October 17, 1997
By Wayne Gustaveson
Lake Elevation: 3689
Water Temperature: 65-68

If adult striped bass could choose a temperature it would be 64 F. That is their preferred temperature and the condition at which they are most active. This week will be a great one for striped bass fishing and that will continue as long as the weather holds the lake in the low 60's. Activity will decrease as the temperatures dip into the 50's.

Most striped bass adults are currently holding in the backs of canyons where the main channel depth is 80-100 feet. These fish are resting but easily located with fish finding graphs. Stripers are schooling fish and feeding activity in one fish will stimulate the rest of the school to feed. Work on the resting fish with jigs, spoons, or anchovies trying to get one fish to feed. Once one is hooked the rest will follow suit. The absolute best way to attack a resting school is with finely cut anchovies. Broadcast them into the water all around the boat. When the school begins feeding you can fish with whatever terminal tackle you like but the anchovies get the action started quicker than any other technique. When fish are at 80 feet it will take 5 to 10 minutes for the anchovies to settle. The boat may drift a considerable distance in this time and be out of range of the stationary striper school. Use a marker buoy at the site where a school was marked or chum distributed. Keep returning to the spot to start a new drift. Stripers will often follow the boat to eat bait and lures and follow fish that have been hooked. Once the lures are out of the water and everyone is unhooking fish in the boat, the school may leave and return to the original location. Return to the buoy to find fish again.

Surface activity is possible now at this temperature range. Check the very back of each canyon. Motor to the back and cast a stick bait like a zara spook. If feeding stripers are in the area they will swirl under the lure even if they don't take it. If no fish come to the top after 5 or 6 casts then try the middle of the channel where the depth is 40-80 feet. Find a school on the graph, then broadcast chum. Fish over that school for 15 minutes . If no success find another school and repeat the process. An hour of looking will be rewarded with great catches once the school "lights up". We are getting lots of reports of anglers taking 30-50 healthy fish in the 5-10 pound range. Some schools will feed all morning once they are stimulated into feeding.

The 12 inch yearling stripers are really fun and easy to find. They are eating plankton and holding at 20-40 feet. They respond almost instantly to anchovy chum and can be taken as fast as they can be removed from the hook. When the school gets active, put on a small chunk of anchovy and drop it to about 10 feet. Watch it until it just disappears. Pull it back into sight and watch the stripers fight over your bait. It is more fun than crappie fishing and the rewards are just as sweet. These are the best eating fish in the lake right now. The big stripers are great to catch but the small ones are better on the dinner plate.

Stripers are ready and waiting for you in Warm Creek, Navajo Canyon, Last Chance, main Rock Creek, West Canyon, upper San Juan, Escalante River canyons, Rincon, Reflection Canyon, Bullfrog and Halls Creek, Good Hope Bay canyons, Trachyte and White, and the riverine lake above Hite. My guess is that stripers can be caught in every major canyon in Lake Powell by following the described steps. Keep all the fish caught so that the ones remaining can survive the winter in good physical condition. The striped bass population is too high for existing forage conditions and must be reduced for the health of the fishery.