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striper spawn

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flagpowell

Member
in the report you said That usually begins near May 10th and may continue until the first week of June. Spawning fish are not feeding on shad but will eat plankton to keep them alive. This is an ideal time to catch big stripers on small lures or flies. Fly fishing for stripers peaks in May at Lake Powell.

how does a fella go about this? will the stripers be shallow and sight fishing will be key.where in location to a canyon will the stripers be at this time?
thanks in advance
 

CHRIS MCBETH

Well-Known Member
in the report you said That usually begins near May 10th and may continue until the first week of June. Spawning fish are not feeding on shad but will eat plankton to keep them alive. This is an ideal time to catch big stripers on small lures or flies. Fly fishing for stripers peaks in May at Lake Powell.

how does a fella go about this? will the stripers be shallow and sight fishing will be key.where in location to a canyon will the stripers be at this time?
thanks in advance


Wayne explains fly fishing for Stripers in his book. Best $20 I ever spent
 

wayne gustaveson

Moderator
Staff member
in the report you said That usually begins near May 10th and may continue until the first week of June. Spawning fish are not feeding on shad but will eat plankton to keep them alive. This is an ideal time to catch big stripers on small lures or flies. Fly fishing for stripers peaks in May at Lake Powell.

how does a fella go about this? will the stripers be shallow and sight fishing will be key.where in location to a canyon will the stripers be at this time?
thanks in advance

Stripers spawn at night but stay active until the sun hits the water in the morning. Therefore the tallest east walls that have the biggest shadows are a good spot to start. Stripers are more often in the backs of the canyon this year than at the dam or along the walls, This has not happened since 2015. Conditions in 2018 are similar.

Dave Sellers is a exceptional fly fisher and is planning to come to the southern lake again this year. Here is the report I wrote about him in 2015.



Lake Powell Fish Report – May 19, 2015
Lake Elevation: 3592
Water Temperature 64 - 70 F
By: Wayne Gustaveson http://www.wayneswords.com
LOST STRIPERS ARE FOUND!
Striper fishing has been difficult in May since most are accustomed to fishing with bait for big schools of fish in deep water of the main channel. But not this year. Stripers are in great shape and in spawning condition. In April schools of stripers were found in the backs of canyons eating shad hiding in shallow water. But not now. It is now apparent that these schools of prespawn fish have moved out of murky water in the backs of canyons into open bays often near the canyon mouth and main channel. Prespawn schools are holding in spawning coves next to deep water waiting for water to warm enough for spawning to occur. With no shad in spawning coves stripers have only plankton to eat while waiting…. Plankton move just enough to group up in shallow open water. Stripers cruise along just under the surface until a plankton congregation is encountered and eat a few microscopic tidbits as they wait…. In these conditions shad imitating crankbaits are ignored except at low light morning and evenings. This is why striper fishing has been tough in May.

Now enter Dave Sellers, an expert striper fly fishermen from California. He discovered that these schools were often near the surface and could be caught on flies by long casts expertly retrieved. That did not help me much since I have not used a fly rod since I was a teenager. But he did give me one technique that I could successfully perform and it worked for a fish collection that was needed this week. Here are Dave’s words (which I edited for this report) that I used to catch stripers.

“We headed back to Padre Bay to the cliff walls on the east shore and located a big school under the boat. We went fishless for about an hour. Rob handed me the controller to his boat troller and he laid out for some shut eye on the leaning seat on his Ranger Bay Boat while dragging a fly behind the boat. Happy accident!! it wasn't 100 feet before the rod was just about jerked out of his hand. I cast out and gave it a long count. Nothing. Then, I resumed trolling looking for schools. Rob did not have his line in water any longer as he was staring at the graph with me. Another 15 minutes and we decided to get on the main motor and slowly head across the mouth of the cove looking for fish on finder. I dragged my fly line out this time and cruising at tuna trolling speed, a hook up occurred inside of 30 seconds. The two clueless fly casters finally got a clue. The fish were not on the graph because they were on the surface. After getting my fish in, we shut the motor down and started casting. Every cast again. This time many of the takes were within the first two pulls, and once again, bone jarring. The fish, as expected, would pile under the boat with the caught fish. But this time, it was not a problem. For every school we dragged in from our casts, there were more out around us. It was yet another evening of abundance.”


I found ripe male stripers using Dave’s description of the habitat and then trolled a clouser minnow on my spinning rod with 7-pound fluorocarbon line along the surface at 4 mph and hooked up within 5 minutes. Then we circled around that location continuing to catch shallow stripers on flies. We got one triple while trolling 3 flies and we even caught one fly casting when stopped over a school that we drug under the boat. For the next week – maybe two, it is possible to find mature adult stripers by trolling flies along the surface. This magnificent but incredibly unusual year continues while fishing Lake Powell.

