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December 13, 2017 - Trophy caught in Warm Creek

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Lake Powell Fish Report – December 13, 2017
Lake Elevation: 3624.34
Water Temperature:  55-56 F
By: Wayne Gustaveson http://www.wayneswords.com
In the last fish report we reported stripers and shad holding in the 15-30 foot depth range but suspected that colder weather would force both species to seek deeper water where temperature was more stable. With that in mind we headed for Warm Creek to look for striper schools.  We passed the floating restroom and slowed down and started graphing.
This fall the graph has printed a mostly blank screen in deep water with an occasional layer of fish or suspended sediment at 60 feet. Since we have not caught any fish from this strange cloudy line, we ignored it when seen at 90 feet and moved on. It seems to have been the longest time since I have actually seen a striper school resting on the bottom. When that happened I got an adrenalin rush and quickly dropped spoons down to 95 feet.  It took such a long time for my ¾ ounce spoon to reach the bottom that I changed to the 2 ounce spoon which worked very well. With 4 anglers in the boat we quickly caught 6 fat stripers before they left the area. We searched some more and saw that school a few more times, but they would not hit our spoons so we moved on.
After 30 minutes of graphing we finally saw another school holding at 75 feet and caught fish on the first drop. My technician, Nob Wimmer, was having a hard time hooking fish. He got a lot of bites but they came off quickly. He usually spoons up more fish than I do on his homemade lures so it was gratifying to be in the lead this time. After missing 5-6 fish he finally hooked one and started reeling in. He said, “This is a really big fish!”  I ignored that because he says that about each fish he hooks in deep water.  I was playing a regular sized fish and spent my time concentrating on that fish. After I put my fish in the cooler I noticed that Nob had not gained any line and the fish was going deeper instead of coming to the surface.  It must be a big fish!  Then I hooked another fish and played it to the surface in short order.  While putting it in the cooler I glanced at Nob’s fish and saw that it was still pulling line and that the boat was following the fish.  I was now sure that it truly was a “Big Fish”.
Despite the excitement of having a huge striper on the line, I thought I could catch one more before netting the big one. I dropped down and caught another at mid depth as the striper school had followed the big fish off the bottom and was now seen at 20-30 feet as they watched the action.  It was easy and quick to drop again to 20 feet and catch one more before the big one came up. Nob played the big fish for 20 minutes and we landed 10 more while watching him do battle.  Stripers are a schooling fish that really get excited when one fish in the school shows feeding behavior. They often follow the hooked fish and look for something to eat. Always drop more lures in the water when a fish is being played to increase the catch.
Finally, the big one came close enough to see.  The 10-pounder I expected to see was not even close to the size of the monster fish in the water. Now I was thinking this one could be a new lake record. I grabbed the net, and hoisted the fish into the boat. The net handle bent dramatically but did not break. The fish was in the boat.
It measured 43 inches long, with a girth of 26 inches and weighed 30.35 pounds. It is very difficult to understand just how big a fish is when it is thrashing around in the net and is too large to put in a magnum sized cooler.  I was actually disappointed when we put the fish on the scale and found it was “only” 30 pounds.  I got over it quickly and took a lot of pictures to memorialize the event.
Nob later said that the big fish inhaled the spoon just after it hit bottom.  The spoon must have landed right in front of the big one, who then sucked in the spoon that was found to be lodged in the back of the throat near the last gill racker. Nob did not feel the fish until he lifted the spoon off the bottom. It was a perfect drop to the biggest fish living in Warm Creek
Congratulations to Nob Wimmer who caught the biggest fish of his life one day after his 83rd birthday.

Lake Powell Fish Report – December 13, 2017

Lake Elevation: 3624.34

Water Temperature:  55-56 F

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


noblapIn the last fish report we reported stripers and shad holding in the 15-30 foot depth range but suspected that colder weather would force both species to seek deeper water where temperature was more stable. With that in mind we headed for Warm Creek to look for striper schools.  We passed the floating restroom and slowed down and started graphing.

This fall the graph has printed a mostly blank screen in deep water with an occasional layer of fish or suspended sediment at 60 feet. Since we have not caught any fish from this strange cloudy line, we ignored it when seen at 90 feet and moved on. It seems to have been the longest time since I have actually seen a striper school resting on the bottom. When that happened I got an adrenalin rush and quickly dropped spoons down to 95 feet.  It took such a long time for my ¾ ounce spoon to reach the bottom that I changed to the 2-ounce spoon which worked very well. With 4 anglers in the boat we quickly caught 6 fat stripers before they left the area. We searched some more and saw that school a few more times, but they would not hit our spoons so we moved on.

nob30smallAfter 30 minutes of graphing we finally saw another school holding at 75 feet and caught fish on the first drop. My technician, Nob Wimmer, was having a hard time hooking fish. He got a lot of bites but they came off quickly. He usually spoons up more fish than I do on his homemade lures so it was gratifying to be in the lead this time. After missing 5-6 fish he finally hooked one and started reeling in. He said, “This is a really big fish!”  I ignored that because he says that about each fish he hooks in deep water.  I was playing a regular sized fish and spent my time concentrating on that fish. After I put my fish in the cooler I noticed that Nob had not gained any line and the fish was going deeper instead of coming to the surface.  It must be a big fish!  Then I hooked another fish and played it to the surface in short order.  While putting it in the cooler I glanced at Nob’s fish and saw that it was still pulling line and that the boat was following the fish.  I was now sure that it truly was a “Big Fish”.       

spoonfaceDespite the excitement of having a huge striper on the line, I thought I could catch one more before netting the big one. I dropped down and caught another at mid depth as the striper school had followed the big fish off the bottom and was now seen at 20-30 feet as they watched the action.  It was easy and quick to drop again to 20 feet and catch one more before the big one came up. Nob played the big fish for 20 minutes and we landed 10 more while watching him do battle.  Stripers are a schooling fish that really get excited when one fish in the school shows feeding behavior. They often follow the hooked fish and look for something to eat. Always drop more lures in the water when a fish is being played to increase the catch. 

Finally, the big one came close enough to see.  The 10-pounder I expected to see was not even close to the size of the monster fish in the water. Now I was thinking this one could be a new lake record. I grabbed the net, and hoisted the fish into the boat. The net handle bent dramatically but did not break. The fish was in the boat.
It measured 43 inches long, with a girth of 26 inches and weighed 30.35 pounds. It is very difficult to understand just how big a fish is when it is thrashing around in the net and is too large to put in a magnum sized cooler.  I was actually disappointed when we put the fish on the scale and found it was “only” 30 pounds.  I got over it quickly and took a lot of pictures to memorialize the event. 

Nob later said that the big fish inhaled the spoon just after it hit bottom.  The spoon must have landed right in front of the big one, who then sucked in the spoon that was found to be lodged in the back of the throat near the last gill racker. Nob did not feel the fish until he lifted the spoon off the bottom. It was a perfect drop to the biggest fish living in Warm Creek 

Congratulations to Nob Wimmer who caught the biggest fish of his life one day after his 83rd birthday.

