APRIL 22, 2004

By Wayne Gustaveson

Lake Elevation: 3583

Water Temperature: 57-62 F

It's been a week of windy days. The warm blanket of 65 degree water has blown away and mixed with the lower layers. That is not all bad since the lake seldom dips below 58 now and that's enough to keep bass biting.

High winds have cleaned the shore of last year's tumbleweeds and dropped them in the water. With time, wind and water currents tend to store the floating tumbleweeds in the same locations. Look for steep nooks with old weeds high on the shore leading down to the fresh supply just recently arrived. It is best to have 5-10 feet of water under the weed mat for best results.

Bass have moved off the shallow spawning flats toward deeper water with cover. All of my bass bites today were under floating rafts of tumbleweeds on soft plastic tubes and grubs. There is a brief flurry of bass activity at first light but the bass bite perks up in the afternoon as water warms above 62. Bass will spawn again when the water temperature becomes stable between 62-65.

Striper catching has dropped off with cooling water. Shad are still found in very shallow murky-green water in the backs of canyons. Stripers have moved deeper and are making fewer trips to the backs of canyons. When stripers attack shad schools they are very catchable on crank baits, spinner baits, and spoons. When stripers are resting in deep water it is hard to get the school started. Trolling is still the most productive technique for stripers.

Best daily fishing strategy for existing conditions is to quickly troll the back end of a canyon looking for stripers and shad. If no stripers are present then look at the short coves (15 feet deep) and cuts with brush or tumbleweeds where bass will be holding. A cast to cover in the brushy cut may produce bass, stripers, or an occasional walleye, crappie or green sunfish.

Then move to the next canyon. Troll for stripers and then cast for bass. Repeat as often as needed.

Warming weather will enhance fishing results. Most fishermen are catching a good number of bass each day. Some of the lucky ones are finding stripers too.