DECEMBER 8, 2004

By Wayne Gustaveson

Lake Elevation: 3566

Water Temperature: 53-55 F

Its winter - but a warm, early winter according to lake surface water temperature. It takes a long time to cool the massive amount of warm water stockpiled after a long hot summer. That bit of heat remaining means there are still fish to be caught.

Bass have moved to the first deep drop near the main channel. Do not expect bass to be in shallow water in the back of canyon. Look for them on rocky points and drops where the cove or canyon joins the main channel or main bay. Use plastic grubs, tubes or senkos that can be fished slowly and at various depths. Present the lure from 15 to 50 feet until location of holding bass has been determined. Then concentrate on that depth for the rest of the day.

Striped bass will be following shad movements. Expect shad schools to hold over the submerged creek channel at a depth of 40-100 feet. Find shad and stripers will be nearby. Expect good catches of stripers on slab-type jigging spoons presented vertically to schools seen on the graph. As water cools both shad and stripers slow down. Take a couple of floating markers with you. Graph a school and mark the spot. Find a second school and mark that spot. Then drift between the two markers while jigging spoons on the bottom. If a school swims under the boat at mid depth, speed reel the spoon to the top. Stripers will be willing to take spoons for at least another 3 weeks.

If fish seen on the graph will not react to spoons then try using a large marabou or bucktail jig fished slowly at the exact depth where fish were detected. The last technique is to return to the marker buoys, anchor and fish anchovies in the schools of fish. When bait fishing remember that bait invested as chum pays off in fish. The more chum used the more fish caught at the end of the day.

With fish movement slowing down this is a good time of year to take the underwater camera out and watch fish schools as they study your bait. You may find that the schools seen on the graph may be something entirely different than expected. At any rate, the camera can greatly enhance your knowledge of fish behavior on a winter day.