September 2, 2008
By Wayne Gustaveson
Lake Elevation: 3629
Water Temp: 78-80

The biggest change this week is a drop in surface water temperature. After more than a month of water warmer than 80 degrees, the lake has finally dipped down to 78 F in the morning. Nights are cooler and days shorter. While there will still be some warm days, water temperature will decline steadily from now on. Fall fishing excellence is just ahead.

The Labor Day storms left us uncertain as to changes in fish location and behavior. Few reports were given. It is assumed that fish just went deep and will now resume the patterns established last week.

Michelle Gonzalez caught two boiling stripers on one cast

Over the length of the lake, big strong striper boils happen once in a while. More often there are scattered feeding events marked by a few fish surfacing at random wide spread locations. Some times all is quiet, particularly during the mid day period.

Best fishing strategy for this week is to search for that big boil. If found, the rewards are tremendous with numerous strong, fat 2-3 pound stripers that can be caught as long as the fish feed on top - which may be over an hour. These huge boils occur during the first two hours of daylight and the last two hours of light at night.

Last week they were found in Padre Bay, Rock Creek, Oak Canyon, Jacks Arch Cove (San Juan mouth), Red Canyon, and Trachyte. At least every third day these boils light up to the delight of all those lucky enough to be close by.

More often (daily) scattered fish are seen morning and evening marking the location of feeding schools. A few of these can be caught with surface lures thrown right into the splash ring. The better approach is to graph the 30-60 foot bottom contour where the single splashes are seen. Find the big school on the bottom for the best fishing experience. These can be readily caught on spoons. Surfacing fish mark the location of feeding events and deep running schools. The feeding action is going on at depth so mimicking a dying shad with a spoon falling to the bottom is the most productive technique to try. This will be the most rewarding technique to pursue while waiting for the big boil to appear.

Bass fishing continues to improve particularly around feeding stripers. Stripers are easy to see and bass are close to the feeding commotion. Try cranking rattle traps and other shallow runners in the structure nearest to the surface commotion. Both large and smallmouth bass are there feeding on fleeing shad. Largemouth are more likely to be in brush structure while smallmouth will be around rocky points and ledges. The most productive plastic bass lure reported last week was the standard watermelon colored green tube jig.

Catfish are still feeding near camp and sunfish are in the brush.

The cooling weather will spark increased fish activity and also be kinder to anglers who may not like the heat.