By: Wayne Gustaveson
Shad are taking a beating now as stripers have found the tiny hatchlings close to the surface. Unfortunately, surface feeding stripers are very easy to see but not as easy to catch. In the southern lake striper slurps are common but very subtle. Slurps are quick. Stripers may get done feeding before the boat is in casting range. If they come up a second time then a long cast with a small swim bait may score. When slurps are small and quick it might be better to troll a small shallow-running crankbait or crappie jig through the area for an occasional hit. Watch the graph and stop over the feeding school and drop small Kastmaster spoons for a quick hook up.
At mid lake the feeding complexion is much different. From the back of Bullfrog Bay to Moki Canyon mouth there are lots of tight aggressive slurps. These fish are easy to catch when in long casting range. Shallow running rattletraps and small Kastmaster spoons are ideal baits. Surface lures are beginning to work. Just remember to cast over the school or to the leaders moving out in a new direction. Big lures that land in the middle of the slurpers feeding on tiny fish spook the whole group. Cast to the leading edge of the slurp and reel back through for best results.
The northern lake is still a bit muddy. It is now clearing up and slurps may start up in Good Hope Bay soon. Contrary to conditions in the southern lake where shad numbers are small, the muddy inflow area has abundant shad. Stripers there do not have to group up to feed successfully in these conditions. They can feed individually without much effort and get all the shad they need. Boils are not happening on a regular basis in the north. Good results can be found trolling for these bigger and healthier fish but if it is the boil experience you want, mid lake is the best option.
Bait fishing is still good at all the spots that have been producing since April. Stripers are getting better at bumping the bait and knocking it off the hook than they were last month when each anchovy was consumed without hesitation. I actually like this better because these fish are more challenging to catch. It is worth the effort to do a lot of chumming as the catch rate increases proportionally with the amount of chum put in the water. There are many effective fishing methods and lots of hungry stripers. Please catch and keep as many as possible to trim the striper population down to balance with the new shad crop now being produced.
Channel catfishing is awesome in the evenings on sandy beaches near the backs of canyons. Cats as large as 10 pounds have been caught recently. Some that may have been even larger have been hooked but not landed. My favorite technique is to use a single bait hook with no weight. Attach whatever is left over from the evening meal cut in a bite sized chunk large enough to cast. Let the bait settle to the bottom and then wait for a catfish to find it. It should not take too long. If you can't devote your whole time to watching the line put a bell on the rod tip and let Mr. Whiskers ring the bell when he is ready to play.
Smallmouth bass are caught on open water reefs and largemouth near any brush structure or tumbleweed found on the rocky shoreline. Walleye are caught on bait or trolling lures morning and evening. Fishing is great at Lake Powell.