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April 25, 2018 - Surface feeding stripers

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Lake Powell Fish Report –April 25, 2018

Lake Elevation:  3610

Water temperature:  58 - 64 F

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

 

Lake level is still declining with 16,000 acre feet of water flowing into the lake while 24,000 acre feet flows out.  Water temperature is climbing with early morning temperature now at 59 F. Hopefully the warming air temperature will allow the runoff to increase and allow the lake to rise. Water clarity is still crystal clear in the southern lake. It is possible to see the bottom in 30 feet of water in some locations.

These warming conditions have ushered in the expected behavioral change in adult striped bass that are waiting to spawn. Each spring adult stripers migrate back to where they were spawned, similar to salmon running upstream to their nursery location.  Stripers spawn at night so they are not that easy to find during the day.   Stripers spawn on the surface so there are no nests to mark the location of the spawning event. The evidence of the spawning location is the early morning presence of large schools of stripers swimming on the surface as they wait for the 10 degree temperature spike which is the trigger that allows spawning to occur. That trigger would be an early morning water temperature of 62-64 degrees which increases to 74 or above in the afternoon.  While waiting for the temperature increase, the striper schools pass the time by swimming aimlessly near the surface, slurping up tiny microscopic plankton in the early morning hours. When the morning sun hits the water the school drops down to 40 feet or more and waits for that spawning trigger.  Usually spawning occurs between May 10 and June 10.

sluppb

 

 

 

 

 

 

Plankton Slurping Stripers

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Over the years we have found some of those spawning locations.  Some pre-spawn holding locations are marked by high canyon walls on the east side of the lake which offer extended shady periods. The sun now comes up about 6:30 AM (MDT).  The eastern sky begins to lighten about 30-45 minutes earlier.  The events described here occur between 5:45 to 8 AM or when the sunlight hits the water in different locations.

As we checked out a spawning location in Padre Bay yesterday, my heart skipped a beat as a school of stripers was seen slurping plankton on the surface.  A number of fishing techniques were deployed to see what would be most effective. We trolled over the school with small crank baits trailed way behind the boat. The school sounded and then returned to the surface about the time our lures were in range and a few 3 pound stripers were caught.   We fast trolled Clouser Minnow flies just under the surface and caught a few fish.  We stopped in casting range of the feeding school and cast jigs, small crankbaits and flies and caught a few fish. When the school left the surface, we dropped spoons down to the fish seen on the graph at 40-80 feet and caught a few fish. It was intense, breath taking and very satisfying to be back interacting with spawning stripers again.  The sun hit the water way too soon and the morning action was over.   A few more spots were checked by trolling in the backs of canyons at a water depth of 25 feet in murky water. We ended up with 34 stripers back at the fish cleaning station.

stbvisual

 

 

 

 

 

 

Many were seen 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Those fishing bait in the main channel came in about the same time and most had 10-20 stripers for the morning trip. Fishing has picked and will continue to be good to great for all of the month of May.

Largemouth and smallmouth bass were seen guarding many nests in the southern lake.  Those anglers seeking spunky bass were smiling as well.  Fish size and health is great right now. Walleye fishing is heating up in the northern lake.

Spring spawning season is here with the daily air temperatures in the 70-80 range.  There will be some afternoon winds so the best fishing will be in the early morning over the next 10 days.

 

425graph

Last Updated on Wednesday, 25 April 2018 09:04
 

April 18, 2018 - Spawning Begins

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Lake Powell Fish Report –April 18, 2018
Lake Elevation:  3610
Water temperature:  53 -60 F
By: Wayne Gustaveson   http://www.wayneswords.com
Spawning Season
The bass spawn has been postponed due to cool windy weather.  It seems this happens every spring with bass moving shallow in early April only to be chased back into deep water as the water surface temperature cools back down with the next cold front. The forecast now is for warm weather to arrive this weekend and persist for the entire week. Therefore bass spawning will occur over the entire lake from April 20-27.  Crystal clear water is found over most of the main lake which will make sight fishing for bedding bass an amazing event. Expect to see male bass protecting a light colored fanned spot, 3 feet under the surface, on the green or brown lake bottom.  Once eggs are laid on the small rocks the male bass will protect those eggs from all predators including plastic baits.  On the first day or two after the spawn the guarding bass is overly aggressive, challenging everything that swims within sight. He will pick up plastic baits that settle on the rocks within the nest boundary and move it off the nest and drop it.  He can be caught many times and becomes less aggressive with time. The eggs hatch in about 5 days and the bass body guard stays with the bass fry that hatch and swim above the rocky nest site.
The bass protector leaves the swimming fry and lets then swim away after a few days and goes back to the nest.  He then finds another ripe female, spawns again and starts the process over once more.  A male bass may bring off 4 or 5 successful spawns with 2-3,000 young bass per nest.
It is a good idea to release all bass caught off nests until spawning season is over (June) so the next generation of bass can be propagated for the future.  The lake has not yet started to rise and remains amazingly clear.  It will be interesting to watch the natural spawning cycle even if you are not a fisherman.  Look for bass on primary and secondary points and in coves near the backs of canyons.
Walleye have now completed their early spring spawning season making them more available to be caught by anglers.  With such clear water it is best to target walleye during low light periods, morning and evening.  Standard walleye baits include bottom bouncers and worm harnesses and a live night crawler.  It is also possible to use a regular double or single tail bass plastic grub. The secret for success is to make sure that lure maintains bottom contact. Gently lift it off the bottom and then make sure it touches bottom again after each jigging motion. Walleye are found in increasingly higher numbers with distance traveled uplake starting at Padre Bay.  Good Hope Bay is the best spot as long as there is some visibility in the muddy runoff water coming downstream.
Stripers are being caught on bait in the main channel starting at Buoy 3 and proceeding further uplake.  Pre-spawn stripers can be found in the backs of canyons where there is some color in the water. These fish can be caught on bait or by trolling, spooning and casting.  As spawning time gets closer, expect stripers to move from the backs of canyons out to main canyon walls where they will spawn on the surface after dark.  Over most of the lake, stripers can still be caught trolling. Locate a school on the graph and make repeated passes over the school holding at 30-40 feet deep.  Smaller lures (3-4 inches) work better in the south where few shad are found while 4-5 inch lures work where shad are more abundant. It is best to troll lures that run 10-15 feet deep or use down riggers at the same depth the school is seen on the graph.
Expect fishing to improve significantly as the weather warms and the wind quits this weekend.

Lake Powell Fish Report – April 18, 2018

Lake Elevation:  3610

Water temperature:  53-60 F

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

 

poolpano

 

 

 

 

Spawning Season

The bass spawn has been postponed due to cool windy weather.  It seems this happens every spring with bass moving shallow in early April only to be chased back into deep water as the water surface temperature cools back down with the next cold front. The forecast now is for warm weather to arrive this weekend and persist for the entire week. Therefore bass spawning will occur over the entire lake from April 20-27.  Crystal clear water is found over most of the main lake which will make sight fishing for bedding bass an amazing event. Expect to see male bass protecting a light colored fanned spot, 3 feet under the surface, on the green or brown lake bottom.  Once eggs are laid on the small rocks the male bass will protect those eggs from all predators including plastic baits.  On the first day or two after the spawn the guarding bass is overly aggressive, challenging everything that swims within sight. He will pick up plastic baits that settle on the rocks within the nest boundary and move it off the nest and drop it.  He can be caught many times and becomes less aggressive with time. The eggs hatch in about 5 days and the bass body guard stays with the bass fry that hatch and swim above the rocky nest site.

bassonbed

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The bass protector leaves the swimming fry and lets then swim away after a few days and goes back to the nest.  He then finds another ripe female, spawns again and starts the process over once more.  A male bass may bring off 4 or 5 successful spawns with 2-3,000 young bass per nest. 

