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October 17, 2018 - Temp Drops- Fishing improves

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Lake Powell Fish Report – October 17, 2018
Lake Elevation:  3591.64
Water temperature:  66-69 F
By: Wayne Gustaveson   http://www.wayneswords.com or Wayneswords.net
For one more week the lake level remains at 3591 MSL.  It is a couple inches lower today but that is so much better than losing a foot or two each week. Lake level has only declined 6 inches during October thanks to the welcome rain.
Smallmouth bass provide the best fishing with lots of action along the rocky shoreline from the dam all the way to the inflowing rivers.  Rocks are the prime habitat used by bass as they search for crayfish in cracks and crevices. Sometimes bass will be holding on the tops of shelves from 5-15 feet or off the sides of shelves at 17-22 feet.   If you want larger bass, then fish deeper structure. Smaller fish are really dependable to catch in shallower water and that is a good place for new anglers or small kids to start fishing.
Try weightless wacky-rigged senkos early in the day and then switch to drop-shot rigs with shad shaped worms in deeper water midday to keep the catch going all day long.  Double and single tailed plastic grubs work dependably as well.
Striped bass in the southern lake have moved toward the backs of the canyons.  Schools that were holding along the main channel walls are now closer to the backs of major canyons where they spend the winter.  It seems stripers are following shad that are also moving toward the backs of canyons as the water temperature declines.
The most recent angler reports suggest that striper schools have been found recently in 80-100 feet of water in major canyons: Last Chance, Rock Creek, Navajo and Oak.  Graph towards the back of the canyon looking for large schools holding on the bottom. Stop over the school and drop spoons to the bottom.  Some of the stripers will react to spoons, but the lack of shad in the southern lake makes spooning slower than normal. The way to fill the fish cooler is to chum the school and then drop bait to the bottom.  The school will respond aggressively to bait and they will follow hooked fish toward the surface.  The school that was seen at 80 feet will soon be right under the boat as more fish are caught and brought to the surface.
The northern lake has more shad and striper schools react differently.   Striper schools will likely be shallower as they search for shad.   The holding depth is usually 20-40 feet.  Some schools will still be holding along the main channel walls where trolling deep divers and casting will work after a striper is caught trolling. Other schools will be moving toward the backs of canyons where shallow trolling and casting will be the best method for finding active stripers. It is possible to find an active striper boil in the early morning or late evening from Bullfrog to Good Hope.
Walleye, bluegill, green sunfish and catfish are still active in the 60 F water.
They all really like night crawlers and can be caught by tipping a bass grub, jigging spoon, or your favorite lure with a piece of worm.  Sometimes that little piece of worm makes all the difference in catching fish on a day when fishing is slow.

Lake Powell Fish Report – October 17, 2018

Lake Elevation:  3591.64

Water temperature:  66-69 F

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


For one more week the lake level remains at 3591 MSL.  It is a couple inches lower today but that is so much better than losing a foot or two each week. Lake level has only declined 6 inches during October thanks to the welcome rain.

Smallmouth bass provide the best fishing with lots of action along the rocky shoreline from the dam all the way to the inflowing rivers.  Rocks are the prime habitat used by bass as they search for crayfish in cracks and crevices. Sometimes bass will be holding on the tops of shelves from 5-15 feet or off the sides of shelves at 17-22 feet.   If you want larger bass, then fish deeper structure. Smaller fish are really dependable to catch in shallower water and that is a good place for new anglers or small kids to start fishing. 

Try weightless wacky-rigged senkos early in the day and then switch to drop-shot rigs with shad shaped worms in deeper water midday to keep the catch going all day long.  Double and single tailed plastic grubs work dependably as well. 

Striped bass in the southern lake have moved toward the backs of the canyons.  Schools that were holding along the main channel walls are now closer to the backs of major canyons where they spend the winter.  It seems stripers are following shad that are also moving toward the backs of canyons as the water temperature declines.

The most recent angler reports suggest that striper schools have been found recently in 80-100 feet of water in major canyons: Last Chance, Rock Creek, Navajo and Oak.  Graph towards the back of the canyon looking for large schools holding on the bottom. Stop over the school and drop spoons to the bottom.  Some of the stripers will react to spoons, but the lack of shad in the southern lake makes spooning slower than normal. The way to fill the fish cooler is to chum the school and then drop bait to the bottom.  The school will respond aggressively to bait and they will follow hooked fish toward the surface.  The school that was seen at 80 feet will soon be right under the boat as more fish are caught and brought to the surface. 

The northern lake has more shad and striper schools react differently.   Striper schools will likely be shallower as they search for shad.   The holding depth is usually 20-40 feet.  Some schools will still be holding along the main channel walls where trolling deep divers and casting will work after a striper is caught trolling. Other schools will be moving toward the backs of canyons where shallow trolling and casting will be the best method for finding active stripers. It is possible to find an active striper boil in the early morning or late evening from Bullfrog to Good Hope. 

Walleye, bluegill, green sunfish and catfish are still active in the 60 F water. They all really like night crawlers and can be caught by tipping a bass grub, jigging spoon, or your favorite lure with a piece of worm.  Sometimes that little piece of worm makes all the difference in catching fish on a day when fishing is slow.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 17 October 2018 10:10
 

October 10, 2018 - Barometric Decline

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Lake Powell Fish Report – October 10, 2018

Lake Elevation:  3591.80

Water temperature:  70-74 F

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

 

Sporadic rain continues to fall over Lake Powell.  The welcome moisture has maintained the lake level at essentially the same as it was last week. Today inflow from the Colorado River is greater than outflow from Glen Canyon Dam.  Two more rainy days are forecast in the next 10 days with average air temperature in the mid 60s and evenings in the mid 40s.

