April 28, 2009
By Wayne Gustaveson
Lake Elevation: 3610                                           
Water Temp: 54-68 F

Despite unsettled and windy weather the bass and crappie spawn continues. Wind mixes warm water and reduces surface temperature. That temperature drop causes male bass and crappie to leave the nest. This is normal and happens every year. After 3 days of guarding, eggs hatch and yellow fry burrow into the rock substrate where they are protected from predators. Even though the male leaves the nest fry can still survive.

Shane Spravzoff

The next warming trend rejuvenates the male, causing a return to the nest and restarts the process all over again. He finds a new female, they lay and fertilize new eggs on top of the fry nestled under the rocks and he guards the nest again where he remains as long as water stays warm. It is possible to find 3 different ages of eggs and fry on a nest at any given time after the initial spawn. Likewise all female bass have an ovary full of eggs as they spawn only a few eggs at a time. Bass never completely evacuate the ovary so some eggs remain in the ovary year round.

The big winds just past, lowered surface temperature to 54. Temperature jumped back to 65 by late afternoon yesterday when winds were calm. Bass responded to the increase by moving back up to nests sites. That movement from deep to shallow water obviously increases fishing success as fish activity increases with warming.

Knowing these behavioral factors allows one to employ effective fishing techniques. If water temperature is in the low 50s then fish deep and slow for sluggish bass. If temperature is in the mid 60s then fish shallow for active bass. Right now bulky plastic baits with much surface area sink slowly and tantalize shallow bass. Try hula grubs, Flappin' Hogs, and other skirted and double tail baits in greens and browns for good success for large and smallmouth bass.

Bass and crappie fishing success is excellent lake wide with the exception of the northern lake above Good Hope Bay where runoff is coloring the water and reducing the temperature. The San Juan may be the very best with incredible numbers of smallmouth being caught.

Striped bass are providing very little action to those accustomed to fishing in the channel with bait. Yesterday only 5 stripers were caught at the dam on anchovies. However, catches of 10-30 fish were reported from the backs of the canyons by those trolling deep diving crank baits. Stripers are still holding in the main canyons at a depth of 25 feet. Troll the flood plain in the back of the canyon with Thundersticks, husky jerks, Rapala deep divers and other baits that run deeper than 14 feet to find consistent success. Early morning and late evening seems best for striper fishing with a lull at mid day.

The plan for this week is to troll for stripers early. I am finding stripers holding in most canyons that have been consistent producers over the years. If stripers were caught last year or two years ago in a canyon, try that spot again this spring but troll the area for best success.

Then when temperatures rise, move to shallow water and fish for bass and crappie. Fishing success is phenomenal now using this multi species approach.