 

December 1, 2017 - Seems like October

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Lake Powell Fish Report – December 1, 2017
Lake Elevation: 3625,29
Water Temperature:  57-60 F
By: Wayne Gustaveson http://www.wayneswords.com
Warm calm weather continues into December with no freezing air temperatures yet over Lake Powell.  Water temperature did hit 60 degrees again yesterday in the warmest part of the afternoon. It was 57-58 degrees yesterday morning. This means that Lake Powell fish still think it is autumn rather than winter and are responding accordingly. Largemouth bass and crappie are still in submerged trees in 12-25 feet of water. Smallmouth bass are holding on rocky points but only respond to anglers as the water warms during mid day and afternoon.  Smallmouth bass are near their shut down temperature of 54 degrees.
Striped bass and threadfin shad are still battling it out in the upper 30 feet of water. Yesterday we were in Last Chance hoping for another close encounter with striper schools.  We started in the back of the canyon looking for striper schools in 10-15 of brushy water without success. Then we moved deeper searching the 20-30 foot strata.  We first trolled along the edge of the canyon without success. Next we started spooning in 25 feet of water after seeing 2 fish traces on the graph. The two fish moved quickly away as our spoons hit the bottom.
We continued drifting and spooning without success until I looked ahead of the boat and saw what I thought was a morbid gizzard shad circling on the surface. Then two more riffles appeared and we were amazed to realize that we had stripers hitting the surface within casting range.  There was no time to change to surface lures so we cast our spoons to surface feeding stripers.  The mini boil went down but stripers wasted no time in eating our shad imitations. We started piling fish in the iced cooler immediately.  We drifted away from the school after 15 frantic minutes of catching fish and counted 15 stripers in the cooler.
Next we went back to the spot where we had seen the quick little boil and drifted again until a few more fish came into view. We dropped spoons and caught 10 more stripers before we parted ways. We found the school one more time, caught 10 more and ended up with 35 stripers.
The secret now to catching stripers is to search the 15-30 depth strata in the back of the canyon where shad or bluegill are providing food for hungry stripers. Last week these striper schools were shallow eating bluegill. Yesterday they were a bit deeper and were eating threadfin shad.
There is a subtle difference in identifying fish on the graph now as compared to other years. Normally big striper schools are seen and quickly identified. Now the screen is usually blank with only an occasional fish or two showing up. I suggest dropping spoons when a single fish is seen.  Those single fish are often stripers.  Also, I think that most stripers are really tight to the bottom and not visible on the graph.  The new normal is to hook one striper on spoons and then watch as the graph lights up with a whole school of fish coming over to investigate the hooked fish.  Remember that feeding behavior in one striper triggers a feeding response in the entire school of fish.
When the water temperature drops to normal winter temperatures, threadfin shad will have to leave the shallows and go to deeper water. Stripers will follow, form large schools and be easier to see and identify. Right now stripers and shad are shallow and acting like it is October instead of December.  I am good with that.

Lake Powell Fish Report – December 1, 2017

Lake Elevation: 3625.29

Water Temperature:  57-60 F

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


Warm calm weather continues into December with no freezing air temperatures yet over Lake Powell.  Water temperature did hit 60 degrees again yesterday in the warmest part of the afternoon. It was 57-58 degrees yesterday morning. This means that Lake Powell fish still think it is autumn rather than winter and are responding accordingly. Largemouth bass and crappie are still in submerged trees in 12-25 feet of water. Smallmouth bass are holding on rocky points but only respond to anglers as the water warms during mid day and afternoon.  Smallmouth bass are near their shut down temperature of 54 degrees.

briangusStriped bass and threadfin shad are still battling it out in the upper 30 feet of water. Yesterday we were in Last Chance hoping for another close encounter with striper schools.  We started in the back of the canyon looking for striper schools in 10-15 feet of brushy water without success. Then we moved deeper searching the 20-30 foot strata.  We first trolled along the edge of the canyon without success. Next we started spooning in 25 feet of water after seeing 2 fish traces on the graph. The two fish moved quickly away as our spoons hit the bottom. 

We continued drifting and spooning without success until I looked ahead of the boat and saw what I thought was a morbid gizzard shad circling on the surface. Then two more riffles appeared and we were amazed to realize that we had stripers hitting the surface within casting range.  There was no time to change to surface lures so we cast our spoons to surface feeding stripers.  The mini boil went down but stripers wasted no time in eating our shad imitations. We started piling fish in the iced cooler immediately.  We drifted away from the school after 15 frantic minutes of catching fish and counted 15 stripers in the cooler.

Next we went back to the spot where we had seen the quick little boil and drifted again until a few more fish came into view. We dropped spoons and caught 10 more stripers before we parted ways. We found the school one more time, caught 10 more and ended up with 35 stripers.

The secret now to catching stripers is to search the 15-30 depth strata in the back of the canyon where shad or bluegill are providing food for hungry stripers. Last week these striper schools were shallow eating bluegill. Yesterday they were a bit deeper and were eating threadfin shad.   

graphshadThere is a subtle difference in identifying fish on the graph now as compared to other years. Normally big striper schools are seen and quickly identified. Now the screen is usually blank with only an occasional fish or two showing up. I suggest dropping spoons when a single fish is seen.  Those single fish are often stripers.  Also, I think that most stripers are really tight to the bottom and not visible on the graph.  The new normal is to hook one striper on spoons and then watch as the graph lights up with a whole school of fish coming over to investigate the hooked fish.  Remember that feeding behavior in one striper triggers a feeding response in the entire school of fish. 

When the water temperature drops to normal winter temperatures, threadfin shad will have to leave the shallows and go to deeper water. Stripers will follow, form large schools and be easier to see and identify. Right now stripers and shad are shallow and acting like it is October instead of December.  I am good with that.rimrockcup

 

November 22, 2017 - Thanksgiving Report

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Lake Powell Fish Report – November 22, 2017
Lake Elevation: 3625.71
Water Temperature:  59-62 F
By: Wayne Gustaveson http://www.wayneswords.com
Following three weeks of gill netting over the length of the lake I finally got back out on the southern lake to see how fish were responding to angling techniques.  The biggest surprise was water temperature which was still in the 60s near Thanksgiving.  Next the shoreline brush was still covered by the slowly declining lake level.  Finally, the behavior of striped bass was unusual for this time of year.
Recent bass tournaments have proven that large and smallmouth bass are abundant and prowling through shoreline vegetation to feed on bluegill and sunfish. Topwater lures worked well cast over the top of submerged brush, along with plastic grubs that could be fished straight down to avoid snagging in the brush thickets.  Bass fishing remains good as expected in these conditions.
Normally in November, water temperature drops, which forces threadfin shad to leave the shallow brush sanctuaries.  In deep water the temperature remains stable and is not impacted by random wind events and cold nights.  Stripers typically follow shad to the depths, form large schools and feed on shad at 30-90 feet over the winter.
That is currently not the case. We were surprised to find stripers roaming the shallow water in small groups instead of big schools. Recent reports of stripers feeding on the surface in the brush line have been given often in the past weeks. Basically, stripers were feeding in shallow water as they are prone to do in October.
We hoped to find a boil but were disappointed. Instead, we found a few small groups of fish (less than 5) which we could troll for or drop spoons on. When we saw the striper group on the graph in 15-30 feet of water we had equal success hooking up trolling or spooning.  We caught more fish spooning because we could get the lure back into the water quickly while they were still active under the boat.  Action was fast enough to keep us interested and fish quality was terrific.
We ended up with 35 stripers and a walleye with most of the fish caught on spoons. Surprisingly, our normal shad pattern spoons were not as effective as a more colorful Dixie Jet Spoon with a white background, chartreuse line and an orange spot. This lure looked more like a bluegill than a shad. Back at the fish cleaning station we found that stripers were feeding mostly on sunfish in the brush zone just like bass caught in recent tournaments.
Fishing over the Thanksgiving holiday weekend will be best in shallow brushy water where sunfish are abundant. It seems all game fish are using this drive up window for their fast food needs with great success.   I am thrilled that sunfish had a very successful spawning year and are surviving in the flooded brush line which is normally out of the water this time of year.  That takes some of the predatory pressure off shad until the water finally cools forcing these bait fish into deeper water.  Health and condition of large and smallmouth bass, walleye, stripers, and other sport fish are at a peak not seen since 2011.
Fishing success will remain excellent for all species until water temperature drops into the low 50s which should occur in early December. At that time spooning in deep water for healthy stripers will successfully continue. Smallmouth bass shut down in cold water, but largemouth bass and walleye will continue to feed for a short time.
It has been a banner year for sport fish as they have survived well, had plenty to eat, and grown to larger size.  When that happens, fishing success sometimes declines because fish get fussy and can eat at their leisure.  If you experienced that, just know you can return in 2018 and get even with the larger fish you missed this year.

