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July 28, 2015 - Stripers boiling in the Channel

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wncstbLake Powell Fish Report – July 28, 2015

Lake Elevation: 3613

Water Temperature 77 - 83 F

By: Wayne Gustaveson   http://www.wayneswords.com

 

Summer heat has returned and the lake level is dropping.  Striped bass are still boiling and juvenile smallmouth bass are incredibly easy to catch.  This would be a great time to bring your kids to the lake and teach them how to catch bass.

Last week we found larger shad hiding out in the backs of many main channel short canyons and coves.  Small larval shad were still common in the main channel.  Smallmouth bass were near the larger shad schools and very actively pursuing small trolled or cast shad raps or plastic grubs cast to the shoreline and worked into deeper water. If a shad school was seen in the back of a cove it was almost impossible to keep the smallmouth off the hook.

Stripers were a bit inconsistent being caught like crazy one day and then missing in action the next, only to return on a different day and time. There were some hotspots that would be a great starting point if heading out looking for boils. 

The best spot this past week was the Horn just upstream from Good Hope Bay. All sizes of stripers boiled from the mouth of Red Canyon all the way up to the Horn and then beyond to Trachyte Canyon.  When one school would go down it was possible to just look for the next school - rush over to that one and catch more fish.  If cruising from Red Canyon to Trachyte, fishable boils could be seen in abundance.

The next best hotspot was the Escalante Arm from the mouth all the way back to 50 Mile Canyon and beyond. Schools were not as large here as in Red Canyon and the Horn, but they were very catchable on full size surface lures, crankbaits and spoons. There was more downtime when no boils were seen but the school would soon erupt once more and catching would begin all over again.

mthshprefelctDownstream from Bullfrog the channel from Annies Canyon to Buoy 88 was very productive. Upstream the main channel from Knowles to Good Hope Bay was consistently producing striper boils.

Do not overlook the Halls Buoy field.  Some anglers ran down to the Escalante Arm and were disappointed only to return to Halls and find boils going near the houseboats.

In summary, there are boils occurring over the length of the lake. Surface action is more likely to occur in the main channel.  The best time is still morning and evening but from Rincon to Good Hope, boils may be seen all day long. Many small shad and small stripers are working the main channel with bigger stripers joining in more often in mid to northern lake canyons and bays.

I have wondered about the San Juan and why there are no reports coming from that direction.  But as I write this report the following report just came in. 

“Many large boils in Cha Canyon area of San Juan.  Almost all boils were in the early morning.  Not much activity in the afternoons.  Lots of shad were seen in the area.”

If you like to catch stripers in boils now is the time to come give it a try.  The chances of finding boiling stripers are high.  This good surface fishing should continue through August and into September.  Looks like shad will continue to provide food for boiling stripers for the short term.  Now our job as anglers is to go out and save some shad by catching striped bass
 

July 22, 2015 - Bullfrog/Halls for BOILS

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Lake Powell Fish Report – July 22, 2015
Lake Elevation: 3614
Water Temperature 76 - 80 F
By: Wayne Gustaveson   http://www.wayneswords.com
Our trawling crew just completed shad sampling with a midwater trawl for the month of July.  The trawl has a 10-foot square opening that leads into a 50-feet long funnel-like net culminating in a plankton bucket where shad are captured before being counted and measured. This survey has been done every summer since 1976 which gives a long history of how shad have fared over the last 40 years. The survey also indicates much about how striped bass behave as they pursue shad throughout the lake.
Bullfrog was the winner among trawl sampling sites with over 400 shad of various sizes collected in each sample.  Good Hope Bay was second with 170 shad collected. Wahweap came in last with only 50 larval shad per trawl tow. Now when we compare fishing success for stripers, it makes more sense that the best fishing is found midlake where shad numbers are greatest.  Likewise the least number of stripers are caught in the southern lake where shad are low in number.
Here is the fishing report.  Stripers are boiling along the surface from early morning to late evening from Oak Canyon to Good Hope Bay.  In the midlake trawl samples we found shad of all sizes from tiny half-inch larval fish to 3-inch adults.  Midlake boils consisted of small stripers mixed in with large adults up to 5-pounds.  Larger stripers come up more regularly when shad are big enough for a quick meal. Then big stripers dive quickly to deeper cool water.
In the southern lake there are a few slurps with yearling stripers feeding on a small number of tiny shad. The good news here is that shad will grow and boils will occur in August when the tiny shad now living in turbid water in the backs of canyons swim into open water where larger stripers can find them.   Southern stripers can still be caught but it requires trolling, or spooning, or bait fishing to get down to the striper holding level.
For now, go north to Bullfrog/Halls and then look upstream or down for serious boils action that occurs in the main channel very early in the morning and repeats regularly throughout the day and into the evening when winds are calm.  These stripers will take full size surface lures, swim baits, spoons and crankbaits.  It’s your choice.  Catch them and keep as many as you can use or give away.
These fish are healthy and strong. All you have to do is keep them on ice immediately after capture and vacuum pack them if they are not eaten fresh within 3 days in the refrigerator.
NEVER – NEVER - NEVER put striped bass on a stringer and tow them around for hours in 80 degree water.  The water in your live well is also 80 degrees.  If stripers are put in the live well do not allow water to circulate.  Replace water with crushed ice where stripers will stay fresh.   Treat stripers like ice cream. Always keep them cold.  You will thank me for this chastisement later if you take my advice and fry up striper fillets that never got warm. Do your own taste test to rediscover how good eating fresh striped bass can be.
Smallmouth bass are still at it.  While searching for stripers in the southern lake by casting and trolling and spooning we caught 11 stripers and over 25 smallmouth bass – without even trying. Bass were on 45 degree angle sloping shorelines with brush along the edge. Crankbaits cast toward the shore were viciously attacked by smallmouth from 8 inches to 2 pounds.  We could have targeted bass and caught 100 fish.  But we kept looking for the elusive stripers and did not have time, on a one day trip, to run to midlake where the boiling action starts.



trawliinggbLake Powell Fish Report – July 22, 2015

Lake Elevation: 3614

Water Temperature 76 - 80 F

By: Wayne Gustaveson   http://www.wayneswords.com


Our trawling crew just completed shad sampling with a midwater trawl for the month of July.  The trawl has a 10-foot square opening that leads into a 50-feet long funnel-like net culminating in a plankton bucket where shad are captured before being counted and measured. This survey has been done every summer since 1976 which gives a long history of how shad have fared over the last 40 years. The survey also indicates much about how striped bass behave as they pursue shad throughout the lake.

Bullfrog was the winner among trawl sampling sites with over 400 shad of various sizes collected in each sample.  Good Hope Bay was second with 170 shad collected. Wahweap came in last with only 50 larval shad per trawl tow. Now when we compare fishing success for stripers, it makes more sense that the best fishing is found midlake where shad numbers are greatest.  Likewise the least number of stripers are caught in the southern lake where shad are low in number. 

stb2hungryHere is the fishing report.  Stripers are boiling along the surface from early morning to late evening from Oak Canyon to Good Hope Bay.  In the midlake trawl samples we found shad of all sizes from tiny half-inch larval fish to 3-inch adults.  Midlake boils consisted of small stripers mixed in with large adults up to 5-pounds.  Larger stripers come up more regularly when shad are big enough for a quick meal. Then big stripers dive quickly to deeper cool water. 

In the southern lake there are a few slurps with yearling stripers feeding on a small number of tiny shad. The good news here is that shad will grow and boils will occur in August when the tiny shad now living in turbid water in the backs of canyons swim into open water where larger stripers can find them.   Southern stripers can still be caught but it requires trolling, or spooning, or bait fishing to get down to the striper holding level.  

