MARCH 15, 2004

By Wayne Gustaveson

Lake Elevation: 3584

Water Temperature: 53-58 F

Nothing like a few days of sunshine and calm weather to turn the fishing around. When the water warmed to 56 F bass came out of the deep and began basking in shallow coves. The warmth kick-started their metabolism making basking bass hungry. It was like an ice-out situation with bass showing no interest in lures early last week and then being very agreeable by the weekend.


The pattern is quite specific but if you can get here before the next storm front you will find some of the finest bass fishing since 1997. It doesn't matter whether you go to Halls/Bullfrog or Wahweap. Bass have moved into small coves and cuts within a short travel distance from deep water. Two-pound smallmouth and largemouth bass are scattered about on secondary points and brush stickups waiting for a small fish to swim past. They are quite willing to hit many different reaction baits in clear green to brown water. Look for cove depths of 5 to 15 feet within easy range of 40-60 foot depths. Bass are not at the terminal end of canyons on the flood plain yet. Travel distance is too far from deep water where they have lived all winter. So choose intermediate coves instead of starting at the end of a canyon.

Hard plastic jerk baits, soft plastic senkos, spinnerbaits and other crank baits are preferred. Put the trolling motor on high and move quickly along a shoreline with lots of coves and points with a little brush. Keep moving until you hook a fish. Then slow down and catch them all from that spot. Bass are grouped in favored coves. You will usually catch 2-5 bass from the same spot. Then you have to find another favored spot before catching another pod of bass.

Jerk baits that suspend in a horizontal plane are working very well when fished with a stop and go cadence. My favorite is a Lucky Craft Bevy Shad in ghost minnow color.

There are a few lone stripers swimming in the warmer coves. What fun to catch a big silver fish mixed in with the green and brown bass.

The bass tournament held at Wahweap on March 13th was won with a weight of 12.5 pounds for 5 fish. Big fish was only 3 pounds so most participants were catching 2 pound bass and almost every boat had a limit.

Shad schools were marked at 60 feet in open bays. I suspect that they are very mobile now with warming weather. They could move to shallow coves in the near future if the current warm water holds. Expect them to make a gradual movement from the depths to warmer murky water in the backs of canyons as they resume feeding to build up body reserves prior to spawning.