Lake Powell Fish Report – November 22, 2017

Lake Elevation: 3625.71

Water Temperature:  59-62 F

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

Following three weeks of gill netting over the length of the lake I finally got back out on the southern lake to see how fish were responding to angling techniques.  The biggest surprise was water temperature which was still in the 60s near Thanksgiving.  Next the shoreline brush was still covered by the slowly declining lake level.  Finally, the behavior of striped bass was unusual for this time of year. 

Recent bass tournaments have proven that large and smallmouth bass are abundant and prowling through shoreline vegetation to feed on bluegill and sunfish. Topwater lures worked well cast over the top of submerged brush, along with plastic grubs that could be fished straight down to avoid snagging in the brush thickets.  Bass fishing remains good as expected in these conditions.

Normally in November, water temperature drops, which forces threadfin shad to leave the shallow brush sanctuaries.  In deep water the temperature remains stable and is not impacted by random wind events and cold nights.  Stripers typically follow shad to the depths, form large schools and feed on shad at 30-90 feet over the winter. 

That is currently not the case. We were surprised to find stripers roaming the shallow water in small groups instead of big schools. Recent reports of stripers feeding on the surface in the brush line have been given often in the past weeks. Basically, stripers were feeding in shallow water as they are prone to do in October. 

We hoped to find a boil but were disappointed. Instead, we found a few small groups of fish (less than 5) which we could troll for or drop spoons on. When we saw the striper group on the graph in 15-30 feet of water we had equal success hooking up trolling or spooning.  We caught more fish spooning because we could get the lure back into the water quickly while they were still active under the boat.  Action was fast enough to keep us interested and fish quality was terrific.  

We ended up with 35 stripers and a walleye with most of the fish caught on spoons. Surprisingly, our normal shad pattern spoons were not as effective as a more colorful Dixie Jet Spoon with a white background, chartreuse line and an orange spot. This lure looked more like a bluegill than a shad. Back at the fish cleaning station we found that stripers were feeding mostly on sunfish in the brush zone just like bass caught in recent tournaments.

sforage_edited-1

 

Forage fish found in Stomachs:

Bluegill and Crappie

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fishing over the Thanksgiving holiday weekend will be best in shallow brushy water where sunfish are abundant. It seems all game fish are using this drive up window for their fast food needs with great success.   I am thrilled that sunfish had a very successful spawning year and are surviving in the flooded brush line which is normally out of the water this time of year.  That takes some of the predatory pressure off shad until the water finally cools forcing these bait fish into deeper water. 

Health and condition of large and smallmouth bass, walleye, stripers, and other sport fish are at a peak not seen since 2011.  Fishing success will remain excellent for all species until water temperature drops into the low 50s which should occur in early December. At that time spooning in deep water for healthy stripers will successfully continue. Smallmouth bass shut down in cold water, but largemouth bass and walleye will continue to feed for a short time.  

It has been a banner year for sport fish as they have survived well, had plenty to eat, and grown to larger size.  When that happens, fishing success sometimes declines because fish get fussy and can eat at their leisure.  If you experienced that, just know you can return in 2018 and get even with the larger fish you missed this year.

 

October 17, 2017 - Fall Fishing Report

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Lake Powell Fish Report – October 17, 2017
Lake Elevation: 3627
Water Temperature:  65-68 F
By: Wayne Gustaveson http://www.wayneswords.com
Fall Fishing
The 10 day weather forecast is for calm water and perfect daytime temperatures in the 70s. Fishing success has been mixed recently with wind, dropping temperatures and finicky fish.  My prediction is that that last two weeks of October will provide some excellent fishing success.
First the challenges:  Recent tough fishing has resulted from abundant cover and forage which allowed all sport fish species to eat on their own schedules or not at all.  These fish are now accustomed to eating at their leisure with plenty of forage, a luxury usually not found in this lake with the normal over population of predators always seeking after prey. Windy conditions resulted in rapidly dropping water temperature which was a problem that confused fish and put them off feed at times. Hopefully those negative points are now past history.
The new events include:  Stable water temperature (mid 60s) that is favored by most predators as the most consistent feeding and activity conditions of the entire year. An abundant shad and sunfish population that is still readily available.  Water levels will decline slowly which forces shad to leave the brush sanctuaries and encourages feeding from all the predators.
Here is what to expect during the last two weeks of October:
Striped Bass:  Right now shad are hiding in the shallow brushy coves.  By November shad will migrate into deeper water as water temperature drops. Threadfin shad need stable temperatures and do not like cold water.  They seek constant temperature in 30-60 feet of water. Stripers will react to this migration by forming bigger and tighter schools which will make them easier to see on the graph and catch on spoons.  As they make that transition from foraging in small pods in the brush to their normal large school mentality, fishing success will improve dramatically.
Until that happens they can best be found by trolling a shad imitating crankbait while watching the graph looking for small schools and individual stripers.  In the northern lake, surface action may happen anytime as more shad are available for stripers to chase.
Smallmouth Bass: Bass are the best angling target now as they are abundant and feeding prolifically at their favorite water temperature.  Both large and smallmouth bass love brush that houses the bluegill and sunfish forage that is so abundant in this high water year.  Water temperature will remain at the peak bass activity level during the pleasant days forecast for the remainder of October.   Start searching for bass on the prominent points and coves at the mouth of the canyon instead of the shallow water in the back of the cove. There is more shad forage swimming in deeper water (15-25 feet) than in the back of the canyon. Bass are currently holding in that deeper water but may move shallower as lake level and water temperature drops. Bass really like surface lures right now but will always eat plastic grubs bouncing along the bottom and dancing through the brush piles.  Fast moving buzz baits are fun to throw over the brushy shoreline.  Treat bass just as if it were springtime by fishing for them in the afternoon as water warms.
Walleye:  These toothy critters are back on the bite now with many being caught in the northern lake on spoons fished at 15-25 feet, bottom bouncers trolled slowly at the same depth, and nightcrawlers fished slowly on worm harnesses over main channel points.  The magic depth for trolling across treetops or main channel points is 12 feet. Let the walleye diving lure hit bottom at 12 ft and then catch a fish as it bounces into deeper water.
Crappie:  Expect crappie catch rate to increase dramatically as water temperature continues to decline.  Normally the first two weeks of November provide the best crappie fishing of the year. Some crappie are being caught now and that catch rate will increase over the next 3 weeks. The most important factor is finding the school. With brush being abundant, look in the back of the canyons where water depth is 12-20 feet deep. Drive the boat right into the brushy thicket and then drop crappie jigs straight down below the boat to prevent snagging as the jig is moved slowly up and down.  It is also possible to fish from the old river channel where brush begins. Drop jigs to the bottom at the edge of brush where crappie can see the lure and still be in the brushy confines that they love.  Expect to catch a few bluegill while fishing specifically for crappie.  Tip the jig with a small worm to target bluegill.
Catfish: can be caught by placing bait on the bottom near the sandy beach behind the boat near camp.
This will be the last regular report for the year.  I will be gone on vacation for 10 days but will keep up with the fishing action by reading the reports on Wayneswords.  Annual netting starts October 30 and continues through November 10th.  I will post random reports on the website through the winter as something good happens. The only time fishing at Lake Powell is not good is when we don’t go. I will fish all winter and keep you advised of the fishing excitement.
Wayne Gustaveson

Lake Powell Fish Report – October 17, 2017

Lake Elevation: 3627

Water Temperature:  65-68 F

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

Fall Fishing:

The 10 day weather forecast is for calm water and perfect daytime temperatures in the 70s. Fishing success has been mixed recently with wind, dropping temperatures and finicky fish.  My prediction is that that last two weeks of October will provide some excellent fishing success.

