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Fishing Report

Water temperature:

79-85 F

July 18, 2019



July 31,2019

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Lake Powell Fish Report – July 31, 2019
Lake Elevation: 3621
Water temperature: 79-85 F
By: Wayne Gustaveson http://www.wayneswords.com or Wayneswords.net


Lake Powell is now holding steady at an elevation of 3621. Water entering the lake is equal to or slightly exceeds water going out. Expect the lake level to be steady for the next few weeks. Stability allows lake water clarity to increase as sediment falls out onto the lake bottom. Water visibility in the main channel at the mouth of Moki Canyon is about 7 feet. Just downstream from Good Hope Bay visibility is about 5 feet. Floating driftwood will be a problem in the northern lake and the backs of some canyons until the water level begins to decrease and strands the driftwood on shore.

We are quivering with anticipation while waiting for striper boils to begin. Slurps are diminishing. It is hard to catch a fish on top, because the slurp only lasts for 15-30 seconds. It is hard to make the approach in time to make a perfect cast and catch a striper. It is still possible to catch stripers on bait, with a good striper school reported just north of Tapestry Wall. Unfortunately, most of these stripers were thin. Fatter stripers responded to trolled lures further out into the channel. 

The good news is that striper boil reports are starting to come in. A full-blown striper boil blew up and lasted for 30-minutes just before the first big turn in the San Juan Arm. There were boils reported in Red Canyon, as well. Another report came from Buoy 59 in the main channel. That boil was up and down for almost an hour. Once stripers go down they are still anxious to eat shad and will hit spoons really well when the school is seen on the graph under the boat. The best chance of finding boils occurs in the San Juan Arm and in Good Hope Bay and beyond. Expect the rest of the lake to boil in the coming weeks. August is the most consistent boil month. However, September is the most enjoyable with cooler weather and less boat traffic.

Bass fishing is still steady with main channel rockslides, and brushy areas along the shoreline being the most dependable spots to catch largemouth and smallmouth bass. Fishing for sunfish is steady near shore and brushy cover. Look in the back of brushy coves. It is possible to visually find sunfish in shallow coves and then catch them on tiny ice lies with a piece of worm attached. Bluegill may be one of the best tasting fish found in Lake Powell. Invite some to dinner and let us know your opinion.

The easiest big fish to catch is the channel catfish. They come into sandy beaches at dusk and search around all night for something to eat. Table scraps, night crawlers, or anchovies work well as bait. Just cast the bait behind the boat and wait for the catfish to find it. It should not take long. 

There are always some fun fish to catch at Lake Powell. It is an amazing fishery!
 

July 10, 2019

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Lake Powell Fish Report – July 10, 2019
Lake Elevation: 3618
Water temperature: 76-85 F
By: Wayne Gustaveson http://www.wayneswords.com or Wayneswords.net

Slurping stripers are still very active in the Southern lake from Wahweap to the San Juan. Get up early to beat the boat traffic and head uplake always on the lookout for a small surface disturbance. Stripers in a tight school are chasing small shad and the feeding event is visible for 100 yards or more in calm water. Watch for gentle splashes and an occasional fish breaking the surface. Approach the slurp quickly, stop in casting range and turn the boat to the side so all can cast to the slurping fish. The first cast must land in front of, or beyond the rapidly moving fish. Work the lure back through the school quickly. Slurping stripers usually dive before there is time to cast again. Sometimes the school goes under the boat. A quickly deployed spoon may work when the school is directly under the boat. Usually the school pops up again. Move the boat again into casting range and repeat the process. Stripers are more likely to hit lures on the first cast. Sometimes they will hit the second time stripers come up. Usually they are not interested in your lures after the second attempt. It is then time to move on and find the next school. 
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On our sampling trip, we saw slurps in the main channel from Gregory Butte to Rock Creek. We caught slurpers from 7 AM to noon before heading back down lake. Six times we caught two fish on the first cast to a new slurping school. Total catch was 27 stripers, caught on full size bone colored, Rebel Jumpin' Minnows. These lures are heavy and cast a long distance. Stripers were very willing to hit big surface lures as long as they were in front and beyond the rapidly moving school. 
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We also tried trolling early along the east wall of Padre Bay and found stripers willing to hit Live Target Shad (Silver-Bronze) crankbait. We caught one fish at 5-10 minute intervals.
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Top water fishing for bass is great at first light in the morning. Brush lines sticking out of the water are signposts that say fish here. Cast topwater lures towards the brush. Work them slowly through the weeds to catch both large and smallmouth bass. Later in the day, go to the backs of the canyons where water is murky, driftwood is floating, and shoreline brush has recently been flooded. Bass are very willing to hit a wide variety of lures in 5 to 25 feet of water. I even caught bass trolling the Live Target shad lure in the backs of canyons at a bottom depth of 12-25 feet.
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Bluegill and Green Sunfish are now easy to see in brushy coves now filling with water. Use a very small jig head with a small piece of worm attached. Kids love catching sunfish and it is a good way to teach them how to fish. 

