OCTOBER 23, 2003

By Wayne Gustaveson

Lake Elevation: 3602

Water Temperature: 68-71 F

As the journey through this unusual fishing year continues the more confusing it becomes. Stripers have quit biting in the uplake stretch from Rincon to Hite which was so good from July to September. Downlake areas where no stripers had been caught since Spring are now the place to be. Quick striper boils from some really big quality fish make catching one or two a real enjoyable fishing experience. Biggest fish caught in a boil on October 22 was 7.5 pounds.

Downlake boils are very similar to those experienced at Bullfrog a month ago. Stripers are in the main channel, sometimes widely spread, feeding randomly on shad. If the stripers weren't averaging 4.5 pounds the surface disturbance they make would appear more like a slurp than a boil. The occasional fish that rockets out of the water then somersaults back in gives away their true size. Check any surface disturbance where more than two fish are seen in close proximity. Cast surface stick baits that "walk" side-to-side on retrieve for best results. Boils are quick and it is absolutely imperative to cast to fish while they are splashing on top. Once they dive there seems to be no way to catch them. They often resurface near their last known location so try to choose their direction of travel and cruise as fast as the electric motor will go to keep up with them. If they are more than 100 yards away use the big motor to chase them. Since stripers are right in the travel lane of the main channel other boats will be cruising close by. When this happens stop and use the other boat presence to chase the stripers back in your direction. If two or more boats are fishing the same boil try to be on opposite sides so fish spook toward one of the boats. Never run through the boil or even within short casting distance and expect to catch fish. Cruise parallel to the school and stop a long cast away for best results.

Stripers are seen quickly surfacing from first light to 7:30 AM (MST) in the narrows from the dam to the mouth of Navajo Canyon, Padre Bay, and from Rock Creek to Dangling Rope. After the sun hits the water stripers sulk in the main channel until about 11 am when they come up for lunch. No one is reporting an evening boil now but that should happen as well.

Bass fishing is very good in the upper lake where stripers have quit feeding. Warm temperatures and calm weather have prolonged summer. The oxygen depletion zone (25-40 feet) previously noted in the upper lake is still in effect. Upstream from the Escalante River fish the upper 25 feet only. Downlake bass are still deep and not as responsive as bass near the inflowing water. When bass are slow to hit soft plastic they can readily be taken by trolling hard plastic baits (Lucky Craft Pointer) across main channel points. The channel is still better fishing than coves. Bass are often lurking right on the edge where deep water of the channel pours into a shallow cove.