First the challenges:  Recent tough fishing has resulted from abundant cover and forage which allowed all sport fish species to eat on their own schedules or not at all.  These fish are now accustomed to eating at their leisure with plenty of forage, a luxury usually not found in this lake with the normal over population of predators always seeking after prey. Windy conditions resulted in rapidly dropping water temperature which was a problem that confused fish and put them off feed at times. Hopefully those negative points are now past history.

The new events include:  Stable water temperature (mid 60s) that is favored by most predators as the most consistent feeding and activity conditions of the entire year. An abundant shad and sunfish population that is still readily available.  Water levels will decline slowly which forces shad to leave the brush sanctuaries and encourages feeding from all the predators.

Here is what to expect during the last two weeks of October:

Striped Bass:  Right now shad are hiding in the shallow brushy coves.  By November shad will migrate into deeper water as water temperature drops. Threadfin shad need stable temperatures and do not like cold water.  They seek constant temperature in 30-60 feet of water. Stripers will react to this migration by forming bigger and tighter schools which will make them easier to see on the graph and catch on spoons.  As they make that transition from foraging in small pods in the brush to their normal large school mentality, fishing success will improve dramatically.
Until that happens they can best be found by trolling a shad imitating crankbait while watching the graph looking for small schools and individual stripers.  In the northern lake, surface action may happen anytime as more shad are available for stripers to chase. 

randyokuba2Smallmouth Bass: Bass are the best angling target now as they are abundant and feeding prolifically at their favorite water temperature.  Both large and smallmouth bass love brush that houses the bluegill and sunfish forage that is so abundant in this high water year.  Water temperature will remain at the peak bass activity level during the pleasant days forecast for the remainder of October.   Start searching for bass on the prominent points and coves at the mouth of the canyon instead of the shallow water in the back of the cove. There is more shad forage swimming in deeper water (15-25 feet) than in the back of the canyon. Bass are currently holding in that deeper water but may move shallower as lake level and water temperature drops. Bass really like surface lures right now but will always eat plastic grubs bouncing along the bottom and dancing through the brush piles.  Fast moving buzz baits are fun to throw over the brushy shoreline.  Treat bass just as if it were springtime by fishing for them in the afternoon as water warms.  

Walleye:  These toothy critters are back on the bite now with many being caught in the northern lake on spoons fished at 15-25 feet, bottom bouncers trolled slowly at the same depth, and nightcrawlers fished slowly on worm harnesses over main channel points.  The magic depth for trolling across treetops or main channel points is 12 feet. Let the walleye diving lure hit bottom at 12 ft and then catch a fish as it bounces into deeper water. 

Crappie:  Expect crappie catch rate to increase dramatically as water temperature continues to decline.  Normally the first two weeks of November provide the best crappie fishing of the year. Some crappie are being caught now and that catch rate will increase over the next 3 weeks. The most important factor is finding the school. With brush being abundant, look in the back of the canyons where water depth is 12-20 feet deep. Drive the boat right into the brushy thicket and then drop crappie jigs straight down below the boat to prevent snagging as the jig is moved slowly up and down.  It is also possible to fish from the old river channel where brush begins. Drop jigs to the bottom at the edge of brush where crappie can see the lure and still be in the brushy confines that they love.  Expect to catch a few bluegill while fishing specifically for crappie.  Tip the jig with a small worm to target bluegill.

spraz4

 

Catfish: can be caught by placing bait on the bottom near the sandy beach behind the boat near camp.
This will be the last regular report for the year.  I will be gone on vacation for 10 days but will keep up with the fishing action by reading the reports on Wayneswords.  Annual netting starts October 30 and continues through November 10th.  I will post random reports on the website through the winter as something good happens.

The only time fishing at Lake Powell is not good is when we don’t go. I will fish all winter and keep you advised of the fishing excitement.   

 
Wayne Gustaveson

Last Updated on Monday, 16 October 2017 10:29
 

October 11, 2017 - 2-4 PM is Best

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Lake Powell Fish Report – October 11, 2017
Lake Elevation: 3628.12
Water Temperature:  68-70 F
By: Wayne Gustaveson http://www.wayneswords.com
We fished the Escalante early this week with mixed results. Our camp was in 50 Mile Canyon and we fished the canyons near there.
Fishing was slow Monday afternoon but we did find two schools of stripers and identified a pattern. The location was in the main Escalante River Channel between Three Roof Ruin and Explorer Canyon.  Water depth was 20-30 feet in the channel.  We fished on points sticking out from shore into the channel.  Striper schools were small and appeared to be laying right on the bottom. As we graphed the point from a depth of 25 feet toward the shoreline we found a small group of fish marks at 17 feet.  If we dropped spoons right into the school we caught a few fish.  If the spoon missed the school none were caught. We then ventured further up the channel toward Explorer and saw another point and found the second school by graphing up slope. Again at 17 feet, we saw a tight school on bottom, dropped spoons and caught a few more fish.
No striper boils were seen or reported in the past week.
We had more time to fish on Tuesday. We looked at the sights including La Gorce Arch and Cathedral in the Desert, both were awesome sights.  A few bass were caught on topwater in the brushy treetops in the backs of the canyons at a channel depth of 9-15 feet.  Then as the sun got higher in the sky the bass quit. Fishing was tough in some very good habitat and locations.  We ran down lake as far as Cottonwood Canyon without catching a fish. We headed back toward the Escalante and began trolling and casting along a big rockslide near Hole in the Rock. We caught stubby smallmouth all along the rocky shoreline on a variety of lures.  We checked another rocky shoreline to see if this was the only spot they were hitting. No, smallmouth bass turned on everywhere we tried from 2-4 PM.  Fish caught immediately went from none to too many.
This reminds me so much of springtime bass fishing when they will not bite at all in the cool morning and then turn on like crazy as the water warms in the afternoon. With temperatures now in the high 60s, bass behavior is much like prespawn fish. Afternoon angling was definitely best for us but that feeding period may enlarge as weather continues to stabilize and the full moon continues to “wayne”.
Back at camp we learned that stripers exhibited the same behavior. They did not bite in the morning but when the same rocky points were tried after 2 PM the stripers took off and 30 fish were landed.
It seems the pattern right now is up to the fish. It is not about the best lure or the best spot.  Many different types of spoons, bucktail jigs and medium running crankbaits worked when stripers were active while none worked when they were inactive. Topwater, shallow square bill cranks, rattletraps all caught bass in the afternoon prime time.
I suspect the same timing pattern will apply to catching fish over the length of the lake this week. If you can only fish for a short time, make sure it is in the afternoon.  I feel that fishing success will improve in the next few days as the weather warms and the lake remains calm.  Wind tends to mix warm water from the surface with cool water in the depths.  That drops the water temperature and slows fishing success.  Warming then makes the fishing better just as it does in the springtime.
We saw fishing success increase dramatically in one afternoon.  Hopefully that magic 2 hour period will get longer and finally reach all day. When fishing is tough just look up and see the beauty and majesty of Lake Powell. It is worth it!

Lake Powell Fish Report – October 11, 2017

Lake Elevation: 3628.12

Water Temperature:  68-70 F

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


We fished the Escalante early this week with mixed results. Our camp was in 50 Mile Canyon and we fished the canyons near there.  

rcolby322Fishing was slow Monday afternoon but we did find two schools of stripers and identified a pattern. The location was in the main Escalante River Channel between Three Roof Ruin and Explorer Canyon.  Water depth was 20-30 feet in the channel.  We fished on points sticking out from shore into the channel.  Striper schools were small and appeared to be laying right on the bottom. As we graphed the point from a depth of 25 feet toward the shoreline we found a small group of fish marks at 17 feet.  If we dropped spoons right into the school we caught a few fish.  If the spoon missed the school none were caught. We then ventured further up the channel toward Explorer and saw another point and found the second school by graphing up slope. Again at 17 feet, we saw a tight school on bottom, dropped spoons and caught a few more fish.  

