The pace of striped bass fishing on Lake Gaston is picking up, and Don Enderle of Tri-Lakes Guide Service is trolling to find feeding fish in creeks with slightly warmer water.

“I’m playing a numbers game,” said Enderle (252-813-8501), who said that a creek only has to hold water that’s a degree or two warmer than the main lake to hold stripers. “Couple that with the presence of baitfish, and that’s where the stripers will be.

“You can find fish on either end of the lake, but I usually fish the creeks in the midsection of the lake,” said Enderle, who changes the creeks his fishes on a daily basis. “Whenever they generate water, it changes the whole equation. I can find fish one day, and they can be gone the next.”

Enderle employs at least eight rods in his trolling spread, cutting a 50- to 60-foot swath between his planer boards.  

“I have two down rods with 2-ounce Carolina rigs, two rods with slip floats set between 10 and 15 feet with ¼- to a ½-ounce weights, two free lines with no weights and two side planers with no weights,” said Enderle, who fishes live threadfin shad caught in a cast net.

“I pay close attention to my GPS and sonar when I’m making a pass, so I can fish the ledges of a creek. One of my planer boards may be in five feet of water and the other in 25,” Enderle said. He tries to keep his trolling speed between one-half and 1 mph.

“Gaston is fed by the water coming from the bottom of Kerr Lake, which makes it few degrees warmer, and a good option when it’s unusually cold,” said Enderle. “We had water between 49 and 51 degrees this past weekend, but it’s been down to 37 degrees over the winter. We’re about a month behind schedule. These fish will stay in the creeks until the water temperature is at least 68 degrees, which should be between May and June, before they make the spring run up the lake.”