Catfish are very active on sandy beaches from early evening until late at night while sitting in a lawn chair at the waters edge.

Fishing success is strong and doing well in the heat of the summer on the shores of beautiful Lake Powell.

 

July 17, 2019

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Lake Powell Fish Report – July 17, 2019
Lake Elevation: 3620
Water temperature: 78-85 F
By: Wayne Gustaveson http://www.wayneswords.com or Wayneswords.net

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The inflow to Lake Powell is slowing down but not before bringing the lake up over 50 feet. The annual high lake level for this year will be between 3620 and 3625 MSL. Rising water has covered the brush line, which now gives shad, bass, and crappie the opportunity to avoid predation and increase their numbers in the lake. Largemouth bass, crappie and shad numbers decreased in 2018 when the lake only came up 3 feet and brushy cover was absent. Another year of high water in 2020 would boost the sport fish populations and continue to make Lake Powell a reliable fishing destination for anglers from all over the country.

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In the last report, smallmouth bass were lost and wandering with the rising water. Now they are back in good size and numbers. The easiest way to find bass is to watch for narrow, (less than 50 yards wide) isolated rock slides in the main channel and in major canyons. In canyons where the channel is mostly steep cliffs, rocky habitat attracts bass to congregate in a small area where they are easy to find using standard bass baits, such as senkos, Ned rigs, single and double tailed green grubs. The best advice is to fish on the bottom in deeper water than normal, at 20-25 feet. On our weekly trip, we caught 6 smallmouth in about 15 minutes using these techniques. Our best fish was a 3-pounder. (Caught by Nob Wimmer) 
Note the rock slide in the background. 

Stripers are still visibly slurping small shad in open water over the length of the lake. We saw slurps in Warm Creek, main channel, Padre Bay, Dominguez Rock, Face Canyon, Last Chance and Rock Creek. The fish were fun to watch and try to approach, but the numbers caught dropped off significantly since last week. Our catch dropped from 27 stripers caught last week, down to 6 on this trip. Last week slurpers were willing to hit full size white surface lures. This week the most successful lure was a 2-inch rattletrap in black and silver color. Stripers caught were in great shape after snacking on shad for the last month.

We found that the size of shad consumed was essentially the same as that found in striper stomachs for the past month. This means that stripers are focusing on recently hatched shad that swim in open water near the surface. Larger larval shad that hatched out more than a month ago are now hiding in the backs of canyons in turbid water and brush. When stripers deplete the small shad supply in open water they will begin searching for more forage and eventually find larger shad in the backs of canyons. When that happens 'boils' will begin. Stripers boil because large shad can swim fast which means stripers have to surround the shad school and trap it against the lake surface and/or the shore. There have already been a few “boil sightings” in the backs of canyons.

Boils began early last year due to low, clear water. Review the old fish reports (Wayneswords.com) to see when the action started in other years. My best guess is that boils will begin in the northern lake during the last week of July. Water clarity is the key. If runoff continues to muddy the water, it could be a week later. Boils in the southern lake are likely to start in August.

Fishing a striper boil may be the most exciting form of fishing found in fresh water.
 

July 3, 2019

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Lake Powell Fish Report – July 3, 2019
Lake Elevation: 3613
Water temperature: 75-85 F
By: Wayne Gustaveson http://www.wayneswords.com or Wayneswords.net

Rapidly rising water levels have really had an impact on fishing success and fish behavior. Many annual and perennial weeds are now under water, which provides cover for small, recently hatched fish. The most beneficial aspect is cloudy water gives small minnows a place to hide. We need these small fish to grow and become the future generation of adult fish in the coming months and years. When the lake level was lower and water was clear, sport fish fed on many small shad and other minnows. Additional cover makes it possible for shad and minnows to find refuge and grow larger. Bigger forage fish will provide more food for all predators in the months to come. 

