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Fishing Report

Water temperature:

79-85 F

July 18, 2019

May 22, 2019 - Cold and rainy

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Lake Powell Fish Report – May 22, 2019
Lake Elevation: 3580
Water temperature:  60-65F
By: Wayne Gustaveson http://www.wayneswords.com or Wayneswords.net

The last report was all about spawning potential of Lake Powell fish in warming water. Then the temperature dropped, the rain fell and the wind blew.  Spawning will eventually happen but it was delayed for at least a week or more by the weather change.

As the water cools there will be fewer bass guarding nests but more bass and other fish in deeper water. The lake is now rising at a rate of 3-6 inches per day. Lures that have been effective this spring will continue to work. Just slow down the presentation and work the lure into deeper water to find fish.  Ned rigs, single and double tailed grubs, and shad shaped worms will still be the most effective lures, but crankbaits cast and trolled in deeper water will be a good way to find bass that are on the move in these changing lake level conditions.  Watch for weeds and rocks that were recently submerged that may provide a new brush or rock shelter for bass and other fish.

Striped bass schools have not moved, and remain along the steep canyon walls.  Those anglers that are chumming and using bait along the walls will still find many fish willing to hit bait.  The hot spots include:  Dam (West wall),  Buoy 3,  Navajo Canyon (points after the double islands and further back in the main canyon), Labyrinth Wall, Buoy 25 (coves and wall), and Grotto Canyon.

Fly fishing for stripers along the east canyon walls in the early morning continues as the spawning congregations gather waiting for the temperature surge that will cause nightly spawning.

Bait fishing for stripers is picking up dramatically in the Bullfrog area. Most of the canyons above and below Bullfrog Bay will have a school of stripers holding right at the intersection of the canyon and the main channel. Chum with anchovies to get the school started and then enjoy the action for the next hour or more.

Walleye are hungry and willing to eat slow trolled lures, plastic ned rigs fished very slowly on the bottom, and bait following a bottom bouncer.  The muddy runoff has made the northern lake very brown but reports coming in say that when fishing for walleye in areas with 1-2 feet of visibility the catch rate can be quite good.

Fishing success will heat up with the warming water temperatures forecast for next week.  Stripers will go into spawning mode after Memorial Day.  Largemouth and smallmouth bass will spawn one more time with warming water.  Bluegill and green sunfish will start nest building the first week of June.

There are some really good fishing events forecast for the coming weeks.

May 15, 2019 - It is Spawning Time

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Lake Powell Fish Report – May 15, 2019
Lake Elevation: 3577
Water temperature:  65-72 F
By: Wayne Gustaveson http://www.wayneswords.com or Wayneswords.net

 The water temperature this morning was 65 degrees, which has spawning implications for Lake Powell fish.  Some species have already spawned: walleye, largemouth bass and smallmouth bass.  Walleye completed their spawn by April 1st and are now easier to catch with warming water temperatures.  Bass are not done spawning since they can continue to build nests and raise broods for another two weeks.  Bass may make as many as 5 separate nests and successfully hatch that many broods of fry during April and May.  Spawning beds are visible in clear water and provide anglers with good targets for catching male bass that guard the nests. Please return nest-guarding fish to the lake so they can complete their spawning duties.

Lake Powell fish now entering the spawning season are blue gill and green sunfish. They are close cousins to bass and abide by the same rules. Male sunfish guard the nests, protect the young brood, and make more nests after the first hatchlings are released on their own recognizance. Bluegill are amazing in that they build giant nests compared to their small size. Find a nest and drop a small “ice fly” with a small piece of worm attached to catch a bright colored bluegill. Take a picture of the fish quickly as the color fades from super bright orange to more subtle colors in less than a minute.

Striped bass are next to spawn.  Male stripers are very patient and have been waiting for this opportunity since April. They wait each day for the females to join the spawning party, which has not happened yet.   Females control the spawning event based on water temperature.  Stripers do not build nests but spawn on the surface at night when water temperature increases about 8-10 degrees from early morning to late evening. Yesterday the temperature rose from 65 in the morning to 75 at dusk.  Some spawning may have occurred but it is more likely that the spawn will be triggered by surface temperature rising from 70-80F.  A cold front scheduled for tomorrow will delay any further spawning until the next great warming trend.

Finding a school of actively spawning stripers is an amazing fishing experience.  The fish roll and boil on the surface but are still ready to eat whatever swims by.  Large females join the group of 3-pound males making it possible to catch a large fish on any cast. On one occasion, we found a spawning school near Castle Rock and caught 150 fish that ranged in size from 3 pounds to 22 pounds while fishing from 9 PM until midnight.

The best way to find an actively spawning school is to head out at dusk and troll and cast to points at the mouths of coves that are only 30 feet deep.  Lively males will hit your lures and mark the spot where they are waiting for the larger females to arrive. If you are lucky enough to find an actively spawning school you will remember it forever.

