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June 28, 2017 - Slurps slipping

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Lake Powell Fish Report – June 28, 2017
Lake Elevation: 3634
Water Temperature:  77-84 F
By: Wayne Gustaveson http://www.wayneswords.com
My weekly striper slurp evaluation trip yesterday was quite interesting?  We started earlier than usual (first light) and I attributed the lack of slurpers at my first stop at the mouth of Labyrinth to timing.  Maybe we were too early?  Then at the east wall in Padre Bay the lack of slurpers was disconcerting.  Timing was right and the most dependable location at the mouth of Last Chance was also disappointing with no surface schools seen.
The mystery was finally solved as we found slurping stripers close to the brushy shoreline between Dove Canyon and Dungeon Canyon. Here is what I think is happening in the southern lake:
The slurping stripers we caught and then examined at the fish cleaning station contained the same size tiny shad as has been noted for the last month. While fishing in the brush I saw schools of larger shad (1 inch to 1.5 inch) using the brush as a defense against attacking stripers and smallmouth bass. Slurping stripers are still looking for the open water newly hatched shad which are less every day.  Baby shad are consumed quickly by hungry predators but a few grow larger by fleeing into the brush cover. Either way they are less available to slurping stripers waiting in open water.
Slurps will continue to a lesser degree until shad grow larger and are forced to move out of the brush into open water in search of more plankton to eat.   The next progression is striper boils which have begun in mid July over the past few years. Expect slurps to occur randomly over the next few weeks.  Stripers will blow up on shad whenever they get the chance. There will be more slurps in the mid to northern lake because there are more shad there that have been protected by poor visibility from the muddy runoff water.
A recent report indicated that slurps are increasing in the main channel from the mouth of Navajo to Antelope Point Marina.  A new shad spawn could also lead to more slurps from Padre Bay to Rainbow Bridge.  Surface fishing for stripers is just beginning and will get much better over the summer.   Bait fishing for adult stripers is still steady in deeper water in the main channel and the main canyons throughout the lake.
Smallmouth bass have gone deeper. Adult bass are now at 25 feet or deeper. Smaller bass are shallower.  Rapidly rising water has displaced many bass. They are following the rising water into the brush in the backs of canyons that are now getting much longer and covering brush that has not been wet for many years.  Largemouth bass are following the rising water and residing in brush thickets in 3 feet of water at the back of canyons and coves..
Walleye are still being caught in good numbers by anglers using bottom bouncing rigs with night crawlers or trolling over brushy flats with shallow running crankbaits. Walleye really like to perch in flooded treetops while waiting for forage fish to swim by. Rattletraps are a good choice now for walleye. We caught a walleye yesterday on a surface lure fished slowly around flooded trees.  That fish now wears tag number 2901.
Summer fishing is a lot of fun. Get out early while it is still cool and fish are active. Look for surface action.  Target the brushy shoreline to catch a wide variety of species. Surface lures are very effective during the calm morning and evening hours.

Lake Powell Fish Report – June 28, 2017

Lake Elevation: 3634

Water Temperature:  77-84 F

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


My weekly striper slurp evaluation trip yesterday was quite interesting?  We started earlier than usual (first light) and I attributed the lack of slurpers at my first stop at the mouth of Labyrinth to timing.  Maybe we were too early?  Then at the east wall in Padre Bay the lack of slurpers was disconcerting.  Timing was right and the most dependable location at the mouth of Last Chance was also disappointing with no surface schools seen. 

The mystery was finally solved as we found slurping stripers close to the brushy shoreline between Dove Canyon and Dungeon Canyon. Here is what I think is happening in the southern lake:

The slurping stripers we caught and then examined at the fish cleaning station contained the same size tiny shad as has been noted for the last month. While fishing in the brush I saw schools of larger shad (1 inch to 1.5 inch) using the brush as a defense against attacking stripers and smallmouth bass. Slurping stripers are still looking for the open water newly hatched shad which are less every day.  Baby shad are consumed quickly by hungry predators but a few grow larger by fleeing into the brush cover. Either way they are less available to slurping stripers waiting in open water.    

smallshadstbSlurps will continue to a lesser degree until shad grow larger and are forced to move out of the brush into open water in search of more plankton to eat.   The next progression is striper boils which have begun in mid July over the past few years. Expect slurps to occur randomly over the next few weeks.  Stripers will blow up on shad whenever they get the chance. There will be more slurps in the mid to northern lake because there are more shad there that have been protected by poor visibility from the muddy runoff water.

A recent report indicated that slurps are increasing in the main channel from the mouth of Navajo to Antelope Point Marina.  A new shad spawn could also lead to more slurps from Padre Bay to Rainbow Bridge.  Surface fishing for stripers is just beginning and will get much better over the summer.   Bait fishing for adult stripers is still steady in deeper water in the main channel and the main canyons throughout the lake. 

Smallmouth bass have gone deeper. Adult bass are now at 25 feet or deeper. Smaller bass are shallower.  Rapidly rising water has displaced many bass. They are following the rising water into the brush in the backs of canyons that are now getting much longer and covering brush that has not been wet for many years.  Largemouth bass are following the rising water and residing in brush thickets in 3 feet of water at the back of canyons and coves.

waemouth

 

Walleye are still being caught in good numbers by anglers using bottom bouncing rigs with night crawlers or trolling over brushy flats with shallow running crankbaits. Walleye really like to perch in flooded treetops while waiting for forage fish to swim by. Rattletraps are a good choice now for walleye. We caught a walleye yesterday on a surface lure fished slowly around flooded trees.  That fish now wears tag number 2901. 

Summer fishing is a lot of fun. Get out early while it is still cool and fish are active. Look for surface action.  Target the brushy shoreline to catch a wide variety of species. Surface lures are very effective during the calm morning and evening hours.

 

June 21, 2017 - Stripers Still on Top!

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Lake Powell Fish Report – June 21, 2017
Lake Elevation: 3631
Water Temperature:  77-84 F
By: Wayne Gustaveson http://www.wayneswords.com
Stripers Still on Top!
Surface feeding stripers have been reported from Wahweap Bay to Hite.  The slurping schools are still feeding quickly and tend to go up and down often.  My reports indicate that they stay up longer and are caught more often from Dangling Rope to the San Juan and Bullfrog Bay to Good Hope Bay.  Expect to see them anywhere and anytime. Since they are commonly feeding lakewide my goal today was to find out which lures caught the most fish.
My preference is surface casting so I can see the fish hit the top water lure. That way even if there is no hookup I can see the fish and feel the adrenaline spike. I chose the Ima Skimmer because it performed well last week and repeated that performance today. It’s a long thin lure that casts well.
My next rod had the Lucky Craft lipless vibrator (rattletrap type) tied on because the slurps go up and down quickly.  When they are up, just reel it quickly through the splashing fish.  If they go down let the ‘trap sink until it is below the submerged school and then reel it up through the school for a quick hookup.
Stripers are feeding on very small shad so the best lure to “match the hatch” is a small white fly.  It takes a fly rod to cast a fly or an added weight to get the fly out there on a spinning rod.   I tied a small white fly on behind a Kastmaster spoon. My setup was not the best and got only a few bumps without a hookup.  If using flies bring the fly rod.
The best lure of the day was a Yamamoto D Shad (white color 364) on a 5/0 Owner hook with a 3/32 ounce belly weight and a twist lock attachment. This big lure caught the most slurping stripers.  It worked well swimming through the striper school or dropping down a bit when the school went down.
All lures worked but the most important factor was to cast to the right spot. These fast moving fish feed in an erratic pattern. They start in one direction, only to change course, go down and come up in a new direction. It is critical to cast 5 feet or more ahead of the lead fish since the lure will fly for 2-3 seconds and then land near the fast moving school.  If it lands in the sweet spot where the lead fish can see it there will be a hookup.  If it lands behind the lead fish then it is often ignored. The school often stays up for up to 5 minutes or more but once the boat is in range the fish tend to go down after the lures hit the water.  The first cast must be accurate to get a quick hookup.
Today the striper slurps began at first light and quit at 9 AM.  We came in on a hot day instead of waiting for the noon slurps to start.  More slurps are found in the evening .
We did try trolling with deep divers over 25-foot slick rock bottom structure and caught stripers and smallmouth bass.  We talked with bait anglers fishing in the shady coves on the east wall in Last Chance and they were catching lots of adult stripers. Striper fishing is still good despite the heat.
I often tell anglers to fish small isolated white rock slides in the steep walled main channel to catch smallmouth bass. We tested that theory and found the rock slides to be quiet, but if we cast to the slick rock wall on the other side of the rock slide cove we caught a smallmouth bass on every cast.  Smallmouth bass are still active and very catchable. It just takes a bit of experimenting to find their preferred habitat for the day.
Walleye are active early morning and evening and during the day as they hang out under muddy water floating on the surface caused by wind or wake action. Catfish, Bluegill and green sunfish are active now as well but the rising water has not allowed them to find their summer home. That will happen when the lake stabilizes in July.

