• Increase font size
  • Default font size
  • Decrease font size
Home Anglers Corner October 29, 2017 - SMB pattern

October 29, 2017 - SMB pattern

E-mail Print PDF





There is no doubt Lake Powell smallmouth are not following their typical fall pattern. Most years they follow the shad migration into the backs of the canyons and large coves. They stack up in large numbers in relatively small areas making it possible at times to catch 15 to 20 without moving the boat. Except for one day in late September, that’s not been the case for me this year, and last week’s trip was typical of this fall’s pattern. Longtime fishing partner John Conrad and I managed to catch exactly 100 smallmouths in three days last week, a good catch in most places but definitely not up to Lake Powell standards for October. We were never able to find large concentrations of smallmouths in any one area. They were scattered all over the place.


On Tuesday and most of Wednesday John  and I fished in and around five different coves in Last Chance Bay. Late Wednesday and all day Thursday we fished some smaller coves and ledges off the main channel just below Gregory Butte. Fishing success was about the same everywhere we fished. We normally did not catch more than two or three fish from one spot. The one exception was one small cove off the main channel south of Gregory Butte where we caught five nice smallmouths Wednesday afternoon and six more Thursday morning. We did not enjoy that kind of success anywhere else. We also found that we would have good action in the early morning, but then things would grind to a halt around 10 a.m. picking up again around noon. This occurred all three days.


One thing that was very consistent was the kind of structure and depth where we found them. Our most consistent pattern was to find an area where the bottom dropped from five to eight feet down to 12 to 15 feet. The bass would be right at the base of that first drop off. While we caught a few fish up shallower and some considerably deeper, a vast majority of our catch came right off that first drop at 12 to 15 feet. Another thing we found was this fish did not appear desperate to eat. Most of the time during the fall Lake Powell smallmouth feed frantically storing up fat for the winter. That did not appear to be the case on this trip, at least not during daylight hours. While they would not refuse a lure placed right in their strike zone, they were not willing to chase anything. A soft plastic bait placed right in front of them was the best presentation. I tried throwing topwater quite a bit but only got a couple half-hearted strikes. These fish seemed content to just wait for something to swim or crawl into their strike zone and were not willing to chase.


The best part of the trip, besides the beautiful weather, was the average size of the smallmouths we caught were considerable larger than most years. We caught very few dinks, and not all that many 11-inch “eaters.” Most of the fish we caught were between 13 and 17 inches, and they were fatter and heavier for their size than any smallmouths I’ve ever seen on this lake. John was also impressed with the size and health of these fish. I believe that is why they were not so desperate to feed. There appears to be a lot of forage in the lake, and they’ve eaten very well all summer. There is no doubt that well-fed fat fish are usually harder to catch than those who are not so well fed. Most of the fish we caught in Last Chance were feeding on shad, however the ones we caught off the main channel below Gregory Butte appeared to be eating primarily crayfish. This goes to show that Lake Powell smallmouths are equal opportunity predators. I will say that these fish fought harder than any smallmouths I’ve ever caught on this lake - another sign of their good health.


While things could change over the next week or so, it would be my suggestion to concentrate bass fishing efforts in and around the smaller coves off the main channel and in the fronts of the big coves in the large bays like Last Chance. If that is not successful them move towards the backs of the coves. Be prepared to cover a lot of water as the fish do not appear to be concentrated in any one area. Start looking in the 12 to 15-foot range off the first drop off, but be prepared to fish both shallower and deeper if necessary.


This concludes my Lake Powell fishing season for 2017. All in all it was another incredibly successful year. I had two of my best fishing days ever on the lake this year and never really had an unsuccessful trip. I thank God for allowing me the privilege of fishing this wonderful lake all these years and pray I will be able to do so for many years to come.