Bass and walleye are still being caught in big numbers while working the shoreline with green plastic baits and square bill crankbaits. The walleye bite in the northern lake is monumental. Add a live night crawler to target these toothy and tasty game fish. Come enjoy fishing at Lake Powell.
There is something for everyone to enjoy right now.
 

wayne gustaveson

Moderator
Staff member
This site is like a fishing logbook. I should just let those that look at the reports from 2015 get the info that will help them find stripers this year. But I cant stand it here is the next fish report from 2015.

Striped bass are finally near spawning. Female stripers are only ripe for one hour each year. The hormones don’t flow until the spawning trigger arrives. In the lake that trigger is rapid warming and rising water. The sign to look for is a rapid increase in surface water temperature. The morning temperature today was 64 F. If the lake surface increased to 74 F degrees by this afternoon that would be enough to start the spawning process. But that won’t happen today. Expect a one-day 10 degree rise in temperature within the next 10 days. When that happens, here are the clues to find a spawning school of stripers.


Ripe male stripers are schooled in virtually every bay and are much more interested in spawning than eating. Locate them by trolling flies along the surface through the plankton schools where they are biding their time. They will eat a large zooplankters (white streamer fly) while foraging on the microscopic critters that are the foundation of the food web. Many stripers can be caught using the fly trolling technique. Once the school location is known return to that spot at sundown on a day when the temperature has risen dramatically.
Stripers spawn on the surface at night. A spawning school will behave much like slurping fish with lots of rolling and splashing making them a bit easier to find in low light. The males in the school will weigh from 2.5 pound to the larger fish which will exceed 10 pounds. The females in the school will start at 4 pounds and top out over 30 pounds.
These stripers are incredibly aggressive. I suggest using a single hook which will make it easier to unhook these beasts quickly after dark. I have successfully used a half to one ounce bucktail jig to catch spawning fish on every cast in coves that are 15-30 feet deep.
This is an unusual year where most of the stripers in the southern lake and 75% of the stripers in the mid to northern lake are in spawning condition. The best way to find a spawning school is to troll the bucktail jig across lake points at sunset. There will also be some boil-like activity close to shore that is still visible as the sun sets and the night darkens.
This is the best chance we have had in this century to find and interact with a spawning school of a striped bass. I testify that is really worth it and an unforgettable experience. It will happen within the next 10 days. Be extremely alert for any signs of surface activity at dusk and be prepared to catch a ton of fish if lucky enough to be in the right spot.
P.S. Better bring a headlamp.
 
Hi Wayne, Your assessment of the striper spawn, the condition of the fish - and the possibility of hitting things just right this year has me really excited to return to the lake again in May. As for the original question asked by FlagPowell, I am certain that your response as to the depth of the male fish awaiting females will help him, and others, a lot. Unless you have a side finder, you won't see them. Just cast the fly and strip it in fast. I think I also mentioned back in 2015 that if you can smell them, you know that's likely a staging area. Also, you informed me that the bigger fish we were catching off points, down deep, were more likely to be larger females, during the 2015 trip. We fished uphill for these larger females and had the best luck at dawn and in the evening. Long countdowns to 25 plus got to these bigger girls hanging on the points. We caught fish up to 8 pounds which is not huge, but it was the numbers that really made the trip. We had four days of crazy fast striper fishing. Mostly smaller males near the surface during the day and bigger females morning and evenings. Even better, we had great luck finding them in many places which combines the thrill of hunting and discovery with lots of catching, and serious case of striper thumb! As for fly fishing gear, we really only used one line. It was 30 feet of T-8 attached to a monofiliment shooting line. LC-13, T-11, and T-14 are good shooting head options as well. A fast sink full striper line will work great too, is more readily available and is a more friendly line to beginning and intermediate casters. Rio, Scientific Anglers, Airflo and others offer good fast sink striper lines. I used 17 pound straight Seaguar fluorocarbon leader (resists abrasion). We used primarily Clousers (2 to 5 inches, mainly chartreuse over white) because they ride hook up and are easy to remove from the fish, especially on barbless hooks, which is helpful during a hot bite. All the rods we used had fighting butts and ranged from 6wt. (very fun) to 8 wt.
 

fisheye

Well-Known Member
Wow, reading these reports makes it sound as though the spawn might be the second best opportunity (after boils in summer), to load the cooler with stripers. It also brings to mind a possible management tool ? If it were possible to get some net boats involved (maybe a dozen)), at likely spots up and down the lake during this spawn they could seemingly take a huge numbers of stripers without the worry if incidental catch of other species? And might save a shad or two, and help some of the other specie ? I know , its a pipe dream..
 

wayne gustaveson

Moderator
Staff member
Wow, reading these reports makes it sound as though the spawn might be the second best opportunity (after boils in summer), to load the cooler with stripers. It also brings to mind a possible management tool ? If it were possible to get some net boats involved (maybe a dozen)), at likely spots up and down the lake during this spawn they could seemingly take a huge numbers of stripers without the worry if incidental catch of other species? And might save a shad or two, and help some of the other specie ? I know , its a pipe dream..

