Paying attention to details key to striper success
Lake Elevation: 3,627 asl
Water Temperature 79-83 F
PAGE, Ariz. Aug. 8 – Fishing success in the main lake, particularly for stripers, requires attention to a few small details.
Timing is critical. Visible action from surface feeding fish consistently occurs at morning and evening twilight. Finding surface feeding fish provides the first opportunity to catch fish. Juvenile stripers that break the surface in groups of three or more are extremely aggressive and will hit most lures cast close to the splash ring. These fish are very competitive always trying to beat their buddy to the next shad before they dive for the depths. Surface lures, Kastmaster type spoons, and shallow running crankbaits like Rapala Flat Raps are all good choices. Choose the lure that can be cast the farthest to reach a quick boil that comes up quickly on the outside edge of casting range.
Mark the spot. Juvenile stripers feeding on top are attended by many followers. Larger stripers are aware of the feeding frenzy but trapped in the cooler water down at least 25 feet or deeper. After the little boil is over the bigger fish can be caught using two different methods. First trolling a deep diving lure that reaches at least 20 feet (deeper is better) under the general area of surface boils targets interested fish looking for food in the depths. Second, spoons can be dropped directly into the adult striper school seen on the graph. This method is more precise. Fish can be caught quickly, but the school must first be located. Troll if only scattered fish are seen. Spoon if schools are found on the graph. Better yet troll the general area and toss a floating marker over the side when a school is seen.
Trolling has been steady for larger stripers at the mouth of Halls Creek and uplake into Good Hope Bay. In the southern lake try trolling along the morning shade line in Last Chance, Rock Creek and the main channel from Dangling Rope to the mouth of the San Juan.
The best fishing success this past week was found in Halls Creek Bay and from Buoy 114-117 in the main channel. The spots were marked with small boiling stripers and then spoons were deployed into huge striper schools, in both numbers and size, suspended at 40-60 feet. Better fishing success is found in the channels and bays right now than in the backs of canyons.
Bait fishing is taking off. During the day after morning trolling and boil fishing is over, move to the shade of the main channel steep cliffs, chum with finely cut anchovies and fish bait at 30-60 feet. The best spots include singular rock slides on otherwise flat cliff walls or the junction of a cliff wall and shallow point. Most stripers are still chasing shad but now a few can be caught on bait. There will likely be more fish caught on the second or third trip to the same bait spot after stripers learn that food is there. These fish have been in forage luxury their whole life and are having trouble making the transition to leaner times.
Bass fishing remains good if one is willing to fish deep water. Casting to the shoreline is not productive. Smallmouth are consistently caught at 25 feet while trolling for stripers. They are in the shade on steep canyon walls and in open water looking for shad.
Bluegill are providing lots of action for those fishing with live worms on small hooks near their camp site.