September 22, 2009
Lake Elevation: 3635                               
New Fishing Pattern
Water Temp: 74 - 77 F  

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.

Have Fun!