September 15, 2010
Christofk, Tucson AZ, with 16 pound striper caught on bait in the lower
Weather has stabilized bringing those wonderful September days with warm days and cool nights. Water temperature has stabilized again near 75 F. It looks like it will stay that way for the next week or two. With not much change in temperature, fishing patterns will remain much the same. That is good news for those who like to catch lots of fish.
Striped bass adults are holding in large schools that have not moved much in the past two weeks. On a given day a school may move out of their favored spot but the school often returns in short order. If your school of fish disappears for a time just try again the next day. Stripers are still holding on terminal ends of steep cliff walls and in submerged creek channels leading to coves where shad and sunfish forage may be found. The best piece of information to help locate striper schools is that most fish seen on the graph in water deeper than 40 feet are stripers. Shad and bass are mostly in the upper 30 feet. When a school of fish is graphed at a greater depth, mark the school with a floating marker and then use spoons or bait to get the school started. Once feeding, great numbers of fish can be caught from a single school.
Water is still warm so make sure to take a fish cooler with ice to keep stripers cold until they can be filleted. That improves their eating quality exponentially over fish that are put on a stringer and left to deteriorate in 75 degree water.
Small stripers are feeding on shad and sunfish in shallow water. They will often be at the top of the water column when fishing bait on a deep school of adults. They can be pesky and eat all the chum before it gets down to the bigger fish. I don't mind because I really like to eat the small ones and can fillet them in short order.
The information above represents what is happening in the main lake. The inflow areas have a different pattern with sporadic boils followed by lethargic fish that don't eat until ready to boil again. If you get to Hite when fish are boiling it could be the best trip of the year. If not, just go down lake further and fish bait. Bait does not work where shad numbers are high as they are at Hite.
Bass fishing has improved, especially at Good Hope Bay and the San Juan. Gray, black and green plastic jigs are eaten by bass around structure all day long. Most fish are less than 2 pounds but fishing is fast. Bass fishing is improving down lake but it is not as good as in the inflow areas.
Walleye fishing is worth a trip to Hite. Drag grubs along the bottom near the ends of points that drop into deep water. Walleye are hanging out from 15-30 feet on broken rock points. They can also be spooned up from the bottom near striper schools holding spots. Low light periods are better walleye times than mid day. Walleye use striped bass herding tactics to their advantage and eat shad that flee from striper onslaughts. Walleye are still in the tree tops in the lower lake and can be taken by trolling lures just deep enough to tick the tree tops without hanging up. I like to troll over a 15-20 foot bottom with a lure that runs about 8 feet deep.