Friday, June 13, 2014

How to Fish for Striper at Powell

Mountain Man and I and a couple friends just got back from our annual fishing trip to Lake Powell. 

Ladies if you want to bond with your husbands by doing something they love or if you have older children and are looking for some great family time this is it! I am not a fishermen. I am way too impatient to sit there and wait for a fish to come along but if you can get out to Powell when the Striper are running you will be catching so many fish you won't know what to do with all of them. I am here to spill all of the secrets on how to fish for striper.

You can catch striper all year. However there is a secret about the timing if you want to have amazing striper fishing.  Every year as the water warms up to about 75 degrees a small bait fish called shad start "running" (more active after the long winter) The striper feed on the shad so they become very active around the same time. The time of year that this happens will depend on the summer heat but usually it can be anywhere from end of May through July. You have to hit Powell at the right time though because once the water gets too hot the Striper head deeper for cooler temperatures.  We came across this secret on a website called Wayne's Words. This guy is a Powell fishing genius. He updates once a week on the fishing at Lake Powell so I would highly recommend checking out his site before you head out to Powell for a fishing trip.

Now I just want to emphasize how amaizing this fishing is.  The striper will come and go so there will be slow times. When that happens, ladies make sure you have stuff to paint your toe nails with!

But when the fishing is hot you better be ready for a wild ride. This year we had six people with us and at least five poles in the water at all times (I kinda slacked during the slower times...oops) When the fish were biting though, we would cast out and within a couple seconds have a fish on the line. It was so crazy that we had to have a designated de-hooker. After reeling the fish in we would throw the fish and fishing pole in the bottom of the boat and grab a spare pole that wasn't being used. The designated de-hooker would un-hook the fish, de-gill them, put them on a rope and bait the hook for the next person to cast out into the water. Oh P.S. another secret is that we used anchovies for bait. Here is a video from last year of how quick we were catching the striper. The GoPro was in a waterproof case so you have to turn the volume all the way up.

This year was not a great year. Powell was extra low this year which negatively effected the striper fishing. I also think we were a little bit premature on our timing. We only caught about 60 stripers. However, last year, two trips were made and with each trip over 200 fish were caught! There is no limit to the amount of striper you can take home. In fact, The Lake Powell Fish and Game department actually want you to catch them and take them home and if the fish is too small to take home they ask you to kill it because the striper over run the Lake each year. Everyone was able to take home enough striper to last them through the entire year without buying any other fish, which was a really big money saver for us this year.
Powell authorities were also able to cut out a new channel because the water was so low this year. This channel is now funtional with the recent rise of the water and allows smaller boats to bypass the main channel which provides a little more saftey for smaller boats because the water in the main channel is always choppy and really scary for smaller boats. It also cuts out about 25 minutes off of your boat ride if you are headed up the lake. Fishing at Powell always turns out to be such a fun trip and I am pretty sure the wives were more excited about it this year than the husbands were. This experience is a must for any family!!

Just enjoying the boat ride!



And a full day of fishing wasn't enough for this guy!

Here are a couple tips and a packing list for your fishing trip

1. Sun protection- A Strong SPF, hat and swimsuit are essential. It is hot out there and you will need to keep your body cool, plus jumping in and swimming every once in a while makes it extra fun. Bring a towel to dry off too!

2. Warm clothes- Depending on what time of year you are fishing and what time of day you get out to your fishing spot you may want to bring a warmer pair of clothes. We got to Powell extra early and the boat ride was pretty chilly even in June.

3. Bait- We found that anchovies were the best bait for striper. You can buy bags of anchovies at Sportsman's. We used a total of 5 bags of anchovies on this fishing trip. You will also want to bring a small knife to cut the anchovies into smaller pieces. And ladies pack some hand sanitizer. Handling anchovies is bad enough but having to smell like them all day is not fun.

4. Attracting the Fish- To do this you will want to chum the water, which just means throwing pieces of anchovies in the water to lure the fish in and get them to school up in the area around the boat.

5. Easier Fishing- Needle nose pliers are the easiest way to get a hook out of a fish. Bringing a large net is also a good way to make sure your line doesn't break while pulling a fish into the boat. And take a pair of gloves with you. Striper have teeth. Last year we all came home with prickly thumbs from de-hooking the fish without gloves.

6. Caring for the meat- You will need a large cooler filled with ice in order to keep the fish from spoiling. Also when you are going to eat an animal you have caught/ harvested trying to get rid of all the blood is key to making the meat taste better. You can do this by de-gilling the fish before throwing them into the ice chest.

7. Fish Cleaning Station- There is a fish cleaning station on the camp grounds at the Wahweap Marina . After you have caught all the fish your hearts desire head over there to care for the meat. You don't actually have to take the time to gut the fish. We filleted both sides of the fish and then sent them down the disposal shoot. You will need a fillet knife and an electric cutting knife. The electric cutting knife is the fastest and most efficient way to get through your large numbers of fish. Here is how we did it:

8. Storing the Fish Meat- After filleting your fish and washing the meat off you will want to bring some ziplock bags to store your meat in. You can either seperate them into smaller bags according to the portions you will need for your family or you can just throw it all in a gallon ziplock bag and sort it when you get home. In my opinion the best thing to do would be dividing the meat up into family sized portions and then putting all the smaller bags into a larger 1 gallon ziplock bag.

9. Washing up- After you have fished all day and finally clean and filleted your fish the last thing you will want to do is hop in the car and drive in dirty, stinky fish gut covered clothing. Bring an extra pair of clean clothes to change into after you are done caring for the fish meat. Bringing a bar of soap to scrub up and rinse off is also a great idea. Believe me! Your wives will thank me!

10. Location- My final tip is the secret location...I hope I dont' get in trouble for this!..... Don't repeat this to's just between you and me......Bouy 25!

Now here is your packing list for a one day fishing trip out at Powell:

  • Fishing poles and all other fishing equipment
  • several bags of anchovies
  • small knife to cut anchovies
  • Needle nose pliers
  • Net
  • Glove
  • Large cooler with ice
  • ziplock bags to store fish meat in
  • Electric carving knife
  • Fillet knife
  • Strong SPF sunscreen
  • A sack lunch and plenty of water and snacks to munch on throughout the day
  • Set of warmer clothes for the cooler morning boat ride
  • Towel
  • Bar of soap
  • hand sanitizer
  • sunglasses
  • hat
  • Camera
  • Some good ole' fishin music

Enjoy your fishing trip!
I will be posting Mountain Man's AMAZING Striper fish taco recipe soon!



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