NOVEMBER 27, 2003

By Wayne Gustaveson

Lake Elevation: 3600

Water Temperature: 57-59 F

With water temperature now in the 50's fish are going deep and slowing down. Cold-sensitive shad are in transition seeking the more constant temperature of deeper water. The good news here is that bass and stripers are not below their lower activity temperature threshold. They still want to feed actively and the absence of shad from the normal feeding zones makes them very vulnerable to shad baits. For perhaps the first time since Spring bass and stripers are not finding as many shad as they would like.

The pattern for this week is to search the back of canyons with shallow running baits. Troll or cast where water depth is 15-40 feet. Sport fish are searching these areas and not finding shad making them very vulnerable to reaction lures. If no fish are found or when action stops it is time to selectively fish transition areas for hungry bass. Work ends of points that fall quickly into deep water. Cliff edges are prime spots for game fish. The best locations are spots where fish can go from shallow to deep water in a very short distance.

With shad moving from top to bottom a lure that mimics shad which can be fished shallow and deep is the jigging spoon. In preparing for this report I fished from Wahweap to Antelope canyon using spoons. Fishing was not fast in the main channel but a personal best smallmouth (17.5 inch, 2.75 pounds) was taken in the wakeless area near Anchovy point. A 15 inch bass, 2 pound bass was also taken. Hoping to find stripers I trolled a Lucky Craft Bevy Shad in the back of Antelope Canyon and was rewarded with a very cooperative school of 10 inch stripers. They hit spoons on bottom, and crankbaits at mid depth. Alternating between the two methods resulted in constant catching for over an hour. A bonus 2.2 pound largemouth was captured in the back of the canyon feeding with the little stripers.

There are many thousand small stripers in Wahweap Bay. The little fighters have been eating shad which have disappeared. They are now very vulnerable to small shad lures trolled along rocky points, cliff faces and ledges. Use the graph and fish all schools seen on the chart. They could be shad or stripers. Find either school and catching will soon commence.

Bigger stripers are following shad schools. As lake temperature continues to drop both shad and stripers will find wintering grounds where they will remain for extended periods of time. Then graphing deep flats and submerged channels will allow detection of school and these fish will be vulnerable to jigging spoons and anchovy bait.

This week the bigger stripers will be caught mostly at night as shad and plankton are attracted to artificial light. But, in daylight, do not hesitate to drop spoons on any fish graphed at 30-60 feet. Starting a school of deep stripers on jigging spoons is second only to fishing boils for fast action and excitement. If so inclined, it is time to get the anchovies out and give them a try.