Fall fishing patterns are now in place at Lake Powell. The pattern is all
about shad and how fish feed on the unusually abundant shad population. Shad
have moved out of the open water into the backs of the coves where brush
offers some relief from the relentless pursuit of predators. Predators hold
in deeper water waiting for a feeding opportunity. Bass hold at 10 to 15
feet in close proximity to shad, while striped bass hold at the first deep
break from 35-50 feet where water is cooler. Both species make frequent
trips to the shallows to visit their dinner.
Find a Shad School in the Shallows-
Predators will be Near!
Striped bass are the jailers. They like a deeper slot that provides quick
access to trapped shad. They come in, feed quickly and then return to cool
water. Stripers are forever vigilant. They look up for shad trying to sneak
out. When shad attempt an escape stripers quickly rise and drive shad back
into the shallows feeding as they go.
This behavior exposes stripers just enough for anglers to exploit them. Find
shad trapped in the back of a brushy pocket. Follow the submerged creek
channel out to a depth of 35 feet or better looking for a few fish right on
the bottom. It seems now that almost every small bunch of fish graphed are
catchable stripers. Drop the spoon to the bottom near fish. Jig it 2 or 3
times before reeling it quickly about 5 turns of the handle and then drop it
to the bottom and repeat the process. During first and last light, stripers
can't leave the spoon alone and will quickly respond. Hook the first fish
and watch the small group of individuals grow on the graph to an impressive
striper school. When the water column is saturated with stripers speed reel
spoons and drop back to depth as quickly as possible to maximize the event.
When the screen goes blank cast the spoon as far as possible, let it sink,
then do a speed reel and drop technique back to the boat. Return the spoon
to the bottom about 3 times on the retrieve for the best chance of
relocating the moving school.
Stripers will boil each day but timing is sporadic. It depends on shad
movement and when the last feeding occurred. A morning boil may be the only
surface event of the day. If that feeding is missed then it may happen at
noon. If not then they will surely boil at night. To maximize the chance of
being in the right place find as many deep striper schools and return to
check on them periodically. Yesterday boils were most active from the
schools I was watching at noon.
Bass run a similar assault. About every two hours a few bass will rush in
and grab shad. Be curious about every splash seen near shore. A big splash
anytime of day is worth investigating. Move in quickly and cast surface
lures to the splash ring. A quick response will result if a feeding
largemouth, smallmouth or striper made the disturbance. This time of year
all of my rods have either surface lures or spoons attached. I am only
targeting stripers and big bass.
The pattern is working lakewide with only a few exceptions in isolated
locations including the various marinas and the inflow areas. Marinas differ
from the norm because they have overhead cover which tends to congregate
shad. Near marinas there are still some quick open water boils.
Inflow areas differ because shad density allows predators to feed without
effort. Only quick moving reaction lures draw a response. There are some
short canyons with abundant shad where fishing results are lessened for the
same reason. The key is to find feeding bass and strips near camp and
frequent the feeding areas in a morning and evening fishing circuit to
maximize fishing success.