JUNE 17, 2004

By Wayne Gustaveson

Lake Elevation: 3587

Water Temperature: 72-77 F

In scouting for this report I repeated every pattern that has recently worked. Conditions remain much the same. Bass and stripers are still very catchable in Padre Bay and Last Chance.

The most productive fishing time remains morning twilight. Evening twilight is often good but wind may hamper catching. As the sky lightens bass, stripers, walleye and catfish move on to feeding points and nearby coves looking for shad. Cast surface lures, drop tubes and grubs, or troll along main channel points. For the first two hours of light all of these techniques work very well. As the sun tops the eastern skyline fish become more finicky and move to stay in shaded areas. Prolong the morning bite by fishing the morning shade along eastern shorelines.

When full sun hits the water at 8-9 AM anglers must change tactics. Stripers move from shad ambush points to crayfish slopes. In Last Chance the canyon is lined with buttes that jut into the main channel. Some of these buttes end in cliffs while others end in short sloping slick rock points. Trolling a wally diver close enough to the slick rock point to bounce bottom will often result in a striper strike. Two or three stripers can be taken from each point. Fishing 10 points results in 10-20 fish from 12 inches to 6 pounds. The pattern works all day long. Bonus bass, catfish and walleye make the trolling quite lively.

I troll at 3-4 mph with 16-pound monofilament. The lure is played out 100 feet behind the boat. I do not troll long stretches. I select a point and then troll 100 yards on either side of the best looking spot. If a fish is caught I turn and troll the point again. If none is caught I go the next spot. Today I caught fish on every point I tried between 9 and noon.

Afternoon is often windy and always busy with boat traffic. Wind and waves make mud which attracts both bait and predator fish. Fish move to mud as it forms each day. Look for floating mud each afternoon. Then troll 100 yards before and after each mudline for stripers, walleye and bass. Again selective trolling is much better than endless trolling without a goal. Choose the spot, then troll a specific spot. If successful – repeat. If not – find another mudline.

Stripers are being caught with more regularity on anchovies particularly in the midlake areas. Walls downstream from Halls are good in the mornings while fishing shaded areas at 20-40 feet. It is possible to troll the shade line until a fish is caught, then stop and use bait or cast rattletraps to the school. I suspect anchovy bait will work lakewide since shad seem to be less numerous than last year.

Smallmouth are moving to deep reef and shoal habitat. Look for them on the breaking edge of structure falling quickly into main channel depths. The best color for me today was luminous white single tail grub on a 3/8-ounce jig head. I caught bonus walleye and catfish on the same jig while fishing for bass.

I am still quite proud of the fishing results each day. I have not had a “bad” trip this year.