If shopping for the best deal on striper boils at Lake Powell, the answer is simple. The best chance of finding surface feeding action is found in the far north lake. The area from Good Hope Bay (Buoy 118) to Trachyte Canyon (Buoy 125) is the most productive. There are boils occurring everyday over the length of the lake so it is possible to find them at any place, and at anytime. If asked to make a list of the top five boiling spots it would look like this and in this order:
1. Good Hope to Trachyte
2. San Juan – Cha Canyon to Great Bend
3. Escalante River Arm
4. Rincon to Forgotten Canyon
5. Face Canyon to Rainbow Bridge
The factors that influence boiling activity include wind, rain and sunshine. Wind tends to keep stripers from boiling, but when the wind quits, hungry stripers like to make up for lost time and feed very aggressively right after the windstorm. Rain may keep anglers off the lake but stripers can easily ignore a rainy period because they are already wet! When the sun is shining brightly from dawn to dark, stripers choose their own best time to feed. They can start chasing shad at first light or sleep in until 8 a.m. before feeding.
My plan when looking for boils is to head out at first light and cover lots of water during the first three hours of daylight. If no boils are seen, that makes it more likely that surface action will occur in the evening. Unfortunately there are no guarantees.
I live near the number five rated boil spot on the lake, so I am reporting for that area. Other canyons uplake are better for boils seen and fish caught, but similar in how to find fish and catch them.
Today, I headed out at first light and found a breeze blowing. According to my rules, that is not good for finding surface action.
When I got to Padre with choppy water, I stopped and trolled along the east wall in the shade. The result was one smallmouth and one striper caught in 15 minutes. That is too slow for me and the wind let up a bit, so we moved to Face Canyon.
Surface feeding stripers were in the same bay where we found them last week. The boils were very quick, averaging about 25 seconds from beginning to end. If we moved close enough to the previous boil and they came back up again in casting range, we caught a fish. Usually we arrived at the boil site with the water still trembling on top, but the fish were gone. We chased 5-6 quick boils, caught four fish and then moved on.
At Buoy 25, we saw a quick rise now and then but never did get in casting range. There were no fish seen or caught at the mouth of West and Dove so we went to Friendship Cove. It was calm and quiet there but no fish were seen. We got a report from a wave runner captain that there had been a huge boil there at 7 a.m. We missed it.
We decided to take one look in Rock Creek and then head back. It was 10 a.m. and way too late for morning boils. The mouth of the three Rock Creeks has been a good boil spot over the years so we went there. We were very surprised to see the biggest boil of the morning against the wall between Main Rock and Middle Rock. Then the fish came up in the middle of the bay. The next boil was on the east wall of Dry Rock. This bay was the best spot of the day and we quickly caught 20 fish on top-water lures in less than an hour.
Surface feeding stripers can come up at any time or place. The shad in their stomachs were 2-3 inches long, which means these fish need to boil to catch fast moving shad. They go down quickly because the surface temperature of the water was 84 degrees, which was too warm for these 2-3 pound stripers to stay on top for long. They dive quickly to deep water to cool off and then pop back up again to eat more shad. The superb physical condition of stripers caught today has not been seen since 2016. They are fat again.
We saw many and caught a few smallmouth bass in the rock slide areas of Rock Creek. As the lake level declines, bass fishing will get back to normal with bass occupying habitat that is easy to find.
Fishing success at Lake Powell is amazing! When you stick with it and keep trying the result is a fun day of fishing, a good catch and memorable sightings of the red rock walls and blue water. I love this place!