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August 26, 2020 - Huge striper caught trolling.

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wayne gustaveson

Staff member
August 26, 2020

Lake Elevation 3601

Water Temperature 81-87F

This weekend we went uplake looking for striper surface activity. No fish were feeding on the surface because the lake was choppy due to a morning breeze. We left the main channel after rounding the corner beyond Gregory Butte. I headed to one of my favorite spots and put out the trolling lures while using the graph to detect striper schools. We saw one school on the bottom (35 feet) and caught one striper while trolling over that school. While reeling in that fish the rest of the school came to the top chasing shad. We were close enough to cast surface lures to the small boil. These fish were energized and we quickly caught 7 stripers while trolling, casting and spooning in one cove. Then they moved on and we were done catching.

I tried the same spot again today and found the same school. This time they only hit surface lures and spoons. We almost caught the same number of fish. One big fish ran with the spoon and broke the line. So we ended up with only 6 stripers.

When I got off the lake Saturday (8-22-2020) I got a call from Bob Reed (Uplake Adventures). His Sea-Doo, Fish Pro anglers had caught a big striper and he wanted me to weigh it. I met him at the Fish Cleaning Station at Wahweap and he told me the story:

Kim Dallas had booked a Uplake Adventure overnight Fishing Trip with her husband. They went uplake on Friday and fished their way back on Saturday. After leaving Rainbow Bridge they stopped downstream from Rock Creek and tried some deep trolling with Strike King 10X Deep diving lures. These lures get down deeper than 20 feet so they are near the thermocline where adult stripers can swim in water cooler than the 85 F water on the lake surface. Bottom depth was about 80 feet where they were trolling. Apparently, some big fish were stacked there in the afternoon waiting for a meal.

Bob got a strike while trolling his deep lure but the fish broke off. Then Kim got a hit but the fish got off. Kim tried again and got another hit and the fish was hooked! By the time she stopped the Fish Pro, and turned around to grab the rod from the holder, most of the line was gone as the fish made a fast run as big fish often do. She glanced down at the spool in time to see the last level of line disappear. Then the last knot gave way and the line was gone.

Bob pulled up next to her and was fortunate to see the bright yellow braided line floating on the water. Assuming she had snagged a rock, Bob stopped and picked up the line in hopes of retrieving the line and perhaps even saving the lure. He spent about five minutes feeding the line through the eyelets and tying it back onto the reel spool. Then he said "reel it in". After she reeled in about 50 feet the line got tight and it looked like she was stuck on a rock, but they were in 80' of water...she pulled hard and then the line moved! Bob said, you may have a fish and she then excitedly said, "I think I do!"

The battle with a big fish takes about 15 minutes. It swims in deep cool water, while the angler tries to pull just enough to make the fish swim. The first run is the longest and hardest. Luckily, this big fish quit running when the line went slack after leaving Kim's rod. If that fish had kept running another 50 yards Bob could not have found the line. When she played it again the fish would make shorter runs while being worked closer to the surface. When a big fish swims in warm surface water (80+) they only fight for about 5 minutes. When they roll on the surface, they are done. Warm water stress prevents a big striper from swimming back down.

Here is a link to the video starring Kim Dallas:

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