September 19, 2007
By Wayne Gustaveson
Lake Elevation: 3601
Water Temp: 75-78 F

After months of water temperatures in the 80's significant cooing has dropped surface temperature to 75. That's a very active temperature for warm water sport fish. Larger fish that do not like the warm surface layers were forced to stay deep. They can now go anywhere they desire.

That's timely because dropping lake levels are stranding weed beds which house the main food source. Sunfish hiding in the weeds are now forced into deeper water making them vulnerable to predation as they leave the drying weeds for the next deeper spot. Find a weedy cove for good fishing. That's not always easy with Powell's steep rocky shoreline. Weeds will be in flat-bottomed sandy coves.

5-Year-old Landon Springer with dad's 5 pound largemouth bass caught in Bullfrog bay.

Largemouth bass are in the shallow weeds with the sunfish. A surface popper slowly retrieved with many pauses will draw strikes from bass up to 5 pounds. Smallmouth bass wait on the rocky edge of the cove for sunfish to venture beyond the safe limits of the weeds. Plastics baits that are rigged in a weedless fashion that can penetrate the weeds without hanging up are needed to fish the shallows, but grubs on jigheads can be worked at the edge and in open pockets with good success.

Striped bass are aware of sunfish in the weeds but they are clumsy when chasing prey there. In weed beds stripers end up with salad as the main course. Look for stripers near weed beds but holding further out on the second terrace. The weedy cove will often have a flat that extends from shore to near 15 feet. Depth will drop quickly at the edge of the weeds to 20 or 25 feet. Stripers will be found at the next break where depth falls to 30 or 40 feet.

Position the boat over the breaking edge and cast toward shore for bass and toward the channel for stripers. Spoons are the best choice for stripers since they fall quickly from surface to deep water. Active stripers can be found by reeling the spoon quickly off the bottom. Pause the spoon a time or two during the retrieve to entice following fish to bite.

When stripers stop hitting spoons they can be reactivated by using anchovy chum and bait to catch more fish resting on the bottom. Trolling the 30-foot contour with deep diving plugs is another effective method of locating striper schools.

Boils are still happening morning and evening but not every day. There is enough inconsistency that finding a boil is a very special event. Boils have been very good when located with numerous schools feeding on top from dawn to 8 AM. A return to the same spot the next day does not mean the stripers will repeat the event. Circumstances have to be just right for stripers to find a large shad school when the forage fish are scarce and hiding.