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Fishing Report

Water temperature:

79-85 F

July 18, 2019



March 20, 2019 - Fish moving shallow

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Lake Powell Fish Report – March 20, 2019

Lake Elevation: 3570

Water temperature: 49 – 53 F

By: Wayne Gustaveson http://www.wayneswords.com or Wayneswords.net

 

Cold, windy weather has been replaced by beautiful, calm, warming spring weather. My fishing results the first two weeks of March in the cold water were not stellar so I hoped for much better success for the 3rd weekly fishing trip. In preparation for that trip I reviewed my archived fish reports - both the recent reports on Wayneswords.net, and the older reports on Wayneswords.com. The old reports are still insightful and I found one that resonated with the current conditions faced this week. The water has been cold and is now warming so what is the fish response to the change in temperature? I found several reports from mid-March but one really stood out to me. Briefly, the report stated that stripers moved from deep water to very shallow water and were receptive to fast moving, shallow running crank baits.

The old reports were from Last Chance and Rock Creek, but I find that a fishing pattern is likely to work over the length of the lake instead of in one isolated canyon. With that in mind, we headed uplake and tried some of the deep water spots that had been productive in previous reports. On one trip we caught 80 stripers on spoons along with one 20-pound striper. We stopped at that spot and saw no fish on the graph. We went further back to shallower water and saw no fish on the graph.

It was time to try the pattern given in the old fish report. Water temperature in the morning held steadily at 49 degrees in the clear water of the main channel, but as we moved to the back of the canyon the temperature rose to 52, and finally to 53 degrees in the slightly turbid water. There were many unfamiliar islands showing up with the recent decline in lake level. We started trolling, at 3.5 mph, in 15 feet of water, seeing no fish on the graph. (Remember the visible graph cone size is very small when graphing in shallow water.)

The first striper hit our trolled Lucky Craft Bevy Shad, and XD pointers at a depth of 11 feet. We stopped to reel in the fish, then started to cast at that spot and were rewarded with constant catching of willing, very healthy stripers, from 12 inches to 3 pounds. We were surrounded by single splashes of jumping fish, which were eventually identified as gizzard shad. We had found the warm spot where many different species of fish were enjoying the sunshine and frolicking in the warmer water. The shallowest fish caught was in 2 feet of water and the deepest was at 14 feet.

Back at the fish cleaning station we found the vast majority of stripers were males that will spawn this year. These precocious males are the most likely stripers to catch in abundance each spring. They are usually in shallower water and much more aggressive than pre-spawn females. They are very fun fish to catch.  They all had empty stomachs so they were happy to see our lures.

Bass fishing is turning on due to the same warming triggers mentioned for stripers. Find shallow murky water that is warmer than the clear water in the main channel. Fish plastic grubs, senkos and jerk baits around rocky structure. Bass will be grouped up. Sometimes you find a regular point that has many bass, while other similar points are vacant. Pound the shoreline and catch a decent amount of bass each day.

The winning weight of the Utah BASS Nation State Team Qualifier held at Bullfrog last weekend was 10 bass with a total weight of 32 pounds.  Overall, 64 anglers caught and released 396 bass (300 largemouth and 96 smallmouth). Largemouth prime time is right now at Lake Powell.

(Pictures on wayneswords.net)

 

 

March 13, 2019 - Cold, wet and windy

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Lake Powell Fish Report – March 13, 2019

Lake Elevation: 3570

Water temperature: 47 – 53 F

By: Wayne Gustaveson http://www.wayneswords.com or see Wayneswords.net for pictures.



The snow and rain continues providing the moisture and eventually the runoff needed to allow the lake to rise back to the levels needed to have safe passage and enjoyable fishing trips over the length of the lake. Lake Powell water level is slowly declining due to the continued stormy and cool weather that we all have experienced lately. The lake has been holding near 3571 (MSL) during March, until today when if dipped down to 3570.90.  Lake level will continue to slowly decline until the runoff starts with melting snow and more rainstorms, which is good news for those planning to come to the lake this year.  We hope for a large rise in lake elevation as the weather warms.


My weekly trip was on a rare calm sunny day. The water temperature was 47 F degrees at launch and did not change much until the afternoon with a high near 53 F.  Last week I only got one bite in Navajo Canyon so this time I went all out, to the back of Last Chance.  The water was clear on the way into the canyon.  Visibility in the water was over 10 feet deep at most main channel locations.  Near the back of Last Chance, there is a distinct color change from clear to murky.  Visibility changed from 10 feet down to 2 feet.  In Navajo, the back of the canyon was muddy because there is an inflowing stream. Visibility there was only a few inches.  Last Chance only gets storm runoff so it is not as murky.  This concept is the same over the length of the lake. Canyons with inflowing streams have lower visibility.


