April 4, 2008
By Wayne Gustaveson
Lake Elevation: 3590
Water Temp: 52-62 F

                                                          Stripers Show up at Dam

Those anglers that have been diligently paying their dues fishing in the main channel for striped bass were rewarded in a big way this week. While catches have been steady recently the numbers caught have been modest. That changed on Thursday when stripers were caught by the cooler full reminiscent of 2006. Fish caught were smaller but healthier than seen the two previous years.

What does this mean? It appears that more fish made their way into the channel than had previously been there. Or they could have been there all the time and were stimulated by increasing water temperature. For whatever reason, it seems that the likelihood of catching a good number of fish at the dam has now increased. There will still be time periods or whole days when fishing is slow.

It is always good to have a backup plan if all the prime spots at the dam are occupied or fishing is not good when you arrive. There are other locations that harbor striper schools. The closest location is the canyon wall on the west side near the barricade line. It is not necessary to tie to the barricades to catch fish just follow the wall north for a few hundred yards to the end of the underwater ledge that holds the striper schools in place. Check Buoy 1 at the mouth of Wahweap Bay, or Antelope and Navajo Canyons, NGS power plant intake to Buoy 9 on the south canyon wall. Schools are often there if not found at the first spot tried.

Rusty Rath, Aramark boat pilot at Wahweap, with a 7 pound 2 ounce largemouth bass caught in Wahweap Bay on Easter Sunday.

For those seeking other species the prospects are still the same with cool water in the morning and warming by afternoon. There is an early morning largemouth bass bite in the backs of the canyons where water depth is between 10-20 feet and in coves of the channel at the same depth. Look for murky water for best results. Often coves have sandy bottoms with "old brush" like long submerged tumbleweeds or old trees on the bottom. This sparse cover is enough. A little ridge of rocks in the sand may be all the cover needed. The best bait for me this week was a bulky dark green plastic grub like the Yamamoto hula grub. Use a slow dragging retrieve while maintaining bottom contact.

Smallmouth bass are caught much better in the afternoon during the warmest part of the day. Use the same techniques but target the rocky structure near the shallow coves. Each day more walleye and crappie are caught while using plastic to catch bass.

The fishing opportunities here are varied but what ever your personal preference the chances of success are increasing each week.