MARCH  9, 2005
By Wayne Gustaveson
Lake Elevation: 3558
Water Temperature: 53-57 F


Warmer days have started the fish migration from deep water to shallow.  Shad are now secure in the feeling that the journey to shallow water is safe.  Threadfin shad cannot withstand rapid cooling or heating which can be fatal to the small forage fish acclimated to cold water.

 Shad that were deeper than 70 feet all winter were seen this week at depths of 25 – 50 feet.  Game fish follow shad and are enjoying the warming water.  While game fish metabolism is still slow, the urge for increased nutrition prior to the spawn is fueling a new interest in chasing shad.  While feeding periods during winter may have been days apart, game fish now will eat on a daily basis.  The trick is to find out when the activity period will be and where the activity will occur each day.  Most logically feeding occurs at the time of maximum daily warming in the afternoon.

Since colored water is warmer, go toward the shallow end of the canyon.  The water color change from clear to murky is the starting point.  Cover ground quickly to find fish congregations.  Trolling while graphing is a good way to “see” what’s happening.   Look at the graph to discern schools of bait, schools of game fish and individual fish targets.  If game fish are suspended from 20-40 feet then trolling may be the most productive method.  If fish traces are near bottom then jigging a spoon, jig, swim bait or anchovy on the bottom may be best. Most likely game fish traces in open water will be stripers.  Try to stay over schools of fish.  They will move away from the boat so be stealthy and quiet.  Drop baits quickly to a waiting school.    

Deep diving crank baits are the ticket for suspended stripers.  Try to find a lure that will troll at 20-25 feet for the best results.  This week a Norman DT-22 and large-sized Shad Rap in shad colors trolled at 3 mph worked in Wahweap Bay in the 45-foot slot between Lone Rock and the camping beach. Find a congregation of stripers by trolling and then stop and cast to the area of highest concentration.  Use the same deep diving lures for casting and trolling.   

Bass and walleye will be near shore or some rock or brush structure.  Casting diving crank bait to points and shallow structure will appeal to basking bass. Earlier in the day try drop-shotting small worms and grubs along vertical structure in protected coves where water is warmer.  Rip baits (Bevy shad, husky jerk), or spinner baits worked along quick sloping drop-offs are a good bass catching technique in these conditions.

Walleye will be found near shad in colored water for one more week.  Then they will move to rock slides to spawn. For now the same crank baits and plastic offerings that work for bass will take walleye.

The weekend (March 11-13) weather will be warm and sunny making it a perfect time to find early season fish.