After last week’s column was published, I received an email from a reader who asked if it was possible to find striper boils from shore. As I thought about it, to find a striper boil from the shore wouldn’t be too difficult as long as you chose the right place to wait and watch.
Lake Powell is definitely a boater’s paradise but there is one spot, Stanton Creek, near Bullfrog, that is a great area to see striper boils and catch fish.
Few places exist on Lake Powell that are more prolific fish producers than Stanton Creek, a series of fingerlike deep cuts that extend from a hand (wrist and back) and extends from the main channel toward the north for a couple of miles.
I have caught smallmouth bass, largemouth bass, stripers, walleyes, bluegills, sunfish, and catfish literally within throwing distance of campers, motor homes, trailers, and tents that dot the rocky ledges and shorelines that recede or expand depending on the water level.
So, how should you fish Stanton Creek from the shore from now until the end of November?
The first thing to do is target stripers, smallmouth bass, or both. Stripers travel in schools from several fish to several hundred fish. Smallmouth bass, on the other hand group together on rock piles and boulders that make up most of the Stanton Creek area.
Next, try to find topwater action for both species. A great lure for stripers and large and smallmouth bass is a Whopper Plopper, in chartreuse, white, or a combination of the two. On 20-pound-test monofilament line, a size 130 Whopper Ploppers could be thrown from 30 to even 50 yards depending on the size of the spool on your reel.
The great thing about Whopper Ploppers is that all you need to do is cast it out and reel it in. Other topwater lures require special retrieves that take a little time to master the techniques.
Always bring along a rod and reel along with a 1/4- ounce ball head hook with a white, green pumpkin, or chartreuse grub, and cast it to the many rock piles and boulders in the area to take up some time between striper activity.
Now for the specifics on how to find a striper boil in Stanton Creek.
First, you must be patient, persistent, and be able to walk on the peninsulas separating each finger cut watching for “changes” in the water. And, you must be watching the water at first light or at least the last hour of light in the evenings.
Changes in the water simply means “observing” the small pocking of water that hints to the presence of schools of shad. The pocks in the water can cover an area as small as a wheel barrow or the entire back of a cove. When stripers are present, there is a certain “tension” to the school of shad, and in essence, the entire area. Birds will begin to arrive: grebes, cormorants, loons, crows, ravens, and of course, sea gulls.
Begin casting directly into or around the immediate vicinity of the shad school and watch for an immediate blow up on your lure. You are trying to get the shad move and the stripers will sense the change in the shad and the attack will commence. Even without a striper boil, you can fish your topwater lures all day long in this area.
I fish a bass tournament the first week in November each year. Every year for the past five, I have found striper boils in Stanton Creek almost every morning that last about 30 minutes in clear weather and up to an hour or more when it’s cloudy or rainy.
It is worth the trip for the scenery alone but who knows, you just might fill your freezer with healthy stripers.
To get to Stanton Creek, which has a primitive campground, just after passing through the Park Service Gate at Bullfrog, look for the sign to Stanton Creek on your left. A short gravel road connects you with the area. Good Luck.