There is one downside to the recent stormy weather. The drop in barometric pressure has caused a drop in fishing success.  Anglers who were catching fish every cast a week ago are now struggling to find and catch fish. The good news is that the storms are clearing, pressure is rising and fishing success will perk up again.

The secret to finding fish now – Particularly striped bass - is to go out early in the morning. In the southern lake, stripers are being caught quickly on spoons from first light to 8 AM.  After the sun gets higher and boat traffic picks up stripers are hard to find.  Mid-day they can be found with anchovy bait used in the commonly reported spots reported here. If one favorite spot does not produce, then move to another to see where the schools are now.  It should only take moving to 3 or 4 good bait fishing spots to locate an active school.

Striper schools are suspending and feeding on shad schools half way back in major canyons. They are not easy to see on the graph since they are high in the water column while the graph is focused on the bottom in 50-100 feet of water. The most consistent way to locate suspended stripers is to start near the back of a major canyon and troll out towards the mouth of the canyon. It is best to use a deep diving lure, such as a Norman Little N or Deep Little N in Lavender shad color. Troll until a striper is caught, then fish with spoons and cast crankbaits to catch more fish following the hooked school mate. This technique should work lakewide.

Smallmouth bass fishing remains steady. There has been a recent decline in total numbers caught with the same reaction to falling barometric pressure, but smallmouth are caught throughout the day.  Smallmouth are holding in relative deeper water – not in the backs of canyons. Look for visible open water reefs surrounded by deep water.  They were also found on deep cliff walls, in the shade at 15-30 feet.   They are feeding on crayfish so use green colored grubs, senkos and dropshot lures.

Walleye are caught periodically while trolling for stripers or dragging a bass bait along the bottom. Walleye are not schooling fish, but they do tend to aggregate in the same location.  It is wise to turn around and try to retrace the path where the first fish was caught to see if another walleye can be caught at the same spot using the same technique.

Finally, the water temperature will soon drop into the 60’s which is the prime temperature for fish activity in Lake Powell. Catching should improve and peak during the next few weeks of October.

 

October 2, 2018 - Bait and spoons best

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Lake Powell Fish Report – September 26, 2018
Lake Elevation:  3592
Water temperature:  73-76 F
By: Wayne Gustaveson   http://www.wayneswords.com or Wayneswords.net
Weather is cooling, rain is finally falling, and fishing is picking up. Hopefully the rainy period will slow down the decline in water level for a short time and allow the Castle Rock Cut to stay open for a few more weeks.   Water depth is 12 feet in the Cut which means it should be passable through October.
Fishing is improving as the water temperature has declined to the low 70s.  Smallmouth bass have been the constant, most dependable target species to pursue. They are gorging on crayfish and very cooperative for anglers. The best techniques are very similar to springtime bass fishing. Weightless shad shaped worms and senkos are dependable baits fished in 5-15 feet of water.  Bass are moving shallower as the lake continues to decline. They are very active early in the mornings and late in the evenings. During the day it may be better to switch to drop shot fishing in slightly deeper water.
Habitat preference is very different compared to other years. Usually there are brushy spots with tumbleweeds and brush. This year the rapid drop in water level has left the brush high and dry. This past week the best bass habitat was long shallow gravel points shaded by mud lines. Bass are much more likely to be on the outside primary points instead of in the backs of shallow coves. Look for deeper water in shallow bays to find bass.
Stripers have been harder to find in the southern lake. There is a short period at dawn where striper schools can be located on the graph and then caught using deep diving spoons. This flurry of activity is short lived and drops off as the sun gets higher in the sky. During a normal fishing day the very best technique is to use bait with lots of chumming. The spring time spots:  dam, Buoy 3, Navajo Canyon points etc. are working again.  Add to that some uplake spots that have produced good catches this week: Warm Creek Wall, Labyrinth Wall, back of main Rock Creek and Middle Rock Creek.  The technique is to graph the bottom structure while trolling.  When a school is seen, mark the spot. Return to the school, chum the spot with cut bait and then drop a one-inch piece of anchovy down to the school to catch lots of stripers.
In the northern lake, from Bullfrog to Good Hope, there are many more shad schools and normal fall fishing techniques work well. Again, troll and graph but when a striper school is seen, drop spoons into the school to catch lots of fish in a hurry.  Good spots this week include mouth of Stanton Creek, Bullfrog Bay haystacks, and mouth of Knowles.  The best lures are slab spoons, including Fle Fly Slabs or any spoons that resemble them.
Bait fishing also worked at Bullfrog this past week with many stripers caught on bait at the mouth of Lake Canyon.
Other fish that are responding well are walleye, catfish and bluegill. Tip your jig, small spoon, or just a small jighead with a piece of night crawler to catch a wide variety of fish in a short time. Fishing is improving and will peak as the lake temperature drops into the 60s.

