July 27, 2005
By Wayne Gustaveson
Lake Elevation: 3607
Water Temp: 80-86 F

Last week big stripers had me worried because they were apparently trapped in cold deep water and separated from their shad food source.   Somehow the word got out that feeding was good in warm surface water.  Big stripers came up from the deep and starting boiling all over Lake Powell. Where only yearlings were feeding before, now 4-6 pound adults are hitting the top and eating 1-3 inch shad.  

Fishing stripers boils has become synonymous with summer fishing at Powell and it is now in the early stages. Slurps are still common especially uplake from Bullfrog where larval shad are still abundant.  But, there are now just as many boils where stripers feed more actively on larger shad. Scattered boils with large stripers were seen in the Escalante and San Juan last week.  Those fish continue to feed.  In addition, boils have erupted from Antelope Point to Navajo Canyon, Gregory Butte to Rainbow Bridge, San Juan to Escalante and from Bullfrog to Good Hope.  

Most of the action is main channel or main canyon where stripers can rest in deep water and still see shad on top.  Bigger stripers need to have a cool water sanctuary to refresh themselves following a surface feeding spree in uncomfortable warm water. The boil is quick but obvious for a great distance.  Feeding lasts for about 2 minutes. Then stripers zip down to cool water where they rest for a time. Still hungry, they stalk another surface shad pod and attack once more.  Boils are going sporadically all day long.  It takes a bit of luck.  If you pass over the school when its down instead of on top the boil may be missed. Stripers often boil in the same general area time after time with an indefinite duration rest period in between.  Find a boil and return to that spot often for another chance to get into the fish when they are hot. 

Catching is easy if the boil pops up in casting range. Stripers will hit full size surface lures, medium running crank baits and spoons. My favorite is the Rebel Jumpiní minnow. They hit plastic grubs and swim baits but tend to tear them up, so using hard plastic bait is more economical. When boiling fish dive, follow them down with a spoon to catch one more fish.   

Bass are surface feeding in loose groups around stripers.  Look for single splashes with some distance between fish if targeting bass.  All game fish are preying on shad in the warm water.  Shad color crank baits are working well morning and evening. I prefer a spitting top water lure like a Sugoi Splash or Pop-R for bass.  When using soft plastic for bass try shad colors in white and silver.  Spinner baits with white and chartreuse were effective this past week.

Now that the lake is going down catfising is improving because there is more shallow beach area devoid of brush. Wave action has uprooted and moved a lot of the annual brush. That makes camping better too.

Catching and Graphing Small Stripers 

When chasing yearling striper boils, the school of small fish often sounds as the boat nears.  Stripers then take up a fairly constant station under the boat if they do not pop right back to the surface. Water depth is usually 20-30 feet.  The school of stripers layers out half way between the surface and bottom. When stripers are seen on the graph under the boat they are really catchable and quite fun to watch.  

Yearling stripers pictured on a graph

Just lower a small plastic grub or tiny spoon over the side of the boat.  Watch the bait as it goes down.  When the bait disappears from view give it a jerk to bring it back into view.  Stripers will shoot up after the lure and flash into visible range.  Their numbers will astound you. Looks like a school of feeding pirhanas with 10 fish attacking the lure and many others on the perimeter. 

Try it just to get a good feel for seeing what your graph sees.  Its good practice and will help you with identifying larger fish at greater depths. 

When the school dives to the bottom, as shown here, just lower the bait all the way to the bottom to catch more fish.  

Keep all the little stripers caught to save the 100,000 shad that that fish would eat during its life time.