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July 23, 2014 - Fishing Observatory

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Lake Powell Fishing Report
July 23, 2014
Lake Elevation: 3609
Water Temperature 77-85 F
By: Wayne Gustaveson
Fishing is good at Lake Powell but for best results go NORTH.  Water is now clearing in Good
Hope Bay all the way to Trachyte. Surface action continues but boils are seen only sporadically.  Trolling and spooning will put more fish in the boat but it is hard to beat the adrenaline rush provided by a school of stripers thrashing on the surface.  With surface temperatures exceeding 80 degrees it is much more likely to catch juvenile stripers on top. The bigger fish are forced into deep water and can be caught on deep trolling lures.  For the Very Best results fish at night with a green a light near the marinas and houseboats fields to catch copious quantities of stripers.
Fishing out of Wahweap is challenging with warm surface temperatures and lots of boating activity.  These fish have not returned to the surface since full moon. Stripers can be caught trolling in the shade of the main channel cliffs early in the morning.   The area from Buoy 25 upstream to Wetherill is the most productive.  Early morning and late evening are the best times with mid day being a better time for swimming and recreating.
Smallmouth bass fishing is improving but bass are located further off shore and in deeper water than expected.  The best depth to catch larger smallmouth bass is 25 feet.  It is also possible to catch smallmouth trolling along the shoreline at a bottom depth of 15-25 feet.  There are some shad along the edge of the canyons and coves but stripers have slurped up a high percentage of larval shad already.  Smallmouth are more than willing to chase shad along the shore which makes them vulnerable to crankbaits trolled or cast in open water.
Water conditions have opened up a new event in which all can participate.  There are many long, deep-channel coves that have flooded cattails, tumbleweeds and tamarisk trees. Many species of fish have moved into the weedy coves and are easy to see in the clear water.  A boat, paddle board, or floating device puts one in range of the fish picture show.  It is reminiscent of a nature preserve. Bluegill are the most common fish seen with many spread randomly through the weeds.  School of shad swim in tight bunches of 50-100 fish.  Not far away will be a few larger bass trying to ambush the shad school.  Lurking on the perimeter of the weeds will be striped bass waiting for the opportunity to rush into the cove and chase shad.  Spend an hour watching the natural fish exhibit while camped on the lake.
Catfish are perhaps the easiest fish to catch now. They can be caught near camp on the sandy beaches.  But for best results try the backs of long narrow canyons much like Navajo, Last chance, and San Juan.  Most of the shallow water near the end of the canyon will be very murky.  Anchor in 10-15 feet of water in the back of the canyon and use chicken liver or similar smelly bait to catch catfish all day and all night long.
There is always some fishing activity going on at Lake Powell, even in the hottest part of summer.

Lake Powell Fishing Report

July 23, 2014

Lake Elevation: 3609

Water Temperature 77-85 F

By: Wayne Gustaveson  

http://www.wayneswords.com

July 25 - Big Striper Boils reported all afternoon near the Horn - Buoy 129

austinkFishing is good at Lake Powell but for best results go NORTH.  Water is now clearing in GoodHope Bay all the way to Trachyte. Surface action continues but boils are seen only sporadically.  Trolling and spooning will put more fish in the boat but it is hard to beat the adrenaline rush provided by a school of stripers thrashing on the surface.  With surface temperatures exceeding 80 degrees it is much more likely to catch juvenile stripers on top. The bigger fish are forced into deep water and can be caught on deep trolling lures.  For the Very Best results fish at night with a green a light near the marinas and houseboats fields to catch copious quantities of stripers.

 
Fishing out of Wahweap is challenging with warm surface temperatures and lots of boating activity.  These fish have not returned to the surface since full moon. Stripers can be caught trolling in the shade of the main channel cliffs early in the morning.   The area from Buoy 25 upstream to Wetherill is the most productive.  Early morning and late evening are the best times with mid day being a better time for swimming and recreating. 

Smallmouth bass fishing is improving but bass are located further off shore and in deeper water than expected.  The best depth to catch larger smallmouth bass is 25 feet.  It is also possible to catch smallmouth trolling along the shoreline at a bottom depth of 15-25 feet.  There are some shad along the edge of the canyons and coves but stripers have slurped up a high percentage of larval shad already.  Smallmouth are more than willing to chase shad along the shore which makes them vulnerable to crankbaits trolled or cast in open water. 

shadcattailsWater conditions have opened up a new event in which all can participate.  There are many long, deep-channel coves that have flooded cattails, tumbleweeds and tamarisk trees. Many species of fish have moved into the weedy coves and are easy to see in the clear water.  A boat, paddle board, or floating device puts one in range of the fish picture show.  It is reminiscent of a nature preserve. Bluegill are the most common fish seen with many spread randomly through the weeds.  School of shad swim in tight bunches of 50-100 fish.  Not far away will be a few larger bass trying to ambush the shad school.  Lurking on the perimeter of the weeds will be striped bass waiting for the opportunity to rush into the cove and chase shad.  Spend an hour watching the natural fish exhibit while camped on the lake.  

catboyCatfish are perhaps the easiest fish to catch now. They can be caught near camp on the sandy beaches.  But for best results try the backs of long narrow canyons much like Navajo, Last chance, and San Juan.  Most of the shallow water near the end of the canyon will be very murky.  Anchor in 10-15 feet of water in the back of the canyon and use chicken liver or similar smelly bait to catch catfish all day and all night long.  

There is always some fishing activity going on at Lake Powell, even in the hottest part of summer.

