Time for stripers at Lake Powell
School is in, even at Lake Powell.
According to Utah fisheries biologist Wayne Gustaveson at Page, Ariz., a large school of small stripers has moved into the forebay at Glen Canyon Dam.
“Young stripers are most abundant near the second barricade from the west wall, but they are also found in many places along that wall,” wrote Gustaveson in his latest weekly Lake Powell fishing report.
Although the small (9-12-inch) stripers are attracted to a large plankton school along the west wall, anglers have been teasing and catching the fish with chunks of anchovy bait.
“The striper school can be readily seen immediately after chumming the area because these little fish rush to the bait,” Gustaveson wrote. “They can be seen in 5-10 feet of water with polarized sunglasses.”
It’s not to easy to catch the fish, which have learned to recognize which chunks of bait have hooks and which are free floating.
Gustaveson said the most success came when using a small (size 4 or 6) straight-shank bait hook with no weight attached.
“Tie directly to the hook with 6-pound test or smaller fluorocarbon leader (and) drop the bait right into the school of fish swimming through the chum,” Gustaveson wrote. “Watch them whack at the bait as they try to knock it off the hook.”
Either the fish gets hooked, or the bait gets knocked free, offering a free meal to the stripers.
If the bait sinks to 30-34 feet, larger stripers may be caught as well.
“I enjoy the drama because we are able to see all this happen in the clear water right under the boat,” Gustaveson wrote. “The 9-12-inch fish that are caught are excellent table fare, and when the presentation is perfect many fish are caught in a short time.”
Recent reports from midlake indicate adult striper schools are found in Wetherill, Bullfrog Bay, Knowles Canyon and Halls Creek.
Gustaveson said the best fishing success may be provided by the very abundant and active channel catfish, which are found in the backs of most canyons along the shallow flats and beaches.
Recently a nine-pound catfish was caught near Bullfrog at night off the back of a houseboat. Use anchovies, hotdogs, shrimp or other table scraps to catch lots of cats and maybe even a trophy sized fish.