April 6, 2005
By Wayne Gustaveson
Lake Elevation: 3555
Water Temperature: 51-58 F

Cold night time temperatures and windy afternoons have kept the lake from warming significantly.   With temperatures in the low 50s the bass spawn has been delayed and stripers remained midway back in canyons.  The good news is that both species will be found right where they were left last week. 

Stripers are holding in almost every canyon but at very specific locations.  I will try to reveal the hiding place so all can find them. Stripers are on the edge of deep water usually near a shallow point or underwater hump. Shad are usually in 30 feet of water or less near the back of the canyon or bay. Begin the search by going to the back of the canyon and working out. Graph for shad schools. 

Shad will appear as an elliptical balloon with a smooth perimeter.  Shad will normally be suspended above the bottom and may be as deep as 40 or as shallow as 10 feet. The shad school shown here is very dense depicted by the gray line hatch mark.  Most often the school shows up as plain black in a variety of shapes.

Stripers appear as archs or individual lines.  In this photo one striper is above a shad school which is blending into the bottom.  A group of lines close together is a striper school. Finding the dense striper school is the ultimate goal.

Expect stripers to be on the falling edge of the point or hump - not the top.  They use the slope-face to herd shad against when it is feeding time. The best technique is to see the striper school, stop the boat and drop spoons immediately into the school. The second best method is to troll while graphing.  Let the lure follow the 30 foot shoreline contour by turning the boat each time the water changes depth.  The trolled lure must pass over the fish holding spot to get a reaction.  Stripers will not chase far from the holding zone in cold water.   Catch one fish and retrace the exact trolling course to catch another.

Stripers were caught last week in Wahweap, Gunsight, Navajo, Last Chance, Rock Creek, Escalante, San Juan, and from 7-Mile to Red Canyon.  Best lures were deep diving Husky Jerk, Norman D-22, Reef Runners, Big Macs, tail dancers, and Rapala Glass Shad Raps.

Bait fishing for stripers is good at night with anchovies at Bullfrog and Wahweap Marinas under lights.  Put a one-inch chunk of bait on a ounce jighead and lower to the bottom.  Raise the bait in 5-foot increments until fish are found. The bite is very subtle so hold the rod for quick reaction and watch the rod tip for sign of stealthy fish.

Largemouth and smallmouth bass are poised for spawning.  They will not spawn until temps are above 60.  That can happen quickly with 3-4 warm calm days.  Right now it appears that spawning may be two weeks away but that can change rapidly. For those planning to hit the peak of the spawn I expect the last two weeks of April will be the time.    

Walleye fishing will get better each week with the peak in May.  Crappie will spawn the same time as the bass and be found only in isolated locations.

Expect spring fishing to be excellent from now till the end of May.