April 18, 2007
By Wayne Gustaveson
Lake Elevation: 3600
Water Temp: 57-66 F

Bass spawning has begun. It is not the hoped for grand event where all fish move on the beds the same day. Instead a warming event allows a few bass to spawn in a warm cove. Then cooling moves the fish back off the beds. It warms, then cools and fish move back and forth. There are more bass beds in the northern lake, which may be a degree or two warmer than water on the south end. Very few beds are seen south of Dangling Rope.
Regardless, fishing is very good in one specific spot. That spot is in a sand (defined as, soft soil with small rock) drainage lined with tumbleweeds or brush.

The back of a brush lined cove is a good place to start searching for spawning bass. A sandy cove or flat in a slick rock canyon is even better

Picture a slick rock canyon. Usually in the back or in a cove there is a flat spot to park a boat. That flat has a different soil component than the slick rock. Now think about spawning. Bass need a rocky substrate to build a nest. Slick rock cannot be worked with a bass tail. Sand, clay or gravel can be fanned and rocks uncovered. Bass gravitate to that soil in an otherwise slick rock environment. So in slick rock canyons look for sand flats.

Now to enhance the sand pattern it is best if there are bushes (tumbleweed) for cover and deep water access leading in. Most often the weedy extreme back of a canyon (floodplain with weeds) will be good for bass crappie and stripers this week.

Yesterday I was motoring in the main channel looking for prospective hot spots. I saw a sand flat (beach) which is not all that great in itself, but in the middle of the sandy beach was a flood drainage cut with tumbleweeds collected in it. The 10-yard wide cut was pronounced and led to a rocky ravine high and dry on the ground. The cut extended through the beach and then into the lake. So I lined up on the cut and fished it some 50 yards off shore at a depth of 10-15 feet. I was not disappointed. It was loaded with stripers but that is also where the bass were. We sorted through 5 stripers to get to one bass and then did it again and again. Next we found a rocky edge where the beach joined the slick rock and fished that. Mud was washed up by boat wakes and we took 10 largemouth out of that sand/mud spot where bottom depth was 8-15 feet. Look for sand and weeds for best success this week.

Wind seems to be with us this week. To fish successfully in the wind throw reaction baits instead of trying to "feel" the plastic bait on the bottom in the wind. Fish move shallower in wind and often move to windy points where the water is breaking on shore. Try spinnerbaits and jerk baits and lipless vibrators where the feel is not as important when the wind bows your line. You can troll in productive areas to keep some boat control in the wind. Don't just troll, but troll over structure like points or reefs. Then motor to the next likely structure and troll some more.

Stripers are being caught by the bucketful at the dam and in many main channel locations that were good in 2006. The best spots are near the dam, Antelope Canyon, and Moki Wall near Bullfrog.

Jerk baits like this Suspending Bomber Long A are working well for bass and stripers. I have slow trolled this bait over points with a pumping motion and found great success for smaller stripers that are feeding on plankton.