It is a good idea to release all bass caught off nests until spawning season is over (June) so the next generation of bass can be propagated for the future.  The lake has not yet started to rise and remains amazingly clear.  It will be interesting to watch the natural spawning cycle even if you are not a fisherman.  Look for bass on primary and secondary points and in coves near the backs of canyons.

Walleye have now completed their early spring spawning season making them more available to be caught by anglers.  With such clear water it is best to target walleye during low light periods, morning and evening.  Standard walleye baits include bottom bouncers and worm harnesses and a live night crawler.  It is also possible to use a regular double or single tail bass plastic grub. The secret for success is to make sure that lure maintains bottom contact. Gently lift it off the bottom and then make sure it touches bottom again after each jigging motion. Walleye are found in increasingly higher numbers with distance traveled uplake starting at Padre Bay.  Good Hope Bay is the best spot as long as there is some visibility in the muddy runoff water coming downstream. 

Stripers are being caught on bait in the main channel starting at Buoy 3 and proceeding further uplake.  Pre-spawn stripers can be found in the backs of canyons where there is some color in the water. These fish can be caught on bait or by trolling, spooning and casting.  As spawning time gets closer, expect stripers to move from the backs of canyons out to main canyon walls where they will spawn on the surface after dark.  Over most of the lake, stripers can still be caught trolling. Locate a school on the graph and make repeated passes over the school holding at 30-40 feet deep.  Smaller lures (3-4 inches) work better in the south where few shad are found while 4-5 inch lures work where shad are more abundant. It is best to troll lures that run 10-15 feet deep or use down riggers at the same depth the school is seen on the graph. 

Expect fishing to improve significantly as the weather warms and the wind quits this weekend.

 

April 11, 2018 - Special Request BG and GSF

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Attention Lake Powell Anglers
The Utah Division of Wildlife Resources and Brigham Young University are in the process of conducting a research project to better understand the relationships and/or threats invasive mussels may have on the fishery at Lake Powell and WE NEED YOUR HELP.
In order to better understand what the future holds and what we can do to maintain the great fishing at Lake Powell we need anglers to help us catch Bluegill and Green Sunfish from locations around the lake.
All you need to do is go fishing and catch bluegill and sunfish and bring them to the fish cleaning stations at Bullfrog or Wahweap from May 28th through June 2nd.
YOU CAN ALSO WIN PRIZES!  For every fish you bring us we will put your name into a drawing.
When:  May 28th through June 2nd. (10:00 am – Dark)
Where: Lake Powell (Bullfrog and Wahweap)
MORE INFORMATION AND ADDITIONAL DETAILS WILL BE POSTED PRIOR TO MAY 28TH

Attention Lake Powell Anglers

The Utah Division of Wildlife Resources and Brigham Young University are in the process of conducting a research project to better understand the relationships and/or threats invasive mussels may have on the fishery at Lake Powell and WE NEED YOUR HELP.

To better understand what the future holds and what we can do to maintain the great fishing at Lake Powell we need anglers to help us catch Bluegill and Green Sunfish from locations around the lake.  All you need to do is go fishing and catch bluegill and sunfish and bring them to the fish cleaning stations at Bullfrog or Wahweap from May 28th through June 2nd.  

YOU CAN ALSO WIN PRIZES!  For every fish you bring us we will put your name into a drawing.

When:  May 28th through June 2nd. (10:00 am – Dark)

Where: Lake Powell (Bullfrog and Wahweap) 

MORE INFORMATION AND ADDITIONAL DETAILS WILL BE POSTED PRIOR TO MAY 28TH

 

April 11, 2018 - Bass spawn imminent

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Lake Powell Fish Report –April 11, 2018
Lake Elevation:  3611
Water temperature:  56 -62 F
By: Wayne Gustaveson   http://www.wayneswords.com
Based on the extreme water clarity found in Lake Powell last week we went further uplake to see what conditions prevailed.  Crystal clear water was found in Llewellyn Gulch and Cottonwood Canyon with 25 feet of visibility at the mouth of both canyons.  As we went further back in the canyon, water clarity declined to about 15 feet.  We then went up the San Juan and found clear water as well but not as extreme as found in main channel canyons.  In Piute and Neskahi water clarity was about 15 feet. It is likely that water clarity will decrease as water temperature warms and runoff begins.  Right now, fish are more likely to be caught in canyons and location where water clarity is less than 15 feet or if the bait is fished at depths greater than 30 feet. More fish can be caught during early morning and late evening when direct sunlight is blocked by high canyon walls.
Fishing results showed that smallmouth bass were active and healthy in all canyons sampled.  Water temperature on our trip ranged from 56-62 F, which is ideal for prespawn bass activity.  Only one fresh bass nest was seen on our trip and it appeared to be very recently fanned.  Bass spawning is imminent and can be expected to begin within the next week at a water temperature between 60 and 66. Sight fishing for bedding bass will peak from April 18 to 25th.  Expect to locate bass spawning beds in 3 feet of water in small-sized rocky areas rather than on sandy substrate. Largemouth beds will be in the same locations but will be near a bush, overhang or stickup.
A wide range of bass baits that worked well for us included, Senkos, Ned rigs, double tailed grubs, Chatterbaits, and Shad Shaped Worms.   Long casts were more effective than dropping the bait near fish seen swimming near the boat.  It was fun to watch bass, look at and interact with, the bait before turning away.  It was possible to watch how bass respond to our lures and learn from that moment.
Stripers were not often seen as they seem to be moving from locations occupied over the winter.  Those fishing with anchovies in the main channel saw their catch increase slightly as a few more fish were caught by each group than during the previous week.  Healthy, robust stripers that are going to spawn this year are heading to their prespawn locations where they hangout waiting for the rapid warming that triggers spawning.  That usually begins near May 10th and may continue until the first week of June.  Spawning fish are not feeding on shad but will eat plankton to keep them alive. This is an ideal time to catch big stripers on small lures or flies.  Fly fishing for stripers peaks in May at Lake Powell.
Walleye were not caught on this trip because we did not deploy bottom bouncers or tip our bass baits with a piece of night crawler.  Walleye catch will increase each week from now until the end of May. Slow down and maintain bottom contact with you favorite walleye lure.  I find that tipping a bass jig with a one inch chunk of bait makes me fish slower and target walleye instead of bass. Walleye are numerous now and willing to hit baits that enter their holding zone on main channel points and ledges. Fish for them in low light for best results. The ideal spot is a wind or wave induced mud line that covers the clear water and gives walleye a sense of security while they wait for food to swim by.
Spring is here. It is time to go fishing for warm water fish.