Lake Powell Fish Report – June 21, 2017

Lake Elevation: 3631

Water Temperature:  77-84 F

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

Stripers Still on Top!

Surface feeding stripers have been reported from Wahweap Bay to Hite.  The slurping schools are still feeding quickly and tend to go up and down often.  My reports indicate that they stay up longer and are caught more often from Dangling Rope to the San Juan and Bullfrog Bay to Good Hope Bay.  Expect to see them anywhere and anytime.  Since they are commonly feeding lakewide my goal today was to find out which lures caught the most fish.

imabasslure

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My preference is surface casting so I can see the fish hit the top water lure. That way even if there is no hookup I can see the fish and feel the adrenaline spike. I chose the Ima Skimmer because it performed well last week and repeated that performance today. It’s a long thin lure that casts well.  

lv100stb

 

My next rod had the Lucky Craft lipless vibrator (rattletrap type) tied on because the slurps go up and down quickly.  When they are up, just reel it quickly through the splashing fish.  If they go down let the ‘trap sink until it is below the submerged school and then reel it up through the school for a quick hookup. 

Stripers are feeding on very small shad so the best lure to “match the hatch” is a small white fly.  It takes a fly rod to cast a fly or an added weight to get the fly out there on a spinning rod.   I tied a small white fly on behind a Kastmaster spoon. My setup was not the best and got only a few bumps without a hookup.  If using flies bring the fly rod.  

kfs-k856

 

The best lure of the day was a Yamamoto D Shad (white color 364) on a 5/0 Owner hook with a 3/32 ounce belly weight and a twist lock attachment. This big lure caught the most slurping stripers.  It worked well swimming through the striper school or dropping down a bit when the school went down.

 slurps622bAll lures worked but the most important factor was to cast to the right spot. These fast moving fish feed in an erratic pattern. They start in one direction, only to change course, go down and come up in a new direction. It is critical to cast 5 feet or more ahead of the lead fish since the lure will fly for 2-3 seconds and then land near the fast moving school.  If it lands in the sweet spot where the lead fish can see it there will be a hookup.  If it lands behind the lead fish then it is often ignored. The school often stays up for up to 5 minutes or more but once the boat is in range the fish tend to go down after the lures hit the water.  The first cast must be accurate to get a quick hookup. 

Today the striper slurps began at first light and quit at 9 AM.  We came in on a hot day instead of waiting for the noon slurps to start.  More slurps are found in the evening .   

 

 

 

 

 

 

We did try trolling with deep divers over 25-foot slick rock bottom structure and caught stripers and smallmouth bass.  We talked with bait anglers fishing in the shady coves on the east wall in Last Chance and they were catching lots of adult stripers. Striper fishing is still good despite the heat.

 

 

codyson2

 

I often tell anglers to fish small isolated white rock slides in the steep walled main channel to catch smallmouth bass. We tested that theory and found the rock slides to be quiet, but if we cast to the slick rock wall on the other side of the rock slide cove we caught a smallmouth bass on every cast.  Smallmouth bass are still active and very catchable. It just takes a bit of experimenting to find their preferred habitat for the day. 

Walleye are active early morning and evening and during the day as they hang out under muddy water floating on the surface caused by wind or wake action. Catfish, Bluegill and green sunfish are active now as well but the rising water has not allowed them to find their summer home. That will happen when the lake stabilizes in July.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 21 June 2017 08:40
 

June 14, 2017 - Slurping Stripers on Top!

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Lake Powell Fish Report – June 14, 2017
Lake Elevation: 3626.58
Water Temperature: 69 - 78 F
By: Wayne Gustaveson http://www.wayneswords.com
Stripers on Top!
In the last report I mentioned that stripers would soon feed on the surface. We now have confirmation!  Stripers are slurping lakewide.  The recent w**dy days kept stripers down as the waves crashed against the shore and messed up surface visibility where young shad swim.  This morning it was finally calm and stripers were on top early and baby shad were being consumed by the millions. The twenty stripers I caught this morning averaged about 50 shad per stomach (average length .75 inches). That equates to 1000 shad.  It’s time to go save some shad and catch stripers in the process. Here is the plan.
Stripers hit the surface shortly after dawn and continue to feed randomly throughout the day. Slurps were seen this morning in Warm Creek, Gunsight mouth, Labyrinth Bay, Padre Bay east wall, Gregory Butte bay, West Canyon mouth, and Dove Canyon mouth. There was still a breeze blowing in Rock Creek so no striper slurps were seen there. I am sure the same events played out uplake.  If it was calm there were stripers slurping.
Surface feeding stripers stayed up longer and were likely to hit my lures better today than last week.  Today I could cast Lucky Craft (ghost) Pointers beyond the surface feeding school and work the lure through the closely feeding fish.  With a good cast and if the stripers continued to feed in the same direction, hookups came about half the time. The 4-inch lure is a lot bigger than the forage, so each striper has to give up small shad to feed on something really big like my lure.  Later in the day it occurred to me that these fish might be bold enough to hit topwater.  I tried an Ima Skimmer (white) and found them just as likely to hit the surface lure as the crankbait. I used topwater the rest of the day.
Schools varied in size from 10 fish to about 50. They fed in a semi-circular pattern more like adults cornering full grown shad. Lures that landed inside the group caused a few to splash but caused others to hit the lure. The school moved fast enough that only one cast could reach the group.  The trolling motor in high gear or the big motor at fast idle was needed to keep up with the rapidly moving school.
Most of the schools were found in the main channel over deep water. Spoons did not work as well over deep water as they do when the escaping school heads to the bottom and stops at 30-40 feet. No fish were caught on spoons today.  Stripers continued to slurp until 11 AM when wake boat traffic increased.  They will blow up any time they find food and calm seas. Expect to see slurps randomly throughout the day but more commonly early morning and late evening.
Adult stripers are still locked down below 20 feet by the warm surface water. Bait works but crayfish are coming out of hiding. Adult stripers can be caught trolling in the 10-30 foot strata. Storm deep Thundersticks are working quite well.
Bass fishing did not keep pace with stripers.  The rapidly rising water levels may be hindering bass catch rate.  Bass are staying in their preferred holding structure previously found and have not moved up even though the water level rose another 5 feet higher this week.  Water temperature also plummeted from 76 last week to 69 this morning. Bass did not bite as well today as they did last week, but I think they will recover as the water temperature warms up with the weather this week. Look in the same rocky habitat or flooded brush points to find willing smallmouth. Largemouth bass are tucked in tight in shallow weedy water. Expect bluegill and largemouth to be close and sharing the same habitat.
Now is the time to try Catfishing as these bottom dwellers are in spawning mode and are super active.
Two more tagged walleye were reported this week with both fish coming from the Cedar to Knowles canyon area of the main channel.  Both fish were tagged in Good Hope Bay but moved downstream for some reason.  We will continue to work on walleye movement and report when we have conclusive information.
My next move is to post this report and then go fishing for slurping stripers!

Lake Powell Fish Report – June 14, 2017

Lake Elevation: 3627.36

Water Temperature: 69 - 78 F

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

Stripers on Top!

In the last report I mentioned that stripers would soon feed on the surface. We now have confirmation!  Stripers are slurping lakewide.  The recent w**dy days kept stripers down as the waves crashed against the shore and messed up surface visibility where young shad swim.  This morning it was finally calm and stripers were on top early and baby shad were being consumed by the millions. The twenty stripers I caught this morning averaged about 50 shad per stomach (average length 0.75 inches). That equates to 1000 shad.  It’s time to go save some shad and catch stripers in the process. Here is the plan.

slurps622a

 

Stripers hit the surface shortly after dawn and continue to feed randomly throughout the day. Slurps were seen this morning in Warm Creek, Gunsight mouth, Labyrinth Bay, Padre Bay east wall, Gregory Butte bay, West Canyon mouth, and Dove Canyon mouth. There was still a breeze blowing in Rock Creek so no striper slurps were seen there. I am sure the same events played out uplake.  If it was calm there were stripers slurping. 

Surface feeding stripers stayed up longer and were likely to hit my lures better today than last week.  Today I could cast Lucky Craft (ghost) Pointers beyond the surface feeding school and work the lure through the closely feeding fish.  With a good cast and if the stripers continued to feed in the same direction, hookups came about half the time. The 4-inch lure is a lot bigger than the forage, so each striper has to give up small shad to feed on something really big like my lure. Later in the day it occurred to me that these fish might be bold enough to hit topwater.  I tried an Ima Skimmer (white) and found them just as likely to hit the surface lure as the crankbait. I used topwater the rest of the day. 

Schools varied in size from 10 fish to about 50. They fed in a semi-circular pattern more like adults cornering full grown shad. Lures that landed inside the group caused a few to splash but caused others to hit the lure. The school moved fast enough that only one cast could reach the group.  The trolling motor in high gear or the big motor at fast idle was needed to keep up with the rapidly moving school. 

