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October 27, 2015 - Last Report of Year

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Lake Powell Fish Report – October 27, 2015
Lake Elevation: 3606
Water Temperature 69-72 F
By: Wayne Gustaveson   http://www.wayneswords.com
Each November we conduct our annual gillnet sampling to assess adult fish population strength, numbers and health.  Since we will be on the lake for 2 weeks, today’s fishing report will the last of the season. Sporadic reports will be sent out randomly when something unusual happens like a trophy fish being caught. For current fishing information during winter log on to Wayneswords.com.  The next regular weekly report will be published the first week of March 2016.
Today, stripers are hiding in deep water.  They must not like the bright full moonlight. There is a band of adult stripers and gizzard shad suspended at the preferred temperature found right now at 40 feet.  Trolling with down riggers works along the 40 foot thermal barrier this week. The best report came from trolling Kastmasters in the main channel at 40 feet near Halls Marina and in the channel upstream from Slick Canyon.  The Slick Rock report included speed reeling spoons between 40 and 80 feet for quick striper hookups.
Young-of-year stripers (6-10 inches) are in the backs of canyons in shallow water.  They eat plankton, shad and sunfish and can be caught jigging small spoons in 15-30 feet of water. We have seen shad schools feeding on the surface in early morning and late evening.  Small spoons cast into or near the shad schools will be clobbered by the many small stripers that stalk these schools. When shad are seen on top, game fish can be caught in close proximity.
Bass fishing continues to be the most productive target.  Smallmouth bass and largemouth are found in 15-25 feet of water. The most effective technique is dropshot fishing with plastic grubs and swim baits.  Casting crankbaits is not as good now as it was a week ago.  Go slow and deep while maintaining bottom contact for the opportunity to catch some really nice smallmouth bass. Largemouth bass are now being caught more often in the same areas, particularly where aquatic weeds are growing on the bottom.
These fishing patterns will hold up during November and December.  Dropping water temperature adds the possibility of catching walleye and crappie in shallow water using the same techniques favored in springtime.
In summary, the fishery is in awesome shape. Stripers continue to put on weight and are increasing in number. Shad forage is still high going into the winter season.  Adult stripers, which weighed 3-4 pounds this spring, produced a huge crop of young-of-year stripers.  These adults will weigh 4-5 pounds in the spring and produce another bumper crop of young stripers.  If shad have a good spawn in 2016 then stripers will grow to even larger proportions.  Expect fishing success in spring 2016 to be of epic proportions.
Bass numbers are high.  Largemouth bass need the lake to come up next spring and cover brush along the shoreline before that population can excel.  Smallmouth bass are doing very well.  They need more forage from shad, sunfish and crayfish.  Anglers can help increase size of smallmouth bass by harvesting 9-12 inch fish while releasing larger bass.  There is intense completion for forage among smallmouth which can be reduced by keeping more bass. Smallmouth are great fish to eat.  Keep more bass to make the average size of fish grow larger.
Walleye numbers are very high in the northern lake. Plan a walleye trip in May to Good Hope Bay and see if it is possible to catch 50-100 fish per day.  It could happen.
Thanks for fishing at Lake Powell in 2015 and talking part in one of the most amazing fisheries in the world.



wadestbLake Powell Fish Report – October 27, 2015

Lake Elevation: 3606

Water Temperature 69-72 F

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

Each November we conduct our annual gillnet sampling to assess adult fish population strength, numbers and health.  Since we will be on the lake for 2 weeks, today’s fishing report will the last of the season. Sporadic reports will be sent out randomly when something unusual happens like a trophy fish being caught. For current fishing information during winter log on to Wayneswords.com.  The next regular weekly report will be published the first week of March 2016. 

Today, stripers are hiding in deep water.  They must not like the bright full moonlight. There is a band of adult stripers and gizzard shad suspended at the preferred temperature found right now at 40 feet.  Trolling with down riggers works along the 40 foot thermal barrier this week. The best report came from trolling Kastmasters in the main channel at 40 feet near Halls Marina and in the channel upstream from Slick Canyon.  The Slick Rock report included speed reeling spoons between 40 and 80 feet for quick striper hookups.   