Lake Powell Fish Report –April 11, 2018

Lake Elevation:  3611

Water temperature:  56 - 62 F

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

Bass Grand Slam - Sam Sherwood

sslmbsj

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Based on the extreme water clarity found in Lake Powell last week we went further uplake to see what conditions prevailed.  Crystal clear water was found in Llewellyn Gulch and Cottonwood Canyon with 25 feet of visibility at the mouth of both canyons.  As we went further back in the canyon, water clarity declined to about 15 feet.  We then went up the San Juan and found clear water as well but not as extreme as found in main channel canyons.  In Piute and Neskahi water clarity was about 15 feet. It is likely that water clarity will decrease as water temperature warms and runoff begins.  Right now, fish are more likely to be caught in canyons and location where water clarity is less than 15 feet or if the bait is fished at depths greater than 30 feet. More fish can be caught during early morning and late evening when direct sunlight is blocked by high canyon walls.  

sssmbsj

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fishing results showed that smallmouth bass were active and healthy in all canyons sampled.  Water temperature on our trip ranged from 56-62 F, which is ideal for prespawn bass activity.  Only one fresh bass nest was seen on our trip and it appeared to be very recently fanned.  Bass spawning is imminent and can be expected to begin within the next week at a water temperature between 60 and 66. Sight fishing for bedding bass will peak from April 18 to 25th.  Expect to locate bass spawning beds in 3 feet of water in small-sized rocky areas rather than on sandy substrate. Largemouth beds will be in the same locations but will be near a bush, overhang or stickup.  

 

ssbcrap

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A wide range of bass baits that worked well for us included, Senkos, Ned rigs, double tailed grubs, Chatterbaits, and Shad Shaped Worms.   Long casts were more effective than dropping the bait near fish seen swimming near the boat.  It was fun to watch bass, look at and interact with, the bait before turning away.  It was possible to watch how bass respond to our lures and learn from that moment.

ssbassbed

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Stripers were not often seen as they seem to be moving from locations occupied over the winter.  Those fishing with anchovies in the main channel saw their catch increase slightly as a few more fish were caught by each group than during the previous week.  Healthy, robust stripers that are going to spawn this year are heading to their prespawn locations where they hangout waiting for the rapid warming that triggers spawning.  That usually begins near May 10th and may continue until the first week of June.  Spawning fish are not feeding on shad but will eat plankton to keep them alive. This is an ideal time to catch big stripers on small lures or flies.  Fly fishing for stripers peaks in May at Lake Powell. 

Walleye were not caught on this trip because we did not deploy bottom bouncers or tip our bass baits with a piece of night crawler.  Walleye catch will increase each week from now until the end of May. Slow down and maintain bottom contact with you favorite walleye lure.  I find that tipping a bass jig with a one inch chunk of bait makes me fish slower and target walleye instead of bass. Walleye are numerous now and willing to hit baits that enter their holding zone on main channel points and ledges. Fish for them in low light for best results. The ideal spot is a wind or wave induced mud line that covers the clear water and gives walleye a sense of security while they wait for food to swim by. Spring is here.

It is time to go fishing for warm water fish.

 

Bass habitat:

habsjbass

 

April 4, 2018 - Clear water in South

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Lake Powell Fish Report –April 4, 2018
Lake Elevation:  3612
Water temperature:  52 -58 F
By: Wayne Gustaveson   http://www.wayneswords.com
The warming trend faltered this past week and afternoon water temperatures dropped slightly from 60 degrees down to 57 while early morning temps were still in the low 50s.  Cooling slowed down bass that were starting to build spawning beds.  Bass will move back up and fan some more rocks later this week as the next warming trend arrives.
It was surprising to see the impact of cooling daytime water temperatures, dropping lake levels, combined with the presence of quagga mussels as visibility in the lake became clearer than ever witnessed in my long career.  We fished for bass in Friendship Cove only to find an aquatic petting zoo where the lake bottom could be seen at 25 feet throughout the entire cove.  Bass and other fish were seen swimming under the boat but few were caught due to water clarity.  My advice is to spend more time fishing for bass in deeper water (25-30 feet) or in canyons where visibility is 15 feet of less. In clear water, throw very long casts to prevent fish from seeing the boat before they have a chance to see the lure.  Recently, under the declining full moon, the very best bass fishing success was from 5 pm to dark when shadows were on the water. That is the warmest water of the day with water clarity reduced by shadows.
Walleye fishing has started in the northern lake.  One party captured 50 walleye over the past weekend fishing near Good Hope Bay.  Their technique was to cast Gulp minnows and Keitech swimbaits on 3/16 ounce jig heads on main lake points where bottom depth was 10-15 feet. The lures had to be retrieved very slowly for best results.  Expect walleye action to improve lakewide, each week through the rest of April and May.
Some crappie have been caught over the length of the lake.  They will be near a sunken bush or holding by an old cottonwood tree trunk. Brush is not abundant so it takes a lot of searching to find where they hangout.  More crappie are caught in the mid and northern lake.
Clear water is not a problem in the northern lake where runoff is starting to muddy the water from Hite down to the Horn. The channel is getting muddy but the backs of the canyons (White, Trachyte, Scorup, etc.) remain green with good fishing for bass, walleye and stripers.
Bait fishing is working now in the southern lake with stripers reportedly caught at the dam, power plant intake and on the first left turn after passing buoy 3 while heading up lake.  Number of stripers caught is not as many as last year when 20 or more fish were caught per boat. This year the average catch is 10 fish or less. It is important to be in the right spot where many fish can be caught while 20 yards away from the good spot no fish are caught.  Move around from spot to spot until the boat is centered over a school for best results.
I still go uplake and troll for stripers along the breaking edge of the shoreline where water depth changes quickly from 20 feet to 50 feet. Stripers can see and feel the trolled lure in the clear water and come up from 40-50 feet to hit the lure at 10 feet.  It is wise in the clear water to troll the lure at 200 feet or further to let the fish forget about the boat before seeing the lure.  This is more important in the southern clear lake than in the north where water clarity is less than 10 feet.
In the south, stripers are schooling in clear water along the main channel and in the murky water at the backs of canyons. The schools are now large, tight and easy to see on the graph instead of scattered in small bunches as they were over winter.   Once located, they can be caught by casting crankbaits, jigs, and spoons to their holding location.   More fish can be caught on lures uplake than on bait near the main channel.
Expect fishing success to improve with warm weather and falter as the wind and cool temperatures return. Watch the weather reports that are fairly accurate for about 10 days out.  Go fishing on the best weather days during April, when possible, to have the best success on your trip.

Lake Powell Fish Report –April 4, 2018

Lake Elevation:  3612

Water temperature:  52 -58 F

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

The warming trend faltered this past week and afternoon water temperatures dropped slightly from 60 degrees down to 57 while early morning temps were still in the low 50s.  Cooling slowed down bass that were starting to build spawning beds.  Bass will move back up and fan some more rocks later this week as the next warming trend arrives.

cromerojrChris Romero Jr

 

 

 

It was surprising to see the impact of cooling daytime water temperatures, dropping lake levels, combined with the presence of quagga mussels as visibility in the lake became clearer than ever witnessed in my long career.  We fished for bass in Friendship Cove only to find an aquatic petting zoo where the lake bottom could be seen at 25 feet throughout the entire cove.  Bass and other fish were seen swimming under the boat but few were caught due to water clarity.  My advice is to spend more time fishing for bass in deeper water (25-30 feet) or in canyons where visibility is 15 feet of less. In clear water, throw very long casts to prevent fish from seeing the boat before they have a chance to see the lure.  Recently, under the declining full moon, the very best bass fishing success was from 5 pm to dark when shadows were on the water. That is the warmest water of the day with water clarity reduced by shadows. 

Walleye fishing has started in the northern lake.  One party captured 50 walleye over the past weekend fishing near Good Hope Bay.  Their technique was to cast Gulp minnows and Keitech swimbaits on 3/16 ounce jig heads on main lake points where bottom depth was 10-15 feet. The lures had to be retrieved very slowly for best results.  Expect walleye action to improve lakewide, each week through the rest of April and May. 