For now, go north to Bullfrog/Halls and then look upstream or down for serious boil action that occurs in the main channel very early in the morning and repeats regularly throughout the day and into the evening when winds are calm.  These stripers will take full size surface lures, swim baits, spoons and crankbaits.  It’s your choice.  

Catch them and keep as many as you can use or give away.These fish are healthy and strong. All you have to do is keep them on ice immediately after capture and vacuum pack them if they are not eaten fresh within 3 days in the refrigerator. 

NEVER – NEVER - NEVER put striped bass on a stringer and tow them around for hours in 80 degree water.  The water in your live well is also 80 degrees.  If stripers are put in the live well, do not allow water to circulate.  Replace water with crushed ice where stripers will stay fresh.   Treat stripers like ice cream. Always keep them cold.  You will thank me for this chastisement later if you take my advice and fry up striper fillets that never got warm. Do your own taste test to rediscover how good eating fresh striped bass can be.

 Smallmouth bass are still at it.  While searching for stripers in the southern lake by casting and trolling and spooning we caught 11 stripers and over 25 smallmouth bass – without even trying. Bass were on 45 degree angle sloping shorelines with brush along the edge. Crankbaits cast toward the shore were viciously attacked by smallmouth from 8 inches to 2 pounds.  We could have targeted bass and caught 100 fish.  But we kept looking for the elusive stripers and did not have time, on a one day trip, to run to midlake where the boiling action starts.

bevysmb1

Last Updated on Wednesday, 22 July 2015 08:55
 

July 14, 2015 - Southern striper pattern

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Lake Powell Fish Report – July 14, 2015
Lake Elevation: 3614.23
Water Temperature 76 - 81 F
By: Wayne Gustaveson   http://www.wayneswords.com
What a great day spent learning about striped bass behavior, attitudes, and preferences.  It was time well spent. We headed out from Wahweap as the sky began to glow in the east.  We made it to the mouth of Navajo before sunrise in hopes of seeing the slurping stripers encountered there last week.  I am not good at waiting so we trolled while hoping for the first slurps to appear.  That went well as we caught a 3-pound striper trolling a Lucky Craft Bevy Shad at 4 mph.
As that fish was undergoing hook removal the slurpers came up in range and we caught 2 more small stripers casting Lucky Craft Pointers 78 beyond the surfacing fish and then reeling back through the school.
This is where it got interesting. Stripers were coming to the top and slurping shad but there was not much schooling behavior.  It was more like every fish for himself as they were feeding individually on small pods of larval shad. Two to five fish would hit the surface near the same time but we could not get to them quick enough to cast before they went down.    We knew from last week’s experience that we could catch them trolling near the surface disturbance so we did that and hooked one or two fish each time we got close enough to the surfacing fish.   We chased these fish for an hour and then moved on.
The next stop was at the intersection of the main channel and mouth of Gunsight Canyon. Here we saw widely scattered surface action.  But we knew just what to do and started trolling near the 2-5 fish that came to the top.  Again we caught fish when our lures were trolled close enough to the feeding fish. The difference was slightly larger fish that were more aggressive.   We also caught a couple more 3-pound fish that were feeding with the juveniles. We later discovered that shad size here was larger than downlake.
After an hour the surface action quit and we headed further uplake. Surface action ceased at 8:30 AM. At this point we could either continue to troll or use bait in deeper water to target larger stripers.  We chose to troll.  At Buoy 25 another 3-pound striper was caught. Then we went to the mouth of West Canyon and trolled the shallow brushy shoreline.
We soon discovered that schools of juvenile stripers were holding at 25 feet on the breaking edge of structure that quickly declined to 45 feet.   These small fish had previously been slurping on the top just as the fish we had mingled with downlake.  But at this time of day they were holding in large schools that were easy to see on the graph. As the boat passed over the school we were able to count down until our lures passed over the school at which time we hooked up with 2 fish. We could turn around and pass over the school once more and catch two more fish.  That worked about two times and then the school would move on.  We graphed three different schools with the same successful results.
Lessons learned included the knowledge that shad numbers were declining where stripers have been slurping for the past few weeks. Small stripers and bass could still be caught trolling and casting near surface activity. Juvenile stripers were on the surface and in shallow water but larger stripers were deeper and required a change in tactics to interact with them.
Back at the fish cleaning station we talked with fishing guide Danny Woods and found that he had used bait after catching the small fish on top using Kastmasters.   He found shaded walls near shore and dropped anchovies down 25-40 feet where bottom depth was 60 feet. His total catch was about the same as ours (25 stripers of mixed size and 5 bass).  After the surface action is over trolling and bait fishing are both good techniques.
The best place to fish this week is north of Bullfrog.  There are still patches of floating debris but the water color has cleared and stripers are very active morning and evening. Bass fishing remains solid. Bluegill and catfish are active along the shallow brushy shoreline.

Lake Powell Fish Report – July 14, 2015

Lake Elevation: 3614.23

Water Temperature 76 - 81 F

By: Wayne Gustaveson   http://www.wayneswords.com


bretthepd1What a great day spent learning about striped bass behavior, attitudes, and preferences.  It was time well spent. We headed out from Wahweap as the sky began to glow in the east.  We made it to the mouth of Navajo before sunrise in hopes of seeing the slurping stripers encountered there last week.  I am not good at waiting so we trolled while hoping for the first slurps to appear.  That went well as we caught a 3-pound striper trolling a Lucky Craft Bevy Shad at 4 mph. 

As that fish was undergoing hook removal the slurpers came up in range and we caught 2 more small stripers casting Lucky Craft Pointers 78 beyond the surfacing fish and then reeling back through the school. 

This is where it got interesting. Stripers were coming to the top and slurping shad but there was not much schooling behavior.  It was more like every fish for himself as they were feeding individually on small pods of larval shad. Two to five fish would hit the surface near the same time but we could not get to them quick enough to cast before they went down.    We knew from last week’s experience that we could catch them trolling near the surface disturbance so we did that and hooked one or two fish each time we got close enough to the surfacing fish.   We chased these fish for an hour and then moved on.   

The next stop was at the intersection of the main channel and mouth of Gunsight Canyon. Here we saw widely scattered surface action.  But we knew just what to do and started trolling near the 2-5 fish that came to the top.  Again we caught fish when our lures were trolled close enough to the feeding fish. The difference was slightly larger fish that were more aggressive.   We also caught a couple more 3-pound fish that were feeding with the juveniles. We later discovered that shad size here was larger than downlake.  After an hour the surface action quit and we headed further uplake. Surface action ceased at 8:30 AM. At this point we could either continue to troll or use bait in deeper water to target larger stripers.  We chose to troll.  At Buoy 25 another 3-pound striper was caught. Then we went to the mouth of West Canyon and trolled the shallow brushy shoreline.

dungeestb3We soon discovered that schools of juvenile stripers were holding at 25 feet on the breaking edge of structure that quickly declined to 45 feet.   These small fish had previously been slurping on the top just as the fish we had mingled with downlake.  But at this time of day they were holding in large schools that were easy to see on the graph. As the boat passed over the school we were able to count down until our lures passed over the school at which time we hooked up with 2 fish. We could turn around and pass over the school once more and catch two more fish.  That worked about two times and then the school would move on.  We graphed three different schools with the same successful results.  