Young-of-year stripers (6-10 inches) are in the backs of canyons in shallow water.  They eat plankton, shad and sunfish and can be caught jigging small spoons in 15-30 feet of water. We have seen shad schools feeding on the surface in early morning and late evening.  Small spoons cast into or near the shad schools will be clobbered by the many small stripers that stalk these schools. When shad are seen on top, game fish can be caught in close proximity.     

briangsmb_edited-1Bass fishing continues to be the most productive target.  Smallmouth bass and largemouth are found in 15-25 feet of water. The most effective technique is dropshot fishing with plastic grubs and swim baits.  Casting crankbaits is not as good now as it was a week ago.  Go slow and deep while maintaining bottom contact for the opportunity to catch some really nice smallmouth bass. Largemouth bass are now being caught more often in the same areas, particularly where aquatic weeds are growing on the bottom. 

These fishing patterns will hold up during November and December.  Dropping water temperature adds the possibility of catching walleye and crappie in shallow water using the same techniques favored in springtime. 

In summary, the fishery is in awesome shape. Stripers continue to put on weight and are increasing in number. Shad forage is still high going into the winter season.  Adult stripers, which weighed 3-4 pounds this spring, produced a huge crop of young-of-year stripers.  These adults will weigh 4-5 pounds in the spring and produce another bumper crop of young stripers.  If shad have a good spawn in 2016 then stripers will grow to even larger proportions.  Expect fishing success in spring 2016 to be of epic proportions. 

Bass numbers are high.  Largemouth bass need the lake to come up next spring and cover brush along the shoreline before that population can excel.  Smallmouth bass are doing very well.  They need more forage from shad, sunfish and crayfish.  Anglers can help increase size of smallmouth bass by harvesting 9-12 inch fish while releasing larger bass.

bmwalleyeThere is intense competition for forage among smallmouth which can be reduced by keeping more bass. Smallmouth are great fish to eat.  Keep more bass to make the average size of fish grow larger.

Walleye numbers are very high in the northern lake. Plan a walleye trip in May to Good Hope Bay and see if it is possible to catch 50-100 fish per day.  It could happen.

Thanks for fishing at Lake Powell in 2015 and taking part in one of the most amazing fisheries in the world.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 27 October 2015 13:22
 

October 20, 2015 - Best Bass Fishing

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Lake Powell Fish Report – October 20, 2015
Lake Elevation: 3606
Water Temperature 72-74 F
By: Wayne Gustaveson   http://www.wayneswords.com
Lake level continues to hold at 3606 (MSL) thanks to the rainy weather during October. Just before the last rain, some really huge striper schools were found in the southern lake.  It was absolutely unbeatable to find a huge school with over a thousand stripers loitering on the bottom below the boat. That happened to more than one group of anglers last week.  Then those huge schools fragmented with only 5-10 stripers hanging out together.  The good news was that the more numerous small groups of stripers could be graphed more often. Spoons deployed to the bottom often resulted in 1-3 stripers being hooked.  Then the boat had to move a short distance to find the next small group. It was easier to find the randomly scattered stripers pods, but more productive to find that one big school and catch 50 at one spot.
This week expect to find scattered striper schools. The target depth is 40-50 feet. In fact, the very best striper catching method would be to troll lures behind a down rigger set at 40 feet.  Fish are layered at their preferred temperature zone and suspended just above the thermocline.  It is easy to find the deep fish by watching for western grebes on the surface.  The abundance of shad allows grebes to be present in most canyons and bays on the lake.  Find grebes, troll deep and catch stripers.
While graphing this morning we trolled mid range crankbaits (bevy shad) above the band of fish seen at 40-50 feet.  An occasional striper was hooked trolling.  Other times the boat was stopped over a suspected school of stripers on the bottom. Both techniques worked but not every time.  Stripers were very aggressive near dawn but lost enthusiasm as it got later in the day.
Smallmouth bass fishing is superb lakewide.  Topwater lures at morning and evening, trolling the shoreline during the day, or fishing plastics along rocky shorelines and prominent points, are all working effectively.   I am not sure that bass fishing could get much better than it is right now.
Northern Lake:  Expect to find a plethora of shad from Good Hope to Trachyte. Shad are so abundant that striper fishing is slower than in other lake areas because there is an over abundance of shad forage. This is a good problem to have but for now fishing downstream from Good Hope may be more productive.  Bass fishing success for larger bass is stellar.  The biggest bass from the last bass tournament came from the northern lake.
Main Lake:  Padre Bay to Cedar Canyon.  Bass fishing results in more fish caught per hour except when a large striper school is found.  A large stationary striper school results in 50 or more fish caught in a short time while spooning in deeper water (40-50 Feet).  The challenge is finding that deep, huge school. Trolling deep diving lures with flat line or with downriggers running at 40 feet works while graphing.  Stop and drop spoons when the potential large school is seen on the graph.
Warming weather arrives again this weekend.  Water temperature is 72 degrees now and dropping toward the magic 60 degree mark in the foreseeable future. The last 10 days of October will produce some amazing catches of all the fish this lake has to offer. I recommend coming now for that final trip of the year.

