July 25, 2007
By Wayne Gustaveson
Lake Elevation: 3608
Water Temp: 81-85 F

Small striper boils have lessened. Surface activity is seen briefly during the first three hours of daylight each calm morning. These quick pops are usually up and down before the boat gets in range. The best technique is to cast a ounce silver or blue spoon into the splash rings left by the departing stripers. The spoon goes down quickly and may attract a hit from single fish as it looks for one more shad. In open water there is no need to let the spoon go down more than 10-15 feet as juvenile stripers are staying near the top. If bottom depth is less than 25 then letting the spoon fall to the bottom is wise. When it settles reel it back to the surface quickly and try again. Always be alert for the next splash and get there quickly to keep pace with the fast moving pod of stripers.

Thor's Striper Crusaders - a few anchovies and a lot of fun

The real action this week is with bait. Stripers are still holding in the same spots they have frequented all summer waiting for food. They come up briefly to feed on crayfish and sunfish on the warm shallow flat, then drop off the nearest edge to cooler water. Once cooled and rejuvenated, they come shallow again to search for food. These schools are easy pickins' for a handful of chum and a baited jig head. Graph a school, anchor the boat or tie to shore, chum, then cast a third of an anchovy and let it rest just off the bottom. After the first bite stripers come shallower with each caught fish. When in full bite the entire school swims at 10-20 feet. An unweighted anchovy bait on a circle hook is now the ticket. Smaller healthier stripers will usually be at the top of the school. Don't let the bait go too deep after the first few fish are caught. Remember there is no limit on stripers. Catch all you can. Keep all you catch. There is still a population overbalance in favor of the predators. We can help make this a fair fight by keeping all stripers.

Catfish are often overlooked but this is the peak of the season for catching cats. Chum for stripers, or clean fish in deeper water off shore, then fish for catfish at night close to shore preferably near camp. Choose a spot with easy access and a place for a comfortable chair. The back of a houseboat is perfect. Select a sandy spot without a lot of brush. The smooth bottom allows pleasant fishing after dark without a lot of snagged baits to spoil the fun. If bottom depth is less than 15 feet I use weightless bait and circle hook allowing it to slowly descend and rest on bottom. A lantern or green fishing light offers more classic catfishing ambiance but is not necessary. Cats are very good night feeders. They will find the bait. Some of the best offerings are night crawlers, chicken liver, shrimp, hot dogs or other items left over from dinner. Catfishing is a fun family event on a warm peaceful night at the lake. Keep the cats for a great meal or let them go to bite again. It's your choice.