No striper boils were seen or reported in the past week. 

We had more time to fish on Tuesday. We looked at the sights including La Gorce Arch and Cathedral in the Desert, both were awesome sights.  A few bass were caught on topwater in the brushy treetops in the backs of the canyons at a channel depth of 9-15 feet.  Then as the sun got higher in the sky the bass quit. Fishing was tough in some very good habitat and locations.  We ran down lake as far as Cottonwood Canyon without catching a fish. We headed back toward the Escalante and began trolling and casting along a big rockslide near Hole in the Rock. We caught stubby smallmouth all along the rocky shoreline on a variety of lures.  We checked another rocky shoreline to see if this was the only spot they were hitting. No, smallmouth bass turned on everywhere we tried from 2-4 PM.  Fish caught immediately went from none to too many.

wgstb5This reminds me so much of springtime bass fishing when they will not bite at all in the cool morning and then turn on like crazy as the water warms in the afternoon. With temperatures now in the high 60s, bass behavior is much like prespawn fish. Afternoon angling was definitely best for us but that feeding period may enlarge as weather continues to stabilize and the full moon continues to “wayne”.

Back at camp we learned that stripers exhibited the same behavior. They did not bite in the morning but when the same rocky points were tried after 2 PM the stripers took off and 30 fish were landed. 

It seems the pattern right now is up to the fish. It is not about the best lure or the best spot.  Many different types of spoons, bucktail jigs and medium running crankbaits worked when stripers were active while none worked when they were inactive. Topwater, shallow square bill cranks, rattletraps all caught bass in the afternoon prime time. 

I suspect the same timing pattern will apply to catching fish over the length of the lake this week. If you can only fish for a short time, make sure it is in the afternoon.  I feel that fishing success will improve in the next few days as the weather warms and the lake remains calm.  Wind tends to mix warm water from the surface with cool water in the depths.  That drops the water temperature and slows fishing success.  Warming then makes the fishing better just as it does in the springtime. 

We saw fishing success increase dramatically in one afternoon.  Hopefully that magic 2 hour period will get longer and finally reach all day. When fishing is tough just look up and see the beauty and majesty of Lake Powell. It is worth it!

lcsunrise

 

October 4, 2017 - Recovering from cold weather

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Lake Powell Fish Report – October 4, 2017
Lake Elevation: 3628
Water Temperature:  68-73 F
By: Wayne Gustaveson http://www.wayneswords.com
Fishing success has been well below Lake Powell standards lately due to cold weather, wind, and dropping water temperatures. Weather is now stabilizing with calm mornings and breezy afternoons.  Hopefully the 80 degree temperatures forecast for today and tomorrow will stabilize the water temperature and bring bass, shad and stripers back to the surface.
Shad schools are hiding in shallow brushy water close to shore.  Stripers are looking for shad in shallow water so it is more likely to see boils blow up near shore instead of the open bay.  That makes it harder to find surface activity over the 2000 miles of shoreline instead of the 150 miles of main channel water.
The most consistent method for finding stripers recently has been graphing and spooning.  There are lots of shad balls showing up on the graph in the backs of canyons and in open water layered at about 50 feet.  These tight packed fish schools are not stripers.  A striper school usually shows a bit of separation between individual fish.
In Neskahi Canyon this week, stripers were found as individual fish were marked as a group of 10 fish or less.  A spoon dropped right into the striper squad resulted in a hookup of one or as many as four fish before the group moved on.  The highlight of the trip was a very large group of stripers that showed up as widespread individual fish that were very aggressively chasing shad and spoons.  Many stripers were caught by anglers in 3-6 boats working over the schools at the mouth of Piute Canyon.  Hundreds of stripers were caught on September 28-30.  I am not sure if the huge school is still there as we left the fish still biting on Saturday.
Good Hope Bay to Hite has been slow due to weather but I expect stripers there to boil and attack spoons as the weather improves.  Launching is still possible at the Primitive Hite ramp. That makes for a short run to find active stripers.
Good fishing was also reported from Bullfrog at Stanton Creek. Shore fishing was best during windy weather and the desire for stripers to chase shad hiding close to shore.  Fishing will also improve mid lake as the weather stabilizes.
Smallmouth bass are the most dependable target species right now.  They have also been impacted by cold weather. Seek after them just as you would in the springtime.  Wait until water starts to warm mid day and then switch to smallmouth fishing techniques.  Plastic grubs and shad shaped worms fished on the breaking edge of a rapid drop off work very well.  High lake level still hides some brush and rock piles in slick rock canyons. Dropping plastic baits down to these typical bass sanctuaries results in quick bites from some very nice sized bass.  Topwater lures fished during early morning and late evening hours were bass magnets.  I have had some of my best bass memories recently as large bass have attacked my surface lures in the backs of canyons in the southern lake where the water was calm and placid.  The big bass jumped well out of the water and then tried to grab the lure on the way down. This experience is actually more memorable if the bass does not get hooked.  Surface fishing is fun!
I am sure fishing success will be better during the next two weeks than it was the last windy week of September.  Water temperature is still hovering around 70 degrees which is a very favorable fishing temperature.  Stripers and smallmouth bass are the best choices now but walleye, catfish, and sunfish are also available in the right place at the right time.

Lake Powell Fish Report – October 4, 2017

Lake Elevation: 3628

Water Temperature:  68-73 F

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


graphshadFishing success has been well below Lake Powell standards lately due to cold weather, wind, and dropping water temperatures. Weather is now stabilizing with calm mornings and breezy afternoons.  Hopefully the 80 degree temperatures forecast for today and tomorrow will stabilize the water temperature and bring bass, shad and stripers back to the surface.

Shad schools on left and some stripers on right:

Shad schools are hiding in shallow brushy water close to shore.  Stripers are looking for shad in shallow water so it is more likely to see boils blow up near shore instead of the open bay.  That makes it harder to find surface activity over the 2000 miles of shoreline instead of the 150 miles of main channel water.  

The most consistent method for finding stripers recently has been graphing and spooning.  There are lots of shad balls showing up on the graph in the backs of canyons and in open water layered at about 50 feet.  These tight packed fish schools are not stripers.  A striper school usually shows a bit of separation between individual fish.  

In Neskahi Canyon this week, stripers were found as individual fish were marked as a group of 10 fish or less.  A spoon dropped right into the striper squad resulted in a hookup of one or as many as four fish before the group moved on.  The highlight of the trip was a very large group of stripers that showed up as widespread individual fish that were very aggressively chasing shad and spoons.  Many stripers were caught by anglers in 3-6 boats working over the schools at the mouth of Piute Canyon.  Hundreds of stripers were caught on September 28-30.  I am not sure if the huge school is still there as we left the fish still biting on Saturday. 

 

graphstb

Good Hope Bay to Hite has been slow due to weather but I expect stripers there to boil and attack spoons as the weather improves.  Launching is still possible at the Primitive Hite ramp. That makes for a short run to find active stripers. 

Active stripers on graph:

Good fishing was also reported from Bullfrog at Stanton Creek. Shore fishing was best during windy weather and the desire for stripers to chase shad hiding close to shore.  Fishing will also improve mid lake as the weather stabilizes.

Smallmouth bass are the most dependable target species right now.  They have also been impacted by cold weather. Seek after them just as you would in the springtime.  Wait until water starts to warm mid day and then switch to smallmouth fishing techniques.  Plastic grubs and shad shaped worms fished on the breaking edge of a rapid drop off work very well.  High lake level still hides some brush and rock piles in slick rock canyons. Dropping plastic baits down to these typical bass sanctuaries results in quick bites from some very nice sized bass.  Topwater lures fished during early morning and late evening hours were bass magnets.  I have had some of my best bass memories recently as large bass have attacked my surface lures in the backs of canyons in the southern lake where the water was calm and placid.  The big bass jumped well out of the water and then tried to grab the lure on the way down. This experience is actually more memorable if the bass does not get hooked.  Surface fishing is fun!  

