November 7, 1997
By Wayne Gustaveson
Lake Elevation: 3687
Water Temperature: 57-60 F

As temperatures continue to drop largemouth and smallmouth bass fishing has slowed down with only occasional bursts of active feeding. Striped bass fishing remains good as schools have moved to predictable locations where they can be found each day. The striped bass pattern works in most canyons on Lake Powell. Expect to find striped bass in most major canyons where deep, main channel water depth is 60 feet. Search the submerged creek channel at the 60 foot contour with electronics until either a school or scattered fish are located. Mark the location of the stationary school with a floating marker buoy and then drop a half ounce white jig or one-third of an anchovy to the bottom and then reel up three turns. If the school looks promising, scatter some anchovy chum around the boat and wait 5 minutes for the action to start.

We tried this technique on November 5th in two canyons that we had not fished before. In Reflection Canyon we stopped the boat when the bottom depth was 60. We marked the first fish school seen and started fishing. In the next hour we caught 10 five pound plus stripers from that school, all within 20 feet of the marker buoy. If we drifted further away the fish stopped biting. Continuing with the experiment we tried the other arm of Reflection Canyon. We stopped the boat when the bottom depth was 60 feet and marked a school of fish. We then went to Oak Canyon stopped at 60 feet, marked a school and proceeded to catch another 15 adult stripers. The pattern is predictable and repeatable.

Many anglers have been catching fish at the same spots and the rewards are getting smaller with time. If this happens just try a different canyon to increase the catch rate. Most of the adult fish are caught at about 50 feet while the yearling 12-14 inch fish are found at 20-30 feet. The big ones are fun to catch but the smaller ones are better for eating. Go out and catch lots of both sizes for a great fishing trip. Keep all fish caught to provide maximum benefit to remaining Lake Powell fisheries resources.

We have really had fun with the yearling fish which are now big enough to put up a real fight. At some point while fishing an active striper school the yearlings typically come shallow and follow a bait back to the boat. When this happens lower your bait until it disappears from view and then raise it until it can be seen again. Invariably the yearling stripers will follow it back into view and hit the bait in full view of the anglers in the boat. They can be held there as long as there is a bait in the water. Watching stripers hit the bait is almost as fun as surface fishing and the yearlings can be put in the boat as fast as the can be unhooked and a new bait put in the water.

We have some really exciting fishing for anyone going to Piute Farms. Stripers are boiling on the last remaining shad stronghold in the bay surrounding the old lauch ramp. Look for schools of fat 4-6 pound fish working in small groups early and late each day. If you like boils the trip to Piute Farms is worthwhile. It should hold out until the next winter weather front blows through and chases the shad deep.