Most of the schools were found in the main channel over deep water. Spoons did not work as well over deep water as they do when the escaping school heads to the bottom and stops at 30-40 feet. No fish were caught on spoons today. Stripers continued to slurp until 11 AM when wake boat traffic increased.  They will blow up any time they find food and calm seas. Expect to see slurps randomly throughout the day but more commonly early morning and late evening.

 Adult stripers are still locked down below 20 feet by the warm surface water. Bait works but crayfish are coming out of hiding and adult stripers are slurpdirectionsearching the flats along the shore for a good meal. Adult stripers can be caught trolling in the 10-30 foot strata. Storm deep Thundersticks are working quite well. 

Bass fishing did not keep pace with stripers.  The rapidly rising water levels may be hindering bass catch rate.  Bass are staying in their preferred holding structure previously found and have not moved up even though the water level rose another 5 feet higher this week.  Water temperature also plummeted from 76 last week to 69 this morning. Bass did not bite as well today as they did last week, but I think they will recover as the water temperature warms up with the weather this week. Look in the same rocky habitat or flooded brush points to find willing smallmouth. Largemouth bass are tucked in tight in shallow weedy water. Expect bluegill and largemouth to be close and sharing the same habitat. 

Now is the time to try Catfishing as these bottom dwellers are in spawning mode and are super active. Two more tagged walleye were reported this week with both fish coming from the Cedar to Knowles canyon area of the main channel. Both fish were tagged in Good Hope Bay but moved downstream for some reason.  We will continue to work on walleye movement and report when we have conclusive information. 

My next move is to post this report and then go fishing for slurping stripers!

catboy

Last Updated on Wednesday, 14 June 2017 09:43
 

June 6, 2017 - Stripers in Transition

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senkocatchLake Powell Fish Report – June 6, 2017
Lake Elevation: 3622
Water Temperature: 73 -78 F
By: Wayne Gustaveson http://www.wayneswords.com
Stripers in Transition:
The lake is still filling rapidly but the bigger news now is that stripers are feeding on the surface.
The ultimate goal of many freshwater anglers is to fish a striper boil.  We are not quite there yet but the big event is only a few weeks away. Right now we have the next best surface feeding event which I have named “slurps or slurping”.
Shad are being hatched lakewide.  We are not able to tell the difference between threadfin and gizzard shad larvae until the tiny fish grow a bit. Right now baby shad are only 5-10 mm long. Healthy stripers have been subsisting by eating plankton.  Now they are very happy to let shad eat plankton while stripers turn to eating shad.  Striper consumption level is often between 50-100 microscopic shad per day.  It would be better for stripers to wait until shad were at least an inch long so they could get more nutrition from less fish, but they have no patience.  It is our job as anglers to watch for slurps, then attack the marauding stripers and catch as many as possible while letting the surviving shad run away. Your reward will be catching some of the smaller healthy stripers which are great table fare.
I must remind you that the slurping striper school is feeding shoulder-to-shoulder while moving through a shad school. When some stripers run out of shad they leave the feeding line and search for the next shad group. Those “lookers” are the fish to cast toward. A small surface lure, shallow running crank bait, or small Kastmaster spoon are favorite striper lures.  If the lure lands in the middle of the feeding line the whole group splashes away and none are caught. If that happens don’t be discouraged just wait for them to surface again a short distance away and make a better cast.
Slurps have been seen for two weeks between the San Juan and the Escalante. Last week Bullfrog erupted with many small slurps.  Wahweap is still waiting for topwater action. Slurps have been recently seen in Warm Creek near double islands, Labyrinth mouth, West Canyon, and mouth of Rock Creek.  Expect each day to provide more surface action as shad get bigger and more numerous and stripers discover them on the surface. Bait fishing is not over. Warming water tends to move larger stripers into deeper water. Shad are on the surface so adult stripers are still searching for bait. Expect to find them in the same locations that have been reported for the past month.
Smallmouth bass are the next most likely fish to catch. Look for deep structure, like a long point that does not change much as the water comes up 5 feet. Bass can just move up the brushy point to their preferred feeding depth.
Walleye are still being caught like crazy from Bullfrog to Good Hope.   Most of the fish are caught from Bullfrog to Good Hope (20) but two have come from Padre Bay on the south end of the lake. We are starting to see quite a bit of movement from Good Hope Bay fish as they move downstream. One reason for the walleye contest was to determine migration patterns by comparing tagging location to the capture point. There will be another bunch of tagged fish caught during June. With water warming and rising, expect to see walleye move from rocky flats into the submerged trees. Their favorite feeding technique is to park in a submerged tree top and wait for food to swim by.  Trolling a shallow running lure right over the tree tops is the best way to catch walleye. That technique will be working within the next two weeks if not sooner.
Catfish are nearing spawning now that the water temperature is in the 70s.  They are very active and easy to catch as prespawn fish. Just put a worm on the bottom in the back of a cove or bay.  Fish 10-20 feet deep and let the meandering catfish find your bait for fast action.
The detailed information above was written yesterday. Today I went fishing to test out my theories.  Here is what I found. Young stripers were slurping on the Warm Creek side of the Castle Rock Cut. They were flighty and not interested in my rattletrap so I went on.  Saw another slurp at the mouth of Labyrinth. No takers so I switched to a small silver spoon.
I then trolled a deep Thunderstick along the east wall in Padre Bay. Caught one healthy 3-pound striper, but no more. My next spot was just upstream from Buoy 25. I trolled for stripers without success so tried for bass with a 3-inch senko which smallmouth bass just loved. There are rock reefs near shore that drop off to 15-20 feet. At each drop off the senko was consumed shortly after hitting bottom by eager 1.5 pound smallmouth bass.  That was quick fishing but I had more lake to cover so I moved on.
Saw a fishing boat catching fish like crazy near Gregory Butte.  When asked they showed me the bait they were using.  Surprisingly, it was a 5 inch senko cut in half and fished on a leadhead jig.  Great minds think alike!  That stubby square plastic bait worked extremely well the rest of the trip.
I then went around Gregory Butte to the mouth of West Canyon.  On the second long point I tried trolling with no luck and then tossed the senko toward the edge of a reef. The smallmouth bass went crazy as the bait hit the bottom. On the east side of the mouth of West Canyon the lake is covering the long points and brush. I tried the senko with similar great success.  I caught two walleye in 10 feet of water near brushy cover.
Around the corner in the mouth of Dove Canyon another fishing boat was using bait and catching some really nice stripers near shore in 45 feet of water. I dropped my small spoon and caught one of their fish. Then I started working back to Wahweap.
In the middle of the West Canyon bay I saw another slurping striper school at mid day.  This time I caught a small striper on my small 1-inch spoon. In the Gregory Butte Bay (west side) I crossed another reef and tried the senko with similar success. Near the reef in 30 feet of water I graphed a school of fish which I assumed would be small stripers. The small spoon was deployed and I caught 2 fish – both of them BLUEGILL. These adult sunfish were working in open water eating plankton.  I saw another small fish school on the bottom and dropped my spoon down to catch a sunfish and caught a WALLEYE.  It was time to head in so I ignored all the great looking habitat and just came home.  Fishing success at Lake Powell is amazing!

senkocatchLake Powell Fish Report – June 6, 2017

Lake Elevation: 3622

Water Temperature: 73 -78 F

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

Stripers in Transition:

The lake is still filling rapidly but the bigger news now is that stripers are feeding on the surface. The ultimate goal of many freshwater anglers is to fish a striper boil.  We are not quite there yet but the big event is only a few weeks away. Right now we have the next best surface feeding event which I have named “slurps or slurping”. 

Shad are being hatched lakewide.  We are not able to tell the difference between threadfin and gizzard shad larvae until the tiny fish grow a bit. Right now baby shad are only 5-10 mm long. Healthy stripers have been subsisting by eating plankton.  Now they are very happy to let shad eat plankton while stripers turn to eating shad.  Striper consumption level is often between 50-100 microscopic shad per day.  It would be better for stripers to wait until shad were at least an inch long so they could get more nutrition from less fish, but they have no patience.  It is our job as anglers to watch for slurps, then attack the marauding stripers and catch as many as possible while letting the surviving shad run away. Your reward will be catching some of the smaller healthy stripers which are great table fare.

I must remind you that the slurping striper school is feeding shoulder-to-shoulder while moving through a shad school. When some stripers run out of shad they leave the feeding line and search for the next shad group. Those “lookers” are the fish to cast toward. A small surface lure, shallow running crank bait, or small Kastmaster spoon are favorite striper lures.  If the lure lands in the middle of the feeding line the whole group splashes away and none are caught. If that happens don’t be discouraged just wait for them to surface again a short distance away and make a better cast.   

senkohalfSlurps have been seen for two weeks between the San Juan and the Escalante. Last week Bullfrog erupted with many small slurps.  Wahweap is still waiting for topwater action. Slurps have been recently seen in Warm Creek near double islands, Labyrinth Canyon mouth, West Canyon, and mouth of Rock Creek.  Expect each day to provide more surface action as shad get bigger and more numerous and more stripers discover them on the surface.