Last Updated on Friday, 25 July 2014 09:42
 

July 16, 2014 - Summer outlook

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Lake Powell Fishing Report
July 16, 2014
Lake Elevation: 3609
Water Temperature 77-85 F
By: Wayne Gustaveson
Lake Powell remains at the high water peak of 3609 MSL but has started its annual decline. The bright side of this picture is that brush and drift wood cluttered camping and recreational beaches will become pristine for the rest of the summer as water level declines. The slow decline will stabilize fishing success and set the stage for awesome topwater fishing during the rest of July and August.  There is just enough submerged brush in the water to harbor shad and protect them while they grow larger.  Watch the lake level closely when planning a summer boil trip.  Brush comes out of the water when lake elevation hits 3603.  That will be the peak of the top water fishing season as shad and stripers come together on equal footing when brush is no longer available to protect shad.  Water level from 3603-3605 MSL should be the ideal time to catch bass and stripers on surface lures.
The super moon was great to look at but all fish in the southern lake went on vacation while gazing at the moon.  The best angling occurred at Bullfrog and Halls where night fishermen were catching 2-3 pound stripers under the lights all night long. Daytime fishing success is now recovering lakewide as small stripers are chasing small shad on the surface over the entire lake.
Topwater hotspots for stripers right now include the main channel at the mouth of Lake Canyon, Halls Creek buoy field and the wall on the upstream side of the buoy field, Neskahi Bay on the San Juan, Escalante main channel, and Good Hope Bay.   Slurping boils will be seen lakewide with best success early in the morning before boat traffic stirs up the lake and shortens the time a striper school spends slurping on the surface.  The last hour of daylight will be good as well if the wind does not blow.
Average size of bass caught is still small with most fish weighing less than a pound. Bigger bass can be caught by fishing topwater lures at twilight both morning and evening.  Largemouth will surprise some anglers by feeding in open water with a school of slurping stripers.  The ideal bass fishing experience results when stripers drive shad into a shallow brushy cove.  It is great fun to catch stripers on topwater lures while they are actively engaged.  But stripers usually leave the cove after only a few minutes.  Continue to work topwater lures near brush to target largemouth bass after the boil subsides.
Catfish are perhaps the easiest fish to catch now. Just fish off the back of the boat near camp with table scraps.  My favorite catfish recipe is blackened catfish with Cajun spices cooked in a hot cast iron pan with olive oil. That will make an unforgettable meal for a youngster who caught the catfish and provided the fish for dinner.

Lake Powell Fishing Report

July 16, 2014

Lake Elevation: 3609

Water Temperature 77-85 F

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

coopersparks14_edited-1Lake Powell remains at the high water peak of 3609 MSL but has started its annual decline. The bright side of this picture is that brush and drift wood cluttered camping and recreational beaches will become pristine for the rest of the summer as water level declines. The slow decline will stabilize fishing success and set the stage for awesome topwater fishing during the rest of July and August.  There is just enough submerged brush in the water to harbor shad and protect them while they grow larger.  Watch the lake level closely when planning a summer boil trip.  Brush comes out of the water when lake elevation hits 3603.  That will be the peak of the top water fishing season as shad and stripers come together on equal footing when brush is no longer available to protect shad.  Water level from 3603-3605 MSL should be the ideal time to catch bass and stripers on surface lures. 


The super moon was great to look at but all fish in the southern lake went on vacation while gazing at the moon.  The best angling occurred at Bullfrog and Halls where night fishermen were catching 2-3 pound stripers under the lights all night long. Daytime fishing success is now recovering lakewide as small stripers are chasing small shad on the surface over the entire lake.

Topwater hotspots for stripers right now include the main channel at the mouth of Lake Canyon, Halls Creek buoy field and the wall on the upstream side of the buoy field, Neskahi Bay on the San Juan, Escalante main channel, and Good Hope Bay.   Slurping boils will be seen lakewide with best success early in the morning before boat traffic stirs up the lake and shortens the time a striper school spends slurping on the surface.  The last hour of daylight will be good as well if the wind does not blow. 

coachklmb_edited-1Average size of bass caught is still small with most fish weighing less than a pound. Bigger bass can be caught by fishing topwater lures at twilight both morning and evening.  Largemouth will surprise some anglers by feeding in open water with a school of slurping stripers.  The ideal bass fishing experience results when stripers drive shad into a shallow brushy cove.  It is great fun to catch stripers on topwater lures while they are actively engaged.  But stripers usually leave the cove after only a few minutes.  Continue to work topwater lures near brush to target largemouth bass after the boil subsides. 

Catfish are perhaps the easiest fish to catch now. Just fish off the back of the boat near camp with table scraps.  My favorite catfish recipe is blackened catfish with Cajun spices cooked in a hot cast iron pan with olive oil. That will make an unforgettable meal for a youngster who caught the catfish and provided the fish for dinner.

 

July 9, 2014 - Blue Collar Stripers

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Lake Powell Fishing Report

July 9, 2014

Lake Elevation: 3609

Water Temperature 75-80 F

By: Wayne Gustaveson  

http://www.wayneswords.com

 

Lake Powell Fishing Report

 

