MARCH 23, 2004

By Wayne Gustaveson

Lake Elevation: 3583

Water Temperature: 58-68 F

The weather shows no sign of cooling off. The thin surface layer has now warmed to the high 60's. The bass don't quite know what to do about that. They think they should spawn but the day length is not long enough yet. Expect spawning to begin the first week of April unless a cold front delays it. At any rate bass are very catchable while they move from deep to shallow water in a daily journey. Smaller bass are active this week which increases number of fish caught per trip.

Bass are active in small coves and cuts within a short travel distance from deep water. They are also swimming in clear water near cliff walls. They are hitting many different reaction baits. It is a good strategy to cover lots of water by throwing crank baits and then fishing more slowly once a fish is caught. Bass are grouped in bunches and not all good looking structure holds bass. That won't happen until bass actually spawn and distribute themselves evenly around the shore.

Hard plastic jerk baits, soft plastic senkos, spinnerbaits and other crank baits are working. 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.

Shad schools have moved to the shallow turbid water in the very back of canyons. Stripers have followed them and can be caught by trolling the terminal end of canyons where shad are found. Stripers have been taken in Navajo, Warm Creek, Gunsight, Last Chance, Rock Creek, Bullfrog and Halls.

Troll rattletraps and other shad imitating lures until a striper is hooked. Then stop and cast in that location for a quick catch. Stripers move out as quickly as they move in. They will not be in the same location each time. They must be found every day and they may be quite far removed from where they were seen the day before.