OCTOBER 14, 2004

By Wayne Gustaveson

Lake Elevation: 3570

Water Temperature: 68-71 F

Shad are still trapped in the backs of cuts and coves within view of the main channel. Bass and stripers are taking advantage of shad-snacks by lying in deeper water at the mouth of coves. Any attempt by shad to leave the cove is blocked by an immediate bass attack. Anglers can use this behavior to their advantage. Cruise the main channel and watch for small, almost insignificant drainages that have a short sandy floodplain. Stop at the mouth of the cove and toss surface lures or shallow running crank baits to the back of the cove. If the cove is guarded the attack will be quick. If there is no action then proceed to a new cove and repeat the process. Move quickly between coves until a shad cove is found. Once located you can return and find a repeat fish catching performance over the length of your trip. Shad stay in some coves for weeks and may escape from others overnight.

Bass attack location in slick rock coves opening to a sandy plain in back is predictable. Bass will be at the narrowest point near trapped shad. Canyon constriction allows bass to guard the cove and prevent shad from leaving the shallow flood plain. Lack of rocky structure does not necessarily mean that bass are not present. Canyon constriction in this instance is the only cover needed. See where the shad should be and then look for ambush points when fishing a new cove.

While there are many shad in the backs of long slot canyons (such as Padre Canyon) it appears that bass and stripers have no need to venture that far from the channel to feed. Confine the search to the channel edges for best results. Save the long, deep canyons until November when shad and stripers move deeper for winter.

Stripers are running shad to the shoreline for the first and last hour or daylight. Large striper schools have broken down into small groups. Stripers do not need a big school to work on shad trapped in a cove. While open water boils have almost ceased there is a greater likelihood that a few stripers will be roaming the shallows at any time of day. It is common now for bass anglers to hook a striper while fishing a shoreline - especially with crankbaits and surface lures. Striper schools resting in deepwater can be graphed and captured using vertical jigging techniques any time of day.

Smallmouth are still extremely vulnerable to conventional plastic baits (jigs and dropshot) fished on the bottom but larger bass seem to be suspended and taken on reaction cranks and topwater baits. I have seen many bass over 2 pounds and one at three pounds in the past week.

There is a wild event going on at Antelope Point Marina. Shad are using the boat slips for overhead cover and stripers are chasing shad around the marina. The fun begins at morning twilight and continues sporadically throughout the day till dark. If inclined to fish in the marina please respect wakeless speed rules and be courteous to boats passing through in the travel lane. Be prepared to catch a cable or two and lose some lures. I am not recommending this as a fishing spot - just reporting on fish presence.

Night fishing for stripers with green lights is improving with darker nights - especially in the midlake areas. Catfish are willing customers seeking a smelly morsel of food each night at dusk and after dark