Information compiled by Wayne Gustaveson
Lake elevation: 3,626.58 feet
Water temperatures: 69–78°F
In the last report, I mentioned that stripers would soon feed on the surface. We now have confirmation! Stripers are slurping lakewide. The recent windy days kept stripers down as the waves crashed against the shore and messed up surface visibility where young shad swim. June 14, the water was finally calm and stripers were on top early eating baby shad by the millions. The twenty stripers I caught this morning averaged about 50 shad per stomach. The shad averaged .75 inches in length. That equates to 1,000 shad. It's time to go save some shad and catch stripers in the process.
Photo courtesy of Wayne Gustaveson.
Here is the plan: Stripers hit the surface shortly after dawn and continue to feed randomly throughout the day. I saw slurps the morning of June 14 in Warm Creek, Gunsight mouth, Labyrinth Bay, Padre Bay east wall, Gregory Butte bay, West Canyon mouth and Dove Canyon mouth. There was still a breeze blowing in Rock Creek, so I didn't see any striper slurps there. I am sure the same events played out uplake. If it was calm, then there were stripers slurping.
Surface feeding stripers stayed up longer and were more likely to hit my lures better today than last week. I could cast Lucky Craft (ghost) Pointers beyond the surface feeding school and work the lure through the closely feeding fish. With a good cast, and if the stripers continued to feed in the same direction, I connected with a fish about half the time. The four-inch lure is a lot bigger than the forage, so each striper has to give up small shad to feed on something really big like my lure. Later in the day, I though that these fish might be bold enough to hit topwater. I tried an Ima Skimmer (white) and found that they were just as likely to hit the surface lure as the crankbait. I used topwater the rest of the day.
Schools varied in size from 10 to about 50 fish. They fed in a semi-circular pattern like adults cornering full grown shad. Lures that landed inside the group caused a few to splash but caused others to hit the lure. The school moved fast enough that only one cast could reach the group. You'll need a trolling motor in high gear or a big motor at fast idle to keep up with the rapidly moving school.
Most of the schools were in the main channel over deep water. Spoons did not work as well over deep water as they did when the escaping school heads to the bottom and stops at 30 to 40 feet. I didn't catch any fish on spoons. Stripers continued to slurp until 11 a.m. when wake boat traffic increased. They will blow up any time they find food and calm seas. Expect to see slurps randomly throughout the day, but more commonly early morning and late evening.
Adult stripers are still locked below 20 feet by the warm surface water. Bait can work, but crayfish are coming out of hiding and adult stripers are searching the flats along the shore for a good meal. You can catch adult stripers by trolling in the 10 to 30 foot strata. Storm Deep Thundersticks are working quite well.
Bass fishing has not kept pace with stripers. The rapidly rising water levels may be hindering the bass catch rate. Bass are staying in their preferred, previously found holding structure and have not moved up even though the water level rose another five feet this week. The water temperature also plummeted from 76°F last week to 69°F the morning of June 14. Bass are not biting as well as they did last week, but I think they will recover as the water temperature warms up this week. Look in the same rocky habitat or flooded brush points to find willing smallmouth. Largemouth bass are tucked in tightly in shallow, weedy water. Expect bluegill and largemouth to be close by and sharing the same habitat.
Now is the time to try fishing for catfish because these bottom dwellers are in spawning mode and are super active.
Anglers caught two more tagged walleye this week. Both fish came from the Cedar to Knowles canyon area of the main channel, and both were tagged in Good Hope Bay but moved downstream. We will continue to analyze walleye movement and will report when we have conclusive information.
My next move is to post this report and then go fishing for slurping stripers!https://wildlife.utah.gov/hotspots/reports_lp.php