October 26, 2006
The surface temperature still says its early fall but
big storm fronts come through and tell the fish to wait a few days before
feeding aggressively. Fishing can be tougher this time of year due to
weather, rising or falling water levels and fish behavior. Just react to
conditions found on any given day to find the most cooperative fish.
Striped bass tend to sulk on bottom when recovering from a storm front passage. The vast numbers of stripers make it hard for them to hide from the graph. The most common behavior is for stripers to pull out to deeper water and rest near bottom. If fish were found at 45 feet last time but are no longer present at a certain spot, just keep working deeper following the submerged channel to relocate them. The tendency to suspend just off the bottom allows them to be detected on the graph. Look for irregular shaped schools.
When found they can still be quite challenging to catch when holding at 80 feet. They seldom respond to active spoons at depths deeper than 60 feet, unless shad are close. In the southern lake the best alternative is to chum and then fish bait on the bottom. A short drop shot rig may be the most effective presentation. Put the weight on the bottom and then just lift the bait enough to feel resistance from an almost imperceptible bite. Each fish caught gets the school more excited and makes catching easier. Getting the first bite is the challenge.
Dave Hillier with striper caught on Warm Creek Wall.
There are more presentation options in the northern lake where shad are still present. Spoons may get the school started. The slower movement and appeal of a drifting large white marabou jig may get the fist bite from a school and start feeding activity. Place the jig at the depth where most fish are seen on the graph and then use very subtle movements to wake lethargic fish. Trolling with deep runners, downriggers or leaded line is effective where shad are present.
The most effective technique now is fishing under lights after dark. When stripers are hard to find during the day they often feed better after dark. Place a light in the water, chum with bait and then fish below the plankton and shad that are attracted to the light. The public fishing docks at Antelope Point and Wahweap Marina are good night fishing venues. Uplake, fishing from moored houseboats and near lighted docks is most effective. Rules require you to fish from your boat in marina harbors. Please respect property of others and noise when fishing near a marina at night.
Rising water has allowed bass to reoccupy brush and grass that was out of water two weeks ago. The increased habitat makes it necessary to increase the search pattern when looking for feeding bass. The best strategy is to ignore the good looking cover on shore and fish deeper water where bass were hanging before the sudden increase in lake level.