 

 

ccrosbyChris Crosby

 

 


Some crappie have been caught over the length of the lake.  They will be near a sunken bush or holding by an old cottonwood tree trunk. Brush is not abundant so it takes a lot of searching to find where they hangout.  More crappie are caught in the mid and northern lake.     

Clear water is not a problem in the northern lake where runoff is starting to muddy the water from Hite down to the Horn. The channel is getting muddy but the backs of the canyons (White, Trachyte, Scorup, etc.) remain green with good fishing for bass, walleye and stripers.       

Bait fishing is working now in the southern lake with stripers reportedly caught at the dam, power plant intake and on the first left turn after passing buoy 3 while heading up lake.  Number of stripers caught is not as many as last year when 20 or more fish were caught per boat. This year the average catch is 10 fish or less. It is important to be in the right spot where many fish can be caught while 20 yards away from the good spot no fish are caught.  Move around from spot to spot until the boat is centered over a school for best results.

I still go uplake and troll for stripers along the breaking edge of the shoreline where water depth changes quickly from 20 feet to 50 feet. Stripers can see and feel the trolled lure in the clear water and come up from 40-50 feet to hit the lure at 10 feet.  It is wise in the clear water to troll the lure at 200 feet or further to let the fish forget about the boat before seeing the lure.  This is more important in the southern clear lake than in the north where water clarity is less than 10 feet.

graph4Striper School

 

 

 


In the south, stripers are schooling in clear water along the main channel and in the murky water at the backs of canyons. The schools are now large, tight and easy to see on the graph instead of scattered in small bunches as they were over winter.   Once located, they can be caught by casting crankbaits, jigs, and spoons to their holding location.  More fish can be caught on lures uplake than on bait near the main channel. 

Expect fishing success to improve with warm weather and falter as the wind and cool temperatures return. Watch the weather reports that are fairly accurate for about 10 days out.  Go fishing on the best weather days during April, when possible, to have the best success on your trip.

 

March 28, 2018 - Clear water fishing improves

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Lake Powell Fish Report –March 28, 2018
Lake Elevation:  3612.74
Water temperature:  50 -56
By: Wayne Gustaveson   http://www.wayneswords.com
Many are wondering if stripers have moved into the main channel and are readily responding to anchovy bait.  Reports have been few, so I made the early morning trek to the dam to get a first hand report. It was cold and breezy and the boat near the buoy line had been there for an hour without success. It was reported that they caught 5 fish yesterday.  When stripers are abundant the average catch is 20 fish or more per boat.  So far this spring, numbers of stripers caught in the main channel have been few.  Further investigation took me to Buoy 3, Power Plant intake, and Buoy 9 with similar negative results.  Bait fishing gets better as the water warms but there are more stripers in the backs of canyons.  Best reports have been coming from Navajo, Gunsight, Last Chance and Rock Creek.
There was a major discover with travel further uplake.  Last week the hot spots were in colored water in the backs of canyons and the bite improved with warming.  This week the water temperature was still 50 degrees in the morning but it warmed quickly to 56 in the afternoon.  Fish response was surprising as stripers could be caught in crystal clear water trolling and spooning.  Trolling along the shoreline from Face Canyon to Gregory Butte and from West Canyon to Dove Canyon produced a great catch of 2-3 pound stripers.
If trolling, avoid the steep cliff walls with deep water near shore. Instead look for rocky points and humps and troll along the breaking edge where depth quickly changes from visible rock to deep water. Surprisingly, the water visibility was over 25 feet.  I saw fish on the graph at 25 feet and looked over the side of the boat and saw the actual fish.  Of course, they could see me as well so the visit was short.  The positive result of clear water is that stripers holding at 40-50 feet could see our trolled lures trolled at 12 feet and come up quickly to investigate.  The Buoy 25 cove is like a nature observatory where stripers can be seen swimming at depth on some days.
While trolling, watch the graph for striper schools holding on the bottom or swimming suspended under the boat. If the school is suspended just keep trolling because the deep fish are likely to come up and hit the shallow trolled lures. If the school is resting on the bottom (30-50 feet) then toss out a floating marker or hit the waypoint on the graph so you can return to the resting school and try spoons dropped right into the school. Both of these techniques worked well on this trip.
Fishing success has increased significantly this week.  Warming is still the trigger to watch.  Expect water temperature to rise this week so it is important to note early morning temperature as you leave the dock and then expect fishing success to improve as the water warms 3 degrees or more.
Fishing for bass is improving as well. On this trip a white grub tossed into clear water of a dry wash stream channel framed between two high cliff walls resulted in the catch of a 2.5 pound smallmouth bass and some smaller bass.  Bass are becoming more active and will be hiding in brushy cover for largemouth and rocky cover for smallmouth.  Bass were not caught trolling but were more likely to respond to plastic baits fished on bottom near rocky points and brush.  It is necessary to throw long casts in clear water while short casts can be effective in murky water in the backs of canyons.
Expect bass to come shallow and start fanning nests next week if the weather continues to warm. If it stays cold then nest building will be postponed a week or two.  Historically bass spawning begins the 3rd week of April but nest building starts as early as the first week of April.
Walleye have not turned on yet as they need another week or two to complete the spawning process. Expect walleye fishing to improve dramatically mid April.  Bluegill and catfish will spawn in May and June.
Spring is here.  It’s time for anglers to come and enjoy great fishing and beat the summer crowds.

Lake Powell Fish Report –March 28, 2018

Lake Elevation:  3612.74

Water temperature:  50-56

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

jishsmith

 

 

 

Josh Smith with Warm Creek striper.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Many are wondering if stripers have moved into the main channel and are readily responding to anchovy bait.  Reports have been few, so I made the early morning trek to the dam to get a first hand report. It was cold and breezy and the boat near the buoy line had been there for an hour without success. It was reported that they caught 5 fish yesterday.  When stripers are abundant the average catch is 20 fish or more per boat.  So far this spring, numbers of stripers caught in the main channel have been few.  Further investigation took me to Buoy 3, Power Plant intake, and Buoy 9 with similar negative results.  Bait fishing gets better as the water warms but there are more stripers in the backs of canyons.  Best reports have been coming from Navajo, Gunsight, Last Chance and Rock Creek. 

 

 

buoy25




Buoy 25 Cove

 

 

 

 

 

 

There was a major discover with travel further uplake.  Last week the hot spots were in colored water in the backs of canyons and the bite improved with warming.  This week the water temperature was still 50 degrees in the morning but it warmed quickly to 56 in the afternoon.  Fish response was surprising as stripers could be caught in crystal clear water trolling and spooning.  Trolling along the shoreline from Face Canyon to Gregory Butte and from West Canyon to Dove Canyon produced a great catch of 2-3 pound stripers.  

If trolling, avoid the steep cliff walls with deep water near shore. Instead look for rocky points and humps and troll along the breaking edge where depth quickly changes from visible rock to deep water. Surprisingly, the water visibility was over 25 feet.  I saw stripers on the graph at 25 feet and looked over the side of the boat and saw the actual fish.  Of course, they could see me as well so the visit was short.  The positive result of clear water is that stripers holding at 40-50 feet could see our trolled lures trolled at 12 feet and come up quickly to investigate.  The Buoy 25 cove is like a nature observatory where stripers can be seen swimming at depth on some days. 

While trolling, watch the graph for striper schools holding on the bottom or swimming suspended under the boat. If the school is suspended just keep trolling because the deep fish are likely to come up and hit the shallow trolled lures. If the school is resting on the bottom (30-50 feet) then toss out a floating marker or hit the waypoint on the graph so you can return to the resting school and try spoons dropped right into the school. Both of these techniques worked well on this trip.  

