Rainy cold front mixes things up at Lake Powell
PAGE, ARIZ. — Stripers just blew the hot-water lid off Lake Powell.
The long, hot summer that kept the surface temperature above 80 degrees ended this past weekend with the arrival of a rainy cold front.
Now, instead of daytime air temperatures reaching 90 degrees, the temperature is a much more comfortable 70 degrees. Morning air temperature is in the 50s.
The cooler surface temperature is what the stripers have been waiting for.
We put on our coats and headed out at first light Wednesday. We saw no boils in Warm Creek or at the mouth of Gunsight, so we kept driving.
This was getting depressing, because I was sure the cooler water temperature would allow stripers to attack shad that had been peacefully feeding on the surface.
On calm evenings for the past two weeks, hundreds of schools of shad could be seen feeding in the open water of the main channel, with only an occasional game fish rising up to chase them
It was amazing to see that many shad with no stripers in attendance.
Next, we rounded the corner of Gregory Butte, trying to decide whether to go to Rock Creek or Last Chance, when a school of big stripers attacked a shad school right in front of us.
In early September we had been catching stripers smaller than 16 inches on top in the warm surface water. But these fish were different.
The first two fish hooked were both more than three pounds and so strong we could not get them in the boat before the school went down.
We just had to play these fish and watch the rest boil while we reeled them in.
The school came up quickly two more times, and we caught more big fish each time they surfaced.
The largest striper weighed 4.5 pounds. That was worth the trip, but we weren’t done.
We headed into a nearby Last Chance cove and found the yearlings boiling. They were easier to catch and land quickly, so we caught another 10 on top.
When they went down we followed them with spoons between 40 and 60 feet and caught more.
At 9 a.m. this action stopped, so we headed back down lake.
Back at Gregory Butte the big fish boiled in the main channel twice more, and we caught two out of each boil.
Fall fishing has officially arrived. Stripers are boiling from dawn to 10:30 a.m. We caught plenty of smallmouth bass on top water and shallow running cranks that were feeding right with the stripers in the coves.