Lake Powell Fish Report – October 20, 2015

Lake Elevation: 3606

Water Temperature 72-74 F

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


angelfishLake level continues to hold at 3606 (MSL) thanks to the rainy weather during October. Just before the last rain, some really huge striper schools were found in the southern lake.  It was absolutely unbeatable to find a huge school with over a thousand stripers loitering on the bottom below the boat. That happened to more than one group of anglers last week.  Then those huge schools fragmented with only 5-10 stripers hanging out together.  The good news was that the more numerous small groups of stripers could be graphed more often. Spoons deployed to the bottom often resulted in 1-3 stripers being hooked.  Then the boat had to move a short distance to find the next small group. It was easier to find the randomly scattered stripers pods, but more productive to find that one big school and catch 50 at one spot.

   
This week expect to find scattered striper schools. The target depth is 40-50 feet. In fact, the very best striper catching method would be to troll lures behind a down rigger set at 40 feet.  Fish are layered at their preferred temperature zone and suspended just above the thermocline.  It is easy to find the deep fish by watching for western grebes on the surface.  The abundance of shad allows grebes to be present in most canyons and bays on the lake.  Find grebes, troll deep and catch stripers.

While graphing this morning we trolled mid range crankbaits (bevy shad) above the band of fish seen at 40-50 feet.  An occasional striper was hooked trolling.  Other times the boat was stopped over a suspected school of stripers on the bottom. Both techniques worked but not every time.  Stripers were very aggressive near dawn but lost enthusiasm as it got later in the day.

adamsonf2Smallmouth bass fishing is superb lakewide.  Topwater lures at morning and evening, trolling the shoreline during the day, or fishing plastics along rocky shorelines and prominent points, are all working effectively.   I am not sure that bass fishing could get much better than it is right now. 

Northern Lake:  Expect to find a plethora of shad from Good Hope to Trachyte. Shad are so abundant that striper fishing is slower than in other lake areas because there is an over abundance of shad forage. This is a good problem to have but for now fishing downstream from Good Hope may be more productive.  Bass fishing success for larger bass is stellar.  The biggest bass from the last bass tournament came from the northern lake. 

bbjork111Main Lake:  Padre Bay to Cedar Canyon.  Bass fishing results in more fish caught per hour except when a large striper school is found.  A large stationary striper school results in 50 or more fish caught in a short time while spooning in deeper water (40-50 Feet).  The challenge is finding that deep, huge school. Trolling deep diving lures with flat line or with downriggers running at 40 feet works while graphing.  Stop and drop spoons when the potential large school is seen on the graph.  

Warming weather arrives again this weekend.  Water temperature is 72 degrees now and dropping toward the magic 60 degree mark in the foreseeable future. The last 10 days of October will produce some amazing catches of all the fish this lake has to offer. I recommend coming now for that final trip of the year.

 

 

debcross1

 