 

graphshad

 

 

 

Suspended shad schools 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fishing success has increased significantly this week.  Warming is still the trigger to watch.  Expect water temperature to rise this week so it is important to note early morning temperature as you leave the dock and then expect fishing success to improve as the water warms 3 degrees or more. 

Fishing for bass is improving as well. On this trip a white grub tossed into clear water of a dry wash stream channel framed between two high cliff walls resulted in the catch of a 2.5 pound smallmouth bass and some smaller bass.  Bass are becoming more active and will be hiding in brushy cover for largemouth and rocky cover for smallmouth.  Bass were not caught trolling but were more likely to respond to plastic baits fished on bottom near rocky points and brush.  It is necessary to throw long casts in clear water while short casts can be effective in murky water in the backs of canyons.  

Expect bass to come shallow and start fanning nests next week if the weather continues to warm. If it stays cold then nest building will be postponed a week or two.  Historically bass spawning begins the 3rd week of April but nest building starts as early as the first week of April. 

Walleye have not turned on yet as they need another week or two to complete the spawning process. Expect walleye fishing to improve dramatically mid April.  Bluegill and catfish will spawn in May and June.    

Spring is here.  It’s time for anglers to come and enjoy great fishing and beat the summer crowds.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 28 March 2018 10:06
 

March 21, 2018 - Afternoon Warming

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Lake Powell Fish Report –March 21, 2018
Lake Elevation:  3613.6
Water temperature:  50 - 54
By: Wayne Gustaveson   http://www.wayneswords.com
Water temperature today (49.6F) was essentially the same as found last week.  Therefore, it seemed the results of our weekly trip would be similar to last week while fishing in the back of a major canyon with cloudy water to find active cooperative fish. The choices heading upstream from Wahweap included, Warm Creek, Navajo, Gunsight, Last Chance, West Canyon, and Rock Creek.  All have been moderately productive recently.
The first stop was in deep water (90 feet) where a few fish traces were seen holding tight to the bottom. Spoons were deployed and one was bumped but no fish were caught, so we moved on.  Few fish were seen on the graph at bottom depth of 50-80 feet.  We then moved to the back of the canyon trolling the shoreline rocky points with Lucky Craft XD pointers in chartreuse shad and ghost colors.  Catching was slow until we crossed one rocky point where the water depth changed quickly from 40 to 25 feet.  A striper school was graphed on top of the shallow ridge with two quick hookups as our lures crossed the ridge.  The school followed the two hooked fish so spoons were dropped and more fish were caught. After that fishing was again slow as the school left the ridge and did not return. For the rest of the morning a few random stripers were caught trolling with the most productive bottom depth being 20-30 feet. After lunch 2 anglers had 15 stripers in the ice chest. Two more side canyons were trolled after lunch without success except for one random walleye caught trolling. It seemed we might as well return to Wahweap.
We returned to the first spot to tell some friends that we were returning to Wahweap. They looked at us like we were crazy. We took the hint and tried fishing the back of the canyon once more with completely different results. Stripers hit trolled lures with aggression. If the school was on the bottom, spoons were whacked with passion. When one fish was reeled in the whole school followed and more fish could be caught by casting lures in any direction.  After each fish was landed we just glanced at the graph to see where the school was holding and at what depth before choosing which lure to use next.  In the next hour our catch increased to 40 stripers.
What was the difference?  Water temperature increased from 50 in the morning to 53 in the afternoon. Warming caused a complete change in attitude from the same fish.  Temperature increase to 53 is the first hurdle but a larger increase to 57 and above is the key to catching warm water fish in the springtime.
Back at the fish cleaning station the walleye was examined and found to be prespawn. The walleye spawn is not yet over so do not expect walleye catching to pick up until mid April.
Other anglers at the cleaning station reported good afternoon fishing in Navajo and Warm Creek where stripers were caught trolling in murky water at the back of the canyon.  I was glad to hear that smallmouth bass were caught in good numbers on Yamamoto creature baits in clear water coves in Navajo. There was also a second hand report that bait fishermen had caught stripers at the dam over the weekend.
In summary, fishing results improve dramatically as the water temperature increases each day. Catching is usually better in the afternoon than morning or mid day. Water warms first on the surface so fish tend to go shallower when seeking warmth and feeding opportunities.   Expect fish movement as the day progresses.  Expect better results by fishing in the backs of canyons in greenish gray colored water rather than in clear, deep water of main channel and bays. The fish caught had empty stomachs except for smaller stripers that were eating plankton in open water.  Fish that we caught remembered what shad looked like as they ate our lures.  Bait fishing is probably working well but was not tried on this trip.

Lake Powell Fish Report –March 21, 2018

Lake Elevation:  3613.6

Water temperature:  50 - 54

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

wgwaeps

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Water temperature today (49.6F) was essentially the same as found last week.  Therefore, it seemed the results of our weekly trip would be similar to last week while fishing in the back of a major canyon with cloudy water to find active cooperative fish. The choices heading upstream from Wahweap included, Warm Creek, Navajo, Gunsight, Last Chance, West Canyon, and Rock Creek.  All have been moderately productive recently.  

greengrayh20





Green Gray colored water

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The first stop was in deep water (90 feet) where a few fish traces were seen holding tight to the bottom. Spoons were deployed and one was bumped but no fish were caught, so we moved on.  Few fish were seen on the graph at bottom depth of 50-80 feet.  We then moved to the back of the canyon trolling the shoreline rocky points with Lucky Craft XD pointers in chartreuse shad and ghost colors.  Catching was slow until we crossed one rocky point where the water depth changed quickly from 40 to 25 feet.  A striper school was graphed on top of the shallow ridge with two quick hookups as our lures crossed the ridge.  The school followed the two hooked fish so spoons were dropped and more fish were caught. After that fishing was again slow as the school left the ridge and did not return. For the rest of the morning a few random stripers were caught trolling with the most productive bottom depth being 20-30 feet. After lunch 2 anglers had 15 stripers in the ice chest. Two more side canyons were trolled after lunch without success except for one random walleye caught trolling. It seemed we might as well return to Wahweap.

We returned to the first spot to tell some friends that we were returning to Wahweap. They looked at us like we were crazy. We took the hint and tried fishing the back of the canyon once more with completely different results. Stripers hit trolled lures with aggression. If the school was on the bottom, spoons were whacked with passion. When one fish was reeled in the whole school followed and more fish could be caught by casting lures in any direction.  After each fish was landed we just glanced at the graph to see where the school was holding and at what depth before choosing which lure to use next.  In the next hour our catch increased to 40 stripers. 

graphpm 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What was the difference?  Water temperature increased from 50 in the morning to 53 in the afternoon. Warming caused a complete change in attitude from the same fish.  Temperature increase to 53 is the first hurdle but a larger increase to 57 and above is the key to catching warm water fish in the springtime.  

Back at the fish cleaning station the walleye was examined and found to be prespawn. The walleye spawn is not yet over so do not expect walleye catching to pick up until mid April. 

Other anglers at the cleaning station reported good afternoon fishing in Navajo and Warm Creek where stripers were caught trolling in murky water at the back of the canyon.  I was glad to hear that smallmouth bass were caught in good numbers on Yamamoto creature baits in clear water coves in Navajo.

There was also a second hand report that bait fishermen had caught stripers at the dam over the weekend.   