Lake Powell Fish Report – October 2, 2018

Lake Elevation:  3592

Water temperature:  73-76 F

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

Weather is cooling, rain is finally falling, and fishing is picking up. Hopefully the rainy period will slow down the decline in water level for a short time and allow the Castle Rock Cut to stay open for a few more weeks.   Water depth is 12 feet in the Cut which means it should be passable through October. 

Fishing is improving as the water temperature has declined to the low 70s.  Smallmouth bass have been the constant, most dependable target species to pursue. They are gorging on crayfish and very cooperative for anglers. The best techniques are very similar to springtime bass fishing. Weightless shad shaped worms and senkos are dependable baits fished in 5-15 feet of water.  Bass are moving shallower as the lake continues to decline. They are very active early in the mornings and late in the evenings. During the day it may be better to switch to drop shot fishing in slightly deeper water. 

Habitat preference is very different compared to other years. Usually there are brushy spots with tumbleweeds and brush. This year the rapid drop in water level has left the brush high and dry. This past week the best bass habitat was long shallow gravel points shaded by mud lines. Bass are much more likely to be on the outside primary points instead of in the backs of shallow coves. Look for deeper water in shallow bays to find bass. 

Stripers have been harder to find in the southern lake. There is a short period at dawn where striper schools can be located on the graph and then caught using deep diving spoons. This flurry of activity is short lived and drops off as the sun gets higher in the sky. During a normal fishing day the very best technique is to use bait with lots of chumming. The spring time spots:  dam, Buoy 3, Navajo Canyon points etc. are working again.  Add to that some uplake spots that have produced good catches this week: Warm Creek Wall, Labyrinth Wall, back of main Rock Creek and Middle Rock Creek.  The technique is to graph the bottom structure while trolling.  When a school is seen, mark the spot. Return to the school, chum the spot with cut bait and then drop a one-inch piece of anchovy down to the school to catch lots of stripers. 

In the northern lake, from Bullfrog to Good Hope, there are many more shad schools and normal fall fishing techniques work well. Again, troll and graph but when a striper school is seen, drop spoons into the school to catch lots of fish in a hurry.  Good spots this week include mouth of Stanton Creek, Bullfrog Bay haystacks, and mouth of Knowles.  The best lures are slab spoons, including Fle Fly Slabs or any spoons that resemble them. 

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Bait fishing also worked at Bullfrog this past week with many stripers caught on bait at the mouth of Lake Canyon. 
Other fish that are responding well are walleye, catfish and bluegill. Tip your jig, small spoon, or just a small jighead with a piece of night crawler to catch a wide variety of fish in a short time. Fishing is improving and will peak as the lake water temperature drops into the 60s.

 

September 26, 2018 - Use Worms to add to the Catch

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Lake Powell Fish Report – September 26, 2018
Lake Elevation:  3591
Water temperature:  75-78 F
By: Wayne Gustaveson   http://www.wayneswords.com or Wayneswords.net
Lake Powell continues to drop.  Lake elevation today is 3591. That still leaves 11 feet of water in the Castle Rock Cut. If the current rate of decline continues, the Cut will remain open for approximately 5 weeks which would mean that it will be open through most of October.  The Cut and Antelope ramp will both close before the HFE (High Flow Experiment) scheduled for November 5th occurs.
Fishing in the southern lake during the past week has been slower than usual with full moon and declining lake levels. Here are the bright spots:
Smallmouth bass continue to cooperate with bass anglers who are using plastic baits and targeting open water reefs. With the lake falling there are some long, narrow rocky points extending from shore and gradually declining to 30 feet or more.  Work green plastic grubs or shad shaped worms along the bottom in 15-25 foot range to target the larger bass. Smaller bass will be mixed in but are more common at shallower depths. There are some bass in the backs of canyons and coves. They are usually on the breaking edge where shallow water drops into a deeper channel. Water clarity over the length of the lake has declined considerably with dropping lake levels allowing sand and sediment to mix in the water column with each wind event. Big patches of aquatic weeds are now showing in the backs of many coves. The weed mats are coming out of the water and drying up as the lake drops.
Striped bass schools are found in deeper water (50-75 feet).  These fish have been searching for shad but not finding many in the southern lake. When a school is seen try spooning, but if that does not work then drop anchovy bait for a quick catch of lots of fish. When stripers are schooled up with low shad numbers, many in the school do not get fed. Only the quickest fish will get enough shad to eat. Right now about 75% of the schooling stripers are healthy and 25% malnourished.  I suggest keeping all stripers to reduce total striper numbers and to increase the opportunity for those remaining fish to find adequate nourishment.
From Bullfrog north, shad numbers are much higher than in the south. Graph and troll to find striper schools and then use spoons to catch a bunch. Spoons resemble shad and stripers really respond well to spoons in these conditions. The target depth is a bit shallower in the north but striper schools can be graphed from 30 to 70 feet.  Striper schools may be harder to find now than commonly found this time of year but when a school is graphed these fish respond very well.
We found out last week that the very best way to catch large numbers and a huge variety of fish is to use night crawlers. Tip a plastic grub, spoon or a plain bait hook with a one-inch piece of worm.  Drop the bait down to the bottom in 5-25 feet of water and gently jig it up and down.  The response is amazing.  Expect to catch bluegill, green sunfish, smallmouth bass, walleye and channel catfish in big numbers. A really small hook is best. An ice jig or ice fly has a very small hook but packs a lot of weight for its size.  If you want to catch a lot of fish this is the technique for you.