October 13, 2015 - Chasing deep schools

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Lake Powell Fish Report – October 13, 2015
Lake Elevation: 3606
Water Temperature 72-75 F
By: Wayne Gustaveson   http://www.wayneswords.com
My last fish report expressed the hope that stripers would start boiling again, but to my dismay, no boils have been reported this week.  Unforgettable boil action has occurred in August, September, and early October but each of these episodes has been interrupted by quiet periods when stripers stay deep despite a high abundance of forage.  When boiling stripers do splash on top in big groups, it is easy to find and then catch them with surface lures.  I hope that happens soon but, while waiting, stripers can still be caught in large numbers.
Subtle changes have occurred recently that give clues to finding striper schools.  Water temperature is still warm which means that adult striped bass remain in deep water most of the time but they will come to the surface to feed for quick bursts.  As water temperature continues to decline, stripers can stay on top for longer periods.
The last storm front seemed to allow bait fish and stripers to relocate.  Shad schools that were trapped in the backs of canyons made a quick move to similar spots but perhaps in the next canyon.  Large striper schools have been seen this week but in different bays than previously reported.  It is now necessary to find big schools of shad and stripers as they move from spot to spot. Schools are easy to see on sonar graphs.  Striped bass schools are often shaped like a Christmas tree, while gizzard shad schools appear as a thick band or cloud of fish layered in a horizontal line slightly above the lake bottom. Threadfin shad schools appear as a suspended balloon-shaped cloud in open water.  Finding a threadfin school is my goal because all other game fish, even catfish, are watching shad closely right now.
Trolling shallow running crankbaits has been a successful technique for capturing juvenile striped bass.  Recently these smaller stripers have moved shallow and started to eat plankton as they do in the springtime. Catching small stripers is the first step in finding the adults.  Juveniles live and feed in warm water.  Adults “look up” to see what the youngsters are doing. When juvenile stripers find a threadfin shad school adults can quickly come to the top and feed with the kids. A small striper caught trolling, has the attention of larger fish that follow and then watch for food in deeper water.  Each time a young fish is caught trolling, drop a spoon to the bottom or cast a crankbait behind the small fish to attract the larger school.
While trolling, diligently study the graph to detect striper schools resting on bottom. Glance up often and scan the surface for jumping stripers.  Gizzard shad are active jumpers now, but stripers have a different, more aggressive splash. Troll toward the surface activity for best results.  When a resting striper school is seen on the graph, stop and drop spoons quickly into the group. The spot can be marked for a return engagement but stripers are on the move and may not be there when you return.
This may sound like a lot of work, but the reward may be 50 large adult stripers caught from one school in short order.
The other option is to move to the shallow shoreline and cast surface lures during morning and evening prime time for large and smallmouth bass. Shad movement has bass on edge and looking up for the opportunity to feed.  Bass fishing is steady and productive all day long.  Use plastic baits in 15-30 feet of water to target larger bass.  Small bass are very aggressive and can be caught trolling, casting and jigging along primary points in the bays or on rockslide areas in the canyons and channels.
Channel catfish are active at dusk.  They have grown larger this summer with the abundant shad population and they are more aggressive than normal.  I often catch catfish while spooning on the bottom for stripers.
Resting deep water striped bass can be caught on bait in 30-60 feet of water in the shade of main canyon walls.  Mark the fish on the graph, drop chum and catch large stripers.
Fishing is really good now for bass and stripers for those that like the challenge of matching wits with fish that are on the move. As the water temperature drops into the 60s, larger bass, walleye and crappie will become prime targets.

Lake Powell Fish Report – October 13, 2015

Lake Elevation: 3606

Water Temperature 72-75 F

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


My last fish report expressed the hope that stripers would start boiling again, but to my dismay, no boils have been reported this week.  Unforgettable boil action has occurred in August, September, and early October but each of these episodes has been interrupted by quiet periods when stripers stay deep despite a high abundance of forage.  When boiling stripers do splash on top in big groups, it is easy to find and then catch them with surface lures.  I hope that happens soon but, while waiting, stripers can still be caught in large numbers.

 
aclkSubtle changes have occurred recently that give clues to finding striper schools.  Water temperature is still warm which means that adult striped bass remain in deep water most of the time but they will come to the surface to feed for quick bursts.  As water temperature continues to decline, stripers can stay on top for longer periods. 


The last storm front seemed to allow bait fish and stripers to relocate.  Shad schools that were trapped in the backs of canyons made a quick move to similar spots but perhaps in the next canyon.  Large striper schools have been seen this week but in different bays than previously reported.  It is now necessary to find big schools of shad and stripers as they move from spot to spot. Schools are easy to see on sonar graphs.  Striped bass schools are often shaped like a Christmas tree, while gizzard shad schools appear as a thick band or cloud of fish layered in a horizontal line slightly above the lake bottom. Threadfin shad schools appear as a suspended balloon-shaped cloud in open water.  Finding a threadfin school is my goal because all other game fish, even catfish, are watching shad closely right now.   


Trolling shallow running crankbaits has been a successful technique for capturing juvenile striped bass.  Recently these smaller stripers have moved shallow and started to eat plankton as they do in the springtime. Catching small stripers is the first step in finding the adults.  Juveniles live and feed in warm water.  Adults “look up” to see what the youngsters are doing. When juvenile stripers find a threadfin shad school adults can quickly come to the top and feed with the kids. A small striper caught trolling, has the attention of larger fish that follow and then watch for food in deeper water.  Each time a young fish is caught trolling, drop a spoon to the bottom or cast a crankbait behind the small fish to attract the larger school. 


downloadWhile trolling, diligently study the graph to detect striper schools resting on bottom. Glance up often and scan the surface for jumping stripers.  Gizzard shad are active jumpers now, but stripers have a different, more aggressive splash. Troll toward the surface activity for best results.  When a resting striper school is seen on the graph, stop and drop spoons quickly into the group. The spot can be marked for a return engagement but stripers are on the move and may not be there when you return. 


