March 3, 2009
By Wayne Gustaveson
Lake Elevation: 3611
Water Temp: 49-51 F

Welcome back!

Spring is right around the corner and that will be followed closely by good fishing. Water temperature finally climbed out of the 40's. Fishing success improves dramatically when morning temperature hits 54 degrees. Fishing really blasts off when morning water temperature is 57 because that means afternoon temperature on that day will usually exceed 60. Warm water fish love 60 degree water.

Right now the first fish to stir are largemouth bass and walleye. Walleye are close to spawning with warming water being the trigger. That is not so good for catching because walleye don't eat when actively spawning. BUT, the larger females will eat just prior to spawning. The largest walleye population is in the upper lake near Hite. Look there for the best chance of catching early spring walleye.

Brian Hammond - 6 Pound - Largemouth Bass

The same warming trigger gets largemouth bass moving. Smallmouth bass pull the covers over their head and continue to sleep until the 57 degree temperature plateau is reached. Expect largemouth to come into shallow water in the afternoon to bask in slightly warmer water near a south facing rock wall that collects solar heat and transmits it to surrounding water. Fishing is not fast by any stretch, but some of the largest bass of the year are caught during March.

Striped bass are always prowling looking for food. They come up to 25 feet to look and then drop back down to the 60-90 foot depths to wait. They can be caught at either location. The best springtime chance is with shallow fish. This spring expect stripers to be near the back of the canyon where shad have spent the winter. They will not venture out into the main channel until much later than usual. Follow the bottom contour until the average depth is 25 feet. Then use slow moving stump jumpers, road runners or hard baits like shad raps and pointers. I often troll in the spring top cover lots of water trying to intercept an active school. Keep an eye trained on the graph. Stationary schools can be activated with spoons or anchovy bait. If the school stays in one spot then multiple fish may be caught until they decide to move on. When they exit, return to search mode to find more willing fish.

The best fishing location by far is Hite. The far south primitive ramp is still useable with about 5 feet of depth. Be careful heading toward the main channel. It may be best to use the electric motor until in deeper water. Then head downstream to the confluence of White/Farley/Trachyte. Start there for a good fishing trip.

It's good to be back. I will see you on the lake.