OCT 31, 1996


The transition continues with striped bass moving toward the backs of canyons following migrating shad. Fish movement inflicts more randomness and variability into the fishing equation. Striped bass will boil when and where they find a vulnerable school of shad. Predicting time and place of the event is difficult. My best guess is that some of the finest trophy striper fishing of the year will be found in November and December. But it will be unpredictable and random.

Improve your chances of finding trophy, 8-10 pound, stripers feeding by concentrating on those areas where stripers have been found during the Fall. Schools have consistently been found in the vicinity of Hall's/Bullfrog Bay, Slick Rock Canyon, Hite Marina downstream to Good Hope Bay, Warm Creek, Navajo Canyon and Padre Bay. Be on the lake during low light periods to find infrequent boils.

Key in on bird behavior. Ravens, seagulls and blue herons that have followed the stripers to get an easy meal will be near the site of the last boil or will move toward the feeding area at a certain time each day. If resting birds seem to get excited and start gathering at a certain time or place, investigate the cause. Sometimes they are eating a picnic lunch leftover or swiped from a departing houseboat but often they are feeding on shad driven on shore by hundreds of 8 pound stripers. Look for rocks, beach or coves that have been excessively whitewashed by birds. An area that seems overused by birds may result from a nightly 20 minute striper boil in that cove or canyon. Check out that cove in the morning and evening to see if stripers are using it on a regular, predictable basis. With as many shad as we have available this year, stripers will often feed in one cove until the shad are gone and then move to the next, gradually working their way up or down lake. If one cove has a tremendous amount of bird sign but no fish, check nearby coves for surface feeding action.

Use electronics to find resting striper schools midway back in canyons. Stripers have a characteristic haystack shape on the graph and can be recognized with practice. A school of stripers "seen" on the graph that will not bite may be some of the super abundant young fish less than 14 inches that are omnipresent. Use a smaller lure, like a 1/4 ounce jigging spoon, to see if the striper school is composed of small fish. Chumming with 5 or 6 anchovies cut in small pieces and broadcast in the water all around the boat may excite the dormant school into feeding activity. Once started the school will hit all lures offered for a short time. Small stripers are starting to bite with regularity on anchovies in shallow water, particularly in the lower lake. Fish all the spring time spots with anchovies to catch bucketfuls of small stripers less than 14 inches. Use small hooks and tiny pieces of bait to capture the tasty, young stripers.