November 16, 2006
By Wayne Gustaveson
Lake Elevation: 3607
Water Temp: 58-60 F

Subtle changes have taken place as water temperature has dropped to the high 50's. Shad have been displaced from the shallowest summer hiding places making them more available to hungry bass and stripers. Wind and cooler temperatures have sent shad seeking temperature stability. Threadfin have not been forced into the deepest winter holding depths but rather they have pulled out of the shallowest weeds and brush into water 10-15 feet deep.

Threadfin shad presence has alerted striped bass and feeding opportunities in the backs of canyons have greatly increased. A few quick boils have been seen lakewide but more often the feeding is subsurface where shallow running crankbaits or lipless vibrators retrieved in the upper 10 feet of water provide the most action.

Clear water is prevalent in the main channel. Avoid that, as shad feel more secure in murky water. Start fishing in the backs of canyons with cloudy water. Canyons with flooded willows and tamarisk are better than slick rock canyons without cover. Move quickly making many long casts to locate a school or troll until a school is found and then cast to the school for a quick catch of fish.

Ron Colby with  a largemouth caught on a suspending crankbait in cold weather.

Competition for smaller threadfin shad continues with young healthy striped bass out-maneuvering slower, adult stripers for each meal. I have seen a resurgence in health of some of the larger stripers that are still quick enough to catch shad. These quick fish are regaining body mass while slower adults are continuing the slide into poor health and eventual death. There will be a population downsizing this winter as unhealthy adults make way for the upcoming generation.

When stripers are not cruising the shallows looking for threadfin they are holding in deep water amid schools of gizzard shad. Perhaps the most effective fishing technique is spooning with slab spoons among these holding bait schools. Find a school on the graph in the 40-70 foot depth range and vertically jig at the same depth as the school. Periodically reel the spoon as fast as possible to the surface to ignite striper chasing tendencies and to start the school feeding. Once started, catching will be continuous as long as stripers are under the boat and can see the spoon.

Bass fishing is still good during stable weather. Bass hit rattletraps and suspending jerk baits in the murky water at the backs of canyons near shad. Throw lots of casts and move often to find them. After a storm front bass go deep and can be caught on heavy jigs with pork trailers at 25-40 feet along main channel points.

Walleye and catfish are taken incidentally while spooning and casting for other species.