Lessons learned included the knowledge that shad numbers were declining where stripers have been slurping for the past few weeks. Small stripers and bass could still be caught trolling and casting near surface activity. Juvenile stripers were on the surface and in shallow water but larger stripers were deeper and required a change in tactics to interact with them. 

Back at the fish cleaning station we talked with fishing guide Danny Woods and found that he had used bait after catching the small fish on top using Kastmasters.   He found shaded walls near shore and dropped anchovies down 25-40 feet where bottom depth was 60 feet. His total catch was about the same as ours (25 stripers of mixed size and 5 bass).  After the surface action is over trolling and bait fishing are both good techniques.    

The best place to fish this week is north of Bullfrog.  There are still patches of floating debris but the water color has cleared and stripers are very active morning and evening. Bass fishing remains solid. Bluegill and catfish are active along the shallow brushy shoreline.

 

July 7, 2015 - Slurps Continue

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Lake Powell Fish Report – July 7, 2015
Lake Elevation: 3613.89
Water Temperature 77 - 83 F
By: Wayne Gustaveson   http://www.wayneswords.com
There are still lots of yearling stripers (8-14 inches) slurping up larval shad each morning and evening.  The most consistent location is the main channel.  That seems like a redundant report but it is accurate. This means that larval shad are in the main channel and little stripers can live right there with them and eat at their convenience.    Small surface feeding stripers are a bit finicky when in surface mode.
We tried some well placed casts with top water lures which were ignored.  A small ¼ ounce Kastmaster spoon worked half the time.  The most effective method was to troll past the slurp location with a bluegill colored Shad Rap (SR5). That worked well if we arrived at the site of the last surface activity within one minute of when stripers went down. I did not have the opportunity to cast the Shad Rap (SR5) into the slurp but suspect that would work very well.
There was a clue given at Antelope Point Marina as we headed uplake from Wahweap.  We trolled through the wakeless area at morning prime time and hooked the biggest fish of the day.  At the fish cleaning station we found a 1.5 inch shad in the stomach.  This means that larger stripers are feeding on larger forage in deeper water.  Larger stripers are forced into the depths as they mature.  They can no longer stay in warm surface water so they go deep.  Big stripers are out there and feeding. It is just a matter of finding them and offering them the right enticement. Probably the best method is the old standard anchovy.  Do not expect large schools of stripers to run along the canyon walls as they do in years when shad numbers are low.  Stripers now must be approached as if the anchovy bait is a precision lure cast to the right spot and right depth at the right time.  The right spot is a slick rock point. The right depth is 25-40 feet. The right time is early morning and late evening.  Night fishing under a green light is also prime right now.
It is easier to catch smallmouth bass. When we trolled for stripers and got near a brushy shoreline or ran over a shallow reef, a one-pound smallmouth was hooked with the small shad rap. Bass fishing continues to be the best way to catch fish right now.  They can be caught on surface lures morning or evening.  They eat plastic grubs cast to the shoreline or open water reefs all day long.   This is a perfect time to teach kids how to catch fish.  Put on a small Shad Rap and let them reel it back to the boat in 8-12 feet of brushy water.  It is easy to tell if in the right spot by looking at the submerged brush. If small sunfish and bluegill are in the brush then bass can be caught.
Catfish are really doing well on sandy beaches at dusk right behind the parked houseboat. Use a slice of hot dog, night crawler, shrimp or leftovers from dinner. Just put a bait hook on the spinning rod. Thread the leftovers onto the hook and cast it out into 12 feet of water behind the boat. Then let the bait rest on the bottom and wait for the catfish to come. It won’t take long.
Walleye are still biting on plastic grubs with a piece of night crawler attached. Best time is first light and just after dusk. They can be caught during the day by trolling over a 15-foot bench with a lure that runs 12 feet deep.
Expect quick boils from bigger stripers in late July and August as shad size increases.

slurps622b

Lake Powell Fish Report – July 7, 2015

Lake Elevation: 3613.89

Water Temperature 77 - 83 F

By: Wayne Gustaveson   http://www.wayneswords.com

There are still lots of yearling stripers (8-14 inches) slurping up larval shad each morning and evening.  The most consistent location is the main channel.  That seems like a redundant report but it is accurate. This means that larval shad are in the main channel and little stripers can live right there with them and eat at their convenience.    

Small surface feeding stripers are a bit finicky when in surface mode.  We tried some well placed casts with top water lures which were ignored.  A small ¼ ounce Kastmaster spoon worked half the time.  The most effective method was to troll past the slurp location with a bluegill colored Shad Rap (SR5). That worked well if we arrived at the site of the last surface activity within one minute of when stripers went down. I did not have the opportunity to cast the Shad Rap (SR5) into the slurp but suspect that would work very well.

There was a clue given at Antelope Point Marina as we headed uplake from Wahweap.  We trolled through the wakeless area at morning prime time and hooked the biggest fish of the day.  At the fish cleaning station we found a 1.5 inch shad in the stomach.  This means that larger stripers are feeding on larger forage in deeper water.  Larger stripers are forced into the depths as they mature.  They can no longer stay in warm surface water so they go deep.  Big stripers are out there and feeding. It is just a matter of finding them and offering them the right enticement.

Probably the best method is the old standard anchovy.  Do not expect large schools of stripers to run along the canyon walls as they do in years when shad numbers are low.  Stripers now must be approached as if the anchovy bait is a precision lure cast to the right spot and right depth at the right time.  The right spot is a slick rock point. The right depth is 25-40 feet. The right time is early morning and late evening.  Night fishing under a green light is also prime right now. 

ssshanesmbIt is easier to catch smallmouth bass. When we trolled for stripers and got near a brushy shoreline or ran over a shallow reef, a one-pound smallmouth was hooked with the small shad rap. Bass fishing continues to be the best way to catch fish right now.  They can be caught on surface lures morning or evening.  They eat plastic grubs cast to the shoreline or open water reefs all day long.  

This is a perfect time to teach kids how to catch fish.  Put on a small Shad Rap and let them reel it back to the boat in 8-12 feet of brushy water.  It is easy to tell if in the right spot by looking at the submerged brush. If small sunfish and bluegill are lurking in the brush then bass can be caught. 

Catfish are really doing well on sandy beaches at dusk right behind the parked houseboat. Use a slice of hot dog, night crawler, shrimp or leftovers from dinner. Just put a size 2 or 4 bait hook on the spinning rod. Thread the leftovers onto the hook and cast it out into 12 feet of water behind the boat. Then let the bait rest on the bottom and wait for the catfish to come. It won’t take long.  

Walleye are still biting on plastic grubs with a piece of night crawler attached. Best time is first light and just after dusk. They can be caught during the day by trolling over a 15-foot bench with a lure that runs 12 feet deep.     

Expect quick boils from bigger stripers in late July and August as shad size increases.

annabass

 

June 30, 2015 - It's HOT!