July 9, 2014
Lake Elevation: 3609
Water Temperature 75-80 F
By: Wayne Gustaveson
Lake Powell has topped out at 3609 MSL after rising 35 feet this year.  That means Castle Rock Cut is 27 feet deep and should remain passable for the rest of 2014. Fish are more concerned about habitat.   New green brush went under water at 3603 and will provide bass habitat and shad shelter for much of the summer.  The shad crop is a bit above average. Adult shad continue to spawn in July when in some others years they would have finished spawning by now. That is a positive occurrence.  The size of the shad population will be determined with trawl sampling during dark moon phase later in the month.
Blue collar stripers in the southern lake have settled into a daily routine.  They go to work at first light and chase shad for an hour or two.  Then they take a break until mid day when the most serious shad chasing occurs. On calm days surface feeding action is common in the main channel as small striper schools are consistently seen from Padre Bay to Rock Creek and Dungeon Canyon.  Surface boils settle down again in the afternoon and then are repeated briefly in the evening.  The imminent arrival of full moon this weekend will push most feeding activity into late afternoon and evenings with quiet mornings.
Full moon will have less impact in the northern lake where water is clearing as runoff diminishes.  Surface feeding is ramping up in the backs of canyons as shad are becoming visible to stripers.  Best striper fishing will now be in the northern lake with good striper fishing lakewide. Expect increasing surface feeding activity in Good Hope Bay during July. Boils
Stripers are susceptible to trolling while relaxing at depth between surface excursions. A few fish can be caught while waiting for the next surface explosion. Trolling success is about 2-3 fish per hour in the southern lake compared to 10 fish an hour in the north.
Bass fishing success is increasing lakewide as water level stabilizes.  Lots of fish are caught with plastic grubs and tubes but the average bass size is small.
Catfishing success is increasing as spawning concludes.  Catfish are patrolling the beaches in the evening looking for an easy meal.
Surface fishing for stripers combined with small bass along the shore and catfish on the beach provide ideal conditions for teaching children how to fish.  The key element in fishing instruction is to actually include fish as part of the training.  Fish are now available for kids to catch while visiting Lake Powell on a family vacation.  Make sure to bring fishing equipment for another fun activity while at the lake.

slurpsplash
Lake Powell has topped out at 3609 MSL after rising 35 feet this year.  That means Castle Rock Cut is 27 feet deep and should remain passable for the rest of 2014. Fish are more concerned about habitat.   New green brush went under water at 3603 and will provide bass habitat and shad shelter for much of the summer.  The shad crop is a bit above average. Adult shad continue to spawn this week when in some others years they would have finished spawning by now. That is a positive occurrence.  The size of the shad population will be determined with trawl sampling during dark moon phase later in the month. 


sharonhunt3Blue collar stripers in the southern lake have settled into a daily routine.  They go to work at first light and chase shad for an hour or two.  Then they take a break until mid day when the most serious shad chasing occurs. On calm days surface feeding action is common in the main channel as small striper schools are consistently seen from Padre Bay to Rock Creek and Dungeon Canyon.  Surface boils settle down again in the afternoon and then are repeated briefly in the evening.  The imminent arrival of full moon this weekend will push most feeding activity into late afternoon and evenings with quiet mornings.

 


Full moon will have less impact in the northern lake where water is clearing as runoff diminishes.  Surface feeding is ramping up in the backs of canyons as shad are becoming more visible to stripers.  Best striper fishing will now be in the northern lake with good striper fishing lakewide. Expect increasing surface feeding activity in Good Hope Bay during July. 

Stripers are susceptible to trolling while relaxing at depth between surface excursions. A few fish can be caught while waiting for the next surface explosion. Trolling success is about 2-3 fish per hour in the southern lake compared to 10 fish an hour in the north. 


bymyers5Bass fishing success is increasing lakewide as water level stabilizes.  Lots of bass are caught with plastic grubs and tubes but the average bass size is small. Both bass and striper populations are rebuilding after low water and poor habitat during the past two years. 

Catfishing success is increasing as spawning concludes.  Catfish are patrolling the beaches in the evening looking for an easy meal. It is easy to invite them to dinner by putting a few table scraps on a hook which are then cast to the sandy bottom behind the boat. 


Surface fishing for stripers combined with small bass along the shore and catfish on the beach provide ideal conditions for teaching children how to fish.  The key element in fishing instruction is to actually include fish as part of the training. Fish are readily available for kids to catch while visiting Lake Powell on a family vacation.  Make sure to bring fishing equipment for another fun activity while at the lake.

 

July 1, 2014 - July 4th Fireworks

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Lake Powell Fishing Report
July 1, 2014
Lake Elevation: 3609.2
Water Temperature 73-77 F
By: Wayne Gustaveson
Stripers are settling into a feeding schedule which would be good for anglers to know about.  Today we launched at first light from Stateline ramp in the southern lake.  No surface activity was seen in Wahweap but as we came out of the Castle Rock Cut individual splashes were seen in the Warm Creek channel.  It was not until we hit the shade from the high ridge on the east side of Warm Creek Bay that stripers began to join and feed in groups of 5-10 fish.  If we could get close enough to place a precise cast to a group on the surface we could catch yearling stripers measuring 6-12 inches. Warm Creek was bubbling with these small fish.
Stomach contents revealed that these small stripers were eating very small shad without much swimming ability.  Therefore they could feed individually without a group effort to corral fast moving adult shad.
We left the small stripers and headed uplake to Padre Bay.  There were a few small boils in the main channel that dove before we were in range.  Again when we entered the shade produced by the tall wall on the east side of Padre Bay, schools of larger stripers were found feeding.  They were up and down quickly but a good cast resulted in a 2.5 pound striper hookup.
The big difference this week was that these stripers would now hit full size surface lures. Micro lures used last week were not required.  Now a stealthy approach with a good stop in casting distance followed by an accurate cast resulted in one fish caught from every 2 or 3 quick boils.
The next leg of the journey took us to Gregory Butte at 8 AM. Shade was gone but striper schools were seen slurping along the eastern shoreline. These fish exhibited the same behavior with tight schools and quick surface trips.  Then things got much more exciting as a slurping school moved into shallow water in a weedy cove.  They had obviously driven a school of larger shad into the shallow brush line.  Now when we cast near these feeding fish they would hit the surface lure every time.
It is amazing how much has changed in the past week. Shad have grown larger and faster while stripers have become more aggressive. Feeding time is random with a sure opportunity to see small slurps early and late each day followed by larger boils spaced throughout the day. Precise casts and small profile lures are still preferred but full size lures that cast much farther are producing as well.
From Bullfrog to San Juan water clarity is still cloudy from runoff but small slurps are seen commonly throughout the day. These stripers are catchable with a fish caught from every other slurp.  There is a lot more chasing than catching, but at the end of the day there will be enough great tasting small stripers for fish tacos.
Bait fishing for stripers at the back of Moki and Lake Canyon where bottom depth is 30 feet continues to produce many more fish than caught by surface fishermen. These fish are about the same size as those caught on the surface with a few 3-pound fish added.
Smallmouth are near shore and rocky structure.  They too are getting excited about the waves of small shad driven past by feeding stripers. Don’t be surprised to catch a bass in the middle of a shallow water boil.  Bluegill have moved into the submerged tamarisk trees and can be caught on crappie jigs and live worms.  Catfish are actively spawning now and are very aggressive on the sandy beaches near camp throughout the day.

