October 28, 2009
Lake Elevation: 3633
Water Temp:    62-64 F  

A fantastic fishing season is drawing to a close. It has been a banner year for all species. Habitat, food/forage and fish numbers have peaked at near optimum conditions. Great fishing will continue into the winter months, but his will be my last report for a while. Now it is time for me to go to work sampling fish on the lake. I will be on the water during the week and not near a computer for awhile. Reports will continue sporadically as something news worthy happens. I leave you with this advice.

Shawn Johnson - Wahweap Largemouth Bass

Today shad are still in the shallows with bass and stripers standing guard in close proximity. But a winter storm is bearing down which will drop water temperature into the 50s. Soon winter fishing patterns will be in place. That means top water fishing is almost over for the year. It is wise to have a surface lure hooked up during November, just in case, but the real catching will be done at depth.

We fished this morning in Warm Creek. Shad schools were swimming happily in the shallows with little regard for any threat. A surface lure did hook a couple of small bass but the action was slow. Later in the morning we left shallow water and began graphing for stripers. There were none in the creek channel at 25 feet nor any at the next drop to 45 feet. It was not until we reached mid channel and mid bay where bottom depth registered 60 feet that we saw a fish school close to the bottom. Spoons were deployed and stripers cooperated. The spot was marked with a float for reference. During the first flurry we put four fish quickly in the boat. Then we returned to the marker and caught more. Each time we lost the school we circled the marker until the school was located. Each time spoons were dropped while fish were on the graph fish were hooked.

This will be the striper pattern for the next two months. Find a school on the graph in deep water then quickly drop spoons, stump jumpers or swim baits to get the school excited. We try to keep a hooked fish in the water column as long as possible to keep the school from drifting away. Schoolies tend to follow a fish that is feeding/hooked. Likewise a fish that comes unhooked and swims away often takes the whole school with him. When that happens return to the marker and start the search over.

We caught 30 stripers (2-4 pounds) in 2 hours after spending 3 unproductive early hours fishing too shallow. Winter time success comes from fishing deliberately in deep water for specific targets. Striper bass, walleye and catfish can all be taken in this manner.

Unfortunately bass fishing will slow with each degree of cooling. November fishing will be fair only to grind to a halt in December and January. Surprisingly, crappie fishing will improve with November being perhaps the best month of the year for fishing success. Crappie will be schooled in the densest brush shelters in the canyon. Fish vertically in heavy cover with small curly tail grubs for best results.

Walleye are good winter fish with most of them caught in the northern lake near Hite. Catfish success declines with cooling. For the rest of the year stripers, walleye and crappie are the best fish to target.

Fishing Tip:

Trolling for Stripers at Hite - Fishing is excellent IF trolled lures dive to at least 20 feet and trolling speed exceeds 3.5 mph.  Slower or shallower gives poor results.