Stripers, bass ‘on vacation’ at Lake Powell

This 30-pound striper recently was caught near Knowles Canyon. The angler was trolling a Kalin Jig behind the houseboat in the main channel of Lake Powell. The angler in the photo was not identified.

Lake Elevation: 3,653 asl

Water Temperature 74-78 F

PAGE, ARIZ. – Sept. 21. The good news is that Lake Powell surface temperature dropped 3 degrees in a week and is now holding near 74 F in the mornings. The bad news: that wasn’t enough to release game fish from their thermal prison. Perhaps “prison” is the wrong term since the shad food source is locked up right with the game fish. Looking at this from a different angle, fish have found a “luxury resort” where stripers and bass are spending a few weeks of high living with all the food they want to eat while exerting absolutely no effort to obtain it. Stripers and bass are “on vacation”.

There have been a few angling bright spots recently. The most notable was the new houseboat trolling technique employed by Brian Shaw. Brian’s family was headed up lake from Bullfrog and decided to troll in the main channel. A large white Kalin Jig was deployed while the houseboat was slowed to 6 MPH. After a mere 10 miles of trolling a huge striper ate the jig near Knowles Canyon. Brian landed the trophy weighing nearly 30 pounds.  Further trolling resulted in no more fish.

There are a few signs that some bass and stripers are returning from vacation. A few quick boils have been seen this week in Oak, Rainbow, Dangling Rope and Face canyons. Boils were quick and only a few fish were actually caught. But it shows fishing is slowly improving and some surface activity is returning to the southern lake.

The same quick boil pattern is seen north of Bullfrog without many fish actually being caught. The exception was in Good Hope Bay where many quick boils were seen but a cooler full of fat stripers were caught on anchovies, 20 feet deep in the back of the canyon.

I guess the best way to sum this up is to look for stripers on top anywhere from Face canyon to Hite. Then fish in the general area where splashes were seen with a wide variety of lures and bait until a willing school is found. Then enjoy the moment. Still, the very best method of consistently finding stripers in the main lake is to troll with down riggers at 60-90 feet in the open bays and channels.

Bass fishing remains slow but is coming back faster than stripers. Look off main channel reefs and in the cracks and ledges of steep cliffs for willing smallmouth bass. A few largemouth bass are caught in the brush shelters at the backs of the canyons. Catfish are still eating hotdog rounds on sandy beach as the endless summer continues.


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