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Lake Powell Fish Report – June 24, 2015
Lake Elevation: 3613
Water Temperature 82 - 85 F
By: Wayne Gustaveson   http://www.wayneswords.com
Lake Powell is red hot!
The water surface temperature is well over 80 degrees first thing in the morning.  The air temperature is well over 100 degrees each day.  The air cools off into the high 70s after the sun has been down for a long time at night.  The wind is mostly calm.  All of this explains why so many boaters, swimmers, campers and recreationist love the lake in July.  What a great place to be!
Anglers can enjoy the July celebration at the lake right along with the crowd. But there is a window when fishing success is excellent.  The time frame is early morning and late evening.  Largemouth and smallmouth bass are very aggressive and easy to catch on topwater lures, shallow running crankbaits and weightless wacky rigged senkos. The time to start fishing is when the sun begins to light up the eastern sky between 4-5 AM (MST).  Fishing is great until about 7 AM when bass blink at the sun and move back into the brush or slip into the depths.
Evening bass fishing gets good again as the sun settles low in the west. Again topwater and crankbaits cast close to the brushy shoreline are the best bet. Sunfish have found shelter in the freshly flooded green brush and old tumbleweed piles that are now underwater. Largemouth bass live in the brush with the sunfish and smallmouth bass are in deeper water not far away so they can make a quick trip into the brush for a meal.
Bass fishing is steady all day long. Just cast plastic grubs to shallow reefs or quick falling slick rock slopes and points to find bass eagerly awaiting a forage fish swim by.  There is no question that bass fishing provides the best success right now. To catch a lot of fish, target smallmouth bass.
Striped bass are not slurping/boiling as much this week as they have during most of June. From their behavior today it seems that the supply of small shad has lessened.  Where big slurping groups were seen last week there are now only very small groups or individual stripers working the surface in the early morning in the southern lake. It is probably only a coincidence but declining surface action in the south usually means improving surface feeding in the northern lake.
The best surface action seen this week is in the evening.  Watch for a quick boil of larger 18-20 inch stripers, in the main channel or main canyon as the sun sets in the evening.
During the daylight hours the most consistent striper technique is trolling along the shallow sloping shoreline where bottom depth is 25-30 feet. Trolling results are steady for 18-inch.  Target rocky points and reefs and troll along the 25-foot bottom depth strata with medium depth crankbaits.  Remember to drop a spoon to the bottom or cast a crankbait behind the boat when a stripers is caught trolling.  The other members of his group will be trailing- along behind the hooked fish. It’s a great way to increase the catch rate.
Trolling with 12-foot divers along the 12-foot depth strata still provides some decent walleye success.  Walleye numbers are still above average and catching continues in midsummer. We found today that fast trolling (4-5 MPH) for stripers resulted in an occasional walleye when the lure passed near a bush or some other likely walleye hangout.
Fishing is still good and you can cool off by swimming with the fishes when you get hot.

Lake Powell Fish Report – June 24, 2015

Lake Elevation: 3613

Water Temperature 82 - 85 F

By: Wayne Gustaveson   http://www.wayneswords.com

Lake Powell is Red Hot!

hotwheelThe water surface temperature is well over 80 degrees first thing in the morning.  The air temperature is well over 100 degrees each day.  The air cools off into the high 70s after the sun has been down for a long time at night.  The wind is mostly calm.  All of this explains why so many boaters, swimmers, campers and recreationist love the lake in July.  What a great place to be! 

Anglers can enjoy the July celebration at the lake right along with the crowd. But there is a window when fishing success is excellent.  The time frame is early morning and late evening.  Largemouth and smallmouth bass are very aggressive and easy to catch on topwater lures, shallow running crankbaits and weightless wacky rigged senkos. The time to start fishing is when the sun begins to light up the eastern sky between 4-5 AM (MST).  Fishing is great until about 7 AM when bass blink at the sun and move back into the brush or slip into the depths.  

Evening bass fishing gets good again as the sun settles low in the west. Again topwater and crankbaits cast close to the brushy shoreline are the best bet. Sunfish have found shelter in the freshly flooded green brush and old tumbleweed piles that are now underwater. Largemouth bass live in the brush with the sunfish and smallmouth bass are in deeper water not far away so they can make a quick trip into the brush for a meal.  

Bass fishing is steady all day long. Just cast plastic grubs to shallow reefs or quick falling slick rock slopes and points to find bass eagerly awaiting a forage fish swim by.  There is no question that bass fishing provides the best success right now. To catch a lot of fish, target smallmouth bass.

Striped bass are not slurping/boiling as much this week as they have during most of June. From their behavior today it seems that the supply of small shad has lessened.  Where big slurping groups were seen last week there are now only very small groups or individual stripers working the surface in the early morning in the southern lake. It is probably only a coincidence but declining surface action in the south usually means improving surface feeding in the northern lake. 

The best surface action seen this week is in the evening.  Watch for a quick boil of larger 18-20 inch stripers, in the main channel or main canyon as the sun sets in the evening.  

bm3aDuring the daylight hours the most consistent striper technique is trolling along the shallow sloping shoreline where bottom depth is 25-30 feet. Trolling results are steady for 18-inch stripers.  Target rocky points and reefs and troll along the 25-foot bottom depth strata with medium depth crankbaits.  Remember to drop a spoon to the bottom or cast a crankbait behind the boat when a stripers is caught trolling.  The other members of his group will be trailing- along behind the hooked fish. It’s a great way to increase the catch rate. 

Trolling with 12-foot divers along the 12-foot depth strata still provides some decent walleye success.  Walleye numbers are still above average and catching continues in midsummer. We found today that fast trolling (4-5 MPH) for stripers resulted in an occasional walleye when the lure passed near a bush or some other likely walleye hangout. 

Fishing is still good and you can cool off by swimming with the fishes when you get hot.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 30 June 2015 14:37
 

June 24, 2015 - Slurps everwhere

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Lake Powell Fish Report – June 24, 2015
Lake Elevation: 3611
Water Temperature 78 - 83 F
By: Wayne Gustaveson   http://www.wayneswords.com
Slurps, Slurps, Slurps!
Fishing is very exciting now with striped bass popping to the top over the length of the lake.  Catching is sometimes a different story so I am dedicating this report to help you catch more of the fish seen surfacing.
When:  Stripers are looking for three square meals a day. The only thing on the menu is small shad that live close to the surface while searching for plankton to eat.  The first daytime feeding event occurs at first light and lasts until the shade is gone.  The early morning period can be cancelled if the morning breeze roughs up the water surface making it difficult for striper to see the tiny shad in the rolling waves.
The next feeding period is from 9-11 AM (MST). If wind is a factor early then the combined first and second feeding period will begin as soon as the wind lays down allowing stripers to come up.
The last surface feeding event begins at 4 PM (MST) and continues until dark.  This is the best and most consistent feeding period unless afternoon wind spoils the party.
Where: Most of the action seen lately is in the main channel and main canyon areas in clear water. As water clarity improves in the next few weeks the northern lake will be the center of activity. Today the best area is from Bullfrog downstream to Padre Bay.
How:  Slurps are quick but numerous. When the slurp erupts it is critical to quickly get in casting range.  How close is different for each individual depending on how far you can cast with your rod and the lure used.    Regardless of the distance when in range make the first cast count. There may not be time for a second chance. Ideally the first cast will land 2 feet in front of the leading fish in the skirmish line.  The natural tendency is to then reel fast through the school.  The better approach is to slow down realizing that small shad are not fast swimmers. Give the striper time to eat a shad and then come to find your larger lure that may be more enticing than the standard ¾ inch skinny shad.
What: Many differ small lures are working now but it may be that one lure worked great yesterday but not so good today. So be prepared. The list, in no particular order, includes size 65 lucky Craft ghost colored pointers, small Revenge spoons with chartreuse back,   small Kastmaster lures (1/4 to ½ ounce), other similar size spoons, low profile surface lures (Ima Skimmers),  small shad colored plastic grubs (1/8 ounce), crappie lures, swim baits, etc.  Really, any small lure will work at the right time.
Tips:  Retrieve the lure slow and steady through a surfacing school.
Immediately after a school leaves the surface, cast to the last known location and let the spoon or grub fall to a depth of 12-20 feet.  Then slowly retrieve the lure back toward the boat.  More than half the time the school of stripers will follow your lure.  Watch the zone at the edge of visibility (12 feet) to see the lure come back into view. When stripers are seen following, drop the lure out of sight then jig it a time or two to catch more fish.
Larger stripers cannot compete in the warm surface water with the small ones.  To target larger fish, troll or cast near main channel slick rock points with a 45 degree slope where bottom depth is 25 feet.  Bait is working for bigger fish in deeper. Catch rate is slower but size is significantly larger (4-6 pounds) for bait-caught fish.
By the way, smallmouth bass fishing remains extremely good on the same gently sloping slick rock walls of the main channel from Padre to Bullfrog.
The best bass experience is had by throwing surface lures to the recently covered weedy pockets near deep water at first light in the morning.  That where big largemouth bass are now lurking.
There is always a new adventure while fishing Lake Powell.


