May 22, 2003

By Wayne Gustaveson

Lake Elevation: 3605

Water Temperature: 62-70 F

Prospects are bright. Water temperature is in the magic 60's. Water level is rising. Access is improving. Most species are spawning. Fishing is productive.

Hite and the upper San Juan are the hot spots. After launching at Hite and getting out of the marina, fishing is excellent. There is driftwood, sand bars and river current causing difficult conditions for the marina crew but they are keeping the marina open and accessible. Fisherman can launch at Hite and negotiate some impediments near the marina. Skiers may be better served by going to Halls or Bullfrog to avoid driftwood.

Early morning striper boils, walleye, crappie and smallmouth fishing are superb. Go downlake to Farleys, White, 2-Mile, 4-Mile and the Horn for best action. It is as good as it gets. Neskahi/Piute Bay on the San Juan has similar dream-trip action happening.

The main lake, defined as Wahweap to Good Hope and most of the San Juan arm, is not as good. Smallmouth are actively spawning but nests are scattered and secretive. Expect to find clusters of fish in one spot but other nice looking locations fish free. Develop a daily pattern by fishing many different habitat types and depths. Note where fish were caught and then concentrate on similar habitat types to catch more. By eliminating unproductive water the catch rate goes up. My best habitat type has been flat terrace structure adjacent to deep water. Steady slopes and steep drop-offs fished in summer are not as productive now. Find a small, flat area, with rocky substrate. Cast plastics or cranks near any rock or bush that provides small cover. Bass from 6-14 inches are common but grouped in bunches. If not catching fish keep searching for the right habitat type. Bass may be very shallow with many caught in 3-6 feet of water. Bass are hitting in clear water and murky water. Be careful not to spook shallow fish with the boat. Long casts and light line are helpful

Striped bass (with the exception of Hite and the upper San Juan) have become secretive. They are feeding very early in the morning and actually boiling in many locations where shad are spawning. These events are random and certainly not guaranteed. Shad will continue to spawn at first light and that may be the best time to catch stripers in the back of most canyons. Stripers are ready to spawn and await a sudden increase in temperature or runoff to trigger the event. Spawning occurs at night making daylight activity uncommon. Adventuresome souls could find some of the biggest stripers cruising main channel points and coves at dusk and well after dark. Graph and troll in the early evening to find a school of males staging on a point. Then fish that area after dark for a chance at a trophy female. Prospects for a trophy fish include Wahweap, Warm Creek, Navajo, Padre Canyon, Last Chance, Rock Creek, Halls Creek, Bullfrog Bay, and of course, all canyons near Hite and upper San Juan.

Have a safe and happy holiday weekend!