Pop goes the Forebay

Friday  April 14, 2023. The next three weeks are going to busy for me with a Henderson Springs trip next week and a long awaited Cruise to Spain, Morocco and Portugal following that, it may be mid May till I can fish the forebay again.   I fished hard the last couple weeks almost every other day  hoping to be there on the day that the lake and forebay came out of their Atmospheric River induced comas.   I could feel that any day now it was about to happen.  The water temps were rising quickly,  the clarity of the water was also improving  and most of all, the behavior of the fish on the livescope was evolving.    The schools of stripers were getting bigger,    There were more fish pairing up and the fish I autopsied last week  were going through spawning metamorphosis.

The Yellow Light was on when I launched,   There were white caps on the lake but I often choose days where the wind is borderline if the direction is northeast.  Winds from the northeast are treacherous on the lake by about 5 mph less on the forebay because the wind is deflected by the foothills around the forebay.    When it shifts north,  It comes right down the 156 channel and over the top of the Cottonwood Launch landing half way across the forebay to the rock wall.   No matter how windy it gets,  there is always a calm area on the south side of the forebay thats fishable.   Plus as I told Tim , there are  less crowds when the winds are marginal.

I headed directly to the Powerhouse where most people this last week have caught 90 percent of there fish.   Since no one was there,   I started at the top and drifted down fishing the current.   When I would get a fish,  I would hit spot lock and fish again for a couple casts and then drifts some more till I caught another.   Then I would motor up to the top and repeat.     By 11:00  I had a dozen fish when Brian pulled up.    I decided to let him have the run and go look for fish on the flats.   There were tons of fish out there last week but they wouldn’t eat.  Today I found even  bigger schools of fish and they were more interested in chasing a fast stripped flies today.    The water clarity is about 3 feet now and I think that has much to do with the more active fish  as well.    I finished the day with 27 fish fishing from 8:00 to 4:30.   From noon to 4:30,  I caught only 4 of them,  The morning had a much better bite.  Today’s best fish was a fat one measuring a little over 26 inches.

Great fishing this time of year is not due to an abundance of bait especially since there aren’t any weeds yet.   The temps and conditions that grow weeds also grows minnows and bugs.  The March through May bonanza happens because of Striper Sex.    In the Forebay and Lake,  this happens when the water temps start approaching 65 degrees.   The water temps today were 57 to 63 degrees.

The optimum conditions for landlocked striped bass to spawn include:

  1. Water temperature: Like their anadromous counterparts, landlocked striped bass prefer to spawn when the water temperature is between 60 and 70 degrees Fahrenheit. However, in some cases, they may spawn in water temperatures as low as 55 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Photoperiod: Landlocked striped bass rely on changes in the photoperiod (length of daylight) to trigger the onset of their spawning season. They typically spawn when the days start to get longer and the water temperature begins to warm up in the spring.
  3. Current: Landlocked striped bass prefer to spawn in areas with moderate to strong currents, which help to keep the eggs and larvae suspended in the water column.
  4. Substrate: Landlocked striped bass prefer to spawn on rocky or gravelly substrate, which allows the eggs to settle and adhere to the bottom.
  5. Water quality: Landlocked striped bass require good water quality to successfully spawn. Factors such as pH, dissolved oxygen, and turbidity can all affect the viability of the eggs and larvae.

Overall, the optimum conditions for landlocked striped bass to spawn are similar to their anadromous counterparts, but with some differences due to their freshwater habitat. Water temperature, photoperiod, current, substrate, and water quality are all important factors to consider when looking at the spawning behavior of landlocked striped bass.

I noticed that the behavior of the fish in the afternoon changed dramatically as I witnessed fish refusing the fly when I put it in front of them on the panoptix.   Definitely one great feature of the Livescope is it tells you when the Fat Lady Sings.  I am excited for my buddies who are gong to fish in the next three weeks.  Its only going to get much better and I’m going to miss it.



One thought on “Pop goes the Forebay

  1. Meng, excellent post as always. Thanks for schooling us on stripper spawn habits- I learned some new things. Safe travels & there will be many strippers left when you return.

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