Lake Powell Fish Report – June 24, 2015

jeffknorrLake Elevation: 3611

Water Temperature 78 - 83 F

By: Wayne Gustaveson   http://www.wayneswords.com

Slurps, Slurps, Slurps!

Fishing is very exciting now with striped bass popping to the top over the length of the lake.  Catching is sometimes a different story so I am dedicating this report to help you catch more of the fish seen surfacing.

When:  Stripers are looking for three square meals a day. The only thing on the menu is small shad that live close to the surface while searching for plankton to eat.  The first daytime feeding event occurs at first light and lasts until the shade is gone.  The early morning feeding period can be cancelled if the morning breeze roughs up the water surface making it difficult for stripers to see the tiny shad in the rolling waves.

The next feeding period is from 9-11 AM (MST). If wind is a factor early then the combined first and second feeding period will begin as soon as the wind lays down allowing stripers to come up. 

The last surface feeding event begins at 4 PM (MST) and continues until dark.  This is the best and most consistent feeding period unless afternoon wind spoils the party.  

Where: Most of the action seen lately is in the main channel and main canyon areas in clear water. As water clarity improves in the next few weeks the northern lake will be the center of activity. Today the best area is from Bullfrog downstream to Padre Bay.  

How:  Slurps are quick but numerous. When the slurp erupts it is critical to quickly get in casting range.  How close is different for each individual depending on how far you can cast with your rod and the lure used.    Regardless of the distance when in range make the first cast count. There may not be time for a second chance. Ideally the first cast will land 2 feet in front of the leading fish in the skirmish line.  The natural tendency is to then reel fast through the school. The better approach is to slow down realizing that small shad are not fast swimmers. Give the striper time to eat a shad and then come to find your larger lure that may be more enticing than the standard ¾ inch skinny shad. 

rsoh-sch-thumbWhat: Many differ small lures are working now but it may be that one lure worked great yesterday but not so good today. So be prepared. The list, in no particular order, includes size 65 lucky Craft ghost colored pointers, small Revenge spoons with chartreuse back,  small Kastmaster lures (1/4 to ½ ounce), other similar size spoons, low profile surface lures (Ima Skimmers),  small shad colored plastic grubs (1/8 ounce), crappie lures, swim baits, etc.  Really, any small lure will work at the right time.

Tips:  Retrieve the lure slow and steady through a surfacing school.  Immediately after a school leaves the surface, cast to the last known location and let the spoon or grub fall to a depth of 12-20 feet.  Then slowly retrieve the lure back toward the boat.  More than half the time the school of stripers will follow your lure.  Watch the zone at the edge of visibility (12 feet) to see the lure come back into view. When stripers are seen following, drop the lure out of sight then jig it a time or two to catch more fish.   

Larger stripers cannot compete in the warm surface water with the small ones.  To target larger fish, troll or cast near main channel slick rock points with a 45 degree slope where bottom depth is 25 feet.  Bait is working for bigger fish in deeper water. Catch rate is slower but size is significantly larger (4-6 pounds) for bait-caught fish.   

By the way, smallmouth bass fishing remains extremely good on the same gently sloping slick rock walls of the main channel from Padre to Bullfrog.  

The best bass experience is had by throwing surface lures followed by senkos to the recently covered weedy pockets near deep water at first light in the morning.  That is where big largemouth bass are now lurking. 

There is always a new adventure while fishing Lake Powell.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 24 June 2015 08:36
 

June 17, 2015 - More subtle changes

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Lake Powell Fish Report – June 17, 2015
Lake Elevation: 3607
Water Temperature 77 - 80 F
By: Wayne Gustaveson   http://www.wayneswords.com
Subtle changes in fishing conditions continue. Here are some of the small events that may change your fishing adventure into a successful trip.
Stripers have now received that warm water spawning trigger and most have now spawned. Female stripers caught recently had no viable eggs left in the ovary. That is important because spawning occurs at night and daytime activity is very limited.  One successful report from last week indicated a good trolling pattern at night with stripers from 2-10 pounds caught. Trolling in the same area during the day did not produce any stripers. The good news is that post spawn stripers will be more active during daylight hours.  The bad news is the warmer temperatures that caused the spawn to occur will now hold mature fish in deeper water.
Striper fishing strategy for the coming week will be to target mature stripers in deep water using deep diving lures or down riggers to get trolled baits down to 25-35 feet where larger stripers are more comfortable in the warm water.  The best time of day (or night) will be the low light periods near dusk and dawn.  Afternoon and evening fishing will be best with some late spawners still holding off and maintaining the nocturnal behavior pattern.
While adults have been waiting around to spawn, juvenile stripers have been lighting up the surface while slurping up tiny larval shad.  Slurps are most common early in the morning when the wind does not blow.  If wind is a factor then expect slurpers to pop up as soon as the lake calms down mid morning.  Still the most productive time is afternoon and evening beginning at 4 PM.
Slurps this week were short lived. I suspect the cause is that shad numbers are small.  Shad spawned recently are being quickly consumed and survivors are running toward weedy cover to escape relentless pursuit from small stripers. The end result is a slurp that is seen but not accessible due to the short time it is on the surface.
It is possible to use this behavior to locate larger stripers. Target slurps that are seen near shore. Approach the spot where slurping fish were seen, then fish on the bottom with small white plastic or bucktail jigs to target larger stripers.  Adult stripers are well aware of any school feeding behavior that occurs nearby.  Use that behavior to put a lure into cooler water where adults are forced to hold due to water temperature.  This was our best technique to find larger stripers on our weekly sampling trip.
Our trip was saved by the very cooperative smallmouth bass that were on fire on open water reefs and slick rock points and coves.  We caught numerous bass up to 2-pounds casting to the shore with small single and double tail plastic grubs, and rattletrap type crankbaits. Best lure colors were white and chartreuse. The best pattern was to find a slick rock point or shelf within a cove where water dropped off quickly into deep water. Starting depth was 12 feet with good bass action continuing all the way down to 30 feet. Bass turned on at 10 AM and continued until we had to leave to go back down lake at noon.
Here is a tip for smallmouth bass that bite a bit short and often are felt but not hooked. As soon as the bite occurs or the bass comes off the hook while reeling in, open the bail and drop the bait to the bottom.  When the bait hits bottom take up the slack and set the hook. It is the nature of smallmouth bass to follow the bait they have “wounded” and then pick it up again off the bottom. Knowing that, it is possible to set the hook and catch the fish without feeling the pickup.
Try this technique and let me know if it works for you.

Lake Powell Fish Report – June 17, 2015

Lake Elevation: 3607

Water Temperature 77 - 80 F

By: Wayne Gustaveson   http://www.wayneswords.com


zanewaedarkSubtle changes in fishing conditions continue. Here are some of the small events that may change your fishing adventure into a successful trip. 

