June 11, 2008
By Wayne Gustaveson
Lake Elevation: 3619
Water Temp: 69-75
past week was marked by major events for lake visitors. Most notably the
Castle Rock Cut was flooded and opened for uplake travel for the first time
in over 5 years. It was an absolute thrill to cross from Wahweap to Warm
Creek without the need to transverse 12 miles of rough main channel wakes to
get to the mouth of Warm Creek.
Waters touched on June 6th and boats were using the passage freely on June
10th. It is wise to go slow, stay in the center of the slot, and pass others
with courtesy and caution. Channel markers are minimal now but will improve.
CRC IS OPEN!
The other major event is almost as important. The FIRST BOILS were seen in
Navajo Canyon and on the San Juan near the mudline. Two-pound stripers have
found the newly spawned larval threadfin and gizzard shad. Tiny shad have
almost no swimming ability making them easy prey. Stripers don't really need
to "boil" to eat the little shad. Instead they move easily along the surface
and slurp in the big tasty fish plankton. Stripers will be seen lined up on
top, shoulder to shoulder, with mouths all oriented in the same direction as
they mow through the shad crops.
Stripers are looking at tiny shad - less than an inch long. A full size lure
thrown into the middle of the striper line is a foreign object that may
spook the school. It is critical to use a smaller profile lure, like a bass
popper or Zara Spook Jr. But the most critical need is to place each cast
precisely in front of the fish leading the school. Drop the lure 2-feet in
front of the leader to consistently catch fish.
Bass are lost! The rising water has flooded the brush. Bass are enjoying
with wide-eyed amazement the jungle of green leaves and thick cover. This
generation of fish has not seen flooded brush in the water. It will take a
while for them to become reoriented to a brushy environment. Then a
consistent fishing pattern will emerge and they will be readily catchable
one more. Try topwater lures at first light in the morning. Bass, like
stripers, will find shad and they will hit the surface where the tiny shad
are hanging like grapes to be harvested.
Brian Walters with striper catch.
For now there are still massive schools of striped bass in the main channel
that have not found shad. These schools are still surviving on plankton.
There seems to be no end to the number of stripers that can be caught on
anchovy bait once a school is located. Many may miss out by fishing the
conventional depths of 30-40 feet. That is the right starting point to find
plankton eating fish and to chum them into activity. As soon as the school
moves up to feed reduce bait depth to increase catch. Most of the schools
this week are feeding at about 15 feet. The best way to find the right depth
is to watch the bait descend in clear water. As soon as it disappears from
view stop the descent. That is where the fish will be most abundant - right
at the edge of visibility.
Other species are having moments as well. Catfish and sunfish will be
spawning this week making them more visible and easier to catch.