You can also look for spawning coves by searching along the shade line of tall east walls first thing in the morning.  Striper males are hungry after a long night and will sip plankton off the surface. Their heads will poke out of the water and be visible and reminiscent of carp feeding on the surface. Try casting a fly to the slurping fish and do not be surprised to catch some very nice, healthy stripers in the process.

Carp used the same warming spawning trigger (65-75F ) as stripers and were seen actively spawning during the day over the length of the lake.  It is possible to hear them splash in the backs of canyons as groups of 10-15 spawning carp race in pods along the surface while spawning.

The last fish to spawn are channel catfish as they wait for 80-degree water.  They are the most secretive spawners as they hide their nests in small caves or crevices in the rocks along the shore.  Noodling for catfish may be possible at Lake Powell during their spawning season.



May 1, 2019 - Cool temperatures- Trophy Smallmouth

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Lake Powell Fish Report – May 1, 2019
Lake Elevation: 3571
Water temperature: 58-60 F
By: Wayne Gustaveson http://www.wayneswords.com or Wayneswords.net

Lake Powell water level is on the rise.   The inflowing water (64,000 AF) has doubled and lake level came up 2 feet this week.  Expect that inflowing water rate to increase even more during May.  This requires caution while shoreline camping. Expect to move or retie the boat each day.

Rising water is helpful for fishing success because tumbleweeds that have collected along the shoreline will now be covered by water and provide more fish habitat. The weather was cooler this week, which slowed down angling success for bass.  Water temperature dropped from the mid 60s down to 58.   This happens all the time in the spring. If planning a fishing trip to Lake Powell just watch the weather report and come as the air and water temperature rises again.  That temperature boost immediately enhances bass fishing success.

Big news this week is the capture of the largest smallmouth bass ever caught in Lake Powell.  On April 26, Richard Dickinson from Strawberry AZ was fishing for bass along the primary points in Wahweap Bay.  He was using a Texas Rig Baby Craw.  The big fish was hooked at 29 feet and played for a long time before finally surrendering. The huge bass weighed 6.1 pounds and measured 21 inches long.  Richard decided to release the big female that was still full of eggs. Since the fish was not weighed on certified scales, it does not qualify for the Lake Powell record smallmouth bass.  However, it was measured before release. The length of the fish was 21 inches which is 2 inches longer than the current Lake Powell record smallmouth bass caught in 2001, by Eric Inman which weighed 5 pounds 6 ounces and measured 19 inches long.  Richard Dickinson now holds the “Catch and Release” record for smallmouth bass in Lake Powell.

Bait fishing for stripers was still great over the length of the lake despite the recent cold weather.  The main channel from the dam to Navajo Canyon was steady. On our weekly uplake sampling trip we found willing stripers in Buoy 25 Cove but did not find the school in Grotto Canyon. I suspect they were there but we did not spend enough time to locate the school.

We left Grotto and went to Rock Creek where we found stripers willing to hit trolled lures.  Shallow stripers in the backs of canyons will hit rattletraps, Lucky Craft Pointers, and other baits that run 8-12 feet deep.  Stripers willing to chase the shallow running baits are usually the fat, young male fish.  While fishing with bait, a wide variety of stripers were caught that ranged from skinny to healthy.  Stripers caught trolling were healthier but less in number.

May is walleye month at Lake Powell.  Take some night crawlers along and drag plastic baits, tipped with a piece of worm, very slowly along the bottom in 10-25 feet of water.  When a walleye is caught, continue to work that specific spot to catch more of the tasty, toothy fish. Walleye congregate in the same location. Find one walleye and there should be others close by.

May is the best month to catch all species of fish in Lake Powell.


April 24, 2019 - Fishing is Excellent

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Lake Powell Fish Report – April 24, 2019
Lake Elevation: 3569
Water temperature: 57-64 F
By: Wayne Gustaveson http://www.wayneswords.com or Wayneswords.net

Lake Powell is on the move.  The inflowing water (31,000 AF) now exceeds the outflow (24,000 AF) enough to allow the lake to rise (3569 MSL).   More importantly, the afternoon lake water temperature is rising into the 60s, which is the spawning trigger for largemouth and smallmouth bass.  Bass nest building has begun and spawning is imminent.

Our weekly trip took us through the Maytag straits, which is not bad in the early morning but slow and bumpy on the return. Our first stop was the east wall in Padre Canyon. My favorite striper spot is now a rocky peninsula, well out of the water, so we moved on to Buoy 25 Cove.  We saw stripers in high numbers all over the cove.  However, they wanted bait and I did not bring any.  This led to my first discovery.  I changed from trolling to casting in the back of the canyon.  A green plastic Creature Bait on a 3/16 ounce leadhead jig was immediately inhaled, by a fat, 2-pound smallmouth bass.  Each cast produced another smallmouth until the stripers moved in and started grabbing the bait before a bass could hit it. We caught 10 bass and 10 stripers in the cove on plastic baits.

