For years my friends and family have chased the elusive hybrid striper around Lake Arthur. The attraction to striper fishing begins with their slamming hits and powerful fast fight. Most anglers agree that these fish are one of the hardest fighting fish that swim in freshwater. In the following I will discuss some techniques, lures, and possible locations to get you started in chasing these beautiful creatures.
Let’s start with some general information about hybrid stripers. First, hybrid stripers are unable to naturally reproduce. That is the reason that the creel limits set by the PA Fish Commission is 2 fish at 20″. They are a good tasting fish and you only will need 1 or 2 to make a meal for a family. I recommend keeping hybrid stripers to eat in the spring when the water is colder, the fish is less fatty, and has a better taste.
Next, let’s talk about weather conditions and locations on the lake. The best weather conditions and locations to fish on the lake depend on the time of year. In the spring, I look for days with a slight wind and lots of sun. During this time I am looking for active baitfish. Since the sun makes the baitfish get active and spawn these conditions are ideal for catching hybrid striper. Watch for vicious surface action in the schools of baitfish and move in slowly, being careful not to spook the bait and striper. During the summer, the cooler overcast days tend to be the best. However, if you are able to fish during the night then you should consider fishing those hot humid nights. These fish are cold water creatures and with feed when the surface temperature cools down. During the fall, I fish much like I do in the spring. Looking for those days with the sun and slight wind. No matter what time of year I am fishing for Lake Arthur hybrid striper I fish the same types of areas. For me, there is no where better than fishing a roadbed. I would say that I catch about 75% of my stripers on the roadbeds. You will find sweet spots that they always seem to hold or come up to feed on them. Other areas to try are hard bottom rocky shorelines, wind blown points, the creek channel, both bridges, and the areas by the islands. If you can combine any of those areas into one spot then more than likely you will find the targeted striper.
Now let’s talk about the different techniques that can be used to catch hybrid stripers. I try to basically break down striper fishing into 2 categories. First, you can troll for them. This may be the most productive and more consistent of the 2 styles. The time of year will determine how deep you want to troll. Sometimes you will be in less than 4 feet of water, and other times you will need to troll in 20 feet of water. Once you catch a hybrid trolling make a couple passes through the same area because these fish are pack hunters. Don’t be surprised if multiple hook ups happen at the same time. The other method I use is casting and covering water using an electric motor. This is my favorite style because you really get an aggressive strike and once you find them you are going to get a bunch of hits and hook ups. Remember that once you find the fish you want to work your trolling motor as little as possible because these fish are spooked easily.
The next bit of information is what most anglers consider sacred information that I have acquired from experience and from other anglers. When fishing in the spring I have a few favorite lures. Soft and hard jerkbaits work extremely well. Some specific brands lures include zoom flukes, case sinking minnows, bass assassins, rapala xrap and original floater, bomber long A, and strike king wild shiner. I also like to use spinnerbaits varying in size. Personally, I have caught more striper on a strike king mini king spinnerbait than any other lure in my box. Remember when picking a spinnerbait, buzzbait, or swimming jig to match the baitfish size and color (white or shad colored) the best you can. In the summer you will generally get them on the same lures, but you may need the deep diving version unless you are night fishing. Another lure you may want to try in the summer is a rapala shad rap. It gets down a little deeper than most jerkbaits. As far as live bait goes I would stick to shiners or I would try to catch some alewives.
This is a species that everyone can enjoy catching, so remember to share your experiences with a friend, child, or a family member. Have fun and good luck!