In most years, I fish in the last arm on the right. This time that arm was very shallow due to low water levels. Striper schools in February were found on the bottom at 60 feet or deeper. After graphing for a while and not seeing any deep schools, I switched to trolling with a Lucky Craft XD pointer (Chartreuse Shad color).   It took about 20 minutes before I hooked the first striper.  It was gratifying to land that fish after being skunked the week before.  It took another 30 minutes to catch striper number 2.  It was disappointing to get one more bite and have that fish just rattle the lure but miss the hook. Two hours of trolling resulted in 2 stripers which was 200% better than experienced last week.


The water temperature increased so I switched to bass fishing. This time of year, bass fishing is better in the afternoons with warming water. There are some great bass spots in the back of Last Chance.   I went to a few of my favorite spots and fished rocky structure, sandy flats, and tumbleweed piles.  Despite my expertise, warming colored water and calm conditions, neither bass, crappie, nor bluegill responded.  I finally got the message and departed back to Wahweap.  Two hours later, I was safely off the lake.  I am sure the fish were giddy with excitement as they saw me leave, but I will be back and catching will be a lot better as the water warms into the 60s.


The best is yet to come!  Significant warming will result in much better catching results.  Watch the weather and plan future trips during calm warming periods that continue for at least 3 days.

 

February 3, 2019 - Lots of stripers plus a trophy

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Lake Powell Fish Report – February 13, 2019
Lake Elevation: 3574

Water temperature: 45 F

By: Wayne Gustaveson http://www.wayneswords.com or Wayneswords.net

 

My last fish report suggested a pattern for finding striper schools by cruising toward the back of a major canyon while watching the graph for a quick depth change from deep water to a consistent depth range of 65-85 feet. On Feb.12th there was finally a small break in the weather where the sun was out with no wind blowing. We loaded the open boat with no windshield, put on ski goggles and headed to Warm Creek. Normally the trip to Warm Creek takes 10 minutes from Wahweap but with low water the Castle Rock Cut is closed and the 15-mile ride is closer to an hour.

We finally completed the long journey, saw the anticipated depth change, slowed down and started graphing for fish traces. It helped my confidence to see a huge school of grebes hovering over the 65-foot deep bottom. Amazingly, we graphed a couple of fish traces within the first two minutes and then saw a hump on the bottom that could have been a rock. Rocks are usually irregular in shape while fish traces are smooth and blend into the bottom. This looked like fish so we dropped spoons quickly to the bottom.

It only took about two minutes of bouncing slab spoons on the bottom before the first striper was hooked. With three anglers in the boat, there were plenty of spoons to imitate a shad school and the fish responded aggressively.  Within 15 minutes the cooler was half full of 2-3 pound stripers. The fish were in good shape and were squeezing out shad as the stripers were quickly lifted off the bottom, and brought to the surface.

Fishing could not have been much better, but then that changed as well. Nob Wimmer was using his homemade 1.5 ounce spoon and consistently tossing stripers in the cooler.  The he said “I’ve got a big one”.  He said the same thing on a trip to Warm Creek on December 12, 2017 and eventually put a 30-pound striper in the boat. I looked at his spinning rod bent over double, watched the line going out and knew we were about to see another trophy striper.  The time was 10:15 AM and the fish finally turned over on the surface at 10:30.  I grabbed it by the jaw and brought it into the boat.  The fish was 38 inches long but we did not know the weight until we placed it on certified scales back at the office. This fish weighed 20 pounds (officially 19.45 lbs).

We ended up fishing for 90 minutes following the same school for the entire time. We counted 80 small stripers and one trophy fish at the fish cleaning station.  We had a calm ride back through the main channel and Antelope Point Marina before returning to Wahweap Main Ramp.  It was a great day of fishing that makes me want to go again next week.

 

(See pictures on wayneswords.net)

 

January 30, 2019 - Spooning for Stripers

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Find this report on Wayneswords.net > Fish Reports

 

Jigging for stripers in the southen lake with spoons. 

 

Click on the link in the left menu that reads:  Waynes Words Message Boards.  Then go to Waynes fish reports.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 30 January 2019 11:12
 