This may sound like a lot of work, but the reward may be 50 large adult stripers caught from one school in short order.  
The other option is to move to the shallow shoreline and cast surface lures during morning and evening prime time for large and smallmouth bass. Shad movement has bass on edge and looking up for the opportunity to feed.  Bass fishing is steady and productive all day long.  Use plastic baits in 15-30 feet of water to target larger bass.  Small bass are very aggressive and can be caught trolling, casting and jigging along primary points in the bays or on rockslide areas in the canyons and channels.

  
Channel catfish are active at dusk.  They have grown larger this summer with the abundant shad population and they are more aggressive than normal.  I often catch catfish while spooning on the bottom for stripers. 


Resting deep water striped bass can be caught on bait in 30-60 feet of water in the shade of main canyon walls.  Mark the fish on the graph, drop chum and catch large stripers. 


Fishing is really good now for bass and stripers for those that like the challenge of matching wits with fish that are on the move. As the water temperature drops into the 60s, larger bass, walleye and crappie will become prime targets.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 13 October 2015 09:49
 

October 5, 2015 - Boils Erupt

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Lake Powell Fish Report – October 5, 2015

Lake Elevation: 3605

Water Temperature 74-76 F

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


 

sher2I predicted last week that “surface action would return and make striper boil fishing as good as it was two weeks ago.  Stripers would then move into the canyons and coves where shad have found safe refuge”. Striper boil reports from the southern lake this weekend were the best of the year.

 

Stripers are moving into coves where shad have been hiding out for much of the summer. Boils in coves and along the shore have now replaced open water boils in the main channel.  These are the fall events that we have been waiting for.

 

On Saturday morning we were graphing for striper schools when a few splashes were seen and we headed in their direction. I marked the spot where a potential “spooning” school was holding before chasing the topwater fish.  In the back of Warm Creek Cottonwood we saw large shad schools perhaps 20 yards long move out in open water with individual stripers and bass chasing along the side of the school. Both bass and stripers hit surface lures, cast near the shad school.

 

Surface water temperature was above 75F, which is still too warm for adult stripers to stay on the surface for extended periods of time. Despite the exciting surface activity, best fishing results came from spoons dropped to 25-55 feet near the small boils.  We chased the topwater schools along shore and into coves and then back out into the bay where shad schools were leading them. We caught some topwater fish and more deep fish. Surprisingly the last topwater fish we saw was within a few yards of our marker dropped there first thing in the morning. We then spooned up more stripers.  Our cooler count was 40 stripers.

 

On Sunday, boil reports from Padre Bay, Last Chance and Rock Creek began to pour in. Most anglers were getting 20-50 stripers on surface lures from boils.  Fantastic fall fishing has arrived. Unfortunately, it will be short lived as a cold windy front blows through early in the week, but as soon as the wind quits the cooler water will allow more adult stripers to hit the surface making boils bigger and stronger by Oct. 9th.  Great surface fishing will continue until the next full moon and perhaps longer.  These predictions are for the whole lake both north and south.

 

Bass fishing continues to excel with active smallmouth bass following the striper lead as shad schools swim in open water.  Shad are being forced out of the backs of canyons as the lake level continues to decline and as water temperature drops.  Bass fishing will get better as water temperature reaches the 62-65F mark in late October or early November.

 

This is a great time to be on the lake with fantastic fishing success and cool nights to go along with warm calm days.  Oh!  Lake Powell, We have to love it!

bobreed


Last Updated on Sunday, 04 October 2015 16:29
 

September 29, 2015 - Blood Moon Reaction

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Lake Powell Fish Report – September 29, 2015
Lake Elevation: 3606
Water Temperature 74-76 F
By: Wayne Gustaveson   http://www.wayneswords.com
Super Blood Moon
There was no better place to be than Lake Powell to watch the bright full moon this week and the eclipse.  The timing was perfect as the moon came up at dusk with a huge presence over the high sandstone cliffs.  I hope you got to see it.
However, striped bass were not impressed.  I cannot explain why some full moons coincide with really difficult fishing success while others happen to make fishing success better.  The result of this buildup to blood moon was to chase striped bass from the surