OCTOBER 7, 2004

By Wayne Gustaveson

Lake Elevation: 3570

Water Temperature: 68-71 F


Stripers have now made the anticipated change from feeding in open water to feeding in shallow coves and cuts. Fall fishing at Powell is normally a search of many canyons looking for a cove or two containing shad. Stripers station themselves in deep water waiting for shad to attempt an escape. Open water feeding has dominated the fishing scene recently delaying the on-shore movement of shad and stripers.

The move began last week following full moon and is now almost complete. Shad have left (or been driven out of) the channel for the back of the canyon where shallow water protects them from large stripers. From now on it will be more common to find stripers feeding along the shore instead of open water. Birds benefit from frantic shad leaping onto shore to avoid striper onslaughts. Anglers can then key on bird activity to help pinpoint striper schools.

Stripers have been feeding in open water of Padre Bay all summer. This week the same stripers were found running shad to the back of the restroom cove and to long points extending off Padre Butte. Those looking for boils in open water will miss stripers feeding within a few feet of shore. Boil timing remains the same - there is a quick boil from 7-8 AM. Then there is a random boil sometime during the 10-2 PM period. Stripers come up once more in the last hour of light. Boils are less common now than they were when stripers were in open water.

The best technique this weekend will be to search U-shaped coves near the main channel where water depth is 2 feet or less. Find shad trapped near shore and stripers and smallmouth will be gorging nearby. Shad schools in shallows are huge and may look like a dark shaped whale moving slowly in the shallow water. Feeding shad schools can also look like wind riffles moving in calm water where no wind exists.

Fishing will be challenging until one of the favored shad coves is found. Once located fishing fortunes will improve dramatically. Smallmouth bass are staying in the coves within easy striking distance of shad. Stripers are holding further out and only periodically move in to terrorize the frightened shad. This is an exciting time of year to fish. Remember to look very shallow. The best lures for us this week were Lucky Craft bevy shad and rattletraps.

The exception to the near shore rule: main channel stripers will still feed between the sheer canyon walls from Navajo to Glen Canyon Dam. Expect boils anytime of day - especially at mid day. The evening boil is still going near Glen Canyon Dam.