Lake Powell Fishing Report

July 1, 2014

Lake Elevation: 3609.2

Water Temperature 73-77 F

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

 

hotw1Stripers are settling into a feeding schedule which would be good for anglers to know about.  Today we launched at first light from Stateline ramp in the southern lake.  No surface activity was seen in Wahweap but as we came out of the Castle Rock Cut individual splashes were seen in the Warm Creek channel.  It was not until we hit the shade from the high ridge on the east side of Warm Creek Bay that stripers began to join and feed in groups of 5-10 fish.  If we could get close enough to place a precise cast to a group on the surface we could catch yearling stripers measuring 6-12 inches. Warm Creek was bubbling with these small fish.

 
Stomach contents revealed that these small stripers were eating very small shad without much swimming ability.  Therefore they could feed individually without a group effort to corral fast moving adult shad.  


We left the small stripers and headed uplake to Padre Bay.  There were a few small boils in the main channel that dove before we were in range.  Again when we entered the shade produced by the tall wall on the east side of Padre Bay, schools of larger stripers were found feeding.  They were up and down quickly but a good cast resulted in a 2.5 pound striper hookup. 


The big difference this week was that these stripers would now hit full size surface lures. Micro lures used last week were not required.  Now a stealthy approach with a good stop in casting distance followed by an accurate cast resulted in one fish caught from every 2 or 3 quick boils.

 
The next leg of the journey took us to Gregory Butte at 8 AM. Shade was gone but striper schools were seen slurping along the eastern shoreline. These fish exhibited the same behavior with tight schools and quick surface trips.  Then things got much more exciting as a slurping school moved into shallow water in a weedy cove.  They had obviously driven a school of larger shad into the shallow brush line.  Now when we cast near these feeding fish they would hit the surface lure every time. 


jonahIt is amazing how much has changed in the past week. Shad have grown larger and faster while stripers have become more aggressive. Feeding time is random with a sure opportunity to see small slurps early and late each day followed by larger boils spaced throughout the day. Precise casts and small profile lures are still preferred but full size lures that cast much farther are producing as well. 


From Bullfrog to San Juan water clarity is still cloudy from runoff but small slurps are seen commonly throughout the day. These stripers are catchable with a fish caught from every other slurp.  There is a lot more chasing than catching, but at the end of the day there will be enough great tasting small stripers for fish tacos. 


Bait fishing for stripers at the back of Moki and Lake Canyon where bottom depth is 30 feet continues to produce many more fish than caught by surface fishermen. These fish are about the same size as those caught on the surface with a few 3-pound fish added. Smallmouth are near shore and rocky structure.  They too are getting excited about the waves of small shad driven past by feeding stripers. Don’t be surprised to catch a bass in the middle of a shallow water boil.  Bluegill have moved into the submerged tamarisk trees and can be caught on crappie jigs and live worms.  Catfish are actively spawning now and are very aggressive on the sandy beaches near camp throughout the day.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 01 July 2014 11:36
 

June 24, 2014 - Lake Powell is BOILING!

