Austin Kimber, Grand Junction, Colo., caught boiling stripers at Bullfrog on a recent trip. Striper fishing is steady but walleye and smallmouth are providing consistent action at Lake Powell.
Lake level is now falling after remaining stable all spring, which will have an impact on fishing later in the summer but for right now the same old patterns are still in force.
The brush forest at lake edge has been responsible for the good fishing results for all species seen this year and for some unexpected quirks as well. Adult stripers have been hard to catch in the main lake this year as these big fish remain associated with brush that they have occupied for most of their three-to-four-year lifespan. As water pulls out of the trees, stripers and forage will have to move to open water creating a different fishing pattern.
But for now stripers are still associated with brush.
In the southern lake, yearling stripers are holding near brushy coves. The best pattern is to troll in 15 to 25 feet of water, near brush, on flat shorelines. Bays like Warm Creek, Padre and West Canyon have the flat brushy shoreline small stripers favor.
While trolling, watch the graph for schools of fish under the boat and constantly scan the surface for slurping boils. Boils are most likely to be seen at morning and evening twilight. Good numbers of stripers can be caught trolling and then under the boat as the school follows the hooked fish to casting and spooning range.
From Hite to Good Hope, the same technique of trolling while watching for surface activity works well. Troll right up to boiling fish, change rods and catch surface feeding fish. When they go down, keep trolling for more fish. Trachyte and Tapestry Wall have been consistent for boils this week.
At Bullfrog, lots of slurpers are seen morning and evening from Hansen Creek to Lake Canyon and all spots in between. The fish are spooky but a few fish can be caught from each boil.
The big advantage at Bullfrog is boiling stripers weigh three pounds instead of the half-pound fish found at Wahweap.
Striper fishing is best described as steady. Fish are regularly caught, but not in the numbers to which we have become accustomed.
The surprise species continues to be walleye. They can be caught trolling in the treetops in 15 to 20 feet of water early and late in the day. (That is the essentially the same pattern and location described for stripers.)
Use a Bomber Flat A crankbait or a Lucky Craft Flat Mini to troll at just the right depth over trees.
On windy afternoons walleye bite trolled baits very well while on calm days they are missing in action. Walleye fishing near Hite is great, while best described as good in the main lake downstream all the way to Padre Bay.
Saving the best for last, it is now time to describe smallmouth bass fishing as wide open.
It is essential to use the right technique to achieve the best results. Drop-shot is the key and Yamamoto shad shaped worms are the best bait.
Fish the edge of the tree line for smallmouth and the brush thickets for largemouth. Place the bait on the bottom in 15 to 25 feet of water near brush and then fish it very s-l-o-w-l-y.
Let the fish tell you when it has been in one place long enough.
Once in the zone, 100 bass days are very possible.
If drop-shot rigs are still a mystery to you then itís time to study up and learn how to use this effective summer fishing technique.
Wayne Gustaveson is the Lake Powell project leader with the Utah Department of Wildlife Resources. Check out his website at http://www.wayneswords.com.
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