November 16, 2014 - Gunsight Stripers
Last Updated on Monday, 17 November 2014 09:35
Me and my 6 year old and 8 year old arrived at Wahweap Tuesday night and fished Wed, Thurs, Friday and Saturday til 11. Wednesday morning we headed straight to the rock creek area since when I was down 2 weeks ago we had decent success in the area. As we passed Gunsight I thought we should go take a look but then didn't want to waste time as it took a while to get to rock creek. Bad decision. Having high expectations, Wednesday didn't go quite as planned. To start off with as soon as we got there and I pulled my rod out to start fishing the handle caught the line of another rod and sent it sailing right into the lake. I then watched $100+ go drifting out of sight.
Then we trolled while graphing for stripers for a few hours and nothing....I mean nothing. So we hit up a couple coves and all we could find where carp every where slurping on the surface. We ended up catching a couple dinky smallies and that was it. Around 3 PM the wind kicked up pretty good and we took it as a cue and headed back to wahweap.
Starting off Wednesday morning the wind stuck around from the day before although not quite so bad. Well as we were cruising along with plans to head to gunsight and check it out my trolling motor suddenly deployed while going 30 MPH! Dang! It about ripped the sucker off and broke part of the hinge. I started to wonder if this was how this trip was gonna go.....bad fishing, losing stuff and breaking stuff.....I didn't want to spend 3.5 days of that! All I can think is one of my boys must of leaned up against the release just enough to let it slowly get by. Oh, well, at least the views were great.
Once back in gunsight we would just troll a wally diver while watching the graph. Back towards the back of the canyon we found ball after ball after ball of shad in the back and knew it was a matter of time before we got into the stripers. Sure enough we found a small school and dropped some spoons and pulled up a couple. After losing them, we started trolling again. That's when we hooked into this one.
A 6.5 pound striper!
And that is how our day went, trolling, graphing, and watching my 8 year old freak out every time we saw stripers on the graph. We pulled up a couple smallies and a large mouth while trolling and another striper or two, but most stripers where caught on spoons off the bottom. At the end of the day we ended up with just under 20.
Friday morning, back to gunsight and once again, same strategy. Once again, same results. On and off fast and furious fishing throughout the day. We ended the day with 23. Oh, and the views weren't bad either.
Same strategy and same results, although the stipers were different this morning. They were insanely aggressive! As you get towards the very back of the canyon there is a sandbar / weedbank on the left sticking out of the water. It is pretty abrupt and stays fairly deep (40-50') just before it. The stripers had pushed the shad right up against it and were nailing them. We got in there and it was as fast as we could get the spoons into the water, we would be pulling them out. The entire graph was filled with stripers. If it had been me and one or two other adults we could have both pulled 12+ out of this group, but I think I spent more time unhooking and untangling my 6 year old than spooning. I still managed 4 and my 8 year old pulled 4-5 out of this group (for the most part I require him to unhook his own fish and tie on his own lures, so this slows him down a bit). After they disappeared we kept trolling and looking and we kept hooking up while trolling. We'd stop the boat and reel it on in and it seemed that once we got the striper to the boat suddenly we'd have a school underneath us and we'd drop spoons and pick up a couple more. All I can think is that once hooked while trolling the school would follow the hooked fish to the boat and we'd get a shot at a few more. We did graph this school of stripers and I don't know what their problem was, but we had them under us for 5+ minutes and only had a few small hits and one landed. I literally tried 4-5 different spoons and my 8 year old was the only one to pull one up.
At 11:30 we had to get going and get on the road for the 6 hour drive home. All in all we ended a half day on Saturday with 18 and some great memories. Oh, and the views weren't bad either.
So, another memorable and exciting trip is in the books. My 8 year old is a striper slayer! I can hardly keep up with him! My six year old caught a total of 4 for the trip and he got to reel in all the trolled up fish. He is just happy to be along for the ride and if he gets to catch a few, it's just a bonus. The fishing was best from about 7-10 and then from 2-5. Mid day it was extremely tough to find any stripers. I don't know if they just retire to deep water to rest and digest, but we had very little going on mid day. The lures we used for trolling was a silver walleye diver and a strike king kvd 6 in sexy shad. Both worked quite well. Spoons used where silver kastmaster, and silver / chartreuse kastmaster, deadly dick, buzz bomb and a sebile vibrato. The buzz bomb and deadly dick did quite well as did the kastmasters. My hopkins dressed was doing well on Thursday until I lost it when a knot failed.