Stripers have now received that warm water spawning trigger and most have now spawned. Female stripers caught recently had no viable eggs left in the ovary. That is important because spawning occurs at night and daytime activity is very limited.  One successful report from last week indicated a good trolling pattern at night with stripers from 2-10 pounds caught. Trolling in the same area during the day did not produce any stripers. The good news is that post spawn stripers will be more active during daylight hours.  The bad news is the warmer temperatures that caused the spawn to occur will now hold mature fish in deeper water.

Striper fishing strategy for the coming week will be to target mature stripers in deep water using deep diving lures or down riggers to get trolled baits down to 25-35 feet where larger stripers are more comfortable in cooler water.  The best time of day (or night) will be the low light periods near dusk and dawn.  Afternoon and evening fishing will be best with some late spawners still holding off and maintaining the nocturnal behavior pattern.  

While adults have been waiting around to spawn, juvenile stripers have been lighting up the surface while slurping up tiny larval shad.  Slurps are most common early in the morning when the wind does not blow.  If wind is a factor then expect slurpers to pop up as soon as the lake calms down mid morning.  Still the most productive time is afternoon and evening beginning at 4 PM. 

Slurps this week were short lived. I suspect the cause is that shad numbers are small.  Shad spawned recently are being quickly consumed and survivors are running toward weedy cover to escape relentless pursuit from small stripers. The end result is a slurp that is seen but not accessible due to the short time it is on the surface.  

It is possible to use this behavior to locate larger stripers. Target slurps that are seen near shore. Approach the spot where slurping fish were seen, then fish on the bottom with small white plastic or bucktail jigs to target larger stripers.  Adult stripers are well aware of any school feeding behavior that occurs nearby.  Use that behavior to put a lure into cooler water where adults are forced to hold due to water temperature.  This was our best technique to find larger stripers on our weekly sampling trip. 

zanetripbassOur trip was saved by the very cooperative smallmouth bass that were on fire on open water reefs and slick rock points and coves.  We caught numerous bass up to 2-pounds casting to the shore with small single and double tail plastic grubs, and rattletrap type crankbaits. Best lure colors were white and chartreuse. The best pattern was to find a slick rock point or shelf within a cove where water dropped off quickly into deep water. Starting depth was 12 feet with good bass action continuing all the way down to 30 feet. Bass turned on at 10 AM and continued until we had to leave to go back down lake at noon.  

We also caught one obligatory walleye in the process.

Here is a tip for smallmouth bass that bite a bit short and often are felt but not hooked. As soon as the bite occurs or the bass comes off the hook while reeling in, open the bail and drop the bait to the bottom.  When the bait hits bottom take up the slack and set the hook. It is the nature of smallmouth bass to follow the bait they have “wounded” and then pick it up again off the bottom. Knowing that, it is possible to set the hook and catch the fish without feeling the pickup.  

Try this technique and let me know if it works for you.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 17 June 2015 08:42
 

June 10, 2015 - Striper Feeding Pattern

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Lake Powell Fish Report – June 10, 2015
Lake Elevation: 3562
Water Temperature 71 - 75 F
By: Wayne Gustaveson   http://www.wayneswords.com
The unusual year of fisheries expectations continues.  The big news is that striped bass females caught yesterday still have not spawned.  That should not be too surprising since the daytime temperatures and weather resemble late April more than early June.  It is raining and cool today as this report is written. Female stripers need the trigger of rapidly warming water before they will spawn. If daytime air temperature warms up to normal any time soon then the wait for spawning will be over.
The next surprise was being able to catch ripe females.  They have been hiding out all spring and not eating while sulking on the lake bottom.  We have done strange things to find catchable fish like trolling flies to select shallow plankton-eating ripe males.   On this trip we could not catch male stripers and found most of the fish caught were females. Why the change? Why are fish that were not eating suddenly participating?  That is enough biological intrigue for now as we focus on how to catch cooperating stripers.
At first light we searched for slurping stripers in the main channel.  We found them at the mouth of Warm Creek, mouth of Gunsight, and West Canyon. The negative part was that they were skittish and hard to approach.  The only working method was to cast a small Kastmaster to the location where the school sounded and let the spoon sink.  Then we could reel the spoon slowly and catch a few yearling  stripers at a depth of about 12 feet.
Our attitude changed dramatically in the main channel as the sun hit the water at the mouth of Last Chance where the slurpers were 2-3 pound fish.  These stripers were very cooperative taking lures and spoons that hit close to the slurping epicenter. We put 8 of these nice fish in the cooler before the school escaped to the depths.
Boils are great but not always available.  Here is the pattern that consistently worked the rest of the day. The holding depth of stripers actively feeding has been 25 feet all spring. Lately slick rock habitat has been used more than broken rock. We targeted main channel and main canyon cliffs looking for an isolated shallow bench in otherwise deep water. Slick rock points were the key. Find a shallow point along the canyon walls where shallow water provides a refuge for bait fish and crayfish and stripers will be close by.    We targeted stripers by trolling over the shallow point along the 25 foot depth contour.  Our best lure was the Luck Craft Bevy Shad in chartreuse shad color. When a striper was hooked trolling we switched over to Kastmaster spoons to catch more fish off the bottom in a hurry. Sometimes just casting the trolling lure worked as well if the trailing fish were high up in the water column. At the end of the day trolling and casting accounted for the majority of the 34 stripers caught.
As we worked back downlake we asked other anglers for their fish reports. We found a group with a cooler full of stripers that were caught on anchovies. The habitat type they were fishing was a 30-foot slick rock bench at the mouth of a canyon surrounded by deep water.  The habitat type is key to finding feeding stripers. Then they can be caught using techniques of your choosing.
We picked up active smallmouth bass while trolling/casting for stripers.  They are feeding in the same 25-30 foot zone as striped bass.  We did not catch walleye that prefer shallower water now that some shoreline vegetation has been inundated by rising water. Look for a bluegill school in the brush to know where walleye will be lurking in slightly deeper water.
Rising water, cool temperatures, brush in the water, spawning fish all make for a challenging but very rewarding fishing experience in Lake Powell in early June.

lctrip1





Lake Powell Fish Report – June 10, 2015

Lake Elevation: 3602

Water Temperature 71 - 75 F

By: Wayne Gustaveson   http://www.wayneswords.com


The unusual year of fisheries expectations continues.  The big news is that striped bass females caught yesterday still have not spawned.  That should not be too surprising since the daytime temperatures and weather resemble late April more than early June.  It is raining and cool today as this report is written. Female stripers need the trigger of rapidly warming water before they will spawn. If daytime air temperature warms up to normal any time soon then the wait for spawning will be over.

lctripnobThe next surprise was being able to catch ripe females.  They have been hiding out all spring and not eating while sulking on the lake bottom.  We have done strange things to find catchable fish like trolling flies to select shallow plankton-eating ripe males.   On this trip we could not catch male stripers and found most of the fish caught were females. Why the change? Why are fish that were not eating suddenly participating?  That is enough biological intrigue for now as we focus on how to catch cooperating stripers.   

At first light we searched for slurping stripers in the main channel.  We found them at the mouth of Warm Creek, mouth of Gunsight, and West Canyon. The negative part was that they were skittish and hard to approach.  The only working method was to cast a small Kastmaster to the location where the school sounded and let the spoon sink.  Then we could reel the spoon slowly and catch a few yearling  stripers at a depth of about 12 feet. 

