Lake Mead has long served as home water for a friendly group of anglers known as the Nevada Striper Club.
It’s an organization whose stated mission is to “Bring fisherman together and provide a family based social setting. Our goal is to enhance fishing skills and promote the sport of fishing through camaraderie and friendly competition.”
One of the things that makes this club unique is the culture of sharing that exists among its members. Generally, fishermen are tight-lipped about the places they go and the techniques they use to catch fish. Not these guys.
Even though the club hosts a monthly striper fishing tournament with prize money on the line, they willingly share much of what they know. They won’t tell you everything, because they are competitive folks, but they will share enough to help you learn the nuances of Lake Mead and striped bass fishing in its clear waters.
While participation in the club’s monthly tournaments are limited to its members, the club periodically hosts a tournament that is open to all anglers. Such was the case recently when the club hosted what club president Chris Madden hopes will become an annual event.
Known as River-Rama 2017, the event was held at Lake Mohave rather than Lake Mead. Participants could fish anywhere from Davis Dam on the south to the no-wake buoys at Willow Beach on the north.
“We decided to host the tournament and see how things would go. And it ended up going pretty well. We had 35 entries,” said Madden.
Among the list of participants was a Lake Mohave regular named Bryan Simons who signed up to defend his home waters from Madden and his fellow interlopers from the north. It seems that he and Madden, as friends often do, had been engaged in some pre-tournament trash talk. But it was Simons who had the last word when it came time for the weigh-in.
“I cleaned house and took home over $2,000 and also won a couple of cool raffle prizes,” said Simons. “It made it worth it. It was a class act and run very professionally. Everyone was very friendly. I mean a lot of guys have reached out to me congratulating me.”
The Striper Club no longer publicizes tournament results, but Simons said his winning four-fish bag weighed in at about 54 pounds and change, far ahead of the second-place finisher. His catch included three double-digit fish. One tipped the scales at more than 18 pounds.
Some people seek the spotlight, but despite his reputation for catching big stripers, Simons isn’t one of them. He did, however, share the following tips for anglers who would like to catch large stripers.
Be prepared to spend some time on the water. “I spend more time on the water than anybody else,” he said. “I mean, it was a 48-hour tournament, roughly, and I was on the water for 44 of those 48 hours, and fishing was nonstop.”
Don’t get locked in on a particular style or type of bait. “I primarily fish big swim baits, but I also catch a lot of fish on jigs. I’ve caught just as many fish over 20 pounds on bucktail jigs as I have on 12-inch swimbaits,” said Simons. “You just got to know where and when, and how to do it.”
One of the keys to knowing the when is knowing how to read conditions. “Conditions are more important than anything, in my opinion,” he added. Though he has caught big fish in slick-water conditions, Simons said he prefers windy days. “Primarily you want wind. If you don’t have wind, I usually will just go home.”
Why windy conditions? It has to do with water visibility. “You can get away with glassy conditions in muddy water, or stained water, but when you have crystal clear water with 30- to 50-foot visibility the fish aren’t feeding.”
Be quiet. “On my boat its silent time. You don’t talk, you don’t sit there and shoot the (bull), and laugh and joke. You fish quiet because those big fish, they’re not going to come around you if you’re hooting and hollering, or playing music, or jumping around on your boat,” explained Simons.
Simons said he doesn’t use a fish finder because they make too much noise, especially in water less than 30 feet deep.
Waterfowl season in the Moapa Valley portion of the South Zone opens Saturday (Oct. 28). Reservations are required at the Overton Wildlfie Management Area.
Freelance writer Doug Nielsen is a conservation educator for the Nevada Department of Wildlife. His “In the Outdoors” column, published Thursday, is not affiliated with or endorsed by the NDOW. Any opinions he states in his column are his own. Find him on Facebook at @dougwritesoutdoors. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
LAKE MEAD — Striped bass are starting to move up in the water column, and anglers
can find improved fishing with stripers at depths of 25 to 40 feet. There has been an
abundance of bait fish, especially smaller gizzard shad, which may explain the slow
striper bite anglers are currently finding. Catfish are hitting on anchovies fished off the
bottom. Action for smallmouth and largemouth bass will slow down as the water
temperatures continues to cool.
LAKE MOHAVE – Anglers are reporting moderate success for stripers across the lake.
Success is coming to both shore and boat anglers using anchovies fished off the
bottom, throwing rainbow pattern swimbaits near the surface. Larger stripers tend to
target the swimbaits. Some anglers are rigging their anchovies on a drop shot. Catfish
also are taking anchovies. Look for them in the backs of coves. Trout fishing is getting
better with the arrival of fall weather. Willow Beach trout plants take place each Friday
morning. Try silver spinners near the surface, and PowerBait or olive colored Woolly
Buggers near the bottom.
LAUGHLIN – Fishing for stocked rainbow trout is good below the dam. A variety of baits
and lures have proven effective. One more to include on your list is the floating mouse
tail. Most stripers are in the 1- to 3-pound range. The fish have been hitting on
anchovies, buzzbaits and other top-water lures. Buzzbaits also are taking black bass
when fished along the weeds.
LAS VEGAS URBAN PONDS – Seasonal catfish plants concluded with an Oct. 19
delivery. Rainbow trout plants have yet to be scheduled. The starting date will depend
on water temperatures, but they usually begin before the Thanksgiving holiday. Action
has been a little slow around the ponds with catfish taking night crawlers and stink baits.
Fishing for bass and sunfish has slowed significantly.
KIRCH WILDLIFE MANAGEMENT AREA – Action for rainbow trout remains good with
the fish taking a variety of lures and baits. Waterfowl season is open, so anglers and
hunters should be aware of each other’s presence on the area. This is a good
opportunity to double up on your outdoor adventure. Be prepared for quick weather changes and cold temperatures.
EAGLE VALLEY RESERVOIR – Rainbow, tiger, and brown trout have all been hitting
well this past week. The Nevada Department of Wildlife recently planted rainbow trout.
Anglers are reporting good action with night crawlers, chartreuse Power Eggs, and
Mepp’s spinners in gold or silver. Temperatures have been cool but still above freezing.
As a result, visitors have found some excellent wildlife viewing opportunities.
ECHO CANYON RESERVOIR – The NDOW recently planted rainbow trout. Anglers
have found good fishing with PowerBait, spinners, lures and a variety of traditional trout
baits. Fall is usually a good time for crayfish patterns.
UPCOMING FISHING EVENTS – There are no fishing clinics scheduled for the next
few weeks, but this is a great time to take children out to learn about fishing. It’s not too
hot and not too cold. The urban ponds are a great place to start. Try using small 1/8-
ounce weights and hooks no bigger than size 10. The best bait to start small children
with is corn, which many species of fish like to eat.