Quality of life is measured by amount of time spent fishing.
We fished the Escalante early in mid-October with mixed results. Our camp was in 50 Mile Canyon and we fished the canyons near there.
Fishing was slow Monday afternoon but we did find two schools of stripers and identified a pattern. The location was in the main Escalante River Channel between Three Roof Ruin and Explorer Canyon. Water depth was 20-30 feet in the channel.
We fished on points sticking out from shore into the channel. Striper schools were small and appeared to be lying right on the bottom. As we graphed the point from a depth of 25 feet toward the shoreline, we found a small group of fish marks at 17 feet. If we dropped spoons right into the school we caught a few fish. If the spoon missed the school none were caught.
A Few More Fish
We then ventured farther up the channel toward Explorer and saw another point and found the second school by graphing up slope. Again at 17 feet, we saw a tight school on bottom, dropped spoons and caught a few more fish.
No striper boils were seen or reported in the past week.
When we had more time to fish, we looked at the sights including La Gorce Arch and Cathedral in the Desert; both were awesome sights. A few bass were caught on topwater in the brushy treetops in the backs of the canyons at a channel depth of 9-15 feet. Then as the sun got higher in the sky the bass quit. Fishing was tough in some very good habitat and locations.
From None To Too Many
We ran down lake as far as Cottonwood Canyon without catching a fish. We headed back toward the Escalante and began trolling and casting along a big rockslide near Hole in the Rock. We caught stubby smallmouth all along the rocky shoreline on a variety of lures. We checked another rocky shoreline to see if this was the only spot they were hitting. No, smallmouth bass turned on everywhere we tried from 2-4 p.m. Fish caught immediately went from none to too many.
This reminds me so much of springtime bass fishing when they will not bite at all in the cool morning and then turn on like crazy as the water warms in the afternoon. With temperatures now in the high 60s, bass behavior is much like pre-spawn fish. Afternoon angling was definitely best for us but that feeding period may enlarge as weather continues to stabilize and the full moon continues to “wayne”.
Afternoon: Prime Time
Back at camp we learned that stripers exhibited the same behavior. They did not bite in the morning but when the same rocky points were tried after 2 p.m., the stripers took off and 30 fish were landed.
It seems the pattern right now is up to the fish. It is not about the best lure or the best spot. Many different types of spoons, bucktail jigs and medium-running crankbaits worked when stripers were active while none worked when they were inactive. Topwater, shallow square bill cranks, rattletraps all caught bass in the afternoon prime time.
I suspect the same timing pattern will apply to catching fish over the length of the lake for awhile. If you can only fish for a short time, make sure it is in the afternoon. I feel that fishing success will improve as the weather warms and the lake remains calm.
Wind tends to mix warm water from the surface with cool water in the depths. That drops the water temperature and slows fishing success. Warming then makes the fishing better just as it does in the springtime.
At press time, lake elevation was 3628.12 and water temperature was 68-70F.