September 5, 2007
By Wayne Gustaveson
Lake Elevation: 3603
Water Temp: 80-83 F

Summer is over. Lake Powell is quiet. Air and water temperature will now begin cooling to a more comfortable temperature for fish and anglers. September is the peak month for bass and striper feeding. Forage is at the season high in abundance and size. With the passing of Labor Day all is in order for serious fishing to begin.

The high profile action will be "on top" with bass and stripers feeding each morning and evening on shad schools. The extent of boiling action remains to be seen. Many shad were consumed in the late August blitz of surface feeding. Some shad escaped to swim another day but the predator pursuit is relentless. Look each morning and evening and investigate each double splash. Single splashes may be carp of gizzard shad. Double splashes mean stripers and bass chasing shad.

Wayne with results of 10 minutes of boiling stripers

Look for a resurgence of surface action near Trachyte and White Canyon. Striper abundance is greatest in this location. Lake level decline will displace shad and allow a new round of feeding. Striper abundance at most other locations is still strong with many yearling stripers actively feeding on top and deeper in the water column.

The best strategy will be to use spoons as the weapon of choice for these conditions. Stripers want to feed but shad may not be numerous enough to allow a boil. Hungry stripers then sulk just at the cool water break (35 feet) of the shallower feeding area while scanning above for any trace of shad. Shad presence alerts the school into instant action. The slip-sliding action of a falling silver or blue spoon mimics the descent of an injured shad. One striper eating that spoon gets the rest of the school started just as if the shad school had been encountered.

When graphing watch for a tight rectangular smudge of fish with an irregular shape at 30-50 feet. Often the resting striper school signature will appear as 2-3 smudges instead of individual fish arcs. The arcs appear as the school comes off the bottom to chase spoons back to the boat.
Typical striper "smudges" on graph. Bottom most smudge is most typical striper signature display.


Bass chase shad when available but they also root around the rocks looking for crayfish. The developing bass pattern is associated with rooted aquatic weeds that offer a safe haven to small sunfish. Sunfish are the 'go-to' target when shad are scarce. Find a tall grass bed and bass will be close by. All shades of green are found in the grass and sunfish. Try dark green or watermelon colors for quick bass action.

Choose your fishing target. September is the time to satisfy all those fish cravings for all Lake Powell anglers.