Bait fishing is not over. Warming water tends to move larger stripers into deeper water. Shad are on the surface so adult stripers are still searching for bait. Expect to find them in the same locations that have been reported for the past month. 

Smallmouth bass are the next most likely fish to catch. Look for deep structure, like a long point that does not change much as the water comes up 5 feet. Bass can just move up the brushy point to their preferred feeding depth.  
Walleye are still being caught like crazy from Bullfrog to Good Hope.   Most of the tagged walleye are caught from Bullfrog to Good Hope (20) but two have come from Padre Bay on the south end of the lake. We are starting to see quite a bit of movement from Good Hope Bay fish as they move downstream. One reason for the walleye contest was to determine migration patterns by comparing tagging location to the capture point. There will be another bunch of tagged fish caught during June. With water warming and rising, expect to see walleye move from rocky flats into the submerged trees. Their favorite feeding technique is to park in a submerged tree top and wait for food to swim by.  Trolling a shallow running lure right over the tree tops is the best way to catch walleye. That technique will be working within the next two weeks if not sooner.

Catfish are nearing spawning now that the water temperature is in the 70s.  They are very active and easy to catch as prespawn fish. Just put a worm on the bottom in the back of a cove or bay.  Fish 10-20 feet deep and let the meandering catfish find your bait for fast action.   

The detailed information above was written yesterday. Today I went fishing to test out my theories.  Here is what I found: Young stripers were slurping on the Warm Creek side of the Castle Rock Cut. They were flighty and not interested in my rattletrap so I went on.  Saw another slurp at the mouth of Labyrinth. No takers so I switched to a small silver spoon. 

I then trolled a deep Thunderstick along the east wall in Padre Bay. Caught one healthy 3-pound striper, but no more. My next spot was just upstream from Buoy 25. I trolled for stripers without success so tried for bass with a 5-inch senko, cut in half and placed on a leadhead jig, which smallmouth bass just loved. There are rock reefs near shore that drop off to 15-20 feet. At each drop off the senko was consumed shortly after hitting bottom by eager 1.5 pound smallmouth bass.  That was quick fishing but I had more lake to cover so I moved on.  

Saw a fishing boat catching fish like crazy near Gregory Butte.  When asked they showed me the bait they were using. Surprisingly, it was a 5 inch senko cut in half and fished on a leadhead jig.  Great minds think alike!  That stubby square plastic bait worked extremely well the rest of the trip.

senkowaeI then went around Gregory Butte to the mouth of West Canyon.  On the second long point I tried trolling with no luck and then tossed the senko toward the edge of a reef. The smallmouth bass went crazy as the bait hit the bottom. On the east side of the mouth of West Canyon the lake is covering the long points and brush. I tried the senko with similar great success catching a number of bass.  I then caught two walleye in 10 feet of water near brushy cover. 

Around the corner in the mouth of Dove Canyon another fishing boat was using bait and catching some really nice stripers near shore in 45 feet of water. I dropped my small spoon and caught one of their fish. Then I started working back to Wahweap.  

In the middle of the West Canyon bay I saw another slurping striper school at mid day.  This time I caught a small striper on my small 1-inch spoon cast just beyond the slurping school.  In the Gregory Butte Bay (west side) I crossed another reef and tried the senko with similar success. Near the reef in 30 feet of water I graphed a school of fish which I assumed would be small stripers. The small spoon was deployed and I caught 2 fish – both of them BLUEGILL. These adult sunfish were working in open water eating plankton.  I saw another small fish school on the bottom and dropped my spoon down to catch a sunfish and caught a WALLEYE.

It was time to head in so I ignored all the great looking habitat and just came home.  Fishing success at Lake Powell is amazing!

 

Last Updated on Tuesday, 06 June 2017 17:05
 

May 31, 2017 - Fish are biting and spawning

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Lake Powell Fish Report – May 31, 2017
Lake Elevation: 3618
Water Temperature: 68-73 F
By: Wayne Gustaveson http://www.wayneswords.com
Lake Powell has risen 4 feet in the last week.  Expect the same for this week.  Inflow is over 80K acre feet with only 21K AF being released.  Retie your boat anchor lines each morning and then enjoy the day.  Rapidly rising water is flooding vegetation that has not been wet for a while. This new habitat attracts largemouth bass, bluegill and crappie like a magnet.
Water temperature is in the high 60s in the morning and mid 70s in the afternoon. Warmer water means spawning time for bluegill, carp, channel catfish and threadfin shad. Bluegill and catfish are very active during the spawn and easy to catch. Bluegill can be seen guarding nests and will respond to a chunk of worm on a very small hook. Attach a bobber about 6 feet above the bait so the subtle bite can be seen as the bobber wiggles. The size of bluegill is very impressive for a panfish and the fight is like a roller coaster ride. Give it a try.
Water clarity is decreasing lakewide as algae numbers increase making the water a lovely blue green color in the southern lake.  Sloughing banks make many mud lines that just float on the surface while giving walleye a pleasant place to hide as they wait for the next meal to swim by.  Walleye are ambush feeders that lie in wait for a tasty morsel to swim in view.  If that happens to be your night crawler towed behind a bottom bouncer, or a plastic jig with a chunk of worm attached, the chances are good the hungry walleye will bite the bait. The northern lake, from the San Juan to White Canyon is the walleye hotspot. There have been over 20 tagged walleye captured in the last two weeks.  Chris Crosby was the winner when he caught 2 tagged fish in one day in Good Hope Bay. He reports water clarity to be only a few inches upstream from Red Canyon, 2-3 feet in Ticaboo while Blue Notch had over 6 feet visibility. Good Hope Bay is fishable despite the high runoff.
Smallmouth bass fishing is amazing with active fish in rock structure lakewide. I took a break from striper fishing over the weekend and pulled into an isolated main channel rock slide in Last Chance Canyon.  My goal was to see how many bass I could catch in 10 casts using a 4 inch Senko lazily attached to a jighead.  The bait was cast to the rocks and then let sink 6 to 10 feet.  When the lure hit bottom it was tested gingerly to see if there was extra weight on the uplift.  If so the hook was set and fish reeled in. The count was 7 bass caught on 10 casts. That was better than expected but disappointing because fish number 8 got away. Oh well, next time!
Striper fishing is still as hot as the weather from Wahweap to Bullfrog. Stripers were kind enough to delight most of the anglers who went to down to the dam over the Holiday weekend. Anchovy bait was used effectively at the dam, Buoy 3, Antelope Canyon mouth and first point, Navajo Canyon first two points beyond the double islands, and Warm Creek Wall (intersection of Warm Creek and the main channel at Buoy 12). Further uplake stripers were caught on bait in Last Chance, Rock Creek, and the steep walls near Dangling Rope.  Stripers are still being caught on bait at Bullfrog, Moki Wall and mouth of Moki Canyon.  It will be possible to catch stripers on bait in most canyons on the lake for the next two weeks. However the end is in sight.
Stripers are waiting for shad to become available so they can revert back to what they do best, which is chasing shad relentlessly.  Shad have spawned and tiny fish are growing. Striper slurps have been reported in the channel from the mouth of the San Juan to the Escalante. Shad may be hidden by the cloudy water in the northern lake. If looking for surface action this week head downstream from Bullfrog or upstream from Rainbow Bridge. Shad like to spawn in the backs of canyons so the young shad and hungry stripers will most likely be seen first in the backs of major canyons lake wide.
Lake Powell has an amazing fishery which means that some fish will be available to catch at any time of the year. Right now there is a wide variety to choose from. The scenery is incredible and the fish are amazing.   I love this place!

Lake Powell Fish Report – May 31, 2017

Lake Elevation: 3618

Water Temperature: 68-73 F

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

bgcoolerrhLake Powell has risen 4 feet in the last week.  Expect the same for this week.  Inflow is over 80K acre feet with only 21K AF being released.  Retie your boat anchor lines each morning and then enjoy the day.  Rapidly rising water is flooding vegetation that has not been wet for a while. This new habitat attracts largemouth bass, bluegill and crappie like a magnet.  

Water temperature is in the high 60s in the morning and mid 70s in the afternoon. Warmer water means spawning time for bluegill, carp, channel catfish and threadfin shad. Bluegill and catfish are very active during the spawn and easy to catch. Bluegill can be seen guarding nests and will respond to a chunk of worm on a very small hook. Attach a bobber about 6 feet above the bait so the subtle bite can be seen as the bobber wiggles. The size of bluegill is very impressive for a panfish and the fight is like a roller coaster ride. Give it a try.

