For much of the 25 years that I’ve fished Lake Powell, I can only remember fishing it twice in September. Last week, my wife, Jeri, and I loaded up our camper and boat and spent three days in the heat, wind, and sun, enjoying the getaway and targeting stripers and smallmouth bass.
We arrived mid afternoon on Monday and were able to get settled into the RV park, prepare our rods and launch the boat. A gentle wind blew from the southeast and we decided to head towards the mouth of Bullfrog to fish in the Haystack area.
We only had an hour or so to fish before dark so we just wanted to hook a fish or two, and to check out the potential for striper boils. Stripers, in September, are living on the edge of boiling and resting all day long. They hold in 30 feet of water and wait for schools of shad to coax them up to the surface.
At our first stop, we found a huge school of stripers on the fish finder but they were resting and not interested in our spoons and deep-running crankbaits. So, we switched gears and put on our dropshots and focused on smallmouth bass in 19 feet.
Of course, Jeri instantly began hooking and catching 12- to 14-inch smallies as quickly as she could get her shad shape worm to the bottom. She caught five to my one fish and we called it quits for the evening after seeing a large school of shad hit the surface with no fish following.
The next morning, we went into Hall’s Creek Bay to get away from a strong south wind, and found a school of stripers in 25 feet of water in the mouth of a small cove. Once we found the school, I threw a Zara Super Spook (my favorite topwater lure around the area while Jeri continued to catch smallmouth and blue gills on her drop shot.
After finding a small school of shad near the striper school, I focused my casts on the outsides of the shad and immediately caught a five-pound striper. Then, every few casts another striper would test the surface and smash my lure. At one point, I needed my net to land a seven-pounder but when I let up on my rod to grab the net, the fish took the rod right out of my hand and we watched my rod, reel, line and lure sail into 25 feet of water never to be seen again.
Thank Goodness I have 17 rods and reels in my boat or it would have been a disaster.
The rest of the day we found tiny striper boils with three to four stripers chasing small schools of shad on the surface all over the large bay. But, the large schools of stripers stayed on the bottom. All told, we caught 15 to 20 stripers and had perhaps that many more strikes.
On Wednesday, the wind died and so did the striper bite. Jeri and I both got hit early in the morning on our topwater baits and I caught a couple of nice stripers but that was it.
We eventually went north and found some great smallies just north of Moki Canyon just off the main channel. Jeri loved the drop shot bite and went completely away from fishing for stripers.
Late in the evening, back in Hall’s Creek Bay, the stripers woke up again and I caught a six-pound striper on my Zara Spook. Meanwhile Jeri consistently backed my up with her dropshot.
There are so many shad right now you can literally find stripers everywhere, but it will take a few degrees cooler water before they will have the courage to actually boil. If you have plans to fish Lake Powell this fall, get down there in the next three weeks and you might just witness some of the largest striper boils ever.