Lake Powell Fish Report – September 26, 2018

Lake Elevation:  3591

Water temperature:  75-78 F

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


Lake Powell continues to drop.  Lake elevation today is 3591. That still leaves 11 feet of water in the Castle Rock Cut. If the current rate of decline continues, the Cut will remain open for approximately 5 weeks which would mean that it will be open through most of October.  The Cut and Antelope ramp will both close before the HFE (High Flow Experiment) scheduled for November 5th occurs.

Fishing in the southern lake during the past week has been slower than usual with full moon and declining lake levels. Here are the bright spots: 

Smallmouth bass continue to cooperate with bass anglers who are using plastic baits and targeting open water reefs. With the lake falling there are some long, narrow rocky points extending from shore and gradually declining to 30 feet or more.  Work green plastic grubs or shad shaped worms along the bottom in 15-25 foot range to target the larger bass. Smaller bass will be mixed in but are more common at shallower depths. There are some bass in the backs of canyons and coves. They are usually on the breaking edge where shallow water drops into a deeper channel. Water clarity over the length of the lake has declined considerably with dropping lake levels allowing sand and sediment to mix in the water column with each wind event. Big patches of aquatic weeds are now showing in the backs of many coves. The weed mats are coming out of the water and drying up as the lake drops.

Striped bass schools are found in deeper water (50-75 feet).  These fish have been searching for shad but not finding many in the southern lake. When a school is seen try spooning, but if that does not work then drop anchovy bait for a quick catch of lots of fish. When stripers are schooled up with low shad numbers, many in the school do not get fed. Only the quickest fish will get enough shad to eat. Right now about 75% of the schooling stripers are healthy and 25% malnourished.  I suggest keeping all stripers to reduce total striper numbers and to increase the opportunity for those remaining fish to find adequate nourishment. 

From Bullfrog north, shad numbers are much higher than in the south. Graph and troll to find striper schools and then use spoons to catch a bunch. Spoons resemble shad and stripers really respond well to spoons in these conditions. The target depth is a bit shallower in the north but striper schools can be graphed from 30 to 70 feet.  Striper schools may be harder to find now than commonly found this time of year but when a school is graphed these fish respond very well.

We found out last week that the very best way to catch large numbers and a huge variety of fish is to use night crawlers. Tip a plastic grub, spoon or a plain bait hook with a one-inch piece of worm.  Drop the bait down to the bottom in 5-25 feet of water and gently jig it up and down.  The response is amazing.  Expect to catch bluegill, green sunfish, smallmouth bass, walleye and channel catfish in big numbers. A really small hook is best. An ice jig or ice fly has a very small hook but packs a lot of weight for its size.  If you want to catch a lot of fish this is the technique for you.

 

September 20, 2018 - Walleye tagging

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Lake Powell Fish Report – September 20, 2018
Lake Elevation: 3594
Water temperature: 75 - 79 F
By: Wayne Gustaveson http://www.wayneswords.com or Wayneswords.net

This week we traveled to Good Hope Bay to begin a study of migrational movement of walleye in the northern lake. It is possible that walleye may migrate up the Colorado River and then move back and forth between the river and Lake Powell. Our goal was to tag as many walleye as possible with sonic tags, which includes an underwater transmitter that can be detected by a hydrophone which can be attached to the lake bottom in the main channel and then detect and record which fish swim by.  The hydrophone records the data by tag number of each fish passes by. The data can then be checked and recorded by our scientists on a regular basis.

 My job was easy. I was supposed to catch some walleye so the fish could be tagged and used in the experiment.  The only hard part was that the recent warm weather has kept the water in the high 70s instead of the 60s when walleye are more aggressive. Twelve really good anglers headed out to collect 40 walleye. We fished all day and then returned to camp with only one walleye in the live well. Fishing was tough!  We finally figured out that the walleye pattern was to troll across 10-15 feet deep humps and let bottom bouncers or deep diving lures drag across the bottom. Walleye would hit as the lure cleared the hump and began to swim in open water.  We were proud to finally tag and release 20 walleye which are now part of the migration study.  More will be added in the future. I suggest waiting until water temperatures cools before making a trip to catch walleye.

We did catch lots of smallmouth, largemouth, bluegill, green sunfish, and catfish while trying for walleye.  We tipped our plastic grubs, jigs, spoons and other lures with a one-inch piece of night crawler and caught tons of the non-target species.  We really liked parking the boat in the shade morning and evening and dangling our lures at 10-30 feet while catching a wide variety of fish.

Stripers were found in large schools swimming in open water looking for shad schools.  It was not as easy as usual to find a striper school because they were not often boiling, but when we found some by trolling we could stop over them and spoon up lots of stripers.

Perhaps the most unique experience we had while fishing so hard for walleye in Good Hope Bay was the arrival of Jack “Hotwheels” Herrin. He is a long-time participant on Wayneswords.com and we have been friends for decades. He was in the area and wanted to stop in and say Hi!  We talked for a while and when he was leaving I told him we needed some walleye and they were hard to catch. He said he would give it a try.  Five minutes later he was back with a walleye caught trolling in the cove next to camp.  He set out again and as I left to search for more walleye his boat came roaring back. Sure enough, he had another nice walleye!  That was amazing.  Two walleye in 20 minutes and I only caught 3 in 3 days.

Thanks Hotwheels!

