Dink Blitz on the Forebay

After more than five decades of fishing the forebay, my hopes were high for today to be unexpectedly good. Just two days ago, Frank had reported the best day on the forebay this year, with 10 solid catches and a screenshot of a school of large spawning stripers. That was all the motivation I needed to head over and thoroughly explore the forebay for cooperative fish.

As I approached the forebay, I noticed that the weeds had grown up to the surface, outlining the familiar weed lines in the 156 channel. It looked perfect, and I was eager for a successful day on the water.

The Cottonwood launch area often provides clues to the day’s potential. The thick growth of weeds and algae in the shallows typically harbors baitfish, with largemouth bass often seen hunting minnows hiding in rocks and cover. However, today, I scanned the shallows and didn’t spot a single minnow. Instead, I caught sight of a hefty 5-pound bass cruising among the weeds, leaving me wondering what the bass were feeding on in the absence of visible minnows.

After launching, I headed straight to the spot where Frank had recently found success, deploying the livescope in anticipation. Unfortunately, luck wasn’t on my side today—I couldn’t locate a school of mature stripers despite scouring every familiar fishing spot in the forebay. The water remained murky from the powerhouse discharge, and none of the deep channels held any fish.

While exploring the flats near Check 12, I observed a frenzy on the water’s surface—a school of small fish blitzing. Excited to finally spot some bait, I moved closer only to discover they were yearling stripers, about 7-8 inches in size, feeding on some surface insect. These fry were visible on the scope in vast numbers, likely feeding on small aquatic invertebrates and insect larvae.

To capitalize on the abundance of small stripers, I rigged a Shad Fly dropper about 6 inches behind a size 1 Clouser. Casting became almost automatic, with every cast yielding a catch for the next hour. Despite this success with the small stripers, my focus shifted to searching for larger ones for the remainder of the day.

I decided to troll a couple of Clousers through the deepest part of the forebay, hoping to locate schools of deeper stripers in 25 feet of water. However, apart from the exciting “Dink Blitz,” the day mostly turned out to be a disappointment in terms of larger catches.

Last week had been quite productive on the lake, but my heart was set on seeing the forebay come alive. I couldn’t help but puzzle over the absence of baitfish both in the lake and the forebay.  My guess was that the weeds might trigger a bloom in the baitfish population but I was wrong.   Its my guess that the reason fish in schools around the racks are aggressive to flies is because they are agresive spawning fish and not hungry.  The spawning stripers in the lake must be drawn to the current around the racks that pumps water into the forebay.   Along the dam, the fish were feeding on shrimp, crawdads, and small bluegill and crappie which I have verified through autopsy.

Meanwhile, Vaughn, Waymun, and Brian had a pretty good day on the lake. Brian seemed to have a remarkable catch near the south tower of the racks, while the Vaughn/Wayman duo landed over a dozen fish fishing the west side of the lake.

One thought on “Dink Blitz on the Forebay

  1. Wed.7-3-24 Big Lake (110 degree temp.predicted)…Be There or Be Square…noon starting…
    Bring your Thong !!!????

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