June 13, 2007
By Wayne Gustaveson
Lake Elevation: 3610
Water Temp: 70-74 F

I was lucky enough to have a job assignment on the Escalante arm of the lake. The luck ended when the wind blew most of the trip. But there is never a bad day here. Fishing success rebounded as the weather moderated.

Stripers are slurping small larval shad from the lakes surface. Slow swimming shad are easy prey for yearling stripers who meander across the surface in pods of 10 to 100 fish. The schools can be seen from a long distance in calm water but not so far when the lake is choppy. Most slurps are spotted as the boat is planning at warp speed in the channel and comes in close contact with the feeding fish.
 

Slurping Stripers

 


Striper pods are not especially spooky until the boat is within in a few feet of the action. Since size of shad is small, an equally small bait is most effective. I had the best catch rate on a 2-inch plastic grub on a 1/8th ounce jig head. Silver spoons (half to ounce) are very good and cast farther than grubs. If schools are spooky then spoons are a better choice. In either case, cast the lure beyond and/or in front of the school and then work it back with an erratic motion in the top five feet of the water column. It is fine to use a full size topwater lure. Any bigger striper swimming with the school of 10-15 inch slurpers will be attracted to and hit the bigger bait. If there is no reaction to topwater within 2 casts, switch to the smaller sub-surface baits. Slurpers sound when near the boat but often come back up just out of casting range. It is not necessary to rush after the slow moving schools. Just fast idle along until in casting range once more. I was catching two fish out of slurp before they went down. Then a quick glance around showed the direction of another group of fish. It is often necessary to choose which group to chase next. The slurpers are small but very robust. They fight as hard as a 3-pound adult and are much better eating.



Two inch plastic grub on small jighead.

On my trip, striper slurps were seen at Rincon, mouth of Escalante, random locations in main channel, mouth of San Juan, Dangling Rope, Rock Creek, and Friendship Cove. Slurps have been reported in Good Hope Bay, Bullfrog, and San Juan. It is possible to see slurps anytime and anywhere. Keep a rod ready for quick action.

Other fish are found in the same spots as previously reported. Adult stripers are commonly found along the channel from Padre Bay to Good Hope. Anchovies fished at 20 to 40 feet at canyon mouths and primary points in most canyons can start a school feeding. Once started, the school will feed until the angler gets tired of catching or runs out of bait. It's okay to use lures in a school feeding on bait... They hit most offerings. Bait fishing spots include the Dam, Power Plant intake, Navajo Canyon, 50 Mile Canyon in Escalante, Moki wall and canyon, or basically the mouths and first prominent points of all canyons.



Bass and walleye are feeding along the breaking edge of main channel tamarisk flats. Fish the break where the lake quickly drops from 20-30 feet for best results. Trolling the edge of reefs along that same breaking edge is a sure thing, but stops to unhook fish are frequent.

There is a fishing style and technique to suit anyone now. If you like to fish a certain way there are fish at Powell that will respond. On my most recent trip the fly fisherman was catching as many fish as those with spinning gear.


Fishing Tip:

 

Plastic grubs are notorious for loosening up or coming off after the first bite. Use a jig head with a flat surface for the grub to rest against.  Place a drop of super glue between the plastic and the lead head flat surface to protect the bait and extend the life many times over.
 

A small plastic bait should be placed on a jighead with a short shank (bottom).

 

While a long shank jig head (top) is necessary for a full size tube jig or skirted 5-inch plastic grub.

 

I am not sure where to buy these commercially. We poured our own.