OCTOBER 1, 2003

By Wayne Gustaveson

Lake Elevation: 3603

Water Temperature: 71-75 F

Striper boils uplake are still the hottest news on the lake but there have been some subtle changes. The center of surface feeding activity is still Halls Crossing and the Halls houseboat field is the epicenter of striper activity. There is a boil there sometime each day.

There has been a recent change in timing. Boils were expected to better in the morning following a dark night with no moon. But recently afternoon boils were dominant. I don't think it will be easy to predict a morning or evening pattern now. The only clue may be that absence of surface feeding in the morning may predict a stronger evening bite. A failure to see feeding stripers in the evening may suggest a strong feeding period for the next morning. It may also mean that mid day boils are happening. Don't let down the watch for boiling stripers at any time. The best strategy is to fish for boiling stripers both morning and evening during the first and last hours of the day.

Stripers have expanded their range and are now boiling away from the 7 mile stretch above Halls Crossing. Boils have been seen recently as far uplake as Four Mile Canyon and downlake at the mouth of the Escalante and San Juan. Boils have been found out of the main channel in Halls Creek, Hidden Passage, and in Piute and Nasja Canyon on the San Juan. The movement away from the main channel will continue as shad flee from constant striper attacks and migrate to the backs of canyons where plankton supplies are higher. Canyon and cove boils will be harder to find but will last longer and be more rewarding once located.

Look for bird activity to find secretive boils. Stripers trap shad against shore which gives ravens a chance to eat shad as they leap out on the bank to avoid a striper attack. Ravens, gulls, herons and even coyotes follow stripers hoping for a shad meal. Birds wait at the spot of a recent meal or perch after seeing a striper school from the air. Check points where ravens are congregated by tossing a surface lure out near shore. Sometimes the stripers are there waiting and a boil will commence.

The next two weeks will mark the best striper fishing of the fall as the water temperature drops into the 60's. The average boiling striped bass is now almost 4 pounds. These strong fish are incredible fighters and voracious eaters. They will often follow the lure smacking it many times and then inhale the 5 inch morsel within a few feet of the boat. It is an exhilarating fishing experience.

Smallmouth bass fishing is improving. Most bass are caught at 20-30 feet but they move shallow and feed with stripers during a boil near shore. Plastic grubs, tubes, and senkos are all working well. Location is more important than lure choice. Bass are stacked on points that extend into the main channel and drop off quickly into the cool depths. Bass are waiting for shad school to swim past in the channel but are able to feed on crayfish on the rocky point while waiting. This is an extremely good time to fish at Lake Powell.