In most years my goal of 'managing by harvest' works well enough to keep the striper population in balance. I think we can actually catch more fish with 12 boats angling instead of netting. I work the lake a lot at night and its not a friendly place after the sun goes down. Lots of uncertainty deploying nets, purse seines, and trawls near shore where these fish spawn.
 

Outside

Well-Known Member
[QUOTE="wayne gustaveson, post: 14118, member: 57"]This site is like a fishing logbook. I should just let those that look at the reports from 2015 get the info that will help them find stripers this year. But I cant stand it here is the next fish report from 2015.

Striped bass are finally near spawning. Female stripers are only ripe for one hour each year. The hormones don’t flow until the spawning trigger arrives. In the lake that trigger is rapid warming and rising water. The sign to look for is a rapid increase in surface water temperature. The morning temperature today was 64 F. If the lake surface increased to 74 F degrees by this afternoon that would be enough to start the spawning process. But that won’t happen today. Expect a one-day 10 degree rise in temperature within the next 10 days. When that happens, here are the clues to find a spawning school of stripers.


Ripe male stripers are schooled in virtually every bay and are much more interested in spawning than eating. Locate them by trolling flies along the surface through the plankton schools where they are biding their time. They will eat a large zooplankters (white streamer fly) while foraging on the microscopic critters that are the foundation of the food web. Many stripers can be caught using the fly trolling technique. Once the school location is known return to that spot at sundown on a day when the temperature has risen dramatically.
Stripers spawn on the surface at night. A spawning school will behave much like slurping fish with lots of rolling and splashing making them a bit easier to find in low light. The males in the school will weigh from 2.5 pound to the larger fish which will exceed 10 pounds. The females in the school will start at 4 pounds and top out over 30 pounds.
These stripers are incredibly aggressive. I suggest using a single hook which will make it easier to unhook these beasts quickly after dark. I have successfully used a half to one ounce bucktail jig to catch spawning fish on every cast in coves that are 15-30 feet deep.
This is an unusual year where most of the stripers in the southern lake and 75% of the stripers in the mid to northern lake are in spawning condition. The best way to find a spawning school is to troll the bucktail jig across lake points at sunset. There will also be some boil-like activity close to shore that is still visible as the sun sets and the night darkens.
This is the best chance we have had in this century to find and interact with a spawning school of a striped bass. I testify that is really worth it and an unforgettable experience. It will happen within the next 10 days. Be extremely alert for any signs of surface activity at dusk and be prepared to catch a ton of fish if lucky enough to be in the right spot.
P.S. Better bring a headlamp
.[/QUOTE]

Any chance still spawning up north for Memorial weekend, or all done?
 

wayne gustaveson

Moderator
Staff member
Any chance still spawning up north for Memorial weekend, or all done?

Stripers were reported spawning at first light this morning with surface temperature at 64 F. It may be a degree or two warmer in the northern lake. Spawning is imminent right now over the whole lake. Will it still be happening over the Memorial day weekend? Possibly! That is hard to predict.

If the spawn is over the spawning school will begin moving along the surface looking for larval shad. They will then start slurping shad along the surface and actually be easier to catch. There are always options with stripers with the month of May being the one with the largest variety of how, when and where to catch them. I will get the reports out as soon as anything changes.

Right now if a spawning school is seen at dusk or dawn, cast small top water lures to the surface disturbance. Flies work even better but it is harder for me to cast long distance sinking flies from a boat.
 

Outside

Well-Known Member
Any chance still spawning up north for Memorial weekend, or all done?

Stripers were reported spawning at first light this morning with surface temperature at 64 F. It may be a degree or two warmer in the northern lake. Spawning is imminent right now over the whole lake. Will it still be happening over the Memorial day weekend? Possibly! That is hard to predict.

If the spawn is over the spawning school will begin moving along the surface looking for larval shad. They will then start slurping shad along the surface and actually be easier to catch. There are always options with stripers with the month of May being the one with the largest variety of how, when and where to catch them. I will get the reports out as soon as anything changes.

Right now if a spawning school is seen at dusk or dawn, cast small top water lures to the surface disturbance. Flies work even better but it is harder for me to cast long distance sinking flies from a boat.

Thanks for the info Wayne. I'm a fly guy so some of the best fishing I've had was on slurps for the first time last June. Looks like our trip will be in a month so surface action should be on, can't wait!!
The only thing you need to lengthen your cast is to learn the double haul cast. There's lots of videos showing the technique, then go practice in a park with grass.
 
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