Hot Weather Stripers on Beaver Lake

News & Tips: Hot Weather Stripers on Beaver Lake

"When you see that rod tip begin to bounce, grab the rod, do an about face and try to break the rod," Don Andreasen of Beaver Fever Guide Service said.

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Beaver Lake guide Don Andreason (left) and author Bill Cooper show off a pair of stripers caught on 9-inch live shad.

From the looks of the hefty fishing rod, I knew I could not break it. But, Andreasen's statement caused me a bit of concern about what he expected to see at the 9-inch shad attached to the business end of my line.

I booked a trip with Andreasen in July. He said he could put me on big stripers during the heat of summer. "They will be deep, but we can find them on the electronics and then put a big shad in their face," he said. "They will eat it."

The lake record for stripers is a 57-pound behemoth. However a larger fish, a 64-pound, 8-ounce giant, came from the Beaver Lake tailwater. That area is not stocked, so the fish must have passed through the dam and survived.

Beaver Lake, in the Ozarks of Arkansas, is very deep and very clear "Because of this," Andreasen pointed out, "the lake provides adequate habitat for the stripers even in the hottest days of summer."

Methods Used to Fish Stripers

Three basic methods are used to fish for stripers. Big topwater baits are perhaps the most fun way to hook stripers. Zara Spooks and Red Fins are favorites among the topwater anglers. Watching a big striper blow up on a surface bait is an experience no one will ever forget.

Live bait fishing can be very effective. Anglers troll 6- to 8-inch shad in deep water. Modern electronics are very effective at helping anglers find individual fish or schools of stripers.

When stripers get finicky, many anglers use downriggers to troll crankbaits, elongated minnow lures or bucktails. The downriggers allow for very precise depth control.

"Let's get setup quickly," Andreason said. "The fish are following a big school of shad and should show up around our baits in a few minutes."

I had never heard of heading fish off at the pass, but it sounded logical. "Here they come," Andreasen warned. "Watch the rods."

"Bill, your rod," he barked like an Army DI. "Stick 'em now."

I fumbled a bit getting the big rod out of the rod holder, but manage to put the power wing on the rod. No fish.

"You were to slow," Andreasen instructed.

I didn't have to wait long for more action. Two rods went down. Both me and my fishing partner hooked fish. Mine turned out to be less than 10 pounds. We released it quickly. The larger fish usually succumb to being brought up from the depths. They are delicious table fare, however.

We had no sooner replaced the 9-inch shad on our hooks when the action started again. A third rod went down while we were battling our second double. Andreasen set the hook. "Trade rods with me Bill," he said. "This is a really big fish."

"I have my hands full," I responded. "You will have to land that one."

Five minutes later an 8-pound hybrid, a 22-pound striper and a 32-pound striper lay on the bottom of the boat. We were all very tired.

We sipped a cup of coffee, caught our breath and re-rigged. Within 30 minutes we each caught our third fish of the day, a full limit. It was not even 8 a.m. yet.

To book a fishing trip with Beaver Fever Guide Service call 479-359-2322 and ask for Don, or go to Beaver Fever Guides.