JUNE 26, 2003

By Wayne Gustaveson

Lake Elevation: 3616

Water Temperature: 73-82 F

The lake has reached its high point and will now slowly decline. That's good news for anglers battling muddy water at Hite where runoff has made fishing extremely challenging. When the lake clears the stained water will produce a huge crop of plankton. The many shad spawned this spring will take advantage of the plankton bloom and grow quickly in size and number. Good forage conditions will prevail for the rest of the year.

For this week it would be wise to fish in clear water. Bullfrog/Halls boasts the best fishing for stripers and smallmouth bass. On a calm morning expect striper boils to start before sunup and continue until about 9 AM. Surface feeding is repeated from 6 to 9 each evening. Windy days spoil the topwater bite.

The best action is found in the moored houseboat fields at Bullfrog and Halls and right in the main travel lanes as boats leave Bullfrog Marina and head toward Halls. Stripers are in tight schools swimming shoulder-to-shoulder and not making much surface disturbance. They are feeding on larval shad which drift near the surface and do not swim well. Swimming and slurping in unison feeding stripers look more like a boat wake or wind riffle. Investigate these strange looking surface disturbances by casting a Super Spook Jr. into the fray. You may find more stripers than you can imagine during late June. Since the stripers do not need to swim fast to catch small shad the boil moves along at about 3 mph. Boat toward these fish in the same leisurely manner and they will stay on top. Rushing into the boil will make the fish go down only to resurface well out of casting range. Observe the school's direction of travel and idle to a point well ahead of the school. Let the boil come to you for best results.

Smallmouth fishing is good lakewide but the summer pattern is well in place. Casting plastic grubs to the shallow shoreline is not effective. Bass are holding along the 25 foot contour. Park the boat in normal casting range to reach the shoreline but drop the lure straight down under the boat to find deeper fish.

Summer bass like a free-floating, slow moving bait. The most effective presentations are the drop-shot or split shot rigs. The hook is about 18 inches from the weight in both techniques. Drop- shot rigs have the weight on the bottom and hook tied up the line with a Palomar knot. The split shot rig is just the opposite with the bait on the bottom and the weight up the line. In both cases, let the weight touch bottom. Hold the lure in place and then wiggle it a few times before moving it to the next spot. When a bass picks it up, use a steady sweep as a hook set instead of quick flick of the wrist.

Wahweap Bay has been slow fishing except for the deep bass rigs. Fishing improves with distance traveled uplake. The San Juan is still good near Neskahi Bay. Fish deep for bass and very early and late for boiling stripers.