Shad Run For Cover!
Results of our sampling this week show shad to be all but gone from the main
channel in the main lake. Very few shad were captured in midwater trawl tows
from Wahweap to Good Hope. This means that frequency of main channel boils
is now greatly reduced. Shad have moved into brush and marina areas where
cover offers some protection from the relentless pursuit of predators.
Anglers must be aware that cruising the main channel looking for boils is no
longer productive. Surface feeding activity continues in side canyons and
coves where shad are now hiding.
The notable exception is found near the inflowing Colorado and San Juan
rivers where shad still occupy open water. From Good Hope Bay to Hite there
is significant boil activity. Recently the boil time period was 6 - 7:30 PM
(MST). Boils, seen in the evening, offer some of the best fishing of the
year. Fish were very aggressive and hit most lures without hesitation. Boils
were still quick lasting less than a minute. They do come back up quickly
offering a second chance to make a good cast. Fish are strong enough that it
is unusual to be able to land one and get a second cast into the same school
before it goes down.
A few scattered fish were seen surfacing in the morning. These were
scattered and reluctant to hit surface lures. Cranking down 5-10 feet was
sometimes effective but the best technique was to cast a spoon to the
diminishing splash rings and let it fall 30 feet. If fish did not hit on the
way down they would often follow the spoon during a rapid retrieve with
frequent pauses (speed reeling). Walleye and bass were also caught using
this same early morning spooning method.
With shad now gone from open water striper feeding opportunities will
diminish making stripers more susceptible to bait fishing. It is wise to
bring frozen sardines or anchovies along to use when schools of fish are
located on the graph. My first attempt to excite the resting school would be
with a spoon, but failing that bait should work.
Night fishing may now be the very best way to catch stripers. Use a floating
fishing light to attract plankton and shad. Allow about 30 minutes before
stripers are attracted to the feeding opportunity. Then use cut bait right
on the edge of the light and underneath the shad school. Anchor where water
depth is over 50 feet deep for best results. Marina areas hold many shad and
offer night lighting to attract fish each night. You might try the fish
docks at both Antelope Point and Wahweap Marinas.
Bass fishing remains fair to good but fishing deep water is essential to get
the bait down to where fish are enjoying cooler water. Currently the best
bass fishing technique is dropshot plastic baits fished under the boat at
Catfishing is excellent at night. Sunfish are ever present around parked
boats and make for easy fish for kids to catch.