May 1, 2003

By Wayne Gustaveson

Lake Elevation: 3605

Water Temperature: 55-65 F


Bass have held off as long as they possibly can. They have been in shallow water many times in April only to be chased out by cold weather. Now the wait is over. Bass can't keep their fins crossed any longer. That means great bass fishing for the next 3 weeks.

Next week nests will be seen on clear water reefs and along the open shoreline. But this week the first nests are hidden in unlikely spots. Low water has exposed many sandy coves. These coves warm more quickly than clear water. Mature bass are found very shallow in murky water in the back of gently sloping coves. Look for the normal rocky point or shoal to locate bass and then fish in the sandy cove next to the rocky point for best success. Bass may be spooky if just searching for a nest site. Right after spawning bass aggressively defend the nest and will attack any intruder that comes within 12 feet. Bass lose this aggression a little bit each day post spawn.

A variety of lures and techniques work on spawning bass. Use your personal favorite confidence lure for best success. Shallow running crankbaits have been very good this spring and continue to catch many bass. Soft plastic is just as good. It is hard to make a mistake right now. But if not catching fish then move to shallower water, closer to shore and use a shallow running rattletrap or shad rap to locate a fishy spot.

Walleye fishing is getting better each day. The highest walleye population is found in the murky water between Good Hope and Hite. Fish soft plastic baits for bass and tip the lure with half a night crawler for added enticement. Walleye will occasionally hit a crankbait in muddy water. If trolling make sure to fish close to shore with a side-planer. Fish very early and very late for best walleye results.

Stripers are FAT! Shad are very abundant from the shallow terminal ends of canyons out to a bottom depth of 30 feet. Stripers are reluctant to leave the shad-killing fields in the backs of canyons. They have not ventured out into the channel nor moved to current. Ripe males are in the canyons with the shad and show no inclination to move. Stripers are scattered in the shad-rich areas. The very best approach is to troll or cast a shad imitating lure in the murky green water in the back of canyon or bay. My choice of lures would be the half ounce rattletrap in chrome with chartreuse; or the largest shad rap in silver fluorescent chartreuse (color 43). Yozuri crank'n shad in the same color( 51) is a killer. If so inclined replacing the rear hook with a number 4 treble hook with a white feather trailer really enhances the look.

Best fishing time is late afternoon for all species. But a quick feeding period happens very early each morning. Then fish take a mid morning to early afternoon siesta before the afternoon fishing peak.