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Lake Powell Fishing Report
June 24, 2014
Lake Elevation: 3607.25
Water Temperature 71-76 F
By: Wayne Gustaveson
The last fish report was not very exciting with mundane fishing results. Since then two major events occurred. First the wind quit blowing hard in the afternoons. Second the Summer Solstice on June 21 had a dramatic impact on Lake Powell as the lake started BOILING!  I suppose the striper boils were not really caused by the first day of summer.  Regardless, going fishing is now terribly exciting once more.
Slurping striper boils are seen lakewide.  Juvenile stripers are feasting on larval shad with the feeding action occurring on the surface making fish location easy to see. Schools of 50 to 500 stripers are tightly grouped as they line up and mow the surface while eating tons of larval shad.
Shad are abundant in areas where slurps are happening. Right now the main channel is the prime fishing destination.  Head uplake from Wahweap or downlake from Bullfrog to get in on the action.  The best spot from Wahweap is upper Padre Bay to Rock Creek.  Best spot down from Bullfrog is Escalante to San Juan.  Perhaps the best spot on the entire lake is the San Juan Arm from the mouth to Wilson Creek.
Lure choice is important. Shad size is very small and swimming ability is slow.  Crankbaits do not mimic the forage. It is possible to cast to the edge of the action and work the lure into the feeding fish. A silent entry works as stripers are willing to consume a “larger fish” when one is seen.  But if the lure lands mid group they spook and go away.  A small spoon, like a Kastmaster, that falls down through the feeding fish and then works through the feeders has more success because perfect casts are not needed – a good one is enough.  Some stripers spook when the lure hits but others grab the spoon as it works down and then through the school. My best success has come on small (3/8 ounce) micro fabric jigs that are similar to flies tied to look like various fish species.  These small fish can be worked slower than spoons when necessary or fast following a perfect cast.  Results are very rewarding with these and also small bucktail jigs. Yesterday one or more fish were caught from every slurp.  The hooked fish was then escorted to the boat by an entourage of 30-50 following fish.  That was really neat to see in clear water.
Timing is variable with a good early morning bite followed by a mid day lull.  Then at 2 PM (MST) the afternoon boils start and last until dark. The days are action packed. Yesterday, from 2-5  PM, there was never a moment when I was not casting to boils, choosing which group to try next, cruising to the next group, or taking a fish off the hook. It was a truly amazing fishing experience.
Striper size is 14 to 20 inches and fish are fat as they can get.  Stomachs are bulging with about 50 shad per stomach.  It is time to save some shad.  Get out there and give the shad a hand. If we want boils to be around in September we have to allow shad to grow to adult size. Reducing striper numbers now will help that cause and make fishing better later on.
These stripers are perfect eating size.  Just put some ice in a cooler and place fresh caught fish on ice immediately.  They will then keep until the end of the trip when filleting is possible.  Take the fishing rods along on the wakeboarding adventure.  Stop for all boils to add variety to the trip. It will add a new dimension to the summer Lake Powell adventure.

Lake Powell Fishing Report

June 24, 2014                                                                                                                                                                                                                

Lake Elevation: 3607.25                                                                                                                                                                                                  

Water Temperature 71-76 F                                                                                                                                                                                        

 By: Wayne Gustaveson  

http://www.wayneswords.com

Lake Powell is BOILING

The last fish report was not very exciting with mundane fishing results. Since then two major events occurred. First the wind quit blowing hard in the afternoons. Second the Summer Solstice on June 21 had a dramatic impact on Lake Powell as the lake started BOILING!  I suppose the striper boils were not really caused by the first day of summer.  Regardless, going fishing is now terribly exciting once more.  

slurps622aSlurping striper boils are seen lakewide.  Juvenile stripers are feasting on larval shad with the feeding action occurring on the surface making fish location easy to see. Schools of 50 to 500 stripers are tightly grouped as they line up and mow the surface while eating tons of larval shad.  

Shad are abundant in areas where slurps are happening. Right now the main channel is the prime fishing destination.  Head uplake from Wahweap or downlake from Bullfrog to get in on the action.  The best spot from Wahweap is upper Padre Bay to Rock Creek.  Best spot down from Bullfrog is Escalante to San Juan.  Perhaps the best spot on the entire lake is the San Juan Arm from the mouth to Wilson Creek. 

 

 

 

slurps622bLure choice is important. Shad size is very small and swimming ability is slow.  Crankbaits do not mimic the forage. It is possible to cast to the edge of the action and work the lure into the feeding fish. A silent entry works as stripers are willing to consume a “larger fish” when one is seen.  But if the lure lands mid group they spook and go away.  A small spoon, like a Kastmaster, that falls down through the feeding fish and then works through the feeders has more success because perfect casts are not needed – a good one is enough.  Some stripers spook when the lure hits but others grab the spoon as it works down and then through the school. My best success has come on small (3/8 ounce) micro fabric jigs that are similar to flies tied to look like various fish species.

 These small fish can be worked slower than spoons when necessary or fast following a perfect cast.  Results are very rewarding with these and also small bucktail jigs. Yesterday one or more fish were caught from every slurp.  The hooked fish was then escorted to the boat by an entourage of 30-50 following fish.  That was really neat to see in clear water.  

Timing is variable with a good early morning bite followed by a mid day lull.  Then at 2 PM (MST) the afternoon boils start and last until dark. The days are action packed. Yesterday, from 2-5  PM, there was never a moment when I was not casting to boils, choosing which group to try next, cruising to the next group, or taking a fish off the hook. It was a truly amazing fishing experience. 

slurps622cStriper size is 14 to 20 inches and fish are fat as they can get.  Stomachs are bulging with about 50 shad per stomach.  It is time to save some shad.  Get out there and give the shad a hand. If we want boils to be around in September we have to allow shad to grow to adult size. Reducing striper numbers now will help that cause and make fishing better later on. 

These stripers are perfect eating size.  Just put some ice in a cooler and place fresh caught fish on ice immediately.  They will then keep until the end of the trip when filleting is possible.  Take the fishing rods along on the wakeboarding adventure.  Stop for all boils to add variety to the trip. It will add a new dimension to the summer Lake Powell adventure.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 24 June 2014 10:30
 

