Help needed!

Discussion in 'Lake Powell Fishing' started by Doug Elworthy, Nov 29, 2016.

  1. Doug Elworthy

    Doug Elworthy Member

    Planning a trip to Bullfrog area December 15-18. We love the winter trips, but have never had much luck catching fish. Any advice would be much appreciated on how and where to catch stripers, walleye, etc. in the BF area or within reasonable distance. It may be a little cool to travel too far.;) I have down riggers if deep trolling is the ticket.
     
  2. Gem Morris

    Gem Morris Well-Known Member

    We did well trolling in Bullfrog Bay past The Dome Rock the Friday and Saturday after Thanksgiving. I'm sure they'll still be there. My friend ran his downrigger at 17 feet, I used an umbrella rig. 50 fish.
     
    Last edited: Nov 30, 2016
  3. Dungee Fishing

    Dungee Fishing Well-Known Member

    A couple video's from Seth Taft Outdoors on Youtube shows them spooning for Stripers near Bullfrog in November and December.

     
  4. wayne gustaveson

    wayne gustaveson Administrator Staff Member

    Thanks for posting these great videos. Many will get a better understanding of the potential catch rate that spooning gives in November and December. Stripers are schooling fish that slow down when the water cools. Find a school, give them a shad (Spoon) to eat and the results are astronomical. My best single drift while spooning was 92 fish near Lone Rock with 2 anglers in the boat.

    I really like spoons right now. If you have not fished this way before there is no time like the first week of December. Water temperature this morning (11-30) was 57. Conditions are right for catches like the one just witnessed on the video.
     
  5. wayne gustaveson

    wayne gustaveson Administrator Staff Member

    Water temperature held at 57 F this morning despite the near freezing air temperature last night.
     
  6. Doug Elworthy

    Doug Elworthy Member

    Thanks Gem, Preston and Wayne!
    Here are my spoons and slabs.
    Any favorites or am I missing something that is really good?
    And suggestions for trolling lures that should work good ?
     

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  7. wayne gustaveson

    wayne gustaveson Administrator Staff Member

    Wow Doug that should just about do it! I often change colors and sizes if I see a reluctant school on the bottom. Normally an active school will hit a variety of spoons. Its the inactive fish that are tough to catch. The secret is how many shad are available for stripers. The good news is that Bullfrog has the most shad of any lake location in Powell this year so spoons may still be working in a couple of weeks.

    Find a striper school on the graph and drop spoons right in the school. Hopefully that will be all you have to do to catch lots of fish. The drop in temperature will have some impact but spoons would be my first choice in Mid December.

    If you need to cover a lot of water while searching for the striper school then troll while searching. I have had good luck recently with the Lucky Craft XD100 in chartreuse shad color. It only goes down to 12 feet so you may need a deeper diver. If needed troll the Storm Deep Thunderstick (20 feet) on another rod to determine which depth is most productive.
     

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  8. Dungee Fishing

    Dungee Fishing Well-Known Member

    Wayne, do you still actively troll during the winter as well? Or is that not effective and its better to just graph? Would trolling near Striper City etc be something to try in the winter?
     
  9. Bruno

    Bruno New Member

    Doug... We fished the mouth of Hansen Creek 11-23 - 11-27. Huge school of stripers!! Several Walleye caught in the same spot. All fish caught spooning with 1/2 oz silver and blue Kastmasters. Concentrate on the island and the north point wall. All fish caught 60 - 80 feet deep. I was suprized to catch Walleye so deep.
     
    Doug Elworthy likes this.
  10. wayne gustaveson

    wayne gustaveson Administrator Staff Member

    Yes trolling in Striper City is a good plan:

    If I have to go slow to graph for stripers schools, then it just makes sense to troll while graphing - even in the winter. If there are no fish marks at all on the graph then I move to a different spot and start trolling and graphing again in the next canyon or the next place that I think might hold fish. I do NOT just troll for a long time hoping to find fish. Trolling to me is just a way to find fish so I can spoon or cast to a school once found. I have to catch at average of one fish every 5 minutes to feel my time trolling is well spent.

    The dilemma for me is what to do when I see a striper school - continue trolling or stop immediately to spoon on a deep school. Trolling over the school often results in a hookup, but if it doesn't then returning to find the school often does not work because I can't retrace my exact path back to the school, OR the school moves a bit making them harder to find.

    I have resolved this issue by carrying floating markers. As a school is seen on the graph the marker is deployed. Then I can return to the spot if a fish is caught or not. If they are too deep or not interested in trolled baits then I can return and often find the school in close proximity to the marker and drop spoons.

