers feeding in the back of a cove have to move toward a boat anchored or held at the mouth of the cove. Stay as far away as possible to catch the maximum number of fish from each boil. Catch the stragglers first and then move into the main body.

There are still no striper boils in the lower lake (RATS!). To ease that disappointment smallmouth bass are trying to take up the slack. They are getting much more cooperative. Bass have quietly grown over the summer while we were out chasing stripers. The average bass is still short but now much bigger around. Expect to catch 10-13 inch smallmouth bass that weight one to two pounds. These bass are still aggressive, but stronger and more acrobatic than the fish we caught last year.

You will find them on the edge of the main channel rocky structure, adjacent to rocky points, and sometimes suspended in open water. Use soft plastics, crank baits or surface lures at each rocky point or main channel rockslide. If bass fail to bite the shallower offerings then progressively drop the plastic grub to deeper strata until fish are found. They tend to be bunched on one location. They are very willing to bite, you just have to put the bait where they are holding. Bass fishing is much improved in Navajo, Padre Bay, and all canyons upstream to the San Juan.

Catfish are still prowling each night and bluegill are biting on the edges of big rock boulder fields. Try live worms on small hooks for a big stringer of sunfish.