June 18, 2014 - Brush is now underwater

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Lake Powell Fishing Report
June 18, 2014
Lake Elevation: 3604.33
Water Temperature 67-74 F
By: Wayne Gustaveson
There are so many changes occurring in the fishery right now that it is really hard to keep up.
The lake came up another 5 feet this week, but the big news is that green brush is now under water.   That gives bass, crappie, sunfish and shad a place to hide.  Most fish are on the move trying to stake their claims while the land rush is on.   Wind has been relentless the past week making it hard to get out and fish.  It looks like that will change today with calmer weather in the forecast.  Strong winds really mixed the water which dropped the water temperature back to 67F.  With all this happening it is no wonder it is hard to find a fishing pattern that consistently works right now.
There are two choices when fishing for stripers.   Surface feeding occurs morning and evening and sometimes mid day.  Watch for a surface disturbance and then cast a shallow running crankbait or topwater lure over and beyond the slurping fish.   With windy mornings it has been hard to find many slurps but there are a few.  I chased some slurpers today and caught one striper and a dozen little smallmouth bass on a ¼ ounce Kastmaster.  Yes the bass were slurping too and they faked me out a number of times.
The second option is bait and its much more dependable.  Use anchovies along the steep walls near areas where slurping action is seen. It seems that schooling stripers will move toward chum and start to feed within 15-20 minutes.  When the school lights up many stripers can be caught in short order.  It is important to continue to chum or the school will lose interest and move on.
Small, smallmouth bass are the next most common fish to catch.  The little dudes hit trolled lures while fishing for stripers. They hit spoons while slurping on the surface.  They hit plastic bait while fishing for big bass.  The average size of these fish is only a half pound.  But that is encouraging as there are lots of little fish to use the flooded brush and grow larger for next year.
Walleye are still hitting well but the new brush that just went under water makes it harder to find them consistently now.  It will take another week or two for all these fish to move to new locations and then let us know what they want from anglers.
Fishing in the southern lake is not nearly as good as that found at mid lake. There is muddy water uplake from Bullfrog.  Best fishing is from Rincon to the mouth of the San Juan. If fishing is the main purpose for the trip then it would be wise to head to the Escalante or San Juan and main channel in between to increase the chance of fishing success.  Slurps are more common, longer lasting, and fish aggression is much better midlake.
Some good news is that shad are getting bigger which will lead to real boils occurring starting in July.

Lake Powell Fishing Report

June 18, 2014

Lake Elevation: 3604.33

Water Temperature 67-74 F

By: Wayne Gustaveson  

http://www.wayneswords.com

img_0070 28.75 pound striper netted at Warm Creek wall by Adam Jones and Deborah Williams

See News Corner for full report.


There are so many changes occurring in the fishery right now that it is really hard to keep up.The lake came up another 5 feet this week, but the big news is that green brush is now under water.   That gives bass, crappie, sunfish and shad a place to hide.  Most fish are on the move trying to stake their claims while the land rush is on.   Wind has been relentless the past week making it hard to get out and fish.  It looks like that will change today with calmer weather in the forecast.  Strong winds really mixed the water which dropped the water temperature back to 67F.  With all this happening it is no wonder it is hard to find a fishing pattern that consistently works right now. 


There are two choices when fishing for stripers.   Surface feeding occurs morning and evening and sometimes mid day.  Watch for a surface disturbance and then cast a shallow running crankbait or topwater lure over and beyond the slurping fish.   With windy mornings it has been hard to find many slurps but there are a few.  I chased some slurpers today and caught one striper and a dozen little smallmouth bass on a ¼ ounce Kastmaster.  Yes the bass were slurping too and they faked me out a number of times. 

The second option is bait and its much more dependable.  Use anchovies along the steep walls near areas where slurping action is seen. It seems that schooling stripers will move toward chum and start to feed within 15-20 minutes.  When the school lights up many stripers can be caught in short order.  It is important to continue to chum or the school will lose interest and move on. 

Small, smallmouth bass are the next most common fish to catch.  The little dudes hit trolled lures while fishing for stripers. They hit spoons while slurping on the surface.  They hit plastic bait while fishing for big bass.  The average size of these fish is only a half pound.  But that is encouraging as there are lots of little fish to use the flooded brush and grow larger for next year. 

walleyeshaneWalleye are still hitting well but the new brush that just went under water makes it harder to find them consistently now.  It will take another week or two for all these fish to move to new locations and then let us know what they want from anglers. 


Fishing in the southern lake is not nearly as good as that found at midlake. There is muddy water uplake from Bullfrog.  Best fishing is from Rincon to the mouth of the San Juan. If fishing is the main purpose for the trip then it would be wise to head to the Escalante or San Juan and/or the main channel in between to increase the chance of fishing success.  Slurps are more common, longer lasting, and fish aggression is much better midlake.  

Some good news is that shad are getting bigger which will lead to real boils occurring starting in July.

 

June 11, 2014 - Stripers are Slurping!

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Lake Powell Fishing Report
June 11, 2014
Lake Elevation: 3599.32
Water Temperature 71-78 F
By: Wayne Gustaveson  
http://www.wayneswords.com

Stripers are Slurping!

slurptightLake Powell is still coming up and will break the 3600 MSL barrier today, but stripers are the big news now.  Striper slurping boils are seen lake wide.  Young stripers that live in the warm surface layer are finding larval shad (less than an inch) near the surface.  Young shad cannot swim fast enough to elude stripers which line up and methodically “mow” the surface area chomping down all shad in their path. From a distance the feeding activity looks like another boat wake, but after closer examination the disturbance is made by a platoon of fish swimming in an orderly line. It is really cool to watch the action but it is even better to participate.

Shad are tiny so big lures are not the best. The skirmish line is all about the business at hand so a large lure tossed in the middle of the line causes the whole school to submerge and swim away from the foreign matter dropping out of the sky.  The rules of engagement are to throw tiny lures like flies and tiny jigs or spoons.  It’s a great day for fly fishermen.  But spinning rods also work under these conditions.

slurpdirectionLures must be cast over or ahead of the skirmish line.  Then a small lure that swims gently through the feeding fish or just underneath may be taken by a brave individual.  A small rattletrap or Kastmaster are the target lures for this approach.

