JULY 3, 2003

By Wayne Gustaveson

Lake Elevation: 3616

Water Temperature: 76-83 F


Striper fishing has improved with schools hitting the surface all over Lake Powell. Tiny larval shad have moved into open bays with stripers in hot pursuit. Big stripers feed along the surface at a leisurely pace since the small shad with tiny fins do not swim well. There is not much surface disturbance as 3 pound stripers just kiss the surface while slurping down little shad. But 30-50 striper mouths slurping the surface CAN be seen and heard.

Striper slurps can be frustrating because slow moving striper schools just go down and shut mouths when the boat comes near only to come up 200 yards away. The boat chases and they go down again. Normal striper feeding speed is just faster than a trolling motor can go big engine noise may put them down. These are the challenges that need to be overcome and here are some tips to help you do it.

Slurping fish are much more aggressive when the boil starts. So early morning or late evening is best but a mid day boil is good too if you find fish as they start to feed.

Do not charge the boil at full speed. Slow moving schools seem to accept a slow moving boat but shy away from a fast approach. Watch the school and judge direction of travel. Try to get ahead of them and let them feed toward the boat.

When the school is in range remember that stripers are eating small shad and are very fussy eaters. The slurps can be fished with a small heavy lure like a 3/8 ounce kastmaster or wallylure. A small plastic shad on a quarter or 3/8 ounce jig head will cast far enough to do the job and is still small enough to be eaten. Cast beyond the slurp and reel fast enough to keep it in the upper 3 feet on the retrieve.

Another option is to attach a 12 inch dropper to the rear hook of a large stick bait like the Zara spook. Tie on a white crappie jig or small plastic grub as the trailing lure. This rocket-booster system allows you to cast the big lure to the slurping fish and then catch the stripers on the small bait.

Pinpoint casting is important. Cast within a foot of the leading stripers to give yourself the best shot at catching one of them.

Finally Be Prepared. You can see a boil anywhere at anytime of day. Always have a rod rigged with a "boil bait". DO NOT LEAVE THE DOCK WITHOUT THIS PROTECTION.

Slurps are going lake wide with the exception of Wahweap Bay and the muddy water at Hite. Hotspots include the main channel upstream from Wahweap at Buoy 24 near Padre Butte and Buoy 36 to 39A at Dungeon to Wetherill Canyon. In the San Juan look in the Bays near Cha and Neskahi Canyons. Bullfrog Bay is probably the very best spot for surfacing stripers.