Striped bass are ready and waiting to be caught. Many different techniques are working. Just follow two simple rules and your freezer will be full of fresh fillets. First, fish from first light until 9 am or during the last two hours of light in the evening. Second, work the steep canyon walls and not the open water to consistently locate fish.
The two most effective techniques are trolling and bait fishing with anchovies. Troll close to the steep, main channel walls with a Little Mac or similar deep diver that goes down 20 feet or more when trolled on monofilament. An hour spent trolling has resulted in 3 or more quality 5 pound or better striped bass. Good reports of big fish caught trolling have come from the main channel near Antelope point, the Narrows near buoy 17, Escalante main channel, Slick Rock Canyon, mouth of Hall's Creek, Moki wall, and Castle Butte in Good Hope Bay. A neat trick is to troll right along the shade line created in the afternoon as the sun goes behind the canyon wall. Fish close to the wall instead of out in the middle of the channel. Dragging the lure for a mile or more next to the wall should result in placing the lure in front of hungry fish. When a fish is caught retrace the path to see if a stationary school has been located. Also remember rule one, fishing early and late is best but fish can be caught mid day.
Suspend anchovies over mid channel submerged islands and shelves and rock piles along steep canyon walls. Chumming tends to start feeding in dormant schools but may not be necessary. Most canyon walls will have a school suspended somewhere along the wall. A fish locating graph helps narrow the search. Without a graph, try spots that have been successful during the past week. Some excellent catches have come from the narrows on the south wall about a half mile downstream from Padre Bay. Submerged main channel islands like the ones near the mouth of Slick Rock Canyon, Padre Bay and in the Escalante near Clear Creek Canyon have produced a lot of stripers recently. Any main channel submerged island or structure would be worth investing some time and anchovies. Cut the anchovy into 5 pieces and use a one inch chunk on a small hook with a small weight for best results. Stripers will hit anywhere from 20 to 100 feet deep. They will range in size from 10 inches to 10 pounds.
Sporadic reports continue to come in on boils of larger fish. Last week boils were seen and fish caught in the cut between Bullfrog and Hall's Creek early in the morning. Boils may occur anywhere - the key is to be on the water during the first two hours of daylight.