Another option is to seek out the leaders of the group which break away from the group and head in a new direction.  These scouts are looking for the next shad school and are most likely to hit larger lures that can be cast longer distances.  Small profile surface lures, marabou jigs and small crankbaits work.

The last option is a combination lure with a small fly attached to a large surface lure.  Throw the big lure to reach the fast feeding school and then hope the small lure is eaten by the feeding stripers.  It’s a grand chase with lots of fun and action. At the end of the day a reasonable number of fat 12-20 inch stripers will be caught. The bigger boils and huge catches will come next month when shad grow larger to meal size and stripers have to chase harder to catch a meal.  Boils will be next!

woelfelsmAll fish like the little shad but adults have not really found them yet. Bass, walleye and adult stripers are still in the deeper water. Bait is working for stripers but the schools are roaming.  A big catch can happen at the mouth of any canyon one day followed by a complete bust at the same spot the next day.  The plan should be to try a number of spots until a school is found and then load up.  Do not spend much time at each spot when searching for a school. Move often for best results.

Walleye are the best adult fish to pursue now but techniques are also specialized.  Walleye are close to the bottom in 10-30 feet of water near cover of rocks or brush.  This week it has been more productive to tip a plastic bass grub with a piece of worm and slowly and methodically work the worm from shallow to deep water. Good numbers of healthy walleye from 12-30 inches are being caught.
 

June 4, 2014 - LP under construction

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Lake Powell Fishing Report
June 4, 2014
Lake Elevation: 3592.3
Water Temperature 68-75 F
By: Wayne Gustaveson  
http://www.wayneswords.com

thompsonsmallLake Powell came up over 6 feet since last weeks’ report.  Fast rising water means fishing success along the shoreline declines as water covers new ground.  Seems fish and fishermen get separated this time of year.  The answer is to fish deeper water unaffected by rising water and to use specialized techniques.

Walleye may be the best target species right now using techniques and gear specifically designed for that purpose.  A walleye worm harness works very well. These rigs can be purchased or home made. They include a double hook harness with an attractant spinner blade separated by beads, which are joined with a swivel.  They can be trolled behind a bottom bouncer or cast with braided line with a bullet sinker to keep them on the bottom.   Fish early and late for best success, but do not pass up a main channel “mudline” with colored water trailing off a long point during the day. Yes, this is much more technical than putting an anchovy on a hook but it is very effective now.

Walleye are more likely to be caught from Padre Bay to Bullfrog but are found in Wahweap, Warm Creek and Navajo for those willing to take the walleye challenge.  Find a main channel or canyon rock slide that falls into deep water.  Cast the rig into 10-15 feet of water and work it slowly but methodically into water as deep as 30-50 feet. Walleye have a very subtle bite so be alert for a small tick. Set the hook on the first touch.

Stripers are hit and miss now. They turn on for an hour or two at the usual spots (see previous reports) near the dam and along the canyon walls.  If stripers are not found on the first attempt, return in an hour or two for another try.   Trying a series of previous hot spots will likely lead to filling a cooler half full by the end of the day.  One plan would be to try the barricade by the dam, then move along the cliff wall fishing over shelves extending out from the wall. The next spot would be on the corner near Buoy 3 and then the Power Plant intake.  It is likely that a good number of fish would be caught at one or more of these locations.  Those productive locations will vary each day.

bassarigBass fishing has been good this spring but average size has been small.  Habitat and forage conditions have been very difficult for bass and crappie.  Shad and crayfish forage declined dramatically when the lake declined for 2 years in a row.   Now the lake is rising and covering new brush.  It is encouraging to see many small bass that are ready and willing to fill the new niche being provided by improving lake levels.

This week much new green brush was being submerged and some young tamarisk trees which began growing last fall.  As the lake continues to fill the old tamarisk brush line at 3604 MSL will be submerged.  Old mature tamarisk trees residing above 3612 MSL will also be covered before runoff subsides.  Habitat is changing for the better and all fish will benefit.  

Our weekly samples in May found only a limited number of young shad in a few canyons.  But samples taken this week showed young shad in every canyon.  As newly hatched shad grow and move into open water small stripers and bass will find them and begin to grow.  This cycle is repeated each spring. We know there are enough shad to soon produce slurping fish boils.  The remaining question will be the strength of the shad spawn and how long it will last.   With new brush in the water, shad will have some protection from predation and be able to grow larger than they did in 2013.  Large shad provide much better forage for all of Lake Powell’s game fish.

I like the way the pieces are falling into place this year.  Adult sportfish populations declined last year but now many young fish remain.  The new forage crop will not be shared by as many fish as usual.  Numbers of forage and sportfish are more balanced.  This is a rebuilding year and conditions are just right for a positive result.
 

May 28, 2014 - Transition in lake lavel and temperature.

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Lake Powell Fishing Report
May 28, 2014
Lake Elevation: 3586.3
Water Temperature 67-74 F
By: Wayne Gustaveson

 
http://www.wayneswords.com

jteilborgLake Powell is now flooding new ground as runoff has doubled.  The lake rose over 3 feet last week. That figure will increase to 5-6 feet next week. Make sure to check beached houseboats daily and retie and readjust as necessary.   Castle Rock Cut is now deep enough and in operation for all boats.  Stateline ramp is open and operating.  Antelope Public ramp will be back in the water this week.  Then it will be up to NPS and Antelope Marina personnel to determine the opening date.

The other major change is rapid warming.  Night time temperatures are no longer in the 40s and 50s.  Now it only cools to the 60s.  Water temperature heated to 74 F yesterday in the afternoon.  But this morning it was back to 67 F.  Summer is here!

