Shad should make ‘15 a great year

Dana Andrus, right, from Page, Ariz., holds the 12-pound, 32-inch striped bass his friend Ray Young, left, caught recently at Lake Powell. Young is wearing a neck brace so he needed help to handle the fish.

The resurgence of the threadfin shad population in 2014 at Lake Powell afforded anglers a great year for sport fishing, and it appears fishing in 2015 will remain strong.

Shad came back last summer in record numbers, and all fish species responded by continuing to grow rapidly through the fall.

Now, with winter nearly halfway done, feeding continues for striped bass.

Fish health and condition is remarkable; striped bass have not been this healthy since 1993.

When shad are at a low point in the spring, stripers usually head to the main channel by the dam in the southern lake or Moki wall near Bullfrog.

When shad are thick, as they are this year, stripers stay in the backs of the canyons where shad spend the winter.

It looks like 2015 will be a year to fish the backs of the canyons.

Ray Young of Page, Arizona, confirmed that recently by catching a 12.1-pound, 
32-inch striped bass while trolling near Lone Rock in Wahweap Bay.

Fishing was not fast, but five smaller stripers were caught along with the big one. The fishing pattern was similar to successful techniques that produced well in November and December.

The big fish was caught on a Lucky Craft XD100 Pointer trolled behind a 1-ounce weight to gain more depth. Bottom depth at the capture sight was 30 feet. The 30-to-45-foot strata has been the prime holding depth for striper schools, and that has not changed in the dead of winter.

If fishing for stripers during the next two months, head to the back of any canyon and troll while graphing, looking for striper schools. Target the area where bottom depth is 30-45 feet.

If only single fish are seen, troll over them, hoping to catch a bass, walleye or striper. If a fish school is seen, stop the boat and jig with spoons or marabou jigs to catch stripers.

Fish quality at Lake Powell will be superb in 2015. Fewer fish will be caught because there is much more food than normal.

The end result will be higher satisfaction with each fish caught, because of the size and quality of the catch.

For more information on Lake Powell fishing, go to


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