APRIL 15, 2004

By Wayne Gustaveson

Lake Elevation: 3583

Water Temperature: 59-64 F

Early morning water temperature is nearing the magic 60 degree mark. That means the peak of spring fishing is near. Bass are moving on nests again. Stripers are feeding on shad in the backs of canyons. Walleye will become quite catchable. Crappie will be spawning in brush piles in isolated spots throughout the lake. In short the next two weeks may be as good as it gets this spring. Runoff and rising lake levels will determine how long the peak lasts and how strong it will be.

Stripers show no sign of leaving shad schools found in the backs of canyons where water temperature is warmer than the main lake. The murky green water has an abundance of plankton which holds shad and entices stripers. Stripers can eat their fill of shad from numerous schools any time of day or night making success spotty. But if the school starts to feed while you are close by the action is fantastic.

On Monday in Padre Bay we caught stripers as fast as we could drop jigging spoons to their waiting mouths. On Wednesday, same time, same spot, the bite was short lived. If a canyon has lots of shad then check back often to find an active striper school. Troll deep divers (shad rap size 5), rattletraps (Yozuri and Lucky Craft), and/or bounce jigging spoons (wallylure, spinnow) off the bottom. I suggest just fishing the murky green water to limit the search area.

Bass are not very agreeable in the morning but heat up dramatically as the water warms in the afternoon. Plastic tubes and grubs in green pumpkin color worked great for me in short, 15 foot deep, cuts off the main channel. Bass were holding under ledges and floating tumbleweeds. The best cuts were those with wind blowing directly into the inlet. The windy side was better than the calm water. Bass went wild for 2 hours (1-3 PM) before the wind blew too hard for enjoyable fish. The two largest smallmouth bass weighed a combined total of 5 pounds. That was fun.

Launching access will improve soon with the lake lapping at the end of newly constructed concrete ramps at Bullfrog and Wahweap.