Sunday September 20, 2020 -I forgot what its like to catch lots of fish in the forebay and yet feel like there was something missing. I caught over 25 fish today but only 4 fish were 18 inches or bigger. The forebay conditions were nearly ideal – warm weather, no wind, good weedlines, and water temps in the mid 60s. The only major element missing was current. Unlike several weeks ago it seems like the schools of fish have moved into the weed and into the shallow water. I could see schools of smelt on the deep water weedlines but I caught more fish fishing 8 feet of water fishing the small pockets of relatively weedless areas 30-50 feet inside. The channel did not produce like three weeks ago and there was very little surface action today in the channel all morning.
I decided to try some spots today that I dont usually fish. I fished the weed coves between the islands and caught half a dozen dinks there. I could see the schools of baitfish near the surface. Occasionally I would spot a couple minnows jumping an inch out of the water which usually means there is a fish nearby. Site fishing jumping minnows was pretty effective in the shallows. Every chance I got, I would cast a surface plug over the holes in the weeds looking for a trapped school of fish. What was effective three weeks ago was ignored today. Not a single hit on surface plugs or flies.
I moved over to the weed cove where I did well on topwater a couple weeks ago. there were no concentrations of fish along the weed coves between the islands and the Medirous launch
I tried searching the deep water Trench for schools of fish that 5 years ago use to hang in the cool deep water. Those fish must be learning remotely because they weren’t there. The best find of the day was the rock wall directly across from the Cottonwood boat launch to the Powerhouse. The rock wall produced consistent fish from noon to 3pm. The fish on the wall were bigger than those in the flats and I could see schools of fish hanging around the bottom at 20 feet. Steph had sent me a sonar pic off the wall at the powerhouse and I can confirm that there were lots of schools running the wall. Some even would break water but they were moving quickly and hard to chase. My best luck was working the wall with the trolling motor on slow, moving parallel to the edge of the weeds about 40 feet out (not too close). Once I made a pass, I would fire up the big motor and make another pass. I must have made 5 to 6 passees and caught fish all along the wall.
I saw dozens of fly fishermen out today. I touched base early with Vaughn and he had a dozen fish in the morning from the channel. I ended the day with over 25 fish but only 3 were 18 inches. Nothing bigger. It nice to see lots of two year old stripers in the system. The forebay is full of food for these ravenous juvenile stripers. What a great system. The Forebay acts as a nursery for stripers and the dam pumps feed the healthy ones into the lake ecosystem where they feed on American Shad, gobbies and grass shrimp as well as smelt and grow huge. Im sure DWR didn’t plan on building the lake forebay system to sustain striped bass. From what I’ve heard, The last thing DWR want to deal with is an endangered species or a dying fish eco system. They purposely ignore studying the fishery for fear that it will interfere with moving water for money which was its primary purpose.