Hope this info can help someone get into the stripers. I don't see them going anywhere anytime soon. There is just waaay to much shad back there. So if you are headed down, get to gunsight and fish!mtnpull
October 31, 2014 - Rock Creek Stripers
Last Updated on Saturday, 01 November 2014 12:42
Stripers near Rock Creek
Well this will be a mixed report from my experiences from the week of October 13- 18th (I know, a bit late) and then again the 29th, 30th and 31st. Keep in mind we are new to the striper thing and even though I had a fair amount of bass fishing experience 10+ years ago these were my first trips back out after bass since then. So you are dealing with reports from an amateur. The first trip mid October I came out with the whole family. Wife and 4 kids aged 4-6. I would rotate through two of my 3 oldest boys each day as to not overcrowd the boat and end up with a few new unexpected piercings. Both trips we headed out from Wahweap. The first day out was more of a get to know the lake day as I had only fished out of Bullfrog years ago.
We basically started at just before sunrise and cruised the channel looking for boils. Finally in the last stretch between Gregory Butte and Rock Creek we ran into a boil. This was the first boil we experienced. I pulled one 5 lb striper in off a topwater and missed a couple others but we didn't quite have the spoon thing down yet....mostly knowing where in the water column to fish them. Soon they were gone and we couldn't find them again and they didn't resurface. We went into a few rocky coves to fish for smallies, something I actually had some experience with. We seemed to be only finding little dinks and I was spending plenty of time untangling lines and helping the boys. That one striper was the only one we took home that day. The next day we returned and got into the boils again in the same area. This time, they would come up for a few minutes and we'd hit them then they would resurface a few hundred yards away. We chased them back and forth for a couple hours and boated about 20 between 2-5lbs. I am sure if I didn't have a 6 and 8 year old with me that number would be 40-50. BTW, my 8 year old was killing it and just kept hauling them in one after another with a kastmaster. After they subsided we went back to hang and play with the fam.
The next day back to the same area as we knew it was producing but it was a bust and we didn't see a single boil and went home empty handed. The next day we found the boils again, same area although they didn't last as long and we ended up boating about 13 3-5lb stripers. We were really starting to figure out the spoon thing and my boys were doing great. The last day (Saturday the 18th) I took my brother and his two boys (14 &17) out again the same area. We were there early and nothing! We kind of stuck around just expecting something to show and nothing! So we moved over to rock creek and started fishing the rocky shoreline for smallies and after catching about 6-8 small ones we decided to head back to camp. On the way back (around 11am), same spot as always boiling stripers! We hit them hard for about 2 hours and hauled in around 30 stripers. Again, folks with experience could have probably boated twice as many. Many times after the boils disappeared the graph was insane. There had to be thousands of those buggers below us and they were hammering the spoons. That trip ended up being a great introduction to striper fishing.
Now fast forward to the last three days. I made a special trip down with just two of my older boys (8 &10 year old). We fished all day Wednesday and Thursday and till 10:30 today and then jetted home so the kids could do some trick or treating. Well, on Wednesday we headed back to what we had now began to call Striper alley and although I figured we wouldn't see any boils and that the fishing would be tougher we sure hoped they would still be in that area and hopefully get lucky and see a boil or two. No luck. We didn't see a single boil any of the three days. So we decided to just look for schools on the graph while idling along again in the same area. And wouldn't you know it, we kept finding pockets of stripers at the bottom in depths between 50-80' of waters and we'd drop spoons on them picking up a few from each group. Most the groups were pretty small on the graph and many times I thought we were just seeing debris on the bottom, but the kids would get excited and were impatient with idling along, so I thought we've got all day, lets drop some spoons and many times we pulled up 2-3 fish.