Water clarity is decreasing lakewide as algae numbers increase making the water a lovely blue green color in the southern lake.  Sloughing banks make many mud lines that just float on the surface while giving walleye a pleasant place to hide as they wait for the next meal to swim by.  Walleye are ambush feeders that lie in wait for a tasty morsel to swim in view.  If that happens to be your night crawler towed behind a bottom bouncer, or a plastic jig with a chunk of worm attached, the chances are good the hungry walleye will bite the bait. The northern lake, from the San Juan to White Canyon is the walleye hotspot. There have been over 20 tagged walleye captured in the last two weeks.  Chris Crosby was the winner when he caught 2 tagged fish in one day in Good Hope Bay. He reports water clarity to be only a few inches upstream from Red Canyon, 2-3 feet in Ticaboo while Blue Notch had over 6 feet visibility. Good Hope Bay is fishable despite the high runoff. 

Smallmouth bass fishing is amazing with active fish in rock structure lakewide. I took a break from striper fishing over the weekend and pulled into an isolated main channel rock slide in Last Chance Canyon.  My goal was to see how many bass I could catch in 10 casts using a 4 inch Senko lazily attached to a jighead.  The bait was cast to the rocks and then let sink 6 to 10 feet.  When the lure hit bottom it was tested gingerly to see if there was extra weight on the uplift.  If so the hook was set and fish reeled in. The count was 7 bass caught on 10 casts. That was better than expected but disappointing because fish number 8 got away. Oh well, next time!

Striper fishing is still as hot as the weather from Wahweap to Bullfrog. Stripers were kind enough to delight most of the anglers who went to down to the dam over the Holiday weekend. Anchovy bait was used effectively at the dam, Buoy 3, Antelope Canyon mouth and first point, Navajo Canyon first two points beyond the double islands, and Warm Creek Wall (intersection of Warm Creek and the main channel at Buoy 12). Further uplake stripers were caught on bait in Last Chance, Rock Creek, and the steep walls near Dangling Rope.  Stripers are still being caught on bait at Bullfrog, Moki Wall and mouth of Moki Canyon.  It will be possible to catch stripers on bait in most canyons on the lake for the next two weeks. However the end is in sight.

Stripers are waiting for shad to become available so they can revert back to what they do best, which is chasing shad relentlessly.  Shad have spawned and tiny fish are growing. Striper slurps have been reported in the channel from the mouth of the San Juan to the Escalante. Shad may be hidden by the cloudy water in the northern lake. If looking for surface action this week head downstream from Bullfrog or upstream from Rainbow Bridge. Shad like to spawn in the backs of canyons so the young shad and hungry stripers will most likely be seen first in the backs of major canyons lake wide. 

Lake Powell has a robust fishery which means that some fish will be available to catch, using the right techniques, at any time of the year. Right now there is a wide variety to choose from.

The scenery is incredible and the fish are amazing.   I love this place!

 

chriscrosby2tags_edited-1

Last Updated on Wednesday, 31 May 2017 16:18
 

May 23, 2017 - Memorial Day Report

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Lake Powell Fish Report – May 23, 2017
Lake Elevation: 3614
Water Temperature: 63-66 F
By: Wayne Gustaveson http://www.wayneswords.com
Lake Powell is rising rapidly. If coming over the Memorial Day weekend make sure to readjust tie lines at least once a day for boats tied to shore.  Don’t leave cars parked on low flat spots near the lake shore at Lone Rock or other camping areas where the lake could come up rapidly and cover the car while you are camping uplake.  Once the equipment is safe then you are free to enjoy the beauty and grandeur of Lake Powell.
Fishing will be great as the water temperature is still in the magical 64 degree zone. However, it will take a bit of investigation to find where fish are located.  Bass and other shoreline dwellers will not move on shore as quickly as the lake comes up. Newly covered brush in shallow water may not yet be occupied as it takes fish a while to move into the new habitat. Instead look for old habitat that is 10 feet or more deep to find fish congregations. One technique that works well in rising water is to find a recently submerged island, or long point.  Cast to the shallow part of the structure and then work the bait down deeper to find the fish holding depth. Once the depth is discovered the next cast should go to the same spot without taking time to work from shallow to deep water.  I predict that you will be more successful in catching larger fish by targeting 10-25 feet of water instead of casting in water that is less than 10 feet near shore.
Walleye may be the most likely fish to catch in these conditions, particularly in the northern lake. They prefer a flat bench near shore or a shallow ridge in open water. In either habitat, walleye will be near the edge of the drop off.  Use a bottom bouncer with a worm harness trolled slowly along the ridge at 1 mph.  Make sure the bouncer weight hits bottom often and can be felt so bottom contact is known.  Trolling ‘banana lures’, like Wally Divers, is very effective in the warming water conditions.  Troll across points where bottom contact is made and fish are caught as soon as the lure breaks free from bottom structure.
Here is a word of caution when using this shallow trolling technique where quagga mussels are found.  Transitioning from shallow to deep water allows the trolling line to hit bottom slightly before the lure. Mussel shells are sharp and can cut the line before the lure hits the rocks. If a floating lure is used in this circumstance, it is possible to return to the spot where the lure grounded out and find it floating on the surface. I used one floating lure last week and recovered it twice after the line was mussel cut, before losing it for good on the third try.
Bass are still in rocky structure (bigger is better when looking for rocky structure).  Drop a plastic grub on the shady side of a rock for consistent catching.  Brown, green, and chartreuse grubs in single or double tail are working. Finding fish holding habitat is more important than choosing the right color grub. In locations where many small bass are found it is wise to keep 20 of the smallmouth to allow the remaining bass in that cove to get bigger.
Largemouth will now be in shallow water in the thickest bush they can find. Also coves that have thick floating debris may have a nice green bass hiding under the shade of the flotsam.
Striped bass are near spawning which means the big healthy fish are nocturnal and can be caught at night.  The rest of the population is moving toward the backs of canyons looking for shad. However, shad are small in numbers and size.  Stripers are still eating plankton and crayfish.  They can be targeted by trolling shallow running lures along shore at a depth of 15-25 feet. Each time a striper is caught make sure to cast lures to the same spot to find followers.
Bait fishing for stripers is picking up dramatically in the Bullfrog area. Most of the canyons above and below Bullfrog Bay will have a school of stripers holding right at the intersection of the canyon and the main channel. Chum with anchovies to get the school started and then enjoy the action for the next hour.
In the southern lake bait fishing is still working but the daily catch has declined from incredible down to 15 to 20 per trip. The standard spots near the dam and Navajo Canyon are still producing but the tall walled canyons in Last Chance, Rock Creek, Wetherill are holding a lot of fish.  If you can find one of those hungry schools the catch rate will soar.
Bluegill are near spawning and surprisingly large fish are being caught.  Channel catfish are a two weeks away from spawning and will provide great catches in June.
Overall, the fishing should be great on the Holiday weekend.  Water is clear from Wahweap to Bullfrog but muddy upstream from Cedar Canyon in the main channel and above Neskahi Canyon in the San Juan.

Lake Powell Fish Report – May 23, 2017

Lake Elevation: 3614

Water Temperature: 63-66 F

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


Lake Powell is rising rapidly. If coming over the Memorial Day weekend make sure to readjust tie lines at least once a day for boats tied to shore.  Don’t leave cars parked on low flat spots near the lake shore at Lone Rock or other camping areas where the lake could come up rapidly and cover the car while you are camping uplake.  Once the equipment is safe then you are free to enjoy the beauty and grandeur of Lake Powell. 


682011groupFishing will be great as the water temperature is still in the magical 64 degree zone. However, it will take a bit of investigation to find where fish are located.  Bass and other shoreline dwellers will not move on shore as quickly as the lake comes up. Newly covered brush in shallow water may not yet be occupied as it takes fish a while to move into the new habitat. Instead look for old habitat that is 10 feet or more deep to find fish congregations. One technique that works well in rising water is to find a recently submerged island, or long point.  Cast to the shallow part of the structure and then work the bait down deeper to find the fish holding depth. Once the depth is discovered the next cast should go to the same spot without taking time to work from shallow to deep water.  I predict that you will be more successful in catching larger fish by targeting 10-25 feet of water instead of casting in water that is less than 10 feet near shore.

  
Walleye may be the most likely fish to catch in these conditions, particularly in the northern lake. They prefer a flat bench near shore or a shallow ridge in open water. In either habitat, walleye will be near the edge of the drop off.  Use a bottom bouncer with a worm harness trolled slowly along the ridge at 1 mph.  Make sure the bouncer weight hits bottom often and can be felt so bottom contact is known.  Trolling ‘banana lures’, like Wally Divers, is very effective in the warming water conditions.  Troll across points where bottom contact is made and fish are caught as soon as the lure breaks free from bottom structure. 


walleyelurewormHere is a word of caution when using this shallow trolling technique where quagga mussels are found.  Transitioning from shallow to deep water allows the trolling line to hit bottom slightly before the lure. Mussel shells are sharp and can cut the line before the lure hits the rocks. If a floating lure is used in this circumstance, it is possible to return to the spot where the lure grounded out and find it floating on the surface. I used one floating lure last week and recovered it twice after the line was mussel cut, before losing it for good on the third try.  