Our attitude changed dramatically in the main channel as the sun hit the water at the mouth of Last Chance where the slurpers were 2-3 pound fish.  These stripers were very cooperative taking lures and spoons that hit close to the slurping epicenter. We put 8 of these nice fish in the cooler before the school escaped to the depths.

Boils are great but not always available.  Here is the pattern that consistently worked the rest of the day. The holding depth of stripers actively feeding has been 25 feet all spring. Lately slick rock habitat has been used more than broken rock. We targeted main channel and main canyon cliffs looking for an isolated shallow bench in otherwise deep water. Slick rock points were the key. Find a shallow point along the canyon walls where shallow water provides a refuge for bait fish and crayfish and stripers will be close by.    We targeted stripers by trolling over the shallow point along the 25 foot depth contour.  Our best lure was the Lucky Craft Bevy Shad in chartreuse shad color. When a striper was hooked trolling we switched over to Kastmaster spoons to catch more fish off the bottom in a hurry. Sometimes just casting the trolling lure worked as well if the trailing fish were high up in the water column. At the end of the day trolling and casting accounted for the majority of the 34 stripers caught.    

As we worked back downlake we asked other anglers for their fish reports. We found a group with a cooler full of stripers that were caught on anchovies. The habitat type they were fishing was a 30-foot slick rock bench at the mouth of a canyon surrounded by deep water.  The habitat type is key to finding feeding stripers. Then they can be caught using techniques of your choosing.  

We picked up active smallmouth bass while trolling/casting for stripers.  They are feeding in the same 25-30 foot zone as striped bass.  We did not catch walleye that prefer shallower water now that some shoreline vegetation has been inundated by rising water. Look for a bluegill school in the brush to know where walleye will be lurking in slightly deeper water.

Rising water, cool temperatures, brush in the water, spawning fish all make for a challenging but very rewarding fishing experience in Lake Powell in early June.

This is not a scenery shot but the slick rock point habitat that can be seen a long way off. Striper are holding on the 25-30 foot bottom depth area where they find a few small fish but also plankton and larval shad schools.  Look for Slick Rock points to improve fishing success. 

lctrip2

Last Updated on Wednesday, 10 June 2015 09:09
 

June 2, 2015 - Slurps begin!

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Lake Powell Fish Report – June 2, 2015
Lake Elevation: 3597.6
Water Temperature 70 - 75 F
By: Wayne Gustaveson   http://www.wayneswords.com
Slurps!
The fishing report trip this week got off to a weird start.  We wanted to get out early to counter the sometimes negative effect of full moon on fish behavior.  The moon was bright when we launched at Wahweap and headed straight for Castle Rock to look for fly-eating stripers. My trolled fly went unpunished but my partner’s Lucky Craft Bevy Shad was eaten by a striper.  That was the exact opposite response found using the same techniques at the same spot last week.  We tried one more pass and this time the Bevy was eaten by a walleye.
Walleye fishing is best in low light of early morning.  Walleye catch uplake is greater and more prolonged in the murky water near the mouth of Red Canyon. Some anglers report catching more than 30 walleye a day, fast trolling with Mann’s Red Craw deep divers. Other anglers are dragging night crawlers along the bottom and catching many walleye.  No matter what technique is used, walleye fishing is much better in the northern lake.
Since flies were not working we headed uplake through the Castle Rock Cut. As we idled through the Cut I put out my Helsinki Shad colored Shad Rap and caught the biggest striper of the day.  Later we found that the big fish had two large threadfin shad in the stomach. Shad are using the Cut for migration or hiding spots from lake predators. I don’t recommend trolling there unless there is no other boat traffic. It should work fine to troll there between 4 and 5 AM.
The next stop was Buoy 25 and 25B where stripers had been caught trolling last week. It seems moon effect and/or warming water were in play as fishing was not as productive along the slick rock points and reefs as it was just a few days ago. We did catch a few stripers trolling along the shade line in deep water.  But fishing was too slow so we went uplake.
The next stop was the mouth of West Canyon.  We tried fly trolling without success. We did catch smallmouth when near a shallow reef or when we ventured too close to the shore. After giving up on flies we looked for a new pattern.  There was an open water reef that was similar to the reef in Wahweap Bay that had been hot last week.  We trolled Bevy Shad lures along the reef edge.  The secret was to find the narrow 25 foot depth zone on the breaking edge of the reef. If we kept the boat and lures over that depth zone, stripers would find our lures.  That worked well as we caught stripers and bass on consecutive passes.
That would have been a fitting way to end the day but we got an added bonus.  As we were playing a troll caught fish, yearling stripers began boiling around the boat. We added another 6 fish to the cooler by casting small Hyper Stripers and Lucky Craft Pointers to the hungry stripers.  The boil came up 4 times before they stayed down and we headed for home.
As we passed through Padre Bay we tried the spot where fly fishing had been so good the week before.  Again flies did not work.  We did graph a huge striper school on the same shallow bench where they were previously caught. One ripe male was caught at 35 feet on a spoon but most of our offerings were ignored. My guess is that these fish have not yet completed spawning and they are still in the night activity mode. The warmer water may be keeping them deeper and preventing fly trolling from working as well as it did previously.
That is the excitement of fishing at Lake Powell. There is always a different technique or location that may turn a mundane outing into a successful fishing trip.

Lake Powell Fish Report – June 2, 2015

Lake Elevation: 3597.6

Water Temperature 70 - 75 F

By: Wayne Gustaveson   http://www.wayneswords.com

Slurps!

The fishing report trip this week got off to a weird start.  We wanted to get out early to counter the sometimes negative effect of full moon on fish behavior.  The moon was bright when we launched at Wahweap and headed straight for Castle Rock to look for fly-eating stripers. My trolled fly went unpunished but my partner’s Lucky Craft Bevy Shad was eaten by a striper.  That was the exact opposite response found using the same techniques at the same spot last week.  We tried one more pass and this time the Bevy was eaten by a walleye.

waessWalleye fishing is best in low light of early morning.  Walleye catch uplake is greater and more prolonged in the murky water near the mouth of Red Canyon. Some anglers report catching more than 30 walleye a day, fast trolling with Mann’s Red Craw deep divers. Other anglers are dragging night crawlers slowly along the bottom and catching many walleye.  No matter what technique is used, walleye fishing is much better in the northern lake. 

Since flies were not working we headed uplake through the Castle Rock Cut. As we idled through the Cut I put out my Helsinki Shad colored Shad Rap and caught the biggest striper of the day.  Later we found that the big fish had two large (6 inch) threadfin shad in the stomach. Shad are using the Cut for migration or hiding spots from lake predators. I don’t recommend trolling there unless there is no other boat traffic. It should work fine to troll there between 4 and 5 AM. 

The next stop was Buoy 25 and 25B where stripers had been caught trolling last week. It seems moon effect and/or warming water were in play as fishing was not as productive along the slick rock points and reefs as it was just a few days ago. We did catch a few stripers trolling along the shade line in deep water.  But fishing was too slow so we went uplake.  

The next stop was the mouth of West Canyon.  We tried fly trolling without success. We did catch smallmouth when near a shallow reef or when we ventured too close to the shore. After giving up on flies we looked for a new pattern.  There was an open water reef that was similar to the reef in Wahweap Bay that had been hot last week.  We trolled Bevy Shad lures along the reef edge.  The secret was to find the narrow 25 foot depth zone on the breaking edge of the reef. If we kept the boat and lures over that depth zone, stripers would find our lures.  That worked well as we caught many stripers and bass on consecutive passes. 

slurps622cThat would have been a fitting way to end the day but we got an added bonus.  As we were playing a troll caught fish, yearling stripers began boiling around the boat. We added another 6 fish to the cooler by casting small Hyper Stripers and Lucky Craft Pointers to the hungry stripers.  The boil came up 4 times before they stayed down and we headed for home. 