 

September 12, 2018 - Spooning for Stripers

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Lake Powell Fish Report – September 12, 2018
Lake Elevation:  3595
Water temperature:  75 - 80 F
By: Wayne Gustaveson   http://www.wayneswords.com or Wayneswords.net
Spoon up some stripers!
Lake Powell continues to drop about 1-foot per week. The Castle Rock Cut should be passable for another 2 months. It was recently announced that a High Flow Experiment (HFE) will occur during the first week of November.  At that time the outflow from the dam will increase dramatically to move sediment from the river bottom to the river banks further downstream. This event improves habitat for native fish in the river and in backwaters.  It is likely that the Castle Rock Cut will no longer be open after the HFE event occurs.
The big news now is that striper schools are actively chasing shad schools in deep, open water.  That means it is time to pull out the jigging spoons and start fishing in deep water in the canyons and main channel. If you are lucky it is still possible to see a quick striper boil. You may be able to get to the school quickly and catch some fish on top water lures. More importantly a surface feeding event marks the spot where large schools of stripers are holding in deeper water.   Get to the boil site as quickly as possible and if the fish have gone down, deploy spoons into the depths, let the spoon hit bottom and then speed reel the spoon back to the boat.
Speed Reeling definition:  When the lure hits bottom start reeling the spoon as fast as physically possible. If fish are seen on the graph at a certain depth, pause and jig a few times at the suspected holding depth. Then continue reeling very fast until you are sure that the spoon is above the holding depth of the school.  Retrieve the spoon, cast again, then repeat the retrieval process.
If no boils are seen, use the graph to search for a large striper school, which may be holding somewhere between 30 and 90 feet of water. When a striper school is detected, stop quickly and drop spoons immediately. Let the spoon hit bottom to help you know where the spoon is in relation to the fish.  If the school is 10 feet off the bottom than reel up 4 turns and start jigging the spoon up 3 feet and letting it fall back down 3 feet.  Stripers often follow the spoon and then hit as it falls. It is more likely to feel the fish as you jig upwards instead of feeling the fish hit the lure as it falls. A hooked striper excites the other fish in the school as they see the fish swimming with a “shad” in its mouth.  The school follows the hooked fish looking for more food.  It is often possible to “lead” a striper school that follows the boat.  When a fish is caught, unhook the fish as quickly as possible, and return the spoon to the water immediately to keep the school under the boat and actively engaged in searching for more shad.  It is not unusual to lead a striper school for over an hour as the boat drifts with the breeze, while catching 50 or more stripers in one drift.
Spooning hotspots recently include Knowles Canyon, Good Hope Bay, Dome Rock in Bullfrog Bay, Piute Canyon in the San Juan, 50 Mile Canyon in the Escalante, and Oak Canyon upstream from Rainbow Bridge.
Smallmouth bass fishing continues to be excellent lake wide. Dropshot rigged Yamamoto Shad-shaped worms and other plastic baits are working well all day along the shoreline. Look for long rocky points that reach out into the lake at the new lower water levels we are now dealing with. Bass will be holding at 10-20 feet at the end of the point and also at the same depth perpendicular to the point.
Most fish are perking back up now that the water temperature is dropping into the mid 70’s in the morning. Expect to still catch a few largemouth bass, bluegill, walleye and catfish while fishing for your favorite species of fish.

Lake Powell Fish Report – September 12, 2018

Lake Elevation:  3595

Water temperature:  75 - 80 F

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


Spoon up some stripers!

Lake Powell continues to drop about 1-foot per week. The Castle Rock Cut should be passable for another 2 months. It was recently announced that a High Flow Experiment (HFE) will occur during the first week of November.  At that time the outflow from the dam will increase dramatically to move sediment from the river bottom to the river banks further downstream. This event improves habitat for native fish in the river and in backwaters.  It is likely that the Castle Rock Cut will no longer be open after the HFE event occurs. 

The big news now is that striper schools are actively chasing shad schools in deep, open water.  That means it is time to pull out the jigging spoons and start fishing in deep water in the canyons and main channel. If you are lucky it is still possible to see a quick striper boil. You may be able to get to the school quickly and catch some fish on top water lures. More importantly a surface feeding event marks the spot where large schools of stripers are holding in deeper water.   Get to the boil site as quickly as possible and if the fish have gone down, deploy spoons into the depths, let the spoon hit bottom and then speed reel the spoon back to the boat. 

Speed Reeling definition:  When the lure hits bottom start reeling the spoon as fast as physically possible. If fish are seen on the graph at a certain depth, pause and jig a few times at the suspected holding depth. Then continue reeling very fast until you are sure that the spoon is above the holding depth of the school.  Retrieve the spoon, cast again, then repeat the retrieval process.

If no boils are seen, use the graph to search for a large striper school, which may be holding somewhere between 30 and 90 feet of water. When a striper school is detected, stop quickly and drop spoons immediately. Let the spoon hit bottom to help you know where the spoon is in relation to the fish.  If the school is 10 feet off the bottom than reel up 4 turns and start jigging the spoon up 3 feet and letting it fall back down 3 feet.  Stripers often follow the spoon and then hit as it falls. It is more likely to feel the fish as you jig upwards instead of feeling the fish hit the lure as it falls. A hooked striper excites the other fish in the school as they see the fish swimming with a “shad” in its mouth.  The school follows the hooked fish looking for more food.  It is often possible to “lead” a striper school that follows the boat.  When a fish is caught, unhook the fish as quickly as possible, and return the spoon to the water immediately to keep the school under the boat and actively engaged in searching for more shad.  It is not unusual to lead a striper school for over an hour as the boat drifts with the breeze, while catching 50 or more stripers in one drift. 