In summary, fishing results improve dramatically as the water temperature increases each day. Catching is usually better in the afternoon than morning or mid day. Water warms first on the surface so fish tend to go shallower when seeking warmth and feeding opportunities.   Expect fish movement as the day progresses.  Expect better results by fishing in the backs of canyons in greenish gray colored water rather than in clear, deep water of main channel and bays. The fish caught had empty stomachs except for smaller stripers that were eating plankton in open water.  Fish that we caught remembered what shad looked like as they ate our lures.  Bait fishing is probably working well but was not tried on this trip.

stgwaecooler

Last Updated on Wednesday, 21 March 2018 11:00
 

March 13, 2018 - Warming Begins

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Lake Powell Fish Report –March 13, 2018
Lake Elevation:  3614.63
Water temperature:  50-55
By: Wayne Gustaveson   http://www.wayneswords.com
Warming is slowly happening but there is a long way to go. Today the early morning water temperature finally registered at 50 F.  Temperatures have consistently been below 50 for first two weeks of March. However, on warm, calm March afternoons, water temperature may rise to 55 degrees in isolated spots which can quickly be erased with the slightest light breeze. The end result is that warm water fish are still hunkered down waiting for the 60-70 degree water they crave.
Fishing is slow in cold water but still worth it.  The bass tournament held at Bullfrog over the weekend is a good example.  Bass fishing was slow but after many casts and covering much shoreline the end results were terrific.  Bass anglers really like to catch big largemouth bass and they did. The winning weight for the team with the heaviest 10 fish in the 2-day event was 38 pounds (3.8 pounds average per fish). Individually, largemouth bass weighing 4, 5 and 6 pounds were caught.  Bass anglers pounded the shoreline and found bass on the main outside points more often than in the very backs of the coves. Colored water was better than clear water. Best baits were Yamamoto Senkos and single and double tail plastic baits fished slowly along the bottom and near brushy cover.
Stripers are acting a bit confused with warming water as well.  Schools have been in deep water resting on the bottom in 60 to 100 feet most of the winter. These deep fish were catchable on spoons but recently the schools have moved to new, unknown locations.  Some stripers have recently been found in 15-40 feet in the backs of canyons with significant water color. Shallow stripers can be caught sporadically while trolling and casting lures that dive from 7-20 feet. My best lure is the LC Pointer XD 78 in chartreuse shad color that dives 10-12 feet. Others have been successful with Norman deep divers (20 feet) in chartreuse color.  Like bass anglers, striper chasers have to cover a lot of water to catch a few fish.
While trolling we have seen many striper groups (not schools) normally resting on the breaking edge where depth quickly drops from 15 to 30 or 40 feet.  We caught stripers most consistently after retracing our trolling route back to where the first fish was caught.  The next fish often hit right where the first fish was caught near a ledge, boulder or depth change. Trolling in the back of the canyon in a circular pattern was better than trolling in a straight line in open water.  We stopped on many striper groups and dropped spoons which were ignored.
The message here is to try many different options at the beginning of the day. Eliminate those techniques that are not working and concentrate on those that catch stripers.  We graph, troll, cast and spoon in each spot trying to find the best technique for the day and then concentrate on the one that works. It is best to have different 3 rods rigged with spoons, plastic grubs and crankbaits so the terminal tackle does not have to be retied at each new cove or bay. There are many striper schools that have not been located so they may be found somewhere between the deep water where they spent the winter and the backs of canyon where more shad can be found. Please report new striper information and I will continue to report the results of my fishing events.  As of now, no reports have been received about stripers being caught on bait in the main channel.  All reported striper activity is in the backs of canyons in colored water. That may change but for now look for stripers in the canyons. The best news is that the vast majority of stripers are fat and healthy.  Those fish normally stay in the canyons while thin fish head for the channel. Fat healthy fish are harder to find and catch but are a great prize when found.
Some walleye have begun to spawn now with slight warming but the main spawning event is still to come. Expect walleye to be caught in larger numbers beginning in April. That catch will peak in May.
Largemouth bass are catchable with consistent effort on main canyon points. Smallmouth bass are still mostly dormant with a short flurry of activity on a warm afternoon when water temperature exceeds 57 degrees. Catfish and bluegill are waiting for warmer water before joining in on the fun.

Lake Powell Fish Report –March 13, 2018

Lake Elevation:  3614.63

Water temperature:  50-55

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

mardiwhitniMardi, Whitni and Brett Hepworth

 

 

Warming is slowly happening but there is a long way to go. Today the early morning water temperature finally registered at 50 F.  Temperatures have consistently been below 50 for first two weeks of March. However, on warm, calm March afternoons, water temperature may rise to 55 degrees in isolated spots which can quickly be erased with the slightest light breeze. The end result is that warm water fish are still hunkered down waiting for the 60-70 degree water they crave. Fishing is slow in cold water but still worth it. 

The bass tournament held at Bullfrog over the weekend is a good example.  Bass fishing was slow but after many casts and covering much shoreline the end results were terrific.  Bass anglers really like to catch big largemouth bass and they did. The winning weight for the team with the heaviest 10 fish in the 2-day event was 38 pounds (3.8 pounds average per fish). Individually, largemouth bass weighing 4, 5 and 6 pounds were caught.  Bass anglers pounded the shoreline and found bass on the main outside points more often than in the very backs of the coves. Colored water was better than clear water. Best baits were Yamamoto Senkos and single and double tail plastic baits fished slowly along the bottom and near brushy cover. 

xdpointer_edited-1   

XD Pointer Chartruese Shad

 

Stripers are acting a bit confused with warming water as well.  Schools have been in deep water resting on the bottom in 60 to 100 feet most of the winter. These deep fish were catchable on spoons but recently the schools have moved to new, unknown locations.  Some stripers have recently been found in 15-40 feet in the backs of canyons with significant water color. Shallow stripers can be caught sporadically while trolling and casting lures that dive from 7-20 feet. My best lure is the LC Pointer XD 78 in chartreuse shad color that dives 10-12 feet. Others have been successful with Norman deep divers (20 feet) in chartreuse color. 

normandd22

Like bass anglers, striper chasers have to cover a lot of water to catch a few fish. While trolling we have seen many striper groups (not schools) normally resting on the breaking edge where depth quickly drops from 15 to 30 or 40 feet.  We caught stripers most consistently after retracing our trolling route back to where the first fish was caught.  The next fish often hit right where the first fish was caught near a ledge, boulder or depth change. Trolling in the back of the canyon in a circular pattern was better than trolling in a straight line in open water.  We stopped on many striper groups and dropped spoons which were ignored.  

                                                                                                                                                                                                                 

The message here is to try many different options at the beginning of the day. Eliminate those techniques that are not working and concentrate on those that catch stripers.  We graph, troll, cast and spoon in each spot trying to find the best technique for the day and then concentrate on the one that works. It is best to have different 3 rods rigged with spoons, plastic grubs and crankbaits so the terminal tackle does not have to be retied at each new cove or bay. There are many striper schools that have not been located so they may be found somewhere between the deep water where they spent the winter and the backs of canyon where more shad can be found. Please report new striper information and I will continue to report the results of my fishing events. As of now, no reports have been received about stripers being caught on bait in the main channel.  All reported striper activity is in the backs of canyons in colored water. That may change but for now look for stripers in the canyons. The best news is that the vast majority of stripers are fat and healthy.  Those fish normally stay in the canyons while thin fish head for the channel. Fat healthy fish are harder to find and catch but are a great prize when found.   

