DECEMBER 4, 2003

By Wayne Gustaveson

Lake Elevation: 3600

Water Temperature: 54-57 F

Water temperature is now at the dreaded mid 50 degree cut off. That means winter fishing patterns prevail from now to next April. There will be some short periods of good fishing but longer unproductive fishing times will prevail. Yesterday there were a few times and places where warmer water was found. Fish still want to be active and will move to a warm spots just as they do in the spring. Be alert for afternoon warm spots.

The search for deep shad and stripers was unrewarded. Many grebes remain rafted in open water in Wahweap and Warm Creek Bays but graphing near the birds shows nothing but blank water. The only schools of fish seen on the graph were in the back of Wahweap and Warm Creek where water depth was 30-40 feet deep. Jigging near suspended schools produced no fish. I am not sure if schools seen on the graph were predator or prey. This will take more time and effort but shad will eventually be found once their transition from shallow to deep water is complete. When shad establish wintering areas stripers will find them. Grebes will move near the shad schools and become surface markers for fish schools.

The one bright spot in my scouting trip was a school of largemouth bass found in the back of a short canyon arm in Warm Creek. The canyon ended in a sand beach with copious weed growth in shallow water. As the boat was beached a school of bass spooked away and then returned to the cover. A diving crank bait would hit the weeds. A baby (wacky-rigged) senko was tossed into the weeds behind the boat and immediately whacked by the hungry bass. The 8-12 inch bass fought over the bait like a litter of pups after a bone. I watched with amusement as they chased after each other taking turns being the one to hold the bait. Those that were hooked were gently shaken off at the side of the boat. After 15 consecutive hookups I walked around to investigate other possibilities. Finding none, I returned and caught 3 more bass. I started to feel sorry for them and left them still looking for food.

There is an afternoon bass bite on spoons and soft plastic grubs on the shallow edges of the main channel. A few stripers are being caught on drop offs near the main channel with anchovies and patience. Night fishing for stripers with bait is productive at Bullfrog but may be slowing down.

This will be the last regular weekly fish report for 2003. Bulletins will be issued as needed. There is still a whole month to find deep stripers with bait and spoons. I WILL find them. The search goes on.