Spooning hotspots recently include Knowles Canyon, Good Hope Bay, Dome Rock in Bullfrog Bay, Piute Canyon in the San Juan, 50 Mile Canyon in the Escalante, and Oak Canyon upstream from Rainbow Bridge. 

Smallmouth bass fishing continues to be excellent lake wide. Dropshot rigged Yamamoto Shad-shaped worms and other plastic baits are working well all day along the shoreline. Look for long rocky points that reach out into the lake at the new lower water levels we are now dealing with. Bass will be holding at 10-20 feet at the end of the point and also at the same depth perpendicular to the point. 

Most fish are perking back up now that the water temperature is dropping into the mid 70’s in the morning. Expect to still catch a few largemouth bass, bluegill, walleye and catfish while fishing for your favorite species of fish.

mardyhepworth_edited-1

Mardy Hepworth with a nice catfish caught in Wetherill Canyon.

 

September 3, 2018 - Water Cooling - Fishing Warming

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Lake Powell Fish Report – September 3, 2018

Lake Elevation:  3596

Water temperature:  76 - 80 F

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

The air temperature is cooling down now that September is here. Water temperature is following suit. That cooling makes it easier for stripers to stay near the surface and boil on a shad school.  The surface feeding activity that was confined to the northern half of the lake is now a thing of the past.  Boils are now reported from Wahweap to the Good Hope Bay.

This week expect to see some surface activity in the southern lake from Wahweap to Rainbow Bridge.  There were recent reports of boiling stripers in Ice Cream Canyon (Wahweap Bay), Padre Bay and the mouth of Rock Creek.  Generally, this means that it is possible to find surface feeding fish anywhere and at any time of day. Unfortunately, the surface action only last for a short time. Throw topwater lures into the boiling fish as long as they stay up. A good school may boil for 10-15 minutes which means you can catch 10 or more from that single event. More often they only stay up for 5 minutes or less.

Do not be discouraged when they go down quickly. Treat the surface activity as a marker buoy.  Head to the spot and watch the graph intently. These surfacing stripers are searching for shad to eat and not finding that many in the southern lake.   When they go down they are still searching for food.  Find the school on the graph and drop spoons to the hungry fish and get ready for some incredible fish-catching action.  Spoons resemble shad that stripers are searching for so they respond quickly to your bait. The striper school follows any fish with a shad [or spoon] in its mouth so they will stay under the boat as long as the spoons keep dropping. The action can be as intense as fishing a surface boil.  Watch the graph for the visual effect that surface fishing offers.  Unhook the fish quickly, immediately drop the spoon back down to find another hungry fish.

Spoons that work well include Kastmasters, Fle Fly, Real Image, and Colt Sniper. These long thin spoons are “slab spoons” which all work well for hungry stripers.   If the striper school is holding at 30 feet, drop the spoon to 40 feet and then reel it up through the feeding fish. If no fish hit the lure after coming up 20 feet then drop again to 40 feet.  Try to keep the spoon in the school as long as possible so the fish can see it and quickly get to it.  Spooning is the best way to catch a bunch a stripers in a very short time. 

Smallmouth bass are observing the feeding stripers and get very excited about their feeding behavior.  If shad, spoons, crank baits, or surface lures come near, smallmouth bass will join in on the action. Bass fishing is excellent right now as water temperature drops and stripers drive shad toward the shoreline.

Do not be surprised if walleye, largemouth bass, sunfish and bluegill are caught at the same time all the smallmouth and striper activity is occurring.  The summer boating crowds are now declining. Water and air temperature are falling. The lake is now heading to excellent fishing success such as that seen in April and May.  The best time to fish in the Fall is from September 15th to October 15th.  The fun times are right around the corner.  Come and join in on the fun.

 

 

August 21,2018 - Deep Trolling and Spooning

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Lake Powell Fish Report – August 21, 2018
Lake Elevation:  3599
Water temperature:  78 - 83 F
By: Wayne Gustaveson   http://www.wayneswords.com or Wayneswords.net
Fishing is picking up over the length of Lake Powell.  The southern lake is providing decent bait fishing and successful deep water trolling for stripers.  Bass fishing is good lake wide.  Here are the details.
It is critically important to begin fishing as early as possible.  Smallmouth bass are still responding to surface lures at first light.  Stripers are most active for the first two hours of daylight.  They can be caught on bait, deep trolling and an occasional small boil.  Regardless of the technique the results at 6 AM far outweigh the catch that happens at 10 AM with the same effort.  The first rule is to go early.
The next rule is to head north.  Best fishing success on Lake Powell is in Good Hope Bay.  The upper San Juan is good at times, as is the Escalante.  However, Good Hope Bay is the best.  Good Hope has the biggest shad population, and therefore the most striped bass that spend their lives in pursuit of shad.
A typical day at Good Hope begins with an occasional striper boil, but more often there are individual stripers chasing shad that can be seen jumping when looking toward the sunrise. These small splashes are backlit by the rising sun and easy to see over long distances.  Cruise toward the splashes and throw surface lures when in range. Catching fish on top is the best, but watching the graph is critical if catching a bunch of fish is the goal.   Down below the jumping fish are huge schools of stripers moving silently while waiting to interact with a deep shad school.  When the big striper school is seen, drop spoons into the school for quick results.  The schools are often suspended so it is important to know the depth of the spoon.  The best way is to drop the spoon to the bottom and then speed reel back to the school.  If the bottom is at 90 feet and the school is at 50 feet reel up 40 feet and then start jigging. This is easier said than done. Luckily, speed reeling works well on searching stripers.  They often tell you when the spoon is at the right depth by biting the lure.
Deep trolling is working well with the best depth being from 15-30 feet.  Holding stripers are found in this range and will hit trolled lures moving at the depth schools are holding.  Watch the graph and adjust the trolling depth to match the holding depth of striper schools.  While trolling other fish like walleye, catfish, and bass will participate.  Last week there was a 34-pound striper caught while using the deep trolling technique while the lucky angler was trolling from a jet ski!
Lake Powell has an amazing year round fishery.