Occasionally we'd see bigger balls of fish just off the bottom. We pulled up a couple smallies at these depths too. All in all we took 17 fish home. That night I read waynes experience in Padre Bay and finding the stripers holding shad in the backs of coves so we started off in the same area graphing and found a few and pulled in a few stripers here and there but wanted to start checking coves and canyons so we could hopefully get into some fast and furious fishing. We pulled out a few good smallies out of Dungeon on topwater and moved on. We probably checked 30 different coves and each one had the same result. No shad and no fish on the graph. We went home with 9 total fish. 4 decent smallies and 5 stripers. This morning we had to be on the road by noon to get the boys home in time for halloween, so that meant if we were gonna fish striper alley again we'd have only till 10:30 to fish. So we headed straight to dungeon canyon again and caught a couple dinks and one good smallie on a topwater and then decided to head back and use the graph again in striper alley. Bingo. We found them again, mostly small groups. The boys were knocking them dead. We'd drift out of a small school and idle the boat back up again, find them, shut it down and pull a few more out. At one point we found a school that filled the graph pretty well and was pretty well suspended throughout the water column. The boys kept pulling them out, but for some reason, I couldn't get many hits today! It did seem the bigger school wasn't as anxious to hit the spoons as the smaller ones. We did this right up until 10:30.
Right before we left we got quite a surprise. My 10 year old hooked into what we thought was another striper but when he got it to the boat he had a catfish on the line. The catfish hit a spoon in 75' of water! He was stoked as he really, really wanted to catch a catfish. Today we came home with 15 fish. 13 stripers, 1 smallie and a catfish. I caught a smallie and a striper and the boys killed it with the rest of them. All in all it was another successful trip. We were catching most the fish right off the bottom and mostly in 75' of water. We were using a hopkins shorty dressed, cotton cordell spoon and a kastmaster. The first two days my hopkins was killing it and today not really. Today the cotton cordell (actually looks much like a hopkins) did the best. In hindsight, I wish each day we would have just worked that same section of water watching the graph and not spent time in some of the canyons and coves fishing for smallies and looking for shad. We had a good thing going, but the kids get impatient easy and sometimes just idling around looking for fish on the graph gets pretty old quick to them. Hope this helps any body getting out here soon!
October 28, 2014 - Stripers in Padre Bay
Last Updated on Tuesday, 28 October 2014 18:13
We went to Gunsight early to find the striper school that has been there for the last few weeks. At 7 AM we trolled over a school and hooked a fish. We immediately shut down the boat and backed up to stay over the school. It was a good move and we caught a dozen fish before they moved away from us. That was very gratifying after being able to only catch a few fish on the last 3 trips.
But we did not find the school again and finally moved on. We searched for another hour in the Padre Bay Canyons without success. At 10 AM we tried one more canyon and this time found shad trapped in the back being pummelled by stripers, smallmouth bass and largemouth. For the next 2 hours we did battle with all these fish. When the cooler was full we headed in with big smiles on our faces.
At the fish cleaning station we filleted 48 stripers from 8 inches to 4 pounds. It was a great day.
October 27, 2014 - Southern lake bass and stripers
My son Brad and I went back up to Powell for a quick trip this past week getting on the water a little after 9 this past Friday, 10/24 and starting to fish close to 10 up near Gregory Butte to Rock Creek. No boils noted after driving around awhile so we went to some previous producing areas and caught a few here and there on drop shot, grub, and spooning, mostly in 15-25’ but they were all smaller sized smallmouth. We also went into Dungeon Canyon area after an ice cream run to Dangling Rope and saw loads of small stripers in packs. We fought off the temptation to run up to San Juan and stayed in this same area for the rest of the day picking up a few fish here and there but definitely not the numbers of a month ago.
The next morning we hit the lake early and buzzed right to Gregory Butte before slowing down and driving around looking for boils as this was our main goal. After an hour we went into the back of Rock Creek where my son fished while I worked on my dash graph but no fish were boated. After another hour we went back out to the main channel looking for boils and finally saw a few quick ones going into the Dungeon Canyon bay but they were up and down quickly. We ended up back at the SW corner of the main channel where the softball sized rock hills are at and started catching a few when just into the middle of them we had the packs of small striper blowing up here and there. We couldn’t catch them on top but spooning started putting them into the boat with regularity including some good smallmouth and a big sunfish. 25’ seemed to be about the right depth here and as long as we could stay over the action we were catching fish regularly until we had to leave them at 11 to head home.
It was beautiful weather again with little wind but my last trip to Powell this season. Glad to see the water level holding and hope this means great things again next year!