    If the fish start hitting spoons the dynamic changes once more. The boat drifts (I dont have I-Pilot) and active fish follow the hooked fish. The school may travel many 100's of yards if fish are hooked consistently. If only a few fish are caught then I can return to the marker and often find the schooled fish once more. I need to go fishing because my hands are starting to shake just thinking about being in the boat over an active winter school of stripers.

    In the winter as the water cools, shad schools go deep and stripers follow. Schools are big and movement is less than in the warm summer water. Get a striper school started in the winter and the catch results can be HUGE!
     
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  11. wayne gustaveson

    wayne gustaveson Administrator Staff Member

    Here is a graphic display of an active striper school going crazy for spoons. When you get over the school, do not take time to take pictures, bleed fish, or slow down in any way. If you do, then your catch will be smaller. You must provide a spoon to the school quickly to keep their interest. If a fish is being played then the school keeps following. If no spoon is in the water then they may lose interest and drop back to the bottom or turn away from your path.

    I unhook each fish as quickly as possible. My favorite technique is to grab the spoon, hold the fish in the air and snap my wrist. The quick jerk often unhooks the fish and lets me drop the spoon back in the water in less than 10 seconds. When spooning over an active school, we often have the deck entirely covered with stripers making it hard to walk. When the fish stop biting then we quickly put the fish on ice and then try to relocate the school.

    I get excited about spooning for stripers in the winter.

    jumpdeck.jpg
     
  12. Doug Elworthy

    Doug Elworthy Member

    Gem
    How do you rig an umbrella rig?
    I know there is a limit on how many hooks.
    Do you remove the front treble from a lure?
    Do you tie each on with mono ?
    Do you or anyone have a picture you could post of a properly (legal) rigged umbrella?
     
  13. wayne gustaveson

    wayne gustaveson Administrator Staff Member

    Here is a video with too many hooks but you get the idea. In Utah you can use 3 hooks and only 2 in AZ. I will try to get that changed in 2017 but only on Lake Powell.

     
  14. Gem Morris

    Gem Morris Well-Known Member

    I've used umbrella rigs off and on over the years starting about 6 or 7 years ago. Kevin from Kentucky who posts here off and on first put me on to them. My big complaint was constant tangling and difficult to fish. But they did produce a lot of stripers.

    I saw a report on this board about them recently and decided to give them a try again. I bought and used this one: http://www.captmacks.com/store/product/striped-bass-umbrella-rig/

    It comes "pre-loaded" with all the lures already tied on. The best thing about this one (in my opinion) is that the lures are attached with steel leader. This means tangles were substantially easier to undo compared to monafilament.

    The video Wayne posted above was very good and I do all those things he suggested. In Bullfrog Bay I trolled mine with 50' of line out (on a line-counter reel) at 1.9 mph (ish) but I think faster would have been better (3mph).

    All the lures are only single hooks (no trebles). This helps greatly when it comes time to unhook a fish. I don't lift the rig out of water or net the fish - I kneel at the back of the boat and lip the fish on the rig then lift out the fish and remove the lure while all the other lures stay in the water - this also helps reduce tangling.

    That same web site (www.captmacks.com) sells a heavy lead with treble hooks retreiver in case you get your rig snagged - this happened twice to me on this trip and I was able to retrieve the rig twice with it.

    I don't have any pictures of "legal" umbrella rigs. I figure I'm only fishing for stripers (and that's all we caught), a species with no limit, and if they want to try and give me a ticket I'd have a 50/50 chance of talking my my out of it.

    I had a double only once on this trip, but have had many doubles in other years.
     

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  15. Doug Elworthy

    Doug Elworthy Member

    Trip was delayed due to weather .
    Rescheduled to December 27-30
    I want to try out what Santa brings!
    I hope the colder water doesn't shut down spooning and trolling!
    Going to start in Bullfrog bay,
    Then,....
    mouth of Hansen Creek.
    Then..
    ??
    Any thoughts ?
    Appreciate all the help!
    Merry Christmas Wordlings!
    I'll post when we get back.
     
  16. Gem Morris

    Gem Morris Well-Known Member

    Is Santa bringing an umbrella rig?
     
  17. Doug Elworthy

    Doug Elworthy Member

    I really like your set up and what captmacks offers.
    The retriever hook is a must have!
    I put these on my list to Santa, we will see is I've been a good boy this year!
    I picked up a smaller 5 hook rig at Sportsmans and steel leaders but they don't seem to have the jigs.. I'll be there today to look to see if I can find something close to what you showed in the photos. I did get a line counter reel and loaded it with 30# mono and a heavy swivel snap. Seems like the line counter would be nice for spooning/ jigging also. Need to add that to my list to Santa.
     
  18. Gem Morris

    Gem Morris Well-Known Member

    Which Sportsmans do you go to? I could meet you at the one in Midvale or South Jordan, Utah?