I am sure fishing success will be better during the next two weeks than it was the last windy week of September.  Water temperature is still hovering around 70 degrees which is a very favorable fishing temperature.  Stripers and smallmouth bass are the best choices now but walleye, catfish, and sunfish are also available in the right place at the right time.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 04 October 2017 10:13
 

September 26, 2017 - Electrofishing Results

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Lake Powell Fish Report – September 26, 2017
Lake Elevation: 3628
Water Temperature:  70-74 F
By: Wayne Gustaveson http://www.wayneswords.com
Last week we sampled young fish production in Lake Powell with electrofishing techniques. Windy weather reduced our catch some but we did learn about the general success of most fish species.  With lots of submerged brush it was expected that brush-loving fish like bluegill, crappie and largemouth would be the most abundant species sampled.  As expected, bluegill were the most abundant species captured. Black crappie had a strong showing in the northern lake and the San Juan.  Smallmouth bass were well represented lakewide and largemouth bass catch was steady over the length of the lake. The brushy cover that is still submerged in Lake Powell has been very beneficial in rebuilding the populations of those fish that anglers really appreciate.  Striped bass are more of an open water fish even at a young age so they are not captured as well as bass and crappie during the shoreline sampling in September.
Windy conditions over the past week have slowed fishing success considerably. It was not easy to fight the waves and catch fish while the wind was blowing hard. Strong winds reduced water temperature from 77 (last report) to 70 degrees this morning. Catching success dropped during the windy weather.  September is going out like a lion with some more wind and rain forecast.  As the weather settles down in October, fishing success will rebound once more even with cooler weather. The best fishing in the spring is at a water temperature from 62-72. That is repeated in the fall.
For this week, expect best success by graphing bottom structure looking for striper schools.  Shad have been hiding in the backs of canyons protected by brush shelters.  Stripers are moving in that direction. Open water boils have slowed considerably.  Expect to find striper schools in 40-80 feet toward the backs of canyons.  They periodically come up to feed on shad and can be seen pushing shad schools along the canyon wall.  Use surface lures to catch them when visibly chasing shad, but the most effective striper lures this week will be spoons.  Expect to find schools at a common depth. In past years the best depth to find them has been 60-70 feet. When a school is found, remember the depth and look for them at the same depth in other bays or canyons.   When found a striper school will be very willing to chase your spoons.
Smallmouth bass may be easier to find and catch than stripers.  They are in shallower water (10-25 ft) holding near the brushy points where tamarisk trees are becoming more visible as the lake level declines. Smallmouth bass are excited about all the tasty little bluegill that we found while electrofishing and are close to their brushy sanctuaries. Bass are running in packs so when one fish is found there may be a bunch more in the same spot. Shad shaped worms are working very well either wacky rigged on a drop shot rig or impaled on a lead head jig. Bass can be caught along the entire shoreline of Lake Powell.
Walleye are starting up again and can be caught in the daytime occasionally while fishing for bass and stripers.
Bluegill hide in the submerged treetops and can be seen in the brush near shore.  Find a good sized bluegill and feed it a live night crawler or Berkeley gulp minnow.  Youngsters will really enjoy catching sunfish off the back of a houseboat.
Catfish are feeding steadily along the bottom in 10-15 feet of water. They like table scraps and will provide a lot of excitement as they join your party at dusk on the sandy beach.
October is often the best weather to cruise and camp at Lake Powell. Crowds have diminished, water is calm and cool. It might be the best time to camp and fish in 2017.

Lake Powell Fish Report – September 26, 2017

Lake Elevation: 3628

Water Temperature:  70-74 F

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

Last week we sampled young fish production in Lake Powell with electrofishing techniques. Windy weather reduced our catch some but we did learn about the general success of most fish species.  With lots of submerged brush it was expected that brush-loving fish like bluegill, crappie and largemouth would be the most abundant species sampled.  As expected, bluegill were the most abundant species captured. Black crappie had a strong showing in the northern lake and the San Juan.  Smallmouth bass were well represented lakewide and largemouth bass catch was steady over the length of the lake. The brushy cover that is still submerged in Lake Powell has been very beneficial in rebuilding the populations of those fish that anglers really appreciate.  Striped bass are more of an open water fish even at a young age so they are not captured as well as bass and crappie during the shoreline sampling in September. 

zanetysonWindy conditions over the past week have slowed fishing success considerably. It was not easy to fight the waves and catch fish while the wind was blowing hard. Strong winds reduced water temperature from 77 (last report) to 70 degrees this morning. Catching success dropped during the windy weather.  September is going out like a lion with some more wind and rain forecast.  As the weather settles down in October, fishing success will rebound once more even with cooler weather. The best fishing in the spring is at a water temperature from 62-72. That is repeated in the fall. 

For this week, expect best success by graphing bottom structure looking for striper schools.  Shad have been hiding in the backs of canyons protected by brush shelters.  Stripers are moving in that direction. Open water boils have slowed considerably.  Expect to find striper schools in 40-80 feet toward the backs of canyons.  They periodically come up to feed on shad and can be seen pushing shad schools along the canyon wall.  Use surface lures to catch them when visibly chasing shad, but the most effective striper lures this week will be spoons.  Expect to find schools at a common depth. In past years the best depth to find them has been 60-70 feet. When a school is found, remember the depth and look for them at the same depth in other bays or canyons.   When found a striper school will be very willing to chase your spoons.

Smallmouth bass may be easier to find and catch than stripers.  They are in shallower water (10-25 ft) holding near the brushy points where tamarisk trees are becoming more visible as the lake level declines.  Smallmouth bass are excited about all the tasty little bluegill that we found while electrofishing and are close to their brushy sanctuaries. Bass are running in packs so when one fish is found there may be a bunch more in the same spot. Shad shaped worms are working very well either wacky rigged on a drop shot rig or impaled on a lead head jig. Bass can be caught along the entire shoreline of Lake Powell. 

Walleye are starting up again and can be caught in the daytime occasionally while fishing for bass and stripers. 

bgcolorBluegill hide in the submerged treetops and can be seen in the brush near shore.  Find a good sized bluegill and feed it a live night crawler or Berkeley gulp minnow.  Youngsters will really enjoy catching sunfish off the back of a houseboat.  

Catfish are feeding steadily along the bottom in 10-15 feet of water. They like table scraps and will provide a lot of excitement as they join your party at dusk on the sandy beach. 