Sam Sherwood, Mesa, AZ
October 25, 2014- Good Hope to White
Last Updated on Saturday, 25 October 2014 11:48
Motored up north of Good Hope on Tuesday. Found one striper school that hit my spoon a few times and allowed the good angler in the boat (Richard) to land one. Lost the school and nothing more that afternoon although we searched. Saw three quick boils at about the mud line in front of White Canyon. They did not stay up long enough that evening to get to in time. Nightfished at the mouth of Trachyte in 43 foot deep water. Hardly brought in any shad and only a catfish boated.
No boils or bites the next morning. In the evening we found very little. Set up for nightfishing in 70 feet of water. Brought in shad slowly. Landed seven stripers between about 10 pm and midnight.
On the morning of the 23rd we woke to small mouths working the surface. Finally they started taking our topwater lures after sun up. Also hooked a few stripers. When that slowed we caught a couple of stripers on spoons. Of note there was one striper that upon filleting at the cleaning station we found that it had an 8" striper in its stomach. In addition to shad swallowed later. This was a 23" striper about four pounds. See the pictures.
October 24, 2014 - Northern Lake Bass
10/20 Water temp 69-72
Headed to the boulder flat with spoons at the ready. First drop we started to hit stripers but could only boat one. The schools of fish were scarce and bite was different. Ran to submerged brush and hit a good LM and SM on spinner baits but those must have been the only two fish in the area.
We then ran to shad choked cove and hit some LM on spinner baits but when I changed one rig to a buzz bait the bite got exciting. LM schools would chase and they were all different sizes. Ran to another cut and found fish on the graph and we spooned up several SM and stripers. Ran back to boulder flat with no luck on fish schools so we started casting spinner baits and buzz baits along the shore line where nice SM bass schools were blowing up on the buzz baits. SM on top were real fighters no matter what size but we were hitting some nice ones. The big SM came on the spook jr. On the way in we trolled an area that holds stripers and SM and the rattle trap did the trick. The bite was a little different today. Fish were chasing but wary to bite.
October 24, 2014 - Trolling stripers in San Juan
San Juan Fishing - Oct 20-23
Judy and I went to Piute Bay on the SJ on Monday and set up camp in time for 1.5 hrs fishing before dark. Spent that time in Piute Creek and did not have a strike, see a boil or graph a striper. The next morning we headed down river to Cha with the same result. Trolled into Desha and saw one 15-second boil against a wall and got one cast and 1 4# striper.
After lunch went to the Great Bend. Started trolling in 40' of water with leaded line and Lucky Craft Pointers....Game on! We trolled up to 25' of water and then started the circle between 25' and 35'. In 2 hours of fishing we caught 11 stripers ranging from 3.5# to 5# and they were the hardest fighting fish I ever seen in Powell....almost lost Judy over board on a couple fish. We returned two more times (time of day did not seem to make a difference) and repeated the previous afternoon, if not better as we had several doubles. Each visit to our area resulted on 9 or 10 of this big guys....usually within 1.5 hours. They willingly attacked (deliberate word) the Pointers in ghost Chartreuse, Aurora Blue plus a blue and white deep billed Rapala were readily accepted. See a fish on the graph and hang on!
We fished Piute again one morning with equal results and also went to Desha and saw nothing but shad. That morning we also trolled inside Desha saw nothing but shad but outside in the main channel there were both stripers (50-60') and shad. A downrigger at 50' would fill the boat and they were also taking lures (in my case bucktails) by jigging. There were shad in every canyon and a good bit of the river channel. We saw no boils, except the flasher I mentioned above. Nothing on the surface.
There were plenty of shad anywhere and Grebes everywhere there were shad, but specifically in the Great Bend there were a good number of shad schools..plenty of food for the stripers. Last fall about this time I went to Piute Bay looking for boils but found none...remember last year was a skinny big fish year with few shad. I did catch about 75 10-14" stripers in the same area (25-35") because the stripers were after the shad that were left and hiding in the slightly green, turbid water. I went back there because of last years experience but my small fish had grown up...wow, were they strong and fun! I believe that a fellow could troll with braided or mono and use the billed lures and catch them pretty much all day long....spooning too!
We came down lake this morning on flat water and saw no surface activity.
