Trolling, spooning for stripers getting big results at Lake Powell
Lake Elevation: 3,628 asl
Water Temperature 78-83 F
PAGE, Ariz. – Aug. 1. Yesterday was one of those days. We went uplake to discover the fishing pattern for this week and found it, but not where we anticipated. Last week fishing in the early morning shade of the steep walls in Last Chance Canyon was consistent for sustained boils by juvenile stripers. Previously, boils were better in the shade of cliffs in eastern Padre Bay or Navajo Canyon. We looked in Last Chance but only found quick boils that did not repeat. Those fishing in Padre had slightly better results but not as good as the week before.
After the morning trip we interviewed anglers at the ramp and checked fish reports on my computer to find out what we had missed. Here it is.
On July 30th Navajo Canyon exploded with adult striper boils near the back of the canyon. One angling party caught 80 stripers in the 3-6 pound class in boils. They returned the next day and found only scattered boils but stripers willing to hit trolled lures where boils had been the previous day. Trolling lures of choice were Rapala DT-16 and shad raps.
On July 27 and 28 adult stripers boiled like crazy in the main channel from buoy 115-117 downstream from Good Hope Bay. After the big boil trolling in the same area produced another bonanza of stripers to 7 pounds on deep diving Reef Runner lures. Fishing success near Hite was not as good as that found in the main channel downstream from Good Hope.
Similar big catches of adult stripers were found using down riggers in Halls Creek Bay and deep flat-line trolling in the main channel near Moki Canyon but on the opposite shoreline. The deep diving lure used at Moki was a Deep Tail Dancer. Down riggers were deployed at 50 feet where bottom depth was 100 feet in Halls. The big news here is that more consistent catches were found dropping spoons into the big suspended schools of stripers and bait fish found at 50 feet. The report for the first week of August is that big stripers are waking up in the main lake where they have been dormant for most of the summer. Amazing prolonged boils occur randomly. After a day or two of surface feeding, adult stripers return to deeper water but are vulnerable to trolled lures running in the 20-50 foot range. Spooning at depth often results in random huge catches of big stripers when an agreeable adult school is located. It is hit-or-miss fishing, but the hits are magnificent. Boils are expected to get more numerous as the moon darkens mid month.
Our studies show that adult stripers are maintaining good physical condition apparently by eating an occasional yearling (3-5 inch) gizzard shad. Yearling stripers are surface feeding on small threadfin shad that are too small to entice adults to cross the warm surface layer of water. The key to late summer boils involves adult stripers finding shad large enough to make it worth the effort to feed on the surface in warm water.
A consistent way to locate larger stripers is to find juvenile fish boiling on the surface. Troll or spoon in the boil area to find adult stripers at depth as they trail the surface feeding smaller stripers feeding on top. It is an exciting fishing experience to be prepared for boils, trolling or spooning depending on the mood of the fish each day.
The good news is that surface activity is going to happen with more regularity in August and September. The bad news for some is that bait fishing still does not work with any regularity.