August 16, 2001
By Wayne Gustaveson   Home Page:
Lake Elevation: 3668  Water Temperature: 78-83F

Lake Powell stripers are ready, willing and eager to be caught. School sized 1 to 2.5 pound fish are feeding actively in the warm water which takes a lot energy. Shad are not available in the quantities stripers would like to consume leaving stripers unsatisfied and ready to eat anytime. Stripers are coming shallow every morning looking for shad and crayfish. The secret to catching them is simply being in the right place. The generic description of "that place" is rocky structure like a ridge, point or shelf where bottom depth is 30 feet. It must be near deep water where stripers can descend to cool off. An island or submerged hump in the main channel may be the place but more likely the spot is in the back of a canyon or cove where shad can be rounded up and trapped. The right time is from first light until 8 am (MST). The scene is replayed in the evening as the shadow of the setting sun covers the water.

During the majority of daylight hours stripers rest in dormant schools in deeper strata very near the shallow ambush points. These schools can be graphed and successfully caught on anchovy bait. If you don't have a graph then get up early in the morning and look for "slurps". In most locations, except Hite and the upper San Juan, boils are not common. Instead 2-3 stripers chase individual shad to the surface. The commotion is seen as fish surfacing, slurping and surfacing again and then diving for the bottom. If close enough throw a short stick bait into the swirl to catch the fish.

If fish are gone before getting close enough to cast then drop a jigging spoon at the spot of the slurp and let it descend to the bottom (if the depth is 40 feet or shallower). Work the spoon in 8-10 foot hops off the bottom letting it descend back to the bottom. Most hits will be on the fall. Watch the line for hops or jumps as the lure descends. Premature stop of the descent is the best way to know a fish has inhaled the spoon. Quickly reel in the slack and set the hook. If no fish is hooked drop immediately and quickly reset. Once a school starts playing volleyball with your lure the set and drop action will become clear.

Look for slurps and spoon-hungry fish in Wahweap Bay (Ice Cream Canyon), Warm Creek (Haystacks), Gunsight Bay, Padre Canyon, Kane Creek and Wash, Neanderthal Cove, West, Last Chance, Rock Creek, Rincon, Halls Creek (west end), San Juan (Piute and Neskahi), and Escalante (Explorer Cyn upstream). They slurp from 6-8 am only!

At Hite and upper San Juan the more conventional small to moderate boils are seen. They may be at first light or may happen anytime from 8 to noon then start again at 5 pm. The best places to look are Hite/Farley/North Wash/Colorado River, or Trachyte down to Two-Mile Canyon (bouy 134). Fish spoons or bait while waiting for boils to consistently catch fish all day.

In the San Juan there are many deep schools partial to bait or spoons found from Pinnacle Rock to the mouth of Cha Canyon, back of Piute Canyon (HOT SPOT) and at island on opposite side of bay and upstream from Neskahi Canyon. Around the San Juan Great Bend into Zahn Bay stripers feed some on top but are stacked in the channel from Donkey Island to Nokai Canyon. Look for boils from Copper to Mikes canyon if the flash flood waters have not colored the water too severely.

To catch smallmouth bass fish where bottom depth is 30 feet using whatever technique feels good - plastic grubs or senkos on lead heads, carolina or drop shot rigs. Depth is critical to fishing success.