This discovery is very logical because most predator fish in Lake Powell prefer to eat shad.  If shad are not available then the second most consumed bait species is crayfish. These bottom dwelling creatures are greenish brown in color.  A wide variety of plastic baits that resemble crayfish, fished on the rocky bottom at 10-25 feet are the most effective lures in these conditions.

As we fished other locations we found that virtually all the rocky coves with submerged rocky structure from 10-30 feet were hotspots for smallmouth bass, The many sandy coves and peninsulas were not prime fishing spots as bass were near rocky coves and structures where crayfish were found.  We saw a few spawning beds but it seems the main bass spawning event still appears to be a week out. These great bass-catching conditions will hold on for another week. Smallmouth bass are waiting for you in all canyons with narrow coves and rocky habitat over the length of the lake.

We traveled to Last Chance and began trolling again to locate fat, healthy stripers. Small fat stripers (plankton eaters) were bunched up in one of the side canyons. Each trolling pass produced another striper. The best lures were 4 inch, LC Bevy Shad, Pointers, and small rattletraps.  When a school was located, striper fishing was great.  There were other spots where no fish were found.   Move quickly between spots in the backs of canyons (Lakewide) to find willing school fish.

Bait fishing for stripers is still producing amazing numbers of fish per trip.  Good striper spots include the Dam, Buoy 3, Navajo Canyon (2 points just past the double islands, and the back of the canyon), Buoy 25, Grotto Canyon, Lake Canyon mouth, and Moki Wall.

There are hundreds of spots to catch stripers on bait.  Select a spot, chum with anchovies or striper meat, cast out 50 feet from the boat and let the bait descend.  Give the bait a soft jerk periodically to attract the attention of schooling stripers that are waiting for the bait to arrive.

Lake Powell fishing is amazing right now for bass, stripers, walleye, catfish and an occasional crappie. Expect great fishing conditions to continue during the remainder of April and through the month of May.

It is time to go fishing!





Last Updated on Wednesday, 24 April 2019 10:47

April 10, 2019 - Bass Spawning update- Bait fishing for stripers

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Lake Powell Fish Report – April 10, 2019
Lake Elevation: 3568
Water temperature: 54-60 F
By: Wayne Gustaveson http://www.wayneswords.com or Wayneswords.net

The warm, calm weather that we have recently enjoyed was blown away by the strong two-day windstorm with cool temperatures. Before the wind, morning water temperature was as high as 60F. Now the lake temperature is back to the mid 50s which slows down the highly anticipated bass spawn. Expect to wait another week before bass go shallow and start making spawning beds. Bass spawning should peak from the last week of April through early May.

Bass fishing is solid as reported by the participants from the weekend bass tournament held at Wahweap. The winning weight (5 fish) was 16 pounds on Saturday and 18 pounds on Sunday. Most of the fish were caught in Wahweap, Navajo or Warm Creek. Some tournament anglers ran further uplake and caught more fish but they were of smaller size.

Crappie and walleye are being caught more often but they must be specifically targeted. Crappie are found in shallow muddy water and hit small jigs or grubs. Walleye are on the bottom at 10-20 feet and will hit
s-l-o-w-l-y moving, dark colored, Ned Rigs. (Check out a discussion of Ned Rigs on the Fishing Forum at Wayneswords.com.)

Crappie will follow the same schedule. Hopefully some tumbleweeds blew into the water with the recent wind storm to give both bass and crappie some more spawning structure.

Striper schools are on the move. They can be in the backs of the canyons in 10-20 feet of water in the morning and then move out to deeper water later in the day. Once in deep water they are prone to come up from the depths to check out shallower humps looking for forage. A 40-foot hump in deep water can be a trolling target. Use shallow running rattletraps and crankbaits for shallow stripers, then switch to 20-foot deep running lures (Deep Thunderstick) when the stripers are in deeper water. When the hotspot is located, retrace the route each time instead of trolling in a long straight line. Stripers are schooling fish and there will usually be more than the one fish caught on the trolling rod, interested in the same bait. Repeat the trolling path to catch more fish. Cast lures in the general area while the hooked fish by trolling fights behind the boat.

Bait fishing is taking off. There have been many stripers caught at the Dam (West side near 3rd barricade), Buoy 3 (south side, on corner before reaching Antelope Canyon), and Navajo Canyon (first point on left after passing the double islands). These locations are very familiar areas where stripers have been caught in previous years. There are many visible stripers swimming in shallow water in the back of West Canyon. These can be caught on bait.

Bait fishing uplake in the Bullfrog area usually peaks a week or two later than in the southern lake.

If you have found a productive bait fishing spots in a previous year it would be worth a try again now as striper schools are on the move.

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