BUT we saw something very rare in Piute Bay or Powell. While looking for a camp spot we spied a coyote on the shore peering into the water and jumping back when an otter raised out of the water to surge at him. The coyote appeared to be trying to get the otter and it was fighting back. The coyote backed off and the otters, 4 of them, swam across a small bay. The coyote out of sight to the otters crossed onto the point of land the otters had gone to. He charged over a small ridge and there was a scuffle of dust and one otter (big one) got back in the water. The coyote reappeared exiting at high speed with a dark object in his mouth. Three otters swam away---Score Coyotes 1, Otters 0 (or -1).
Chuck and Judy Fulton
October 22, 2014 - Iceberg Stripers
We made a trip down to Powell for a few days of hiking and fishing from the 17th - 21st of October. What a great time to be out on Lake Powell! I thought I'd share a few notes from our trip.
On Sunday the 19th we took a ride to Iceberg Canyon to see if we could find any boils. We started trolling and watching. We never did see any real boils. We would see a few splashes here and there, but nothing of real significance. We finally did see something of a small boil (3-4 splashes) and moved over to see if we could get in on some fish. We found a few smallmouth bass using poppers in 80' of water! A few minutes later we again saw a few splashes across the canyon against a sheer wall with a nice alcove. When we got there, again we found a few smallmouth on poppers in 100' of water. However, this time we saw a nice ball of fish on the sonar down at 60'. I'm guessing that the stripers had been pushing shad to the surface, where opportunistic smallmouth were waiting and creating some small boilds. We quickly turned to spoons and started getting some very nice stripers. These were the bigger stripers, up to 25". They were VERY healthy, and nearly all fish we caught were spitting up shad as we realed them in. This action lasted for a short while before the school disapeared. This happened at about 10:30 a.m. By 11:00 the sun was high and hot.
We moved over to the alcove and found another group of stripers at the surface in the shade -- one of those was HUGE. Another couple fish were caught before they disappeared. The rest of the day was spent trolling and searching for schools, but stripers were few and far between. Smallmouth (and a couple small largemouth) could be found in the typical rocky areas, or around submerged vegetation. We never did find any more boils, and never could find another school of stripers.
On Tuesday we went back to the same spot, and sure enough there was another big school of stripers hanging out at about 60'. Again, we nailed a few big healthy stripers before the school disappeared.
If people are in the area of Iceberg looking for stripers, I would highly recommend going in to the second alcove and looking for this school. I hope this helps somebody find some of those stripers. Pictures of our trip are attached -- please let me know if you have any problems downloading them using the sharefile link. Let me know if you need any other info that might be of some help.
October 19, 2014 - Southern SMB
The only way to describe smallmouth bass fishing on the lower lake last week was tough. My partner Dale Marenda and I caught a fair number of bass, but nothing like we have grown accustomed to seeing on Lake Powell in October. On the bright side we did catch some very nice fish, so quality was up a bit but quantity was way down.
On Tuesday the 14th we motored up to Last Chance. We fished four of my favorite coves but found the going tough. We managed just 14 bass that day - a good number for just about anywhere else - but we just couldn’t establish any real pattern. We caught some fish up shallow in less than 10 feet of water, and we also caught deeper - down to 27 feet. After these disappointing results we decided to leave Last Chance early and motored back to Gunsight. Our luck there wasn’t much better, catching one fish and losing a couple others. With Wednesday’s weather forecast for afternoon wind we decided to stay close. We fished the double islands past the Castle Rock cut, the reefs and walls below Navajo Canyon and a couple other places along the channel and Warm Creek. The results were not much better than Tuesday - 15 total bass - but at least we didn’t run so far and burn so much gas to get them. Unlike Tuesday, every fish we caught was 20 feet deep or deeper. As it turned out the wind never came up, however I’m not sure we would have done much better fishing up lake.
