Life is good for sport fish in Lake Powell. All the basics of life - food,
shelter, and climate are perfect. Bass and stripers know exactly where shad
will be because they have had the same large schools pinned in the brush for
the past month. Bass and stripers feed quickly and efficiently at dawn and
then move off to rest. They keep an eye on shad to make sure they don't move
but are really content to just bask in the pleasant 66 degree water for most
of the day.
Kip Bennett found success at dawn
Happy fish are not necessarily cooperative to anglers. Hungry fish searching
for food are much easier to locate than contented fish. There is little need
for fat game fish to do more than eat and rest. The good news is that during
a feeding event both bass and stripers are easy to catch. The bad news is
that resting periods are much more common than feeding episodes.
The strategy then is to find shad
which are in very shallow water, hiding in brush. If a number of shad
schools are known a circuit can be run between schools hoping to find a
feeding event in progress. Failing that, a deep water strategy is needed.
Bass will often rest right with shad in brush. They peacefully coexist for
hours and then turn on shad for a short feeding burst. When feeding is over
it seems all is forgiven and predator and prey again swim together. During
the resting periods slow moving plastic baits that
rest on the bottom tend to invite curiosity from resting bass and
may trigger an inquisitive nip from a nearby fish.
Stripers are more challenging to find and catch. They tend to go deeper to
rest. Finding a school resting at 40-80 feet requires a great amount of
graphing in the large open bays. A better idea is to
troll deep while graphing. Down riggers
are the best trolling option as baits can be fished at great depths while
flat line trolling is mostly confined to the upper 25 feet. When a school of
fish is seen on the bottom, make sure to have a
floating marker ready to deploy.
Troll over the resting school with down riggers. If no fish are caught
return to the marker and fish with spoons. Yesterday I took stripers from a
school located in the middle of Gunsight Bay at a depth of 80 feet. I caught
no fish while trolling but spooning isolated schools saved the trip.
Down rigger trolling at Hite is the
best striped bass option right now.
Fishing is not easy and will continue to be difficult until water
temperature drops. The long warm spell has made fish complacent. A
temperature drop to the 50s will move shad out of the shallows to the
bottom. Bass and stripers will then have to search to relocate the food
source. Bass fishing will slow with cooler temperature while striper fishing
success will increase as striper and bait schools will become stationary and
easy to find on the graph in bays and open canyons.
Bennett caught both bass and stripers on lipless vibrators at first light.