Some walleye have begun to spawn now with slight warming but the main spawning event is still to come. Expect walleye to be caught in larger numbers beginning in April. That catch will peak in May. 

Largemouth bass are catchable with consistent effort on main canyon points. Smallmouth bass are still mostly dormant with a short flurry of activity on a warm afternoon when water temperature exceeds 57 degrees. Catfish and bluegill are waiting for warmer water before joining in on the fun.

 

March 7, 2018 - Welcome Back!

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Lake Powell Fish Report –March 7, 2018
Lake Elevation:  3615
Water temperature:  47-52
By: Wayne Gustaveson   http://www.wayneswords.com
Welcome back to the weekly fish reports from Lake Powell. 2017 was a banner year with high water levels that covered shoreline vegetation and provided extensive habitat for both predators and prey fish. Young fish survived in big numbers and these fat healthy fish will awake and become active as soon as Lake Powell water temperature rises above the 54-57 range.  “Warm water” fish residing in Lake Powell really do like warmer water better than the 47-50 F water they are now enduring. Here is what is happening with fish in the cold conditions.
Walleye begin spawning in March, which actually makes them harder to catch because they focus on spawning instead of eating.  After the spawn is over in April walleye start to feed regularly and often.
Striped bass have been resting on the bottom in deep water but with warming they will get more active and pursue shad wherever they can find them from the 100 foot depths to the shallow shoreline. Expect lots more movement by stripers with warming water in March.
Largemouth bass get very active in March with the first hint of warming (53 F). Their cousins, smallmouth bass don’t really get active until the water temperature exceeds 57 but they will not have to wait long for that comfort zone.
Catfish, bluegill, and crappie wait until April before starting their spring feeding ritual.
As this report is written the weather forecast shows a quick warming period coming this weekend. That means most fish will respond to warming weather in a certain fashion.  Clear blue water is beautiful but does not retain the warmth of the sun as well as colored water. The first positive fish response will be in the backs of canyons where water is cloudy or murky.  Just watch the water color while heading to the back of the canyon. Do not start fishing until the clear water gives way to murky and visibility decreases to less than 5 feet.  If you can see the bottom at 20-25 feet you are in the wrong spot.
Striped bass have been the most active fish over the winter and that will continue through March. Travel to the back of any major canyon. When water color change is seen, start graphing the bottom at 100 feet or less looking for 2-3 fish traces to show.  This winter most fish seen in deep water on the graph have been stripers. Drop spoons as quickly and close as possible to the fish traces seen. Jig the spoons up about 18 inches and let them fall back to the bottom to imitate shad and entice stripers to bite. You may get lucky and catch fish on the first drop.  If not, move on to the second best technique which is trolling.
After stripers quit resting on the bottom they head to the back of the canyon looking for food.  They are seen on the graph as individuals or small groups of 5-10 fish. Note the depth and then deploy trolling lures that run close to the holding depth.  Most flat line trolling lures are only effect down to 25 feet. If fish traces are deeper, then downriggers are a better option.  If fish traces are shallower than 20 feet then casting to the shoreline may be better than trolling.
Largemouth and smallmouth bass reside in brush or rocky structure.  A good plan is to target stripers in the cool March morning and then switch to bass as water temperature rises 2 degrees or more.  Rising water temperature triggers bass activity. If water temperature is 52 at dawn and then rises to 54, bass respond.   If morning water temperature is 57 and then rises to 60, bass behave in a similar fashion. Warming is the trigger.
Look for bass by checking water temperature. Sometimes similar coves on one side of the lake may be 2-3 degrees cooler than similar coves on the other side.  Target the warmer coves. A large sandstone boulder facing the morning sun might warm the water near the rock and attract bass into the cove.
This report purposely covers general patterns rather than specific locations.  We have found during the winter that a good trip to one canyon is followed by a mediocre result on the return trip. Time of day has been important but randomly swings between morning and afternoon. Now as temperature is warming fishing results will become more predictable and dependable.  The first hour of daylight is another trigger but warming is the better indicator in March.  Afternoons and evenings are best in March.
It is my prediction that bait fishing for stripers along main channel walls (Dam, Buoy 3, Moki Wall etc.) will not be as successful as it most years. Physical condition of striped bass is exceptional now due to the strong shad crop produced in 2017.  Fat healthy stripers tend to stay in the backs of canyons rather than moving to the main channel walls looking for forage.  You may try fishing bait in an old hotspot but if it does not produce then move to the back of a nearby canyon and try trolling, spooning, and casting for a better result.
When your trip is completed please share your fishing experience with us on Wayneswords.com.  That way we can give each other hints on fishing success at this huge lake. If you share your results it helps the next person to fish in your spot.  Then when you return in a month or two you can have the same advantage by reading a fish report on where you should try as you return.

Lake Powell Fish Report –March 7, 2018

Lake Elevation:  3615

Water temperature:  47-52

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

fatstbwg

Welcome back to the weekly fish reports from Lake Powell. 2017 was a banner year with high water levels that covered shoreline vegetation and provided extensive habitat for both predators and prey fish. Young fish survived in big numbers and these fat healthy fish will awake and become active as soon as Lake Powell water temperature rises above the 54-57 range.  “Warm water” fish residing in Lake Powell really do like warmer water better than the 47-50 F water they are now enduring. Here is what is happening with fish in the cold conditions.

Walleye begin spawning in March, which actually makes them harder to catch because they focus on spawning instead of eating.  After the spawn is over in April walleye start to feed regularly and often. 

Striped bass have been resting on the bottom in deep water but with warming they will get more active and pursue shad wherever they can find them from the 100 foot depths to the shallow shoreline. Expect lots more movement by stripers with warming water in March. 

Largemouth bass get very active in March with the first hint of warming (53 F). Their cousins, smallmouth bass don’t really get active until the water temperature exceeds 57 but they will not have to wait long for that comfort zone.   

Catfish, bluegill, and crappie wait until April before starting their spring feeding ritual. 

As this report is written the weather forecast shows a quick warming period coming this weekend. That means most fish will respond to warming weather in a certain fashion.  Clear blue water is beautiful but does not retain the warmth of the sun as well as colored water. The first positive fish response will be in the backs of canyons where water is cloudy or murky.  Just watch the water color while heading to the back of the canyon. Do not start fishing until the clear water gives way to murky and visibility decreases to less than 5 feet.  If you can see the bottom at 20-25 feet you are in the wrong spot. 

Striped bass have been the most active fish over the winter and that will continue through March. Travel to the back of any major canyon. When water color change is seen, start graphing the bottom at 100 feet or less looking for 2-3 fish traces to show.  This winter most fish seen in deep water on the graph have been stripers. Drop spoons as quickly and close as possible to the fish traces seen. Jig the spoons up about 18 inches and let them fall back to the bottom to imitate shad and entice stripers to bite. You may get lucky and catch fish on the first drop.  If not, move on to the second best technique which is trolling. 

After stripers quit resting on the bottom they head to the back of the canyon looking for food.  They are seen on the graph as individuals or small groups of 5-10 fish. Note the depth and then deploy trolling lures that run close to the holding depth.  Most flat line trolling lures are only effect down to 25 feet. If fish traces are deeper, then downriggers are a better option.  If fish traces are shallower than 20 feet then casting to the shoreline may be better than trolling.       

Largemouth and smallmouth bass reside in brush or rocky structure.  A good plan is to target stripers in the cool March morning and then switch to bass as water temperature rises 2 degrees or more.  Rising water temperature triggers bass activity. If water temperature is 52 at dawn and then rises to 54, bass respond.   If morning water temperature is 57 and then rises to 60, bass behave in a similar fashion. Warming is the trigger. 

