September 9, 2009
Lake Elevation: 3636
Water Temp: 77 - 80 F  

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Full moon last week again slowed boils at Wahweap and Bullfrog. They didn't stop, just got inconsistent. But it seems that Hite stripers started to boil again after taking a month off. This week boils are slow and infrequent although a long lasting random boil can be found anytime. The best place to look is at Hite which is not red hot but boils there are more consistent and longer lasting than at any other location.
 

Striper school on Graph

 


For the rest of the lake here is the strategy learned from a recent trip to the San Juan. Early morning is prime time as predator and prey move at first light. A large school of fish was graphed at 35 feet in the channel 200 yards from camp near Neskahi Canyon. The spoon was dropped and the quick bite confirmed that these fish were stripers. The school followed the hooked fish toward the surface and many active stripers were caught vertically jigging before the school and the boat drifted apart.

I then headed toward Piute Canyon but stopped to investigate two splashes over a long point protruding into the bay. Surface lures cast to the splashes were immediately swallowed by hungry bass and stripers. Both species were having their way with a shad school. The surface action was intense for the next 30 minutes but most of the splashes came from smallmouth bass up to 2 pounds. Stripers left but could be found again on the edge of the point where bottom depth was 30-40 feet. Spoons were the best offering and both bass and stripers were caught.

The best plan is use the graph and look for schools of bait or stripers. When found stripers will immediately take spoons. Bounce the lure off the bottom twice, then speed reel the spoon back through the water column. Stripers and bass are very willing to chase spoons when shad are near. If a boil surfaces use a topwater lure, but plan on fishing with spoons for the best chance of putting fish in the cooler.

I am sure that trolling a deep diving shad-imitating lure in these same situations will fill the cooler just as fast as spooning. Use your favorite method. There are many fish waiting for their next meal. I think in times when surface boils are scarce that hungry fish will be eager to tackle a trolled lure. So troll, jig deep and watch the graph while waiting for the next boil to pop up. This week the wise angler will go slowly and graph the bottom instead of cruising many miles looking for infrequent surface action. Striper school will be on the edge of the main channel and very willing to consume baits down at their level from 20-40 feet.

It is interesting to note that we discovered an oxygen depletion layer in water deeper than 40 feet in the San Juan main channel. That makes it easier to find stripers as they consistently hold at 35-40 feet while not actively feeding. There is no need to fish at 60 feet since predators will avoid that oxygen poor zone. This depletion does not seem to be a problem in the main lake, only at Hite and upper San Juan.