Over the past month, the larger stripers have been shallow and they are eating trout on freelines behind the boat with nothing but a hook and a trout. The smaller stripers have been deep and being caught on downlines with herring and small trout. Some of these stripers have been 70 feet deep.
Sar far it looks like this pattern of big fish shallow and small fish deep will continue through January. Be sure to keep an eye out for any bird life including sea gulls and loons. The birds will let you know where the concentrations of baitfish are located. Be sure to keep an eye out for any surfacing fish. The surfacing fish have been few and far between but that can change any day. Be sure to keep a small white bucktail tied on a spinning rod like a Fenwick 7′ Medium spinning rod spooled with ten pound Trilene Big Game line. You need the light line for the casting distance of the small bucktails. Some of these fish will be in two feet of water so be sure to look hard in the backs of the coves for any activity. Even one fish busting can give away a honey hole.
If the weather turns extremely cold in the coming weeks don’t count out the umbrella rig either. Many times in January the umbrella rig tipped with 4 inch chartreuse hypertails can out catch live bait due to the rig being a reaction bite. This pattern will most likely come into play if the water temperature drops below 46 degrees. If you have never pulled the umbrella rig, be sure to talk to the guys at the local bait shops for some pointers. The rigs are expensive and an umbrella rig retriever is very important. Be sure to purchase one. Use the retriever one time and it will pay for itself.