Bass are still in rocky structure (bigger is better when looking for rocky structure).  Drop a plastic grub on the shady side of a rock for consistent catching.  Brown, green, and chartreuse grubs in single or double tail are working. Finding fish holding habitat is more important than choosing the right color grub. In locations where many small bass are found it is wise to keep 20 of the smallmouth to allow the remaining bass in that cove to get bigger.


Largemouth will now be in shallow water in the thickest bush they can find. Also coves that have thick floating debris may have a nice green bass hiding under the shade of the flotsam. 


stevedoepke15Striped bass are near spawning which means the big healthy fish are nocturnal and can be caught at night.  The rest of the population is moving toward the backs of canyons looking for shad. However, shad are small in numbers and size.  Stripers are still eating plankton and crayfish.  They can be targeted by trolling shallow running lures along shore at a depth of 15-25 feet. Each time a striper is caught make sure to cast lures to the same spot to find followers.


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

    
In the southern lake bait fishing is still working but the daily catch has declined from incredible down to 15 to 20 per trip. The standard spots near the dam and Navajo Canyon are still producing but the tall walled canyons in Last Chance, Rock Creek, Wetherill are holding a lot of fish.  If you can find one of those hungry schools the catch rate will soar. 
Bluegill are near spawning and surprisingly large fish are being caught.  Channel catfish are a two weeks away from spawning and will provide great catches in June.

 
Overall, the fishing should be great on the Holiday weekend.  Water is clear from Wahweap to Bullfrog but muddy upstream from Cedar Canyon in the main channel and above Neskahi Canyon in the San Juan.

Last Updated on Monday, 22 May 2017 10:08
 

May 16, 2017 - Best water temperature of the year.

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Lake Powell Fish Report – May 16, 2017
Lake Elevation: 3610
Water Temperature: 63-66 F
By: Wayne Gustaveson http://www.wayneswords.com
Surface water temperature today and for most of the week was 64 degrees.  End of report!
For those that need a bit more information here are the details:
Striped Bass adults prefer a temperature of 64 degrees. At this comfort level, trophy size fish, adults, and juveniles have free reign and can travel in any direction, any depth and feed anywhere. Trophy fish cannot handle warmer water and must stay in the 64 degree range.  Adult fish are found close to the warm surface layer now and can be found by shallow trolling and casting. Young stripers are near the surface and are eating plankton until they find young shad. They are also susceptible to trolling and casting.
Large and smallmouth bass spawn when water temperature is from 60-66. Male bass guard nests and are often seen in shallow water.    Females feed ravenously now as they are very active and excited about spawning.  Bass are in shallow water and very catchable on open water reefs and along the rocky shoreline.  This activity level, along with desire to feed more in warmer water, makes bass very active and easier to catch.
Crappie are nearing the end of their spawning season. Feeding has become the higher priority.  Crappie are still very active and quite catchable.
Walleye have completed spawning but are reacting to warming by feeding at a higher level.  They are known to feed early and late but this temperature range has them feeding extremely well at mid day (10 am - 2 pm).  Walleye are very active and will continue to increase in activity as water temperature increases into the low 70s. They will do even better as the water continues to warm.
Bluegill and green sunfish increase their feeding behavior as water warms to 65-70.  It takes only a few more degrees before spawning occurs.  Bluegill activity level has increased dramatically.  Fish size has also increased recently (perhaps due to mussels in their diet?) as many larger size bluegill have been seen recently.  Larger bluegill feeding voraciously makes a whole new sport fishery possible in Lake Powell.  Big fish are now available in large schools in 12-25 feet of 64 degree water.
Even channel catfish are responding to the warming water. They spawn as the water warms into the 70s. That is a ways off but their feeding level has increased.  Catfish are now easier to catch.
In summary, the very best water temperature for spawning, feeding and activity is now available to all sport fish in the lake. This is the best time to fish in the springtime.
Therefore, it is not surprising that our fishing trip today was awesome. We motored uplake to Face Canyon and then tried trolling and casting for bass and stripers.  Our trolling lures were rattletraps, (Lucky Craft LV’s), mid depth crankbaits (Lucky Craft pointer SPs, Bevy Shad).  We trolled close to shore targeting rocky reefs and points where depth quickly fell from 10-15 down to 30-40 feet.  Trolling was very successful as we seldom went more than 5 minutes without catching a striper or smallmouth bass. Each time we hooked a fish trolling the other angler would reel in fast and then cast to the shallow shoreline to get another hookup. When we had worked over a productive shoreline and failed to get another hook up we moved on.  We found great success using this technique and moving from Face Canyon, to Buoy 25 coves and shoreline, Gregory Butte coves, mouth of West Canyon and Dove Canyon, and finally Dungeon Canyon.
Our catch included 30 stripers, 25 large and smallmouth bass, and 2 large bluegill (caught trolling).  The weather was agreeable with a mild day in between windy events, pleasant air temperature, and great satisfaction while catching many fish with short stays in many places.  Spring fishing is now at its peak. If you want to catch fish now is a good time to come to the lake.

lmbdungLake Powell Fish Report – May 16, 2017

Lake Elevation: 3610

Water Temperature: 63-66 F

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


Surface water temperature today and for most of the week was 64 degrees.  End of report!

For those that need a bit more information here are the details:

Striped Bass adults prefer a temperature of 64 degrees. At this comfort level, trophy size fish, adults, and juveniles have free reign and can travel in any direction, any depth and feed anywhere. Trophy fish cannot handle warmer water and must stay in the 64 degree range.  Adult fish are found close to the warm surface layer now and can be found by shallow trolling and casting. Young stripers are near the surface and are eating plankton until they find young shad. They are also susceptible to trolling and casting.

Large and smallmouth bass spawn when water temperature is from 60-66. Male bass guard nests and are often seen in shallow water.    Females feed ravenously now as they are very active and excited about spawning.  Bass are in shallow water and very catchable on open water reefs and along the rocky shoreline.  This activity level, along with desire to feed more in warmer water, makes bass very active and easier to catch. 

Crappie are nearing the end of their spawning season. Feeding has become the higher priority. Crappie are still very active and quite catchable.

Walleye have completed spawning but are reacting to warming by feeding at a higher level.  They are known to feed early and late but this temperature range has them feeding extremely well at mid day (10 am - 2 pm).  Walleye are very active and will continue to increase in activity as water temperature increases into the low 70s. They will do even better as the water continues to warm. 

Bluegill and green sunfish increase their feeding behavior as water warms to 65-70.  It takes only a few more degrees before spawning occurs.  Bluegill activity level has increased dramatically.  Fish size has also increased recently (perhaps due to mussels in their diet?) as many larger size bluegill have been seen recently.  Larger bluegill feeding voraciously makes a whole new sport fishery possible in Lake Powell.  Big fish are now available in large schools in 12-25 feet of 64 degree water.

Even channel catfish are responding to the warming water. They spawn as the water warms into the 70s. That is a ways off but their feeding level has increased.  Catfish are now easier to catch.


In summary, the very best water temperature for spawning, feeding and activity is now available to all sport fish in the lake. This is the best time to fish in the springtime.

smbdungTherefore, it is not surprising that our fishing trip today was awesome. We motored uplake to Face Canyon and then tried trolling and casting for bass and stripers.  Our trolling lures were rattletraps, (Lucky Craft LV’s), mid depth crankbaits (Lucky Craft pointer SPs, Bevy Shad).  We trolled close to shore targeting rocky reefs and points where depth quickly fell from 10-15 down to 30-40 feet.  Trolling was very successful as we seldom went more than 5 minutes without catching a striper or smallmouth bass. Each time we hooked a fish trolling the other angler would reel in fast and then cast to the shallow shoreline to get another hookup. When we had worked over a productive shoreline and failed to get another hook up we moved on.  We found great success using this technique and moving from Face Canyon, to Buoy 25 coves and shoreline, Gregory Butte coves, mouth of West Canyon and Dove Canyon, and finally Dungeon Canyon.

Our catch included 30 stripers, 25 large and smallmouth bass, and 2 large bluegill (caught trolling).  The weather was agreeable with a mild day in between windy events, pleasant air temperature, and great satisfaction while catching many fish with short stays in many places.  Spring fishing is now at its peak. If you want to catch fish now is a good time to come to the lake.

 

 

bgdung

cooldung

Last Updated on Tuesday, 16 May 2017 17:16
 

May 9, 2017 - Walleye and Big Stripers

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danmiller-1Lake Powell Fish Report – May 9, 2017

Lake Elevation:  3606

Water Temperature:  62-67 F

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

 

Trophy Striper Caught at Bullfrog

Dan Miller from Paonia CO caught a 29-pound striped bass near Bullfrog on May 6th.  The big fish was caught on a 4 inch Berkeley Smelt.  May is the best month to catch a trophy stripers at Lake Powell.

Bass have moved back on to the spawning beds after the cold spell that slowed things down last week..  Nests can now be seen from Bullfrog to Wahweap where visibility is still between 5-10 feet. There is no chance of sight fishing in the northern lake where visibility is 3 feet or less.