October 25, 2018 - Gill Net sampling

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Lake Powell Fish Report – October 25, 2018
Lake Elevation:  3591
Water temperature:  66 F
By: Wayne Gustaveson   http://www.wayneswords.com or Wayneswords.net
We will be sampling fish with gill nets at Good Hope Bay and Rincon from Monday through Friday next week.  Therefore, this will be the last regular weekly report for 2018.  Each year we do gill net studies to document changes in fish populations, health indexes, and to help us understand how the fishery is doing compared to previous years. The gill netting sites include Wahweap, San Juan (Piute), Rincon and Good Hope Bay (Red Canyon). Gill netting data dates back to 1973 so there is a long history of netting data for comparison.
This week we placed nets in the San Juan from Piute Canyon toward the Great Bend. The most numerous fish species collected were gizzard shad (from 4 to 20 inches) and striped bass. Smallmouth bass numbers were below average but that may have more to do with the stormy weather or changing habitat encountered. Results from the other 3 stations will help us understand that more fully.
We did have some volunteers show up to help us pick fish out of a couple of nets.
We politely told the two otters to leave the fish in the nets and to stop eating the tails off the smallmouth bass which seemed to be their preferred fish.  They looked quizzically at us and then went on their way to a new spot.
After the netting was completed we went fishing along the large wall on the right side before entering the Great Bend. We caught a couple of stripers trolling and a few more on spoons but catching was not fast enough. We went up the Great Bend and saw two fishing boats with anglers willing to give us fish reports. The first report indicated good smallmouth fishing along the canyon walls. The second report of a striper boil caused us to turn around and head back downstream to where the water depth in the Great Bend was 30-40 feet.  Stripers were not boiling on the sunny side of the channel where they had been reported in the morning but we saw splashes in the shade of the afternoon sun.  We chased splashes and caught 20 stripers on surface lures, crank baits and spoons.  They moved quickly over a half mile area but each time we saw a splash we caught a few more fish. It was a great way to finish our last trip to the San Juan this year.
Reports from Good Hope Bay indicated slow fishing which improved with distance traveled upstream. The mudline near Trachyte produced stripers caught trolling and spooning with the best habitat being quick drop-offs where the depth quickly changed from 10 to 25 feet. The best trolling lures were purple Flicker Shad and Rattletraps and a black-backed jointed Rapala.
The crazy weather lately is very unusual for late October where calm weather is more normal.  As those normal fall weather conditions return and stabilize expect
fishing success to improve for all species.
For now, the best option is to target the 30-40 foot depth strata when looking for stripers near the back of a canyon.  Trolling is the best way to find fish now but as the water cools stripers will seek deeper water and spooning will be the best technique.

Lake Powell Fish Report – October 25, 2018

Lake Elevation:  3591

Water temperature:  66 F

By: Wayne Gustaveson   http://www.wayneswords.com or Wayneswords.net


We will be sampling fish with gill nets at Good Hope Bay and Rincon from Monday through Friday next week.  Therefore, this will be the last regular weekly report for 2018.  Each year we do gill net studies to document changes in fish populations, health indexes, and to help us understand how the fishery is doing compared to previous years. The gill netting sites include Wahweap, San Juan (Piute), Rincon and Good Hope Bay (Red Canyon). Gill netting data dates back to 1973 so there is a long history of netting data for comparison.

This week we placed nets in the San Juan from Piute Canyon toward the Great Bend. The most numerous fish species collected were gizzard shad (from 4 to 20 inches) and striped bass. Smallmouth bass numbers were below average but that may have more to do with the stormy weather or changing habitat encountered. Results from the other 3 stations will help us understand that more fully. 

We did have some volunteers show up to help us pick fish out of a couple of nets. We politely told the two otters to leave the fish in the nets and to stop eating the tails off the smallmouth bass which seemed to be their preferred fish.  They looked quizzically at us and then went on their way to a new spot. 

After the netting was completed we went fishing along the large wall on the right side before entering the Great Bend. We caught a couple of stripers trolling and a few more on spoons but catching was not fast enough. We went up the Great Bend and saw two fishing boats with anglers willing to give us fish reports. The first report indicated good smallmouth fishing along the canyon walls. The second report of a striper boil caused us to turn around and head back downstream to where the water depth in the Great Bend was 30-40 feet.  Stripers were not boiling on the sunny side of the channel where they had been reported in the morning but we saw splashes in the shade of the afternoon sun.  We chased splashes and caught 20 stripers on surface lures, crank baits and spoons.  They moved quickly over a half mile area but each time we saw a splash we caught a few more fish. It was a great way to finish our last trip to the San Juan this year. 

Reports from Good Hope Bay indicated slow fishing which improved with distance traveled upstream. The mudline near Trachyte produced stripers caught trolling and spooning with the best habitat being quick drop-offs where the depth quickly changed from 10 to 25 feet. The best trolling lures were purple Flicker Shad and Rattletraps and a black-backed jointed Rapala. 

The crazy weather lately is very unusual for late October where calm weather is more normal.  As those normal fall weather conditions return and stabilize expect fishing success to improve for all species. 

For now, the best option is to target the 30-40 foot depth strata when looking for stripers near the back of a canyon.  Trolling is the best way to find fish now but as the water cools stripers will seek deeper water and spooning will be the best technique.

 


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