July 24, 1997
By Wayne Gustaveson
Lake Elevation: 3694
Water Temperature: 77-80 F

Striped bass are boiling in the lower lake and eating anchovies and lures uplake. Wahweap and Warm Creek have really come alive with yearling stripers hitting the surface all day long. Morning and evening are best but little boils can be seen anytime near the dam, the marinas, Castle Rock, Warm Creek, or Navajo Canyon. The 11 to 13 inch fish are eating mostly small shad but finding enough larger ones mixed in so that a 3 inch jigging spoon works great. Approach the boil quickly but stop before the boat scares the fish. Cast a 1/2 ounce Kastmaster or other silver spoon right into the feeding frenzy. Reel quickly adding twitches and jerks. The lure should be retrieved near the surface. Let it drop deeper when fish quit showing on top. Try trolling the same lure in the area of the last boil while waiting for the fish to pop up again.

In the Bullfrog area the two most effective techniques are trolling and bait fishing with anchovies. Troll close to the steep, main channel walls with a silver 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 Escalante in the main channel, Slick Rock Canyon (islands in the main channel), 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 morning and 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.

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. 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, 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.

Be alert for boils anywhere. The larger, 5-10 pound fish are hitting the top sporadically in the upper lake, particularly in the Hall's/Bullfrog area. The 12 inch yearlings are ever present and starting to add some girth. Their fillets are excellent. Silver spoons, spooks or shad colored grubs work on the bigger fish. Also check the flooded tamarisk in shallow water for surface feeding bass and stripers. Shad hide in muddy water with brush which then attracts the predators to that location.