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Brett Prettyman
Brett Prettyman writes about the outdoors, recreation and fishing for The Salt Lake Tribune

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Lake Powell Fishing Report - Summer solstice starts striper 'boiling'

Lake Powell Fishing Report

June 24, 2014

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Lake Elevation: 3607.25

Water Temperature 71-76 F

By Wayne Gustaveson of Wayne's Words

The last fish report was not very exciting with mundane fishing results. Since then two major events occurred. First the wind quit blowing hard in the afternoons. Second the Summer Solstice on June 21 had a dramatic impact on Lake Powell as the lake started BOILING! I suppose the striper boils were not really caused by the first day of summer. Regardless, going fishing is now terribly exciting once more.

Slurping striper boils are seen lakewide. Juvenile stripers are feasting on larval shad with the feeding action occurring on the surface making fish location easy to see. Schools of 50 to 500 stripers are tightly grouped as they line up and mow the surface while eating tons of larval shad.

Shad are abundant in areas where slurps are happening. Right now the main channel is the prime fishing destination. Head uplake from Wahweap or downlake from Bullfrog to get in on the action. The best spot from Wahweap is upper Padre Bay to Rock Creek. Best spot down from Bullfrog is Escalante to San Juan. Perhaps the best spot on the entire lake is the San Juan Arm from the mouth to Wilson Creek.

Lure choice is important. Shad size is very small and swimming ability is slow. Crankbaits do not mimic the forage. It is possible to cast to the edge of the action and work the lure into the feeding fish. A silent entry works as stripers are willing to consume a "larger fish" when one is seen. But if the lure lands mid group they spook and go away. A small spoon, like a Kastmaster, that falls down through the feeding fish and then works through the feeders has more success because perfect casts are not needed – a good one is enough. Some stripers spook when the lure hits but others grab the spoon as it works down and then through the school. My best success has come on small (3/8 ounce) micro fabric jigs that are similar to flies tied to look like various fish species. These small fish can be worked slower than spoons when necessary or fast following a perfect cast. Results are very rewarding with these and also small bucktail jigs. Yesterday one or more fish were caught from every slurp. The hooked fish was then escorted to the boat by an entourage of 30-50 following fish. That was really neat to see in clear water.

Timing is variable with a good early morning bite followed by a mid day lull. Then at 2 PM (MST) the afternoon boils start and last until dark. The days are action packed. Yesterday, from 2-5 PM, there was never a moment when I was not casting to boils, choosing which group to try next, cruising to the next group, or taking a fish off the hook. It was a truly amazing fishing experience.

Striper size is 14 to 20 inches and fish are fat as they can get. Stomachs are bulging with about 50 shad per stomach. It is time to save some shad. Get out there and give the shad a hand. If we want boils to be around in September we have to allow shad to grow to adult size. Reducing striper numbers now will help that cause and make fishing better later on.

These stripers are perfect eating size. Just put some ice in a cooler and place fresh caught fish on ice immediately. They will then keep until the end of the trip when filleting is possible. Take the fishing rods along on the wakeboarding adventure. Stop for all boils to add variety to the trip. It will add a new dimension to the summer Lake Powell adventure.

Tyler Eckstine, Delta CO, caught a nice striper near Bullfrog. Most of the stripers caught now are smaller than the one pictured but they are boiling and very fun to chase and catch. Slurping boils combine fishing with hunting. Find them splashing on the surface and then get close enough to cast. It is great sport.

Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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