As we passed through Padre Bay we tried the spot where fly fishing had been so good the week before.  Again flies did not work.  We did graph a huge striper school on the same shallow bench where they were previously caught. One ripe male was caught at 35 feet on a spoon but most of our offerings were ignored. My guess is that these fish have not yet completed spawning and they are still in the night activity mode. The warmer water may be keeping them deeper and preventing fly trolling from working as well as it did previously.

That is the excitement of fishing at Lake Powell. There is always a different technique or location that may turn a mundane outing into a successful fishing trip.

 

May 26, 2015 - Transition and Striper Spawn

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Lake Powell Fish Report – May 19, 2015
Lake Elevation: 3595
Water Temperature 63 - 70 F
By: Wayne Gustaveson   http://www.wayneswords.com
Lake Powell is rising.  The weather forecast is for rapid warming.  Fish behavior is changing as a result of the changing conditions.  Here is how to keep up with the new reality in the fish world at Lake Powell.
Runoff is now busting downstream allowing the lake water level to increase each day.  All that water makes the upper lake muddy, reduces visibility, and points anglers downstream when leaving Bullfrog/Halls.  There is still good fishing upstream but it is the backs of canyons rather than the muddy main channel.  Those launching at Wahweap/Antelope Point find clear water but must move the boat each morning to accommodate the rising water.
Increasing temperatures will have a much larger impact on fishing success. Bass fishing has been the stalwart all spring with smallmouth bass leading the way. Great smallmouth fishing will continue but with rising water and temperature the target species will be found in deeper water.   Small bass will still be found on shore but mature bass will be found more consistently in water 20-30 feet deep.
Walleye are in transition from feeding all day long, to feeding early morning and late evening and into the night.  There is still an option to find fishing success in the daytime but it will likely be in muddy coves or windswept shorelines where visibility is less and walleye have an advantage over prey species.
Catfish and bluegill will be found much more often in these conditions and will be easy to catch near camp.
Striped bass are finally near spawning.  Female stripers are only ripe for one hour each year.  The hormones don’t flow until the spawning trigger arrives.  In the lake that trigger is rapid warming and rising water. The sign to look for is a rapid increase in surface water temperature.  The morning temperature today was 64F. If the lake surface increased to 74 degrees by this afternoon that would be enough to start the spawning process. But that won’t happen today.  Expect a one-day 10 degree rise in temperature within the next 10 days.    When that happens here are the clues to find a spawning school of stripers.
Ripe male stripers are schooled in virtually every bay and are much more interested in spawning than eating.  Locate them by trolling flies along the surface through the plankton schools where they are biding their time. They will eat a large zooplankter (white streamer fly) while foraging on the microscopic critters that are the foundation of the food web. Many stripers can be caught using the fly trolling technique.  Once the school location is known return to that spot at sundown on a day when the temperature has risen dramatically.
Stripers spawn on the surface at night.  A spawning school will behave much like slurping fish with lots of rolling and splashing making them a bit easier to find in low light. The males in the school will weigh from 2.5 pound to the larger fish which will exceed 10 pounds. The females in the school will start at 4 pounds and top out over 30 pounds.   These stripers are incredibly aggressive.  I suggest using a single hook which will make it easier to unhook these beasts quickly after dark.  I have successfully used a half to one ounce bucktail jig to catch spawning fish on every cast in coves that are 15-30 feet deep.
This is an unusual year where most of the stripers in the southern lake and 75% of the stripers in the mid to northern lake are in spawning condition.  The best way to find a spawning school is to troll the bucktail jig across lake points at sunset.  There will also be some boil-like activity close to shore that is still visible as the sun sets and the night darkens. This is the best chance we have had in this century to find and interact with a spawning school of a striped bass. I testify that is really worth it and an unforgettable experience.  It will happen within the next 10 days.
Be extremely alert for any signs of surface activity at dusk and be prepared to catch a ton of fish if lucky enough to be in the right spot.

Lake Powell Fish Report – May 19, 2015

Lake Elevation: 3595

Water Temperature 63 - 70 F

By: Wayne Gustaveson   http://www.wayneswords.com

Lake Powell is rising.  The weather forecast is for rapid warming.  Fish behavior is changing as a result of the changing conditions.  Here is how to keep up with the new reality in the fish world at Lake Powell.

dscf0108Runoff is now busting downstream allowing the lake water level to increase each day.  All that water makes the upper lake muddy, reduces visibility, and points anglers downstream when leaving Bullfrog/Halls.  There is still good fishing upstream but it is the backs of canyons rather than the muddy main channel.  Those launching at Wahweap/Antelope Point find clear water but must move the boat each morning to accommodate the rising water.

Increasing temperatures will have a much larger impact on fishing success. Bass fishing has been the stalwart all spring with smallmouth bass leading the way. Great smallmouth fishing will continue but with rising water and temperature the target species will be found in deeper water.   Small bass will still be found on shore but mature bass will be found more consistently in water 20-30 feet deep.  

Walleye are in transition from feeding all day long, to feeding early morning and late evening and into the night.  There is still an option to find fishing success in the daytime but it will likely be in muddy coves or windswept shorelines where visibility is less and walleye have an advantage over prey species. 

Catfish and bluegill will be found much more often in these conditions and will be easy to catch near camp. 

Striped bass are finally near spawning.  Female stripers are only ripe for one hour each year.  The hormones don’t flow until the spawning trigger arrives.  In the lake that trigger is rapid warming and rising water. The sign to look for is a rapid increase in surface water temperature.  The morning temperature today was 64 F. If the lake surface increased to 74 F degrees by this afternoon that would be enough to start the spawning process. But that won’t happen today.  Expect a one-day 10 degree rise in temperature within the next 10 days.    When that happens, here are the clues to find a spawning school of stripers.

carlos909 565Ripe male stripers are schooled in virtually every bay and are much more interested in spawning than eating.  Locate them by trolling flies along the surface through the plankton schools where they are biding their time. They will eat a large zooplankter (white streamer fly) while foraging on the microscopic critters that are the foundation of the food web. Many stripers can be caught using the fly trolling technique.  Once the school location is known return to that spot at sundown on a day when the temperature has risen dramatically. 

Stripers spawn on the surface at night.  A spawning school will behave much like slurping fish with lots of rolling and splashing making them a bit easier to find in low light. The males in the school will weigh from 2.5 pound to the larger fish which will exceed 10 pounds. The females in the school will start at 4 pounds and top out over 30 pounds.  

These stripers are incredibly aggressive.  I suggest using a single hook which will make it easier to unhook these beasts quickly after dark.  I have successfully used a half to one ounce bucktail jig to catch spawning fish on every cast in coves that are 15-30 feet deep.   

This is an unusual year where most of the stripers in the southern lake and 75% of the stripers in the mid to northern lake are in spawning condition.  The best way to find a spawning school is to troll the bucktail jig across lake points at sunset. There will also be some boil-like activity close to shore that is still visible as the sun sets and the night darkens.

This is the best chance we have had in this century to find and interact with a spawning school of a striped bass. I testify that is really worth it and an unforgettable experience.  It will happen within the next 10 days. Be extremely alert for any signs of surface activity at dusk and be prepared to catch a ton of fish if lucky enough to be in the right spot.

P.S.  Better bring a headlamp.wghalfstb

 
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