Stripers are still slurping in the south each calm morning and throughout the day. Slurps are slowing down up north. Slurping striper schools line up on the surface and chase shad pods in quick bursts that last less than a minute. They are up and down often but also quick enough to avoid anglers who are just out of casting range. They go down quickly as a boat gets close but then they resurface nearby often in casting range. The average catch is one striper out of 10 slurps. It is a bit frustrating but also gratifying when a fat healthy striper hits a surface lure, spoon, Steelshad or small white jig.


Charlie Jorgensen caught his first striper at Lake Powell
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Slurps cease when the wind comes up. Hungry stripers then go deeper and hang out at about 30 feet where the water temperature is just right. Bait fishing is now productive as the striper schools go deep to rest up. Anchovies or striper meat draws their attention back to eating and the action continues. Look for striper schools along canyon walls and hovering over bottom structure. Cast the bait out 30-40 feet and let the bait descend slowly as you work it back to the boat. Casting usually works better than just lowering the bait 30-40 feet below the boat.

Rapidly rising water is having an unusual impact on fishing success. Young bass and other minnows are swimming in the backs of coves where the water is turbid and brush is present. Shallow coves in the end of canyons have higher water temperatures (78-85 degrees) which limit access from adult stripers. However, the back of cove with a 12-20 foot deep canyon is a gathering spot for fish of all sizes. We found some productive fishing areas last trip where detritus was floating on the surface, minnows were swimming around and bass and young stripers were right there with the forage fish. We could fish from shore in the back end of narrow canyons and catch a variety of sport fish. If looking for bass, go the back of the canyon. That is the current gathering spot.

Boating traffic is at a summer peak right now. If fishing is on your Lake Powell to do list make sure you get up with the sun and go fishing before boat traffic hits the lake.

Happy 4th of July!
 

June 26, 2019

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Lake Powell Fish Report – June 26, 2019
Lake Elevation: 3608
Water temperature: 72-76 F
By: Wayne Gustaveson http://www.wayneswords.com or Wayneswords.net


Lake Powell continues to rise over a foot per day, for the second week in a row. The lake is up about 2 inches short of seven feet since the last report.


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Early morning provides the best fishing. Striper slurps last all day long but in the early morning there are fewer boat wakes and more aggressive slurps. That makes it easier to approach the feeding school. Slurps tend to stay up for less than a minute. The school runs through the small shad school quickly, then dives and regroups and looks for another small shad school. When shad are seen the slurpers come right back up. They may be just out of range or right under the boat. React quickly by casting your lure 2 feet in front of the leading fish. If the lead fish are actively slurping (head out of the water) as your lure lands in the right spot, just in front of the lead fish, there is a 50% chance of catching a fish. If it lands too far in front or behind the slurping group, reel in fast and try again. After the slurp goes down watch for the next group to resurface, judge direction of travel and then cast to the sweet spot to catch more fish.

The best chance of catching a striper out of a slurp occurs on the first cast. As they go down a time or two, they are less likely to hit your lure. After they surface for the third time, they avoid your lures. Quickly move on to the next school. This morning we saw slurping schools just about every quarter mile between Wahweap and Last Chance. The biggest concentrations were in Warm Creek, Labyrinth Canyon mouth, Dominguez Rock Cove, and Buoy 25 cove. 

The best lures were slender surface lures similar to an Ima Skimmer. Other reports indicate good catches on an eighth-ounce white crappie jig. I like the thrill of the fish hitting the surface lure and can cast over the feeding school at long distance so I use that. If the slurping school is close then light crappie jigs may be best. Your personal preference is your best choice. 

Slurps are dependable lakewide on calm days. It is possible to see slurps in Moki Canyon, Lost Eden, Halls Creek Lake Canyon, Annie’s Canyon to Rincon, and Hole in the Rock to the San Juan. Slurps are happening lakewide.

Stripers slurp on very small shad (less than an inch) which makes them challenging to catch.

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Smallmouth bass were reluctant to hit our lures. We cast to a few spots and trolled along shorelines that have usually been good for bass without success. They still seem to be looking for their old familiar rocky coves, but cannot find them due to the rapidly rising water. Largemouth bass are doing great in the backs of brushy coves and flooded crevasses where new tumbleweeds provide the brushy cover needed by bass and crappie.

Enjoy an early morning fishing trip and then find time for water sports on beautiful Lake Powell.
 
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