What impact do these changes bring to the fishery?  Water is now warm enough to allow shad to spawn.  All game fish are waiting for more forage.  It has been a difficult spring with food being scarce. Fish have been slow to bite so far because they don’t have a handy food source.  That will change as small shad enter the picture.  Shad spawn at first light in the morning in the backs of canyon around driftwood and floating peat moss.  That is a good place to be at dawn.  Use surface lures and spinner baits to work through the weeds and floating mats. Fishing was always good, but now catching will improve too.

The biggest change noted this week is that fish have moved shallower.  Small bass are moving into the green tumbleweeds that were recently submerged.  More and bigger bass are in the old tumbleweeds that were windrowed on shore but are now being covered by rising lake water. Much tumbleweed cover is now 8-10 feet deep.  Yes, there are bass in the sticky weed beds.   

The biggest increase in activity was shown by walleye as they became more active and catchable in the muddy water at the backs of the canyons.  Work plastic bass jigs tipped with worms slowly along the bottom in 5-15 feet of water at the backs of canyons or coves. It is also effective to slow troll or cast suspending jerk baits, shad raps, or pointers in the same areas. Floating debris picked up by rising water makes trolling more challenging. Find an open alley for trolling or cast along the edge of floating debris as water continues to rise.   

balancerock10Stripers are still very active but they have moved shallower with all the other fish. My guess is that water temperature at 15 feet is just what warm water fish prefer.  At least they were all hanging at that depth as I sampled them yesterday.

Bait fishing for stripers continues to perform well.  At any given day or time the canyons walls from the dam to Good Hope bay turn on.  But they also turn off.  Feeding time is random now so we just have to try different spots to locate a willing school.  The most consistent fish holding spots are 15-25 foot submerged shelves that stick out into the man channel where surrounding depth is over 100 feet. At the dam, Navajo Canyon, Lake Canyon or Moki Wall, look for a shelf as a starting point. It has been my experience that fishing close to the wall is better than fishing out in open water. One new spot that came on line this week is the Power Plant intake upstream for Antelope Point Marina.  Bait fishing has been good here in other years.  It took a while but stripers are now going at the intake. Look for the chain link fence on top of the south canyon wall to mark the spot about 1 mile upstream from the marina.  The opening of the Castle Rock Cut has reduced traffic in the main channel and made fishing the canyon walls from Buoy 3 to Buoy 9 much more enjoyable.

 

May 21, 2014- Lots of Options

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Lake Powell Fishing Report

May 21, 2014

Lake Elevation: 3583

Water Temperature 62-65 F

By: Wayne Gustaveson

http://www.wayneswords.com

 

sarahraeLake Powell is rising.  The lake looks refreshed as water is now covering vegetation that has grown along the shoreline.  The rejuvenation is needed as low water over the past two years has changed how fish do business. Largemouth bass and crappie need brush to protect newly hatched fry but also to provide housing for adult fish unaccustomed to traveling the bank to find food.  If bass need to search the shoreline for food, they often spend more energy searching than that provided by food that is found. The end result is the loss of excess fish that are two numerous for the food supply that is available.  But this is a new day with increasing water levels and temperatures.  Now shad are spawning to provide food needed for survival and brush is being covered to provide shelter. Good times are here for the enjoyment of Lake Powell fish.

 

Fishing success is improving with warming water.  Smallmouth bass are moving up onto open water reefs and can be caught on plastic baits or crankbaits fished on top of the reefs.  Larger fish are in deeper water near the breaking edge of reefs where small fish are found.

 

Walleye are caught in the backs of canyons and coves with plastic grubs fished slowly along the bottom. Live worms are an added enticement when added to the jig or used specifically on a bottom bouncer and worm harness. Walleye catch is increasing lake wide but walleye numbers are much greater in the northern lake than the southern.  Look for wind induced mud lines near long points dropping into deep water.  Murky to muddy water coves are great walleye spots in the month of May.

 

Striped bass have been indirectly impacted by the loss of brush which has resulted in less forage being available.  The impact is more noticeable in the southern lake where forage is scarce than near the inflow where more shad survived the winter.

 

austintravisJuvenile striped bass are feeding on plankton which is available near the surface in many open water locations. Trolling is the best technique to find the randomly scattered stripers that are consistently found in the backs of most canyons where water depth is near 25 feet and water color is murky.  While trolling, watch the graph for fish concentrations.  I throw a floating marker where fish traces are most dense.  Usually trolling with Shad Raps or Pointers will be steady for a time.  When a fish is caught trolling, cast lures or drop spoons in the area to catch trailing stripers.   Finally, when trolling and spooning quit producing return to the marker, chum with anchovies and catch more fish from the same area.  This multipurpose fishing process is quite effective and will provide good numbers of stripers at the end of the day.

 

Striper schools are moving from cove to cove searching for food. They may be in one spot today and a mile away the next. The prime spot is at the 25 foot mark in the backs of canyons but they can also now be found in many coves along the main channel.  In open water they will be found schooled along the 25 foot contour where the bottom drops quickly to deeper water.  Again troll the contour, mark the school, and return to spoon or fish bait where fish are marked.

 

Good striper catching spots the past week include the dam half way from the barricade to buoy one, the first point past the double island in Navajo Canyon, Padre Canyon, Last Chance, the Rock Creek canyons, and Wetherill.

 

Midlake reports are best near Moki canyon for those using bait.  The mudline is at the lower end of Good Hope bay and water color has drifted all the way to Bullfrog.  Perhaps the best spot for stripers this week is in the Escalante Arm.

 

Try a wide variety of locations and techniques to locate the most successful combination on each fishing day.

 
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