Lake Powell Fish Report – August 21, 2018

Lake Elevation:  3599

Water temperature:  78 - 83 F

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

Fishing is picking up over the length of Lake Powell.  The southern lake is providing decent bait fishing and successful deep water trolling for stripers.  Bass fishing is good lake wide.  Here are the details.

It is critically important to begin fishing as early as possible.  Smallmouth bass are still responding to surface lures at first light.  Stripers are most active for the first two hours of daylight.  They can be caught on bait, deep trolling and an occasional small boil.  Regardless of the technique the results at 6 AM far outweigh the catch that happens at 10 AM with the same effort.  The first rule is to go early.

The next rule is to head north.  Best fishing success on Lake Powell is in Good Hope Bay.  The upper San Juan is good at times, as is the Escalante.  However, Good Hope Bay is the best.  Good Hope has the biggest shad population, and therefore the most striped bass that spend their lives in pursuit of shad.  

A typical day at Good Hope begins with an occasional striper boil, but more often there are individual stripers chasing shad that can be seen jumping when looking toward the sunrise. These small splashes are backlit by the rising sun and easy to see over long distances.  Cruise toward the splashes and throw surface lures when in range. Catching fish on top is the best, but watching the graph is critical if catching a bunch of fish is the goal.   Down below the jumping fish are huge schools of stripers moving silently while waiting to interact with a deep shad school.  When the big striper school is seen, drop spoons into the school for quick results.  The schools are often suspended so it is important to know the depth of the spoon.  The best way is to drop the spoon to the bottom and then speed reel back to the school.  If the bottom is at 90 feet and the school is at 50 feet reel up 40 feet and then start jigging. This is easier said than done. Luckily, speed reeling works well on searching stripers.  They often tell you when the spoon is at the right depth by biting the lure. 

Deep trolling is working well with the best depth being from 15-30 feet.  Holding stripers are found in this range and will hit trolled lures moving at the depth schools are holding.  Watch the graph and adjust the trolling depth to match the holding depth of striper schools.  While trolling other fish like walleye, catfish, and bass will participate.  Last week there was a 34-pound striper caught on Lake Canyon Wall, using the deep trolling technique while the lucky angler was trolling from a jet ski!

Lake Powell has an amazing year round fishery.

 

August 16, 2018 - Trophy Striper

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Lake Powell Fish Report

Lake  Elevation: 3600

Water Temperature:  78-83 F

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

Great News! A trophy striper was caught near Bullfrog by WhitewaterDD, a new member following the Wayneswords.net fishing report page.  DD reported that it took over 15 minutes to land the trophy.  She thought she was severely snagged on the bottom instead of playing a trophy striper.  She stated “It was like reeling in a live cinder block.”   The big fish was caught on a Rapala Deep Diving lure that runs 16 feet deep. It was the second fish caught after trolling for 20 minutes.  We hope to talk with DD more and be able to present more details of the big fish adventure.  Look for more information in the coming days.

Fishing success is picking up over the length of the lake. Bass fishing continues to be steady along the rocky shoreline.  Smallmouth bass can be caught with plastic grubs, trolling lures throughout the day, and top water lures each morning and evening.

Largemouth bass are found in the new weed growth patches that are showing up in abundance on many flats and coves along the shoreline.  Find a new weed patch and largemouth bass and sunfish will be close by.

Bluegill and green sunfish are bigger and more numerous this year than ever before. They hold at 15-25 feet this time of year. They can be caught in big numbers with a very small bait hook tipped with a one-inch worm chunk. Kids really have a great time fishing for bluegill.

Striped bass are becoming better fishing targets for anglers trolling at 20-40 feet with deep diving lures, and/or down riggers.  Stripers are located along the length of the lake holding in 70 degree water which is found at 25-40 feet. A common spot to find stripers is along a steep cliff that has a rock slide or a shallow cove at the end of the cliff.  Adult stripers cannot stay in warm water, but they can make a quick run into the shallows, feed quickly on crayfish and then drop back down into deeper, cooler water. Look for these shallow cliff ending spots and try bait in these spots to increase the striper catch. Trolling along the cliff wall is working much better now than it was last month.

We had a large walleye report turned in by trollers working the main channel in the Escalante arm of the lake.

Catfish are eager to hit bait on the bottom near camp both morning and evening.

