September 16, 2009
Lake Elevation: 3636
Water Temp: 75 - 77 F  

Pesky thundershowers and afternoon winds have been messing up the morning and evening fishing this week. But when it calms down a few boils are still seen. To maximize harvest look for boils but fish deep for stripers.

Ed Elephante

This morning I went to Cookie Jar hoping to see striper surface action. For the past two months the ride up to Padre Bay has consistently produced at least a few boils - but not today. The channel was bumpy but not enough to really put the fish down. We trolled and spooned in the bay but did not graph any significant shad or striper schools.

We then headed to the back of the canyon and graphed along the submerged creek channel where bottom depth was 30-50 feet. We saw a few individual suspended fish and small shad schools. Spooning on the bottom proved that these fish were yearling stripers. Fishing was not fast but good enough.

Then about 8 AM a boil of 3-pound adults blew up in the back of the canyon. We didn't get there in time for any surface action but this time the spoons worked much better. We were able to get over the active school perhaps 3 different times in the next half hour and caught multiple fish each time.

This example is the fishing model this week. There will be a quick boil anytime, anywhere. You may even catch some topwater fish from the boil. But most of the heavy work will be going on at mid depth. The best technique will be to lowering a spoon, jig or swim bait below feeding fish and then reeling quickly up though the zone where fish are feeding. If I had to guess the depth it would be bottom depth of 45 feet with suspended fish at 25-35.

Stay in tune with the wildlife as they will help you find feeding stripers. Boils have been going on all summer. Many birds and critters are keying off feeding stripers to find food. I was amazed how quickly the sedentary great blue heron went to the boil this morning. We saw the bird catch a big gizzard shad that stripers had driven into the shallows. Herons, grebes, gulls, coyotes, ravens and shad all watch for stripers and react to the feeding opportunity. I guess you could add me to the list as well. Pay attention to your surroundings for subtle signs that stripers are near. Now that stripers are feeding in the ends of the canyon all types of wildlife can participate in the banquet.

Topwater fishing is still good for bass but plastics fished along the bottom catch a grundle of small bass with a few really good ones mixed in. Catfish are good near camp at night and sunfish are in the trees next to the boat. Use small live worms on small hooks for bluegill.