With Thursday being our last day we decided to take the time to travel to Gunsight. Jim Buxton and I had some luck there a couple weeks ago, so I felt this would be a good place to try. Also, if we didn’t get into many smallmouth I figured we might be able to find some stripers there. Our day started like the others - a fish here and there - but around 10 a.m. things changed. We were fishing off a long point that went out into the bay. We had already take a couple smallmouth around that point when I saw some fish boiling out over open water a long cast away. I figured they were stripers, but I didn’t have time to reach my striper rod. I flung my drop shot rig in the area where the fish had come up and let out line. Suddenly I saw my line jump and then start to peel off the reel much faster. I engaged my reel and felt what appeared to be a heavy fish on my line. Again, I figured I had hooked a striper, but suddenly the fish leaped about five feet out of the water revealing that it was a nice smallmouth of about two pounds. Dale managed to get the net under it, and then I started looking on the graph for more fish. I found an area at the end of the point where the bottom dropped from 15 to 30 feet very quickly, and I saw a number of marks around the 23-foot mark. I dropped to those marks and was fast into another nice bass. We continued to work that area until the bite ended. We fished up the lake on that side a bit further, but that only produced one two-pound largemouth. We returned to the point where we had caught those smallmouths but failed to catch any more.
At that point I decided to motor directly across the lake to an area where Jim Buxton and I had success two weeks prior. We took a couple fish where we started, but the action got a lot faster when we reached another long point at the mouth of cove. Most of the point was submerged going well out into the bay before it dropped off into deeper water. By this time there was an easterly breeze blowing directly into the point as well as some pretty massive ski boat and cruiser wakes. We managed to take several nice bass off this point, and some of the fish were up on the point in the shallower water. The action lasted for about 45 minutes and then it was over. We tried one other point on the opposite side of the cove before calling it a day but had no luck. Of the 25 bass we caught Thursday, 14 came off of those two points which happened to be almost directly across the bay from each other.
The fish we cleaned Tuesday and Wednesday had about an equal number of shad and crayfish in their stomachs, however it was apparent the bass we caught in Gunsight Thursday were feeding entirely on shad. It wasn’t unusual to see a couple of shad tails still in their mouths, and many of our fish spit up large numbers of shad as we fought them. As we do most of the time, we used drop shot rigs with Yamamoto Shad Shaped Worms. We used mainly two colors, white and watermelon laminate and natural shad. I don’t think there was much difference between the two. Our most consistent presentations were straight down below the boat unless the fish were at less than 17 feet. Dale caught several dragging his rig directly behind the boat.
I believe the major reason we had tough fishing is all the forage in the lake. Previous trips seem to indicate a bumper crop of crayfish, and this trip proved there are large numbers of shad in the lake. I saw many large shad balls on my graph, particularly in Gunsight on Thursday. These are the fattest and hardest fighting smallmouths I have taken on Lake Powell. In fact, these fish fought harder for their size than any smallmouths I have taken anywhere. I am convinced fish that have a lot to eat are harder to catch than those who can’t afford to pass up anything that looks like a meal. It is also possible our location and presentation was not the best as well, but it’s hard to get away from the things that have worked so well in the past. At any rate, we still caught some very nice fish and enjoyed some terrific weather. A day on Lake Powell is almost always a good day.
October 19, 2014 - Northern Grand Slam
North Lake Powell
Water temp 70-73
The Adamson Family and I headed to a boulder flat that was holding schools of stripers, SM bass and walleye. The bite was instant on spoons in 30-40’ of water. We were catching 2-5 pound stripers, 1-2 pound SM, fat walleyes and several catfish but after a few hours we decided to try some different tactics. We ran to a shallow bay were we found stripers and SM chasing shad. Spinner baits did the trick. These stripers were skinny compared to the deeper ones caught on spoons. While they were working the spinner baits I finally had a blow up on a spook that missed but another fish hit it and it turned out to be about a 3lb LM.
On Saturday the schools on the boulder flat were not there but it turned out to be a Grand Slam day. We did catch a couple of SM and then we moved onto a bay that has been choked full of shad all month. We caught several LM on spinner baits and then we hit one that was pushing 4lbs. This young lady was on fire with the spinner bait. We saw lots of fish under the shad clouds but we could only spoon up 4-8” stripers. We ran to the back of another cut and shad were being chased by birds and fish. We caught several SM and stripers on the spinner baits but when we got to the back of the cut we found a boulder in 15’ of water and loaded the boat with 9 nice fat walleye and 3 giant crappie. Stripers, LM, SM, Walleye, Crappie and several big Blue Gill all landed in the boat today. If there was ever a time to learn what fish are doing on the graph it is now. We could see them and know if we could catch them or not even in shallow water. The bite should only get better.