 

August 8, 2018 - Bass Fishing is Best

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Lake Powell Fish Report – August 8, 2018
Lake Elevation:  3602
Water temperature:  79 - 86 F
By: Wayne Gustaveson   http://www.wayneswords.com or Wayneswords.net
Fishing success on the southern end of the lake is all about smallmouth bass.  Basically smallmouth bass are found on rock structure that is 12-30 feet deep.  Look for rocky outcroppings, drop-offs, rocky points, shelves, rock slides, big rocks, little rocks, rocky coves and virtually anything else rock related.  While traveling up or down lake just scan the shoreline and look at the beauty and majesty of the giant rock walls.  Occasionally you will see rock features that could hold smallmouth bass.  Try those spots that look the most “fishy.”
Smallmouth bass can be caught while trolling a rattletrap or medium diving crankbait parallel to rocky structure.  The best method now is to use crayfish colored (green) or shad colored (white with black flake) plastic baits on a 1/8th to 1/4 ounce jig head bounced along the bottom structure. The most exciting technique is casting topwater lures toward shore before the sun hits the water.   In summary, if you have a favorite smallmouth technique, give it a try.  You will catch some fish.
It is very busy with campers and boaters in the southern lake.  It gets quieter as you go further uplake. Right now the best lakewide bass fishing spot is from Oak Canyon to the Escalante.  Bass catching near the mouth of the San Juan in the main channel is nonstop.
Striper fishing in Good Hope Bay dropped off a bit today. Instead of catching 50 -100 fish, the reported catch today was only 20 stripers caught in boils. There were also a few stripers caught in Bullfrog Bay on topwater lures while traveling uplake to Good Hope. Stripers could come to the top again tomorrow or it could take a few more days.  My guess is that the shad schools are moving and stripers were left behind for while. Broaden the search zone to find moving fish. I predict the next north lake boils will be closer to Ticaboo, Red Canyon or Blue Notch.
Stripers are more difficult to locate in the southern lake.  The common pattern is to troll and graph in 25 feet of water towards the backs of canyons. That is not always easy to do with lots of ski boats and camps in the backs of the canyons. It is better to look for stripers further uplake.
Over the length of the lake, the best time to find boiling fish is morning and evening twilight but they can pop up anytime during the day.  When large schools of shad are seen on the graph or swimming in clear water near shore, hungry stripers will be close by.  Shad do not have many brushy places to hide so they swim in very tight schools hoping stripers will eat those shad on the outer edge of the school first.  It is a difficult time to be a shad.  This is the time when anglers can actually help the forage fish by catching lots of stripers in boils and allowing shad to swim free for another day.
It is time to put on your S.H.A.D. Badge = (Shad Helpers and Defenders) Go catch some stripers!

Lake Powell Fish Report – August 8, 2018

Lake Elevation:  3602

Water temperature:  79 - 86 F

By: Wayne Gustaveson   http://www.wayneswords.com or Wayneswords.net
mgus222
Fishing success on the southern end of the lake is all about smallmouth bass.  Basically smallmouth bass are found on rock structure that is 12-30 feet deep.  Look for rocky outcroppings, drop-offs, rocky points, shelves, rock slides, big rocks, little rocks, rocky coves and virtually anything else rock related.  While traveling up or down lake just scan the shoreline and look at the beauty and majesty of the giant rock walls.  Occasionally you will see rock features that could hold smallmouth bass.  Try those spots that look the most “fishy.”

Smallmouth bass can be caught while trolling a rattletrap or medium diving crankbait parallel to rocky structure.  The best method now is to use crayfish colored (green) or shad colored (white with black flake) plastic baits on a 1/8th to 1/4 ounce jig head bounced along the bottom structure. The most exciting technique is casting topwater lures toward shore before the sun hits the water.   In summary, if you have a favorite smallmouth technique, give it a try.  You will catch some fish.

It is very busy with campers and boaters in the southern lake.  It gets quieter as you go further uplake. Right now the best lakewide bass fishing spot is from Oak Canyon to the Escalante.  Bass catching near the mouth of the San Juan in the main channel is nonstop. 

Striper fishing in Good Hope Bay dropped off a bit today. Instead of catching 50 -100 fish, the reported catch today was only 20 stripers caught in boils. There were also a few stripers caught in Bullfrog Bay on topwater lures while traveling uplake to Good Hope. Stripers could come to the top again tomorrow or it could take a few more days.  My guess is that the shad schools are moving and stripers were left behind for while. Broaden the search zone to find moving fish. I predict the next north lake boils will be closer to Ticaboo, Red Canyon or Blue Notch.

Stripers are more difficult to locate in the southern lake.  The common pattern is to troll and graph in 25 feet of water towards the backs of canyons. That is not always easy to do with lots of ski boats and camps in the backs of the canyons. It is better to look for stripers further uplake. 

Over the length of the lake, the best time to find boiling fish is morning and evening twilight but they can pop up anytime during the day.  When large schools of shad are seen on the graph or swimming in clear water near shore, hungry stripers will be close by.  Shad do not have many brushy places to hide so they swim in very tight schools hoping stripers will eat those shad on the outer edge of the school first.  It is a difficult time to be a shad.  This is the time when anglers can actually help the forage fish by catching lots of stripers in boils and allowing shad to swim free for another day. 

It is time to put on your S.H.A.D. Badge = (Shad Helpers and Defenders) Go catch some stripers!

Last Updated on Tuesday, 07 August 2018 14:33
 
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