Look for bass by checking water temperature. Sometimes similar coves on one side of the lake may be 2-3 degrees cooler than similar coves on the other side.  Target the warmer coves. A large sandstone boulder facing the morning sun might warm the water near the rock and attract bass into the cove.

This report purposely covers general patterns rather than specific locations.  We have found during the winter that a good trip to one canyon is followed by a mediocre result on the return trip. Time of day has been important but randomly swings between morning and afternoon. Now as temperature is warming fishing results will become more predictable and dependable.  The first hour of daylight is another trigger but warming is the better indicator in March.  Afternoons and evenings are best in March.  

It is my prediction that bait fishing for stripers along main channel walls (Dam, Buoy 3, Moki Wall etc.) will not be as successful as it most years. Physical condition of striped bass is exceptional now due to the strong shad crop produced in 2017.  Fat healthy stripers tend to stay in the backs of canyons rather than moving to the main channel walls looking for forage.  You may try fishing bait in an old hotspot but if it does not produce then move to the back of a nearby canyon and try trolling, spooning, and casting for a better result. 

When your trip is completed please share your fishing experience with us on Wayneswords.com.  That way we can give each other hints on fishing success at this huge lake. If you share your results it helps the next person to fish in your spot.  Then when you return in a month or two you can have the same advantage by reading a fish report on where you should try as you return.

 

Dana Andrus - with 7 pound winter caught striper.

danaandrus

Last Updated on Wednesday, 07 March 2018 08:52
 

February 6, 2018 - Warming and moving

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Lake Powell Fish Report – February 6, 2018
Lake Elevation: 3618
Water Temperature:  50-53 F
By: Wayne Gustaveson http://www.wayneswords.com
Warm weather makes it seem like Spring is upon us. Yesterday the water temperature was 50F when we started and over 53 degrees on the return trip. Surprisingly stripers responded unexpectedly to that warming.
I was so proud of the last report showing graph pictures of the complete feeding cycle from resting fish to super actively feeding fish resulting in a quick catch of stripers in Gunsight Canyon.   We headed out armed with that great information, headed to the same canyon, used the same techniques and – Struck Out!  Fishing is such fun because it is challenging.
We searched the deep bottom structure with the graph looking for the deep resting schools from 50-100 feet.  We saw one small bunch of fish and dropped spoons, catching one yearling striper, but that was the total catch. After trying the 3rd canyon in Padre Bay we made the choice between going back in or headed further uplake.   I am glad we made the choice to try Rock Creek.
We began by searching the same deep structure in the back of the canyon only to find stripers missing in action.  With that information we switched back to search mode which is to troll deep diving lures while watching the graph for a school to mark. If a school is seen, a floating marker is thrown overboard while we troll over the school to see if they will hit the trolled lures. If not, we go back to the floating marker and drop spoons on the resting school. Results were slim as we trolled the deep water until we passed over a shallow hump at 25 feet and hooked a nice striper. As that fish was retrieved and landed we saw a few more fish follow it to the boat. The spoons were deployed and the striper school was happy to feed on our shad-imitating spoons.   When the school left us we trolled Lucky Craft pointers in the 25 foot deep water, hooked a fish and then caught many more on spoons as the school followed the hooked fish under the boat. With 36 fish in the cooler we made the hour long run back to Wahweap.
At the fish cleaning station we found a few stripers had shad in the stomachs along with crayfish and plankton.  Then it was obvious that the change in catch rate over the last month was all about shad.  When shad were common we could catch 60 fish in 2 hours in deep water. As shad became scarce in deepwater the schools kept looking but not finding food.  Stripers are not as willing to hit spoons when they are eating plankton or crayfish. Bait works better in hard times. These schools then began searching shallow water as the temperature warmed and found that shad were again in shallow brushy water.
The moral of the story is to use all of your lures and expertise when searching for stripers in the winter.  They can be shallow, deep, or somewhere in between, but will be where the shad are.  Those locations can change quickly as striper schools move from deep to shallow water and back, in their relentless pursuit of shad who are moving to find a safe haven.
It was gratifying to find the answer to why stripers were not in deep water at the first stop.  My only regret was not trying to troll in shallow water at Gunsight. It is possible that we could have filled the cooler in the back of the first canyon instead of making the long run uplake.
That’s fishing!  In Lake Powell, striper fishing is more like hunting with a great reward when a cooperative school is located.  Oh, and the scenery is quite nice as well.

Lake Powell Fish Report – February 6, 2018

Lake Elevation: 3618

Water Temperature:  50-53 F

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

Warm weather makes it seem like Spring is upon us. Yesterday the water temperature was 50F when we started and over 53 degrees on the return trip. Air temperature was in the mid 60s.  Surprisingly stripers responded unexpectedly to that warming. 

I was so proud of the last report showing graph pictures of the complete feeding cycle from resting fish to super actively feeding fish resulting in a quick catch of stripers in Gunsight Canyon.   We headed out armed with that great information, headed to the same canyon, used the same techniques and – Struck Out!  Fishing is such fun because it is challenging.

We searched the deep bottom structure with the graph looking for the deep resting schools from 50-100 feet.  We saw one small bunch of fish and dropped our home made spoons, catching one yearling striper, but that was the total catch. After trying the 3rd canyon in Padre Bay we made the choice between going back in or headed further uplake.   I am glad we made the choice to try Rock Creek. 

nobspoon1We began by searching the same deep structure in the back of the canyon only to find stripers missing in action.  With that information we switched back to search mode which is to troll deep diving lures while watching the graph for a school to mark. If a school is seen, a floating marker is thrown overboard while we troll over the school to see if they will hit the trolled lures. If not, we go back to the floating marker and drop spoons on the resting school. Results were slim as we trolled the deep water until we passed over a shallow hump at 25 feet and hooked a nice striper. As that fish was retrieved and landed we saw a few more fish follow it to the boat. The spoons were deployed and the striper school was happy to feed on our shad-imitating spoons.   When the school left us we trolled Lucky Craft pointers in the 25 foot deep water, hooked a fish and then caught many more on spoons as the school followed the hooked fish under the boat. With 36 fish in the cooler we made the hour long run back to Wahweap.

At the fish cleaning station we found a few stripers had shad in the stomachs along with crayfish and plankton.  Then it was obvious that the change in catch rate over the last month was all about shad.  When shad were common we could catch 60 fish in 2 hours in deep water. As shad became scarce in deepwater the striper schools kept looking but not finding food.  Stripers are not as willing to hit spoons when they are eating plankton or crayfish. Bait works better in hard times. These schools then began searching shallow water as the temperature warmed and found that shad were again in shallow brushy water.

The moral of the story is to use all of your lures and expertise when searching for stripers in the winter.  They can be shallow, deep, or somewhere in between, but will be where the shad are.  Those locations can change quickly as striper schools move from deep to shallow water and back, in their relentless pursuit of shad who are moving to find a safe haven.  

It was gratifying to find the answer to why stripers were not in deep water at the first stop.  My only regret was not trying to troll in shallow water at Gunsight. It is possible that we could have filled the cooler in the back of the first canyon instead of making the long run uplake. 

That’s fishing!  In Lake Powell, striper fishing is more like hunting with a great reward when a cooperative school is located.  Oh, and the scenery is quite nice as well.

fr26

Last Updated on Tuesday, 06 February 2018 09:54
 
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