June 30, 2005
By Wayne Gustaveson
Lake Elevation: 3605
Water Temp: 72-78 F

STRIPER SLURPS FROM WAHWEAP TO BULLFROG!

Smoke from fires in UT and AZ have blanketed Lake Powell and caused an amazing sunrise this morning.

Runoff water is still flooding into the lake but cloudy water in the lake’s midsection is settling out and the lake surface is clearing. Stripers can now see migrating larval shad and have found a ready supply of food.  Stripers cruise most of the day near the lake surface as they gorge on tiny shad.  Slurping action is great from first light until 10 AM from Wahweap to Bullfrog including the San Juan and Escalante. 

 

Slurps require a bit of stealth in the approach.  Watch the leading fish and direction of travel. Try to position the boat so fish feed into casting range.  A fast charge toward the school is not needed and will put the fish down.  Use the big motor.  Stop in front of the school and prepare to cast as the fish get in range. The lure is not as important as the placement.  The lure has to land 2 feet in front of the leading fish.  Work it quickly through the leaders.  If it is not hit within 10 feet, retrieve quickly and cast again.   The slurping striper school moves at 3-5 mph so a trolling motor may not keep up. Use the big motor to circle a school. Move well in front and beyond the next school before stopping.  There are many pods of slurping fish so cast to a new pod after chasing a school for a few minutes.  One to three fish can be caught from each pod.  Expect slurps to last from first light to 10 AM.
 
Look for slurps in the main channel and bays or in most major canyons for topwater fishing excitement.  A slight, tight riffle on calm water may be the only indication that stripers are slurping in non-swimming larval shad.  Use a small to medium sized lure to entice strikes.  The Excaliber Super Spook Jr, may be the best lure to use but a wide variety of topwater, small spoons and small curly tail grubs have been effective.  Combine a big surface lure with a small curly tail trailer tied on the back hook, when long casts are needed and large baits are not being accepted. Most slurping stripers are 2-3 pounds but adults up to 8 pounds may be present.  The 6-inch stripers left the building when the bigger fish moved into feed.  
For the past month big stripers have been separated from their adult shad food supply, particularly in the lower half of Lake Powell. Larger adult stripers have gone deep to cool water where they are easy targets for bait fisherman using anchovies.  Use bait at 25 to 60 feet along the main channel from the Dam to Rock Creek. Stripers without shad will probe rocky areas to find crayfish. Crayfish hide under broken rock.  Fish steep rocky points and shaded cliff walls where there is broken rock near the channel to find steady fishing all day long.  Bait fishing is very steady from the dam to Navajo Canyon.  A good plan is to chase boils in the morning and then use bait during the day.  Striper fishing is vastly improved from a week ago.
Smallmouth bass have been lost in the rapidly rising water and flooded brush covering their normal rocky habitation zone.  For best bass fishing target the steep walls and slick rock points without brush.  Small bass will be close to shore but the bigger bass are consistently found at 25 feet, which is the top of the thermocline.  Fish deep rocky habitat with plastic grubs for smallmouth.  Largemouth are in the thick flooded brush. Weedless presentations or topwater baits are the only possible means for catching fish in the flooded brush of every cove.

Catfish are cleaning up anchovy chum used to attract stripers.  Suspend the bait to catch stripers or rest it on the bottom to catch catfish. Cats can also be caught on shallow beaches near camp each morning and evening.  They are showing up with much more regularity as the water warms to summer time temperatures.