October is often the best weather to cruise and camp at Lake Powell. Crowds have diminished, water is calm and cool. It might be the best time to camp and fish in 2017.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 26 September 2017 10:18
 

September 21, 2017 - Take 3 Rods

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Lake Powell Fish Report – September 21, 2017
Lake Elevation: 3629
Water Temperature:  76-79 F
By: Wayne Gustaveson http://www.wayneswords.com
Lake Powell fishing results are always amazing.  While working on the lake this week my goal was to get to Good Hope Bay to repeat the fantastic boils experienced on my previous trip. Wind complicated fishing results all week.  My first stop was the San Juan where a few striper boils were expected. We did not expect the magnum boils that developed along the north wall of Neskahi Bay on the morning of September 19. Active stripers were leaping high out of the water and hitting our surface lures consistently. If they went down for a few minutes we just dropped spoons and caught more until they returned to the top. We had to leave them boiling to head uplake for the Good Hope Bay experience.
More wind greeted us at Good Hope Bay but only one short small boil was found.  The next morning we ran all the way to White Canyon and did not see anything but a few single stripers hitting the surface. Very few boils were seen from September 16 to 20.
What does this mean for boils in the coming week? There will be boils lakewide but timing and location are not assured. Stripers are very fat, aggressive and constantly chasing shad but much of that now occurs in deeper water.  Now, instead of just scanning the surface it is more important to watch the graph to find deep resting striper and shad schools. These fish can be caught in 30-90 feet of water on spoons, down rigger trolling and even on bait.
My plan for the rest of the 2017 fishing season is take 3 rods. Attach a surface lure to one, a spoon on the next and finally a plastic shad shaped worm on the 3rd rod. With this combination fish can be caught in any location of any canyon on Lake Powell. Stripers will hit surface lures and spoons depending on their depth/location while smallmouth bass will crush the plastic bait.
My goal for the rest of the year will be to always look for surface action, but it is fine to catch bass and stripers while scanning for a boil. Here is what to expect over the length of the lake:
Southern Lake:  Spoons will be the most effective striper lure from Wahweap to Rainbow. Stripers are moving toward the backs of canyons. Rock Creek has the best recent reports from the backs of the 3 canyons.  Bass are hitting well on the breaking edge of brushy points where the depth quickly falls from 12-25 feet.
San Juan:  Expect striper boils in Cha, Wilson Creek and Neskahi Bay and uplake to the Great Bend.  Spoons will work consistently in most canyons from the mouth of the side canyon to about half way back.  Bass fishing in the San Juan is unsurpassed lakewide.
Escalante:  Striper boils and spooning will be best from 50 Mile Canyon to Cow Canyon. Smallmouth fishing is very predictable on every rock slide in the main canyon.
Bullfrog: Spooning is the best striper technique. Start at Dome Rock in Bullfrog Bay and travel as far as Iceberg and Slick Rock downstream or Moki to Hansen Creek upstream.  Rincon is awesome for bass fishing.
Good Hope Bay to Hite:  Boils will start up again but the start date is not known. Until then use spoons to catch lots of stripers. Trachyte Canyon to White is my best guess but the water color is murky. It may be better to spoon in clear water from Good Hope downstream. I wish I could pin this down better but I did not find a consistent pattern while there for one day this week.   I did see my best boil in Popcorn Canyon across from Ticaboo.
Have fun fishing now that Summer is over and Autumn has arrived.  There will be some monster boils occurring at random days and time lakewide, but more stripers will be caught from deep schools graphed on the bottom while waiting for the lake to boil.sjboilshore

sjboilshore

 

 

Lake Powell Fish Report – September 21, 2017

Lake Elevation: 3629

Water Temperature:  76-79 F

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

Lake Powell fishing results are always amazing.  While working on the lake this week my goal was to get to Good Hope Bay to repeat the fantastic boils experienced on my previous trip. Wind complicated fishing results all week.  My first stop was the San Juan where a few striper boils were expected. We did not expect the magnum boils that developed along the north wall of Neskahi Bay on the morning of September 19. Active stripers were leaping high out of the water and hitting our surface lures consistently. If they went down for a few minutes we just dropped spoons and caught more until they returned to the top. We had to leave them boiling to head uplake for the Good Hope Bay experience. 

More wind greeted us at Good Hope Bay but only one short small boil was found.  The next morning we ran all the way to White Canyon and did not see anything but a few single stripers hitting the surface. Very few boils were seen from September 16 to 20.

graphstbWhat does this mean for boils in the coming week? There will be boils lakewide but timing and location are not assured. Stripers are very fat, aggressive and constantly chasing shad but much of that now occurs in deeper water.  Now, instead of just scanning the surface it is more important to watch the graph to find deep resting striper and shad schools. These fish can be caught in 30-90 feet of water on spoons, down rigger trolling and even on bait. 

My plan for the rest of the 2017 fishing season is take 3 rods. Attach a surface lure to one, a spoon on the next and finally a plastic shad shaped worm on the 3rd rod. With this combination fish can be caught in any location of any canyon on Lake Powell. Stripers will hit surface lures and spoons depending on their depth/location while smallmouth bass will crush the plastic bait. 

My goal for the rest of the year will be to always look for surface action, but it is fine to catch bass and stripers while scanning for a boil. Here is what to expect over the length of the lake:

Southern Lake:  Spoons will be the most effective striper lure from Wahweap to Rainbow. Stripers are moving toward the backs of canyons. Rock Creek has the best recent reports from the backs of the 3 canyons.  Bass are hitting well on the breaking edge of brushy points where the depth quickly falls from 12-25 feet. 

San Juan:  Expect striper boils in Cha, Wilson Creek and Neskahi Bay and uplake to the Great Bend.  Spoons will work consistently in most canyons from the mouth of the side canyon to about half way back.  Bass fishing in the San Juan is unsurpassed lakewide.     

Escalante:  Striper boils and spooning will be best from 50 Mile Canyon to Cow Canyon. Smallmouth fishing is very predictable on every rock slide in the main canyon.

Bullfrog: Spooning is the best striper technique. Start at Dome Rock in Bullfrog Bay and travel as far as Iceberg and Slick Rock downstream or Moki to Hansen Creek upstream.  Rincon is awesome for bass fishing.Good Hope Bay to

Good Hope Bat to Hite: Boils will start up again but the start date is not known. Until then use spoons to catch lots of stripers. Trachyte Canyon to White is my best guess but the water color is murky. It may be better to spoon in clear water from Good Hope downstream. I wish I could pin this down better but I did not find a consistent pattern while there for one day this week.   I did see my best boil in Popcorn Canyon across from Ticaboo.    

Have fun fishing now that Summer is over and Autumn has arrived.  There will be some monster boils occurring at random days and time lakewide, but more stripers will be caught from deep schools graphed on the bottom while waiting for the lake to boil.

 

powellsunrise_zpse335fc8b

 

September 12, 2017 - Boils, Boils, Boils

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boiljulywwgraphstb

Lake Powell Fish Report – September 12, 2017

Lake Elevation: 3629

Water Temperature:  78-81 F

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

I had the pleasure of fishing with Adam Eakle who hosts hunting and fishing videos for KSL TV (Channel 5) in Salt Lake City.  He wanted to make a Lake Powell video of striper boil fishing. We agreed to fish in the northern lake on September 7th.  The preparation for the event was simple.  Stripers were not boiling well in the southern lake so I asked those fishing in the northern lake on Wayneswords.com to give quick fish reports. I received this information:

Boils were consistently seen in the northern lake from Good Hope Bay to White Canyon. The best time to see surfacing fish was from 7-9 AM and 4-6 PM.  After the boils ceased stripers could still be caught on spoons in the vicinity of the boil.

wcboilsWith this information to guide us, we launched from Bullfrog at dawn and headed uplake scanning for boils as we cruised.  We saw a nice sunrise at Buoy 110.  A few minutes later near Buoy 113 we saw our first boil. It was small and widespread but the first stripers were caught.  Around the next corner (Buoy 114) we found the first big boil and caught stripers on top for the next 40 minutes. We cruised uplake looking for more and saw them near the left hand wall just past the floating restroom. We caught boiling fish constantly for the next 45 minutes.  When they went down five anglers quickly filleted over 100 stripers with electric knives on the boat. With the fillets cooling down in the ice chest we resumed our trip to White Canyon. We were not disappointed to see a quick boil as we neared Battleship Rock. These fish did not stay up long so we used spoons to catch a few more. Then we turned around to head back down lake and ran right into another boil at 10:20 AM.  Total count from White Canyon was 30 more stripers bringing the morning striper total to 130 fish. Not a bad day.  The breeze increased so we headed in.

The Lake Powell striper boil video will air on KSL.com on September 30th at 6:30 PM.

