July 7, 2005
By Wayne Gustaveson
Lake Elevation: 3607
Water Temp: 76-82 F
Stripers are feeding nonstop on tiny shad. The onslaught starts before dawn and continues until dark. Slurping boils can be seen anytime and anywhere. This intense feeding has continued for two weeks now and stripers are very comfortable eating larval shad and ignoring larger baits. That makes it tough since anglers really donít have a larval shad lure in their tackle box. Tiny shad resemble a one-inch long piece of spaghetti.
Sometimes the very first cast to a slurping school with a surface lure or rattletrap will get a strike. More often the lure is ignored in high use areas. One fishing strategy for spooky, boat-shy fish is to find boils just as they start before first light or just before dark. The ends of the day are the best fishing times, with evening far superior to morning if the wind is not blowing. The last two hours before dark are prime. Stripers will hit full size topwater lures in the evening.
The next best strategy is to find fish that are not boat shy. Stripers that have not been chased often are much more likely to hit a wide variety of lures including surface lures, spoons, rattletraps, jerk baits, and plastic grubs.
Shad are found in about half of the open bays and coves along the length of Lake Powell. Wahweap, Warm Creek, Rock Creek, Dangling Rope, Escalante, San Juan, Rincon, Lake Canyon, Halls and Bullfrog all have slurping stripers. The lake upstream from Bullfrog is clearing and getting better every day.
Today there was one sure thing when fishing boils. Yearling stripers (10-12 inches) can consistently be found between Stateline ramp at Wahweap and the fuel dock at the rental marina. Cruise along the tire breakwater from 8-10 AM looking for surface feeding fish. When found cast a 2-inch plastic grub to these bold little fighters who feed right along side or under the boat. When the fish leave the surface they are extremely vulnerable to a grub descending through the 200 fish schools. Find the school on the graph, drop the grub straight down through the school and catch foot-long stripers as fast as they can be unhooked. Plastic grubs are ripped quite easily so use a drop of super glue between the grub and jig head to extend the life of each grub.
Harvest some of these yearling stripers to save shad. Stomach analysis reveals yearling stripers are eating 2-3 times as many shad as their larger counterparts.
Adult stripers feed on larval shad only during low light. Then they go deep along the canyon walls to rest during the day. Fish anchovy bait on canyon walls, points, and ledges for the most consistent striper fishing of the year. Bait fishing is excellent for 4-6 pound stripers in Antelope and Navajo canyons and many other main channel spots further uplake. Chumming increases catch rate immensely.
Night fishing under green lights is very good for all size stripers at Wahweap and Antelope Marinas.
Bass fishing is only fair to good with a quick topwater bite each morning and evening. Bass hold during the day at 25 feet. Best bass fishing is found from Last Chance to Escalante Canyon. During the day select 45-degree rocky slopes with very little brush when pursuing smallmouth bass. Surface lures, jerk baits and soft plastic grubs are working. Small bass are on shore with adult smallmouth down much deeper.
Catfish are active on shallow sloping sandy beaches each evening. They may be the fish caught most consistently right now.