Sight fishing is unique in that nests can be seen with a male bass often hovering over the light colored circular rock depression. Usually the boat is too close to the nest when discovered to actually catch the guarding fish, but it is possible to return to the site at a later date, throw a long cast and catch the male guardian.  Larger females are usually in close proximity and can be caught by fishing the deeper water next to the nest location.  Yamamoto 5 inch senkos are working well now for nesting bass while other smallmouth can be caught on plastic grubs.  The green, watermelon and green pumpkin colors are all working well.

Walleye fishing is HOT!  There were at least 4 tagged walleye caught over the weekend which is more than were caught in 2016. The walleye contest did not start until July last year making it tough to catch large numbers of walleye, but that has now changed.  May is definitely the best walleye fishing month at Lake Powell with the water temperature in the 60s and low 70s.

billschaeferHere is a report from Jason Johnston received today: “Fished Saturday and Sunday from 7am-3pm both days. Ended up with 80 walleyes, 11 stripers and 1 smalley. Launched out of Halls and didn't go far. All fish were caught on crawler harnesses with 2-3oz bouncers in 15-45 fow. Speed was 1.2mph and orange beads with silver or gold blades produced most. “

                                                                       Bill Schaefer with his tagged walleye  

Walleye on very active now and can be caught all day long.  They are abundant from the Escalante to the Colorado River inflow. Most of the tagged fish are near Bullfrog and Good Hope Bay.  The best technique is to use a live worm or artificial bait, like Berkeley Gulp Minnows and Smelt. Maintain bottom contact while slowly moving the bait along a flat bench in the 10-30 foot range.

When filleting the walleye don’t forget to take the cheek meat for a special dinner surprise. 

Striped bass fishing is slowing down in the well know areas like the dam.  Its time to expand your range while chasing stripers to canyon walls further uplake.  There are many untouched bait fishing spots in most canyons, including Warm Creek Wall, Labyrinth Wall, Padre Canyon, Last Chance and Rock Creek. Look for the high cliff walls near the back of the canyon for best results. Just chum an area and fish for a short time to find fish.  If no fish are caught, then move to the next likely spot.

The mature stripers are preparing to spawn. They respond to rapid warming and spawn at night.  That makes them good angling targets at dusk and dawn but not easy to catch  during the day.

This is the peak of the spring fishing season with fish willing to respond to your favorite techniques.  Great results are expected through the rest of May.

 

May 1, 2017 - Walleye Season Begins

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Lake Powell Fish Report – May 1, 2017
Lake Elevation: 3604
Water Temperature: 57-62 F
By: Wayne Gustaveson http://www.wayneswords.com
Our walleye tagging trip was challenged by cool windy weather. The water in lower Good Hope Bay was murky but fishable.  The visibility was about 3 feet which is fine for walleye but may inhibit bass and stripers from finding our baits.  Bass catch was slow, with stripers uncommon as we used bottom bouncing techniques to target walleye that are abundant in the northern lake.  Water temperature ranged from 57-62 during the day which proved to be a bit cool for these walleye.
The best walleye trips last year were at the water temperature range from 65-80 degrees.  However, we had a large group of anglers and managed to tag almost 200 walleye from Seven Mile Canyon to Red Canyon. Now that our tagging trip is done the water temperature is going to climb into the 60s which will turn on the walleye lakewide.  May is the magic month and the best time to catch a tagged fish from Wahweap to Good Hope Bay.  Here are some helpful hints.
Walleye were found most often on flat benches that averaged 20-25 feet deep. Sometimes there was a bench or flat extending from a steep cliff wall. Trolling close to the wall and over the bench will put the night crawler right along the ledge where fish are holding.  Other productive habitats included an open water ridge where the shallow peak was near 20-25 feet.  Surrounding water was much deeper often falling to 70-100 feet.  Walleye liked to park on top of the ridge and wait for food. Trolling a bottom bouncer along the ridge top was very effective. The most common technique was to just fish near shore where the underwater ledges were near 20 feet.  The lakewide message is to know the depth and fish on flat surfaces near the 20 foot mark.
The best technique during our trip was to make bottom contact with a bottom bouncer rig that weighed 1-3 ounces. Heavy rigs worked on the cliff wall bench where the weight would make a distinct thump as it contacted bottom. Each time the weight came off the bottom it would make another distinct jolt with bottom contact. This worked when fishing almost straight down (jigging) on a shallow small bench where the rig would not be as effective on the deep water side of the bench.
Lighter bottom bouncer rigs could be slow trolled over large shallow flats where the night crawler was displayed over a large flat area until contact was made with a hungry walleye. Whole night crawlers impaled on a 2 or 3 hook harness seemed to be the most successful presentation in colder water.  That may change as the water warms and walleye get more aggressive.
Other techniques that will work better in the coming warm days include trolling a walleye lure (Banana shaped crankbaits) over rocky main channel points that are 12-20 feet deep. Target the 12 foot depth so the lure hits bottom on the top of the point and then swims into open water where a waiting walleye often bites. When a walleye is caught, retrace your steps and then troll over the ridge again or cast worm harnesses or a bass grub adorned with a piece of worm to catch more fish.  Walleye tend to live in groups.  Catching one fish by any method is a sign to return to the capture site and work that area extensively to catch more fish in their gathering spot.
You must register for the contest at  http://j.mp/lp-contest before qualifying for a prize by capturing a tagged fish. When a tagged fish is caught send a picture of the tagged fish, the tag number and a fish report to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it I will then award you with a prize for catching a tagged fish.  We appreciate your efforts in helping us learn more about walleye population numbers, travel patterns and habits in Lake Powell.
Bass, stripers, bluegill and crappie have not changed their habits much from the April Fish Reports due to the cold windy weather recently experienced.  Stripers are still being caught on bait in the main channel. Locations remain the same in the southern lake and Moki wall close to the mouth of Moki Canyon is added to the hotspot list at midlake.
Healthy stripers will start looking for a spawning sites and switch over to their nocturnal spawning habits.  Expect stripers to be super aggressive before dawn and lethargic during the day.  This is the time for fly anglers to fish sinking lines and clouser minnows to catch large female stripers in deep water.
Bass have pulled off their nest sites in the cooler water but they will now return to spawn again as the water warms this week. Crappie will follow their lead. I did see annual weeds going under rising lake water on the last trip which means bass and crappie hatched in the next two weeks will have some cover to help them survive.
It is time to go fishing. Each species is reacting positively to the warming water and will be vulnerable to angling techniques in the days ahead.

Lake Powell Fish Report – May 1, 2017

Lake Elevation: 3604

Water Temperature: 57-62 F

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

ericpetersonOur walleye tagging trip was challenged by cool windy weather. The water in lower Good Hope Bay was murky but fishable.  The visibility was about 3 feet which is fine for walleye but may inhibit bass and stripers from finding our baits.  Bass catch was slow, with stripers uncommon as we used bottom bouncing techniques to target walleye that are abundant in the northern lake.  Water temperature ranged from 57-62 during the day which proved to be a bit cool for these walleye.  

The best walleye trips last year were at the water temperature range from 65-80 degrees.  However, we had a large group of anglers and managed to tag almost 200 walleye from Seven Mile Canyon to Red Canyon. Now that our tagging trip is done the water temperature is going to climb into the 60s which will turn on the walleye lakewide.  May is the magic month and the best time to catch a tagged fish from Wahweap to Good Hope Bay.  Here are some helpful hints.
Walleye were found most often on flat benches that averaged 20-25 feet deep. Sometimes there was a bench or flat extending from a steep cliff wall. Trolling close to the wall and over the bench will put the night crawler right along the ledge where fish are holding.  Other productive habitats included an open water ridge where the shallow peak was near 20-25 feet.  Surrounding water was much deeper often falling to 70-100 feet.  Walleye liked to park on top of the ridge and wait for food. Trolling a bottom bouncer along the ridge top was very effective. The most common technique was to just fish near shore where the underwater ledges were near 20 feet.  The lakewide message is to know the depth and fish on flat surfaces near the 20 foot mark. 

bbouncerThe best technique during our trip was to make bottom contact with a bottom bouncer rig that weighed 1-3 ounces. Heavy rigs worked on the cliff wall bench where the weight would make a distinct thump as it contacted bottom. Each time the weight came off the bottom it would make another distinct jolt with bottom contact. This worked when fishing almost straight down (jigging) on a shallow small bench where the rig would not be as effective on the deep water side of the bench.  

Lighter bottom bouncer rigs could be slow trolled over large shallow flats where the night crawler was displayed over a large flat area until contact was made with a hungry walleye. Whole night crawlers impaled on a 2 or 3 hook harness seemed to be the most successful presentation in colder water.  That may change as the water warms and walleye get more aggressive. 

