Today I fished with some of the fam at San Luis Reservoir. What a way to end the year with 35+ stripers.
According to the park gate attendant, only a handful of boaters were able to land stripers of the 35 boats that launched out of the Basalt side. So what did we do differently from the majority that helped us end the year with a bang?
Most of the time when I fish San Luis Reservoir, I’ll go off what’s working from the previous trip and figure out the bite from there. Sometimes I’ll get stripers off the bat. Sometimes it’s a flop and I won’t figure it out till later in the day.
This was one of those fishing trips when the pattern from the previous week wasn’t the same. Last week they were holding around the trash racks and mostly suspended in various parts of the lake. We caught only one fish to start the morning and after an hour or so of no bites around the trash racks or Romero Point, we finally decided to hit up Lone Oak Bay and the Portuguese area.
Almost right away we hook into stripers in Lone Oak Bay. And more stripers. And more stripers after that.
We were hooking into striped bass on multiple rods, we had doubles and triples trolling the area.
Most stripers caught were undersized. When we left the lake early in the afternoon, we caught 35+ stripers with a dozen or so legal sized fish to 24 inches. It was a hot bite overall. Luckily, we took photos of most the catches because we lost count of it all.
So what’d we do differently that helped us catch more fish than most of the boaters out there?
We fished them deep.
I believe only a small percentage of boaters who fish San Luis Reservoir target waters below 70 feet. Maybe even 50 feet.
We caught most of our stripers in 70-100 feet of water. We trolled the collapsible umbrella rigs 10-20 feet above the bottom and on the bottom. At each depth we hooked up. Most of the striped bass markings were so subtle, it’d be easy to bypass such a location.
The key to catching these stripers was having the ability to reach them at that depth with the right bait. I use a downrigger to acheive this but you can also use a dipsy diver. I use my collapsible umbrella rigs to target stripers. Mimicking bait fish is key. Through trial and error, I’ve found that shad colors on the rig yields the best results.
Now you know. Go get em!