Question about Striper size and health Spring 2018

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I read on Wayne's second report in March that there should be plenty of healthy and strong stripers due to a great water year in 2017 and therefore lots of shelter for good bait fish recruitment. From the pictures I am seeing, that looks to be the case. That said, it appears that most of the fish are fairly small......not complaining just observing - and in fact happy to see that all those little striped rockets are doing so well. I am curious if there is a decent chance for fish in the 3 to 6+ pound class, specifically females, in early May 2018. I'm planning a return trip fly fishing trip and looking forward to getting worked up about the potential for some strong, healthy, abundant and potentially larger fish. Your thoughts Wayne?
 

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wayne gustaveson

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Those fish you are holding in the Doubles... photo will be available in May. Three-pounders will be caught often but 4-6 pound fish will be a bonus.

Remember that in early May stripers are spawning and they do that at night. Your best chance to catch larger fish is to work the steep cliff walls with large boulders or reefs BEFORE THE SUN HITS THE WATER! Spawning stripers just shut down when the sun comes up. I have caught them every cast from their favorite spawning sites as long as the school is shaded. As soon as the sun comes over the east canyon wall they quit. Fish coves along tall east walls until about 8 AM. Fly casting is great during spawning season as these fish are not chasing shad when spawning but will eat plankton and small items in the spawning coves. After the sun comes up, then go fishing for bass or try open water for yearling or immature striper schools.

You can also find spawners at sundown by trolling over long points where young males are stacked up waiting for the sun to go down and big females to become active. Catch a few young males and then wait for dark to catch the bigger fish at the spawning spot.

Stripers are a lot more challenging than most anglers really know. Healthy mature fish have completely different behavior than the thin fish that stack up along the main channel walls and can be easily caught on bait.

I know you already know these facts because the first time we met you showed me how to catch larger stripers on flies than I could catch with spinning tackle. Thanks for that and the spots you showed me have worked every year since. They will work again in 2018.
 
Thanks for the response Wayne. We have two windows lined up, one in early May with the quarter coming into the new and the second, later in May with the quarter coming into the full. We'll check weather and take the first window if it looks good. I will post a full report upon our return. We'll be fishing out of Waweap again. Just taking my little boat, Juney, and camping. As usual, I can't wait. Our stripers, in the waters I fish in CA are often bigger and the fishing can be outrageous, but there is nothing like Powell for scenery, fast action, and that wonderful feeling that comes with new discoveries.
 

fishfry

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All the stripers we caught(mostly in red canyon) this week were very healthy and fat! Suprised to see that most of the stomachs were empty though.
 

wayne gustaveson

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All the stripers we caught(mostly in red canyon) this week were very healthy and fat! Suprised to see that most of the stomachs were empty though.
There is very little forage available now as stripers have to wait for shad to spawn in May before there is enough food for them to eat. Thats why striper schools have left the deep water and are found in the backs of canyons. Most of the striper stomachs now contain plankton and nothing else.
 

fishfry

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Thanks Wayne- makes sense. The smallies we caught however were full of baitfish and crawdads.
 

fishfry

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It was decent only because we found a spot (historically good)where the stripers were holding and could troll them up about every pass with several doubles. Other than that it was tough, caught a few smallies on jigs or craw cranks and one walleye. Everything was healthy and good size.
 
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