Other techniques that will work better in the coming warm days include trolling a walleye lure (Banana shaped crankbaits) over rocky main channel points that are 12-20 feet deep. Target the 12 foot depth so the lure hits bottom on the top of the point and then swims into open water where a waiting walleye often bites. When a walleye is caught, retrace your steps and then troll over the ridge again or cast worm harnesses or a bass grub adorned with a piece of worm to catch more fish.  Walleye tend to live in groups.  Catching one fish by any method is a sign to return to the capture site and work that area extensively to catch more fish in their gathering spot.

 You must register for the contest at  http://j.mp/lp-contest  before qualifying for a prize by capturing a tagged fish. When a tagged fish is caught send a picture of the tagged fish, the tag number and a fish report to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it   I will then award you with a prize for catching a tagged fish.  We appreciate your efforts in helping us learn more about walleye population numbers, travel patterns and habits in Lake Powell. 

Bass, stripers, bluegill and crappie have not changed their habits much from the April Fish Reports due to the cold windy weather recently experienced.  Stripers are still being caught on bait in the main channel. Locations remain the same in the southern lake and Moki wall close to the mouth of Moki Canyon is added to the hotspot list at midlake. 
Healthy stripers will start looking for a spawning sites and switch over to their nocturnal spawning habits.  Expect stripers to be super aggressive before dawn and lethargic during the day.  

This is the time for fly anglers to fish sinking lines and clouser minnows to catch large female stripers in deep water.

Bass have pulled off their nest sites in the cooler water but they will now return to spawn again as the water warms this week. Crappie will follow their lead. I did see annual weeds going under rising lake water on the last trip which means bass and crappie hatched in the next two weeks will have some cover to help them survive. 

It is time to go fishing. Each species is reacting positively to the warming water and will be vulnerable to angling techniques in the days ahead.

 

April 19, 2017 - Bass spawning; Stripers Watching

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Lake Powell Fish Report – April 19, 2017
Lake Elevation: 3600
Water Temperature: 59-64F
By: Wayne Gustaveson http://www.wayneswords.com
Water temperatures are now up into the spawning zone. Largemouth bass, smallmouth bass and crappie are on beds now. This is the first spawn and we can expect the nest guardians to spawn perhaps 2-3 more times before mid May.  Inflow continues to increase the lake level which is now officially above 3600 MSL.  Expect 40 more feet of elevation increase. Make sure to check the boat tie lines each morning if camping on the lake.  Weather is clear with no rain expected for two weeks but there will be some wind in the evenings and overnight.
Now for the angling roundup:  Fishing is pretty darn good!
Stripers are on fire at the dam and many other locations in the southern lake. Most anglers coming into the Wahweap Fish Cleaning station have 20 and sometimes many more fish to clean. Anglers are spreading out along the canyon walls and finding many new “striper honey holes”.  Most of the recent reports are coming from Buoy 3 (south wall where the lake turns left just before Antelope Canyon); Power Plant Intake (look for chain link fence on top of the south cliff wall just beyond Antelope Point Marina); Buoy 9 on south wall; East wall before arriving at Navajo Canyon.
My guess is that you can find stripers all along the main channel by searching for rocky outcroppings that offer shallower substrate than the steep perpendicular cliff walls. Just chum the chosen spot with anchovies followed by bait on hooks to excite the school.  If nothing happens within 15 minutes just move to the next likely spot on the canyon wall.
If bait fishing is not your choice then head uplake to the southern shore canyons between Labyrinth and West Canyon.  We have found willing stripers suspended in each canyon and willing to hit trolled and cast Rattletraps, Lucky Craft Pointers, Flicker Shad and other small jerk baits.  These fish are suspended and very easy to see on the graph.  Virtually all of the fish graphed today were stripers.  The difficult part is that these fish are holding in their current locations and feeding on plankton while waiting for shad to spawn. They will swim up to taste a shallow running lure but will miss a couple of times before hooking up. We caught our normal 30 fish this morning using this trolling technique.
Here is the best news flash:  Buoy 25 is loaded with fish that are just waiting for someone to bring some bait.   We caught them trolling regularly but we could see hundreds of stripers swimming in shallow water looking right back at us.  The water is crystal clear and the visual experience is awesome. These fish are located in the Mile Marker 25 Cove and not along the steep wall closer to Face Canyon. Look for the longest cove on the south wall for best fishing success.
Those seeking bass and crappie are still finding great success.  The techniques are the same as reported last week (See report for April 11, 2017 on Wayneswords.com).  Look for shallow rocky structure where green water clarity is 5-10 feet.  Green water is better than crystal clear or muddy brown. Find the good spots by going toward the back of the canyon and watching the structure and water clarity.  Bass grubs, senkos, dropshot shad-shaped worms, chatter baits, spinner baits are all working. We started catching smallmouth bass today on our trolled lures while fishing for stripers.  Bass are getting much more aggressive and reacting much earlier in the day with water temperature hitting 60 by about 9 AM.
Next week we are going to be working between Bullfrog and Good Hope Bay. We will tag another 500 walleye for the 2017 Walleye Contest. The best time to catch these fish will be during the month of May. The contest started last year on July 1st which is past the best walleye fishing period.  Expect the numbers of tagged walleye that are recaptured to soar in May. The best spot will be between Bullfrog and Good Hope Bay. It might be a worth a May fishing trip to catch many different species at Lake Powell and maybe even win a prize for catching a tagged walleye.
I am very excited about the potential fishing success over the next six weeks.  I recommend you take advantage of this opportunity to enjoy great fishing success and the beauty of Lake Powell.

Lake Powell Fish Report – April 19, 2017

Lake Elevation: 3600

Water Temperature: 59-64F

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

bassonbedWater temperatures are now up into the spawning zone. Largemouth bass, smallmouth bass and crappie are on beds now. This is the first spawn and we can expect the nest guardians to spawn perhaps 2-3 more times before mid May.  Inflow continues to increase the lake level which is now officially above 3600 MSL.  Expect 40 more feet of elevation increase. Make sure to check the boat tie lines each morning if camping on the lake.  Weather is clear with no rain expected for two weeks but there will be some wind in the evenings and overnight.      

Now for the angling roundup:  Fishing is pretty darn good! 

Stripers are on fire at the dam and many other locations in the southern lake. Most anglers coming into the Wahweap Fish Cleaning station have 20 and sometimes many more fish to clean. Anglers are spreading out along the canyon walls and finding many new “striper honey holes”.  Most of the recent reports are coming from Buoy 3 (south wall where the lake turns left just before Antelope Canyon); Power Plant Intake (look for chain link fence on top of the south cliff wall just beyond Antelope Point Marina); Buoy 9 on south wall; East wall before arriving at Navajo Canyon.

My guess is that you can find stripers all along the main channel by searching for rocky outcroppings that offer shallower substrate than the steep perpendicular cliff walls. Just chum the chosen spot with anchovies followed by bait on hooks to excite the school.  If nothing happens within 15 minutes just move to the next likely spot on the canyon wall. 

doepkestbIf bait fishing is not your choice then head uplake to the southern shore canyons between Labyrinth and West Canyon.  We have found willing stripers suspended in each canyon and willing to hit trolled and cast Rattletraps, Lucky Craft Pointers, Flicker Shad and other small jerk baits.  These fish are suspended and very easy to see on the graph.  Virtually all of the fish graphed today were stripers.  The difficult part is that these fish are holding in their current locations and feeding on plankton while waiting for shad to spawn. They will swim up to taste a shallow running lure but will miss a couple of times before hooking up. We caught our normal 30 fish this morning using this trolling technique.

Here is the best news flash:  Buoy 25 is loaded with fish that are just waiting for someone to bring some bait.   We caught them trolling regularly but we could see hundreds of stripers swimming in shallow water looking right back at us.  The water is crystal clear and the visual experience is awesome. These fish are located in the Mile Marker 25 Cove and not along the steep wall closer to Face Canyon. Look for the longest cove on the south wall for best fishing success.

Those seeking bass and crappie are still finding great success.  The techniques are the same as reported last week (See report for April 11, 2017 ).  Look for shallow rocky structure where green water clarity is 5-10 feet.  Green water is better than crystal clear or muddy brown. Find the good spots by going toward the back of the canyon and watching the structure and water clarity.  Bass grubs, senkos, dropshot shad-shaped worms, chatter baits, spinner baits are all working. We started catching smallmouth bass today on our trolled lures while fishing for stripers.  Bass are getting much more aggressive and reacting much earlier in the day with water temperature hitting 60 by about 9 AM.

stevestevewaeNext week we are going to be working between Bullfrog and Good Hope Bay. We will tag another 500 walleye for the 2017 Walleye Contest. The best time to catch these fish will be during the month of May. The contest started last year on July 1st which is past the best walleye fishing period.  Expect the numbers of tagged walleye that are recaptured to soar in May. The best spot will be between Bullfrog and Good Hope Bay. It might be a worth a May fishing trip to catch many different species at Lake Powell and maybe even win a prize for catching a tagged walleye.  

I am very excited about the potential fishing success over the next six weeks.  I recommend you take advantage of this opportunity to enjoy great fishing success and the beauty of Lake Powell.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 19 April 2017 14:33
 
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