Today we launched at Wahweap Stateline and passed through the Castle Rock Cut.  Stripers were reportedly caught on the Warm Creek side of Castle Rock the previous day on spoons with a few hitting the surface.  We saw a few fish come up behind Castle Rock so we headed for the splash rings but no more fish surfaced. A quick look at the graph changed our attitude from surface to deep water spoons. Spoons were deployed and the stripers jumped into the boat for the next half hour. When the sonar screen went blank we saw stripers breaking the surface near shore.  We grabbed the surface lures and rushed toward shore where another 10 fish were caught in wide spread boils.  With 30 fish in the cooler we headed toward the back of Warm Creek but were delayed near the floating restroom by a bigger and tighter boil. Twenty more stripers were caught on surface lures.  The surface action quit by 9 AM.   At the fish cleaning station we counted 55 stripers caught in less than 3 hours.

This week’s report is simple.  Look for surface action for the first 3 hours in the morning. Cast surface lures to boiling fish. After they go down find them on the graph and drop spoons to the bottom to catch many more. Striper fishing is hot. Expect this to continue through the rest of September and into October. Boil time is the first 3 hours after daylight and then the last 2 hours before dark. They also come up randomly during the day.

Smallmouth bass have been reportedly boiling with stripers on the San Juan.  Stripers chase shad which run toward the shore where they can hide in the brush line.  Bass wait in the brush for shad to swim by and ambush them.  Near shore this morning we caught some nice 2-pound smallmouth on surface lures while casting to stripers.

Fishing success is heading for a fall peak that has not been seen for a very long time. Don’t leave home without a surface lure and a spoon close at hand.

sr91217

Last Updated on Tuesday, 12 September 2017 14:16
 

September 5, 2017 - Gearing up for Fall Fishing

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Lake Powell Fish Report – September 5, 2017
Lake Elevation: 3630.5
Water Temperature:  81-85 F
By: Wayne Gustaveson http://www.wayneswords.com
Lake Powell was busy over the Labor Day weekend. Weather was warm and winds were calm. Many enjoyed camping in the warm and beautiful summer conditions.  There will be another week or two of warm weather and then the cooler fall weather will arrive. Right now the lake is capped with 80F+ water temperature which is a bit warm for really good fishing.  In the spring time the best fishing occurs when the water warms into the 60s.  Right now we are waiting for the temperature to drop into the 70s.  When that happens here is what to expect.
Striped Bass: Small stripers are accustomed to feeding in really warm water.  The quick boils seen this weekend featured 8-13 inch stripers. Stripers that have boiled the last 2 months have done very well. They are two inches longer, fat and strong. Few reports about larger stripers feeding on top were received this week which means that the bigger fish were too hot to boil, or the lake was too busy or shad were moving away from main channel spots that were hot fishing a week ago. It really does not matter why there were less boils because there are still huge schools of shad in the backs of the canyons.  Stripers will now move out of the main channel and work toward the backs of the canyon. The next boil period will likely erupt as soon as stripers make the transition to searching the canyons instead of the man channel and find shad in side canyons lakewide.  I predict that fall top water fishing will begin mid September and boils will be large and long lasting. Expect boils to be near shore instead of in the middle of the channel. Look for giant splashes in the backs of canyons.
It has been difficult to see stripers on the graph recently because the schools are wide spread chasing individual shad near the surface.  When the schools become tighter and are found in shallower water it will be easier to identify a striper school.  In the fall always have a top water lure ready to cast but when the school is seen on the fish finder catching fish is easiest when suing a spoon.
Smallmouth Bass:   Smallmouth are found in deeper water when the surface water is so warm.  Recently the best technique has been to visibly locate a submerged brushy reef near shore.  Move to the breaking edge of the reef and fish on the next drop off where water depth is 15-30 feet deep.  Smallmouth are grouped in schools in the deeper water. It is possible to see these groups of fish holding near the bottom.  Once over the school drop plastic grubs on lead head jigs or dropshot rigged shad shaped worms into the school. Right now bass fishing is a lot like striper fishing where bass can be located on the graph rather than just looking for the right structure and bottom depth.
I have found the best bass schools by trolling a mid depth crankbait along the breaking edge of the reef. When a bass is caught check for curious followers and cast plastic grubs to them as they chase the hooked fish right up to the boat. Bass fishing has been quite good using this method.  Catch bass until they leave the spot or the boat drifts away, and then troll again to find another hungry group.
Bluegill:  Adult bluegill have grown quite large and are found in deepest brushy water available. With the lake going down those brush piles are getting shallower and are visible in the clear water.  Drop meal worms or Gulp minnows down to the tops of the brush to catch some very colorful feisty fish.
Channel catfish:   Catfish are active in the evening near camp. Use some leftovers from dinner right behind the houseboat on a sandy beach about 10-15 feet deep.  Catfish really like the murky water near the end of the canyon where good campsites are found.
Fishing is still really good at the lake but will get even better in the weeks to come

Lake Powell Fish Report – September 5, 2017

Lake Elevation: 3630.5

Water Temperature:  81-85 F

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

Lake Powell was busy over the Labor Day weekend. Weather was warm and winds were calm. Many enjoyed camping in the warm and beautiful summer conditions.  There will be another week or two of warm weather and then the cooler fall weather will arrive. Right now the lake is capped with 80F+ water temperature which is a bit warm for really good fishing.  In the spring time the best fishing occurs when the water warms into the 60s.  Right now we are waiting for the temperature to drop into the 70s.  When that happens here is what to expect.

andrewtiptonStriped Bass: Small stripers are accustomed to feeding in really warm water.  The quick boils seen this weekend featured 8-13 inch stripers. Older stripers that have boiled the last 2 months have done very well. They are two inches longer, fat and strong. Few reports about larger stripers feeding on top were received this week which means that the bigger fish were too hot to boil, or the lake was too busy or shad were moving away from main channel spots that were hot fishing a week ago. It really does not matter why there were less boils because there are still huge schools of shad in the backs of the canyons.  Stripers will now move out of the main channel and work toward the backs of the canyon. The next boil period will likely erupt as soon as stripers make the transition to searching the canyons instead of the man channel and find shad in side canyons lakewide.  I predict that fall top water fishing will begin mid September and boils will be large and long lasting. Expect boils to be near shore instead of in the middle of the channel. Look for giant splashes in the backs of canyons.

It has been difficult to see stripers on the graph recently because the schools are wide spread chasing individual shad near the surface.  When the schools become tighter and are found in shallower water it will be easier to identify a striper school.  In the fall always have a top water lure ready to cast but when the school is seen on the fish finder catching fish is easiest when using a spoon. 

Smallmouth Bass:   Smallmouth are found in deeper water when the surface water is so warm.  Recently the best technique has been to visibly locate a submerged brushy reef near shore.  Move to the breaking edge of the reef and fish on the next drop off where water depth is 15-30 feet deep.  Smallmouth are grouped in schools in the deeper water. It is possible to see these groups of fish holding near the bottom.  Once over the school drop plastic grubs on lead head jigs or dropshot rigged shad shaped worms into the school. Right now bass fishing is a lot like striper fishing where bass can be located on the graph rather than just looking for the right structure and bottom depth. 

coldren2I have found the best bass schools by trolling a mid depth crankbait along the breaking edge of the reef. When a bass is caught check for curious followers and cast plastic grubs to them as they chase the hooked fish right up to the boat. Bass fishing has been quite good using this method.  Catch bass until they leave the spot or the boat drifts away, and then troll again to find another hungry group. 

Bluegill:  Adult bluegill have grown quite large and are found in deepest brushy water available. With the lake going down those brush piles are getting shallower and are visible in the clear water.  Drop meal worms or Gulp minnows down to the tops of the brush to catch some very colorful, feisty fish.

Channel catfish:   Catfish are active in the evening near camp. Use some leftovers from dinner right behind the houseboat on a sandy beach about 10-15 feet deep.  Catfish really like the murky water near the end of the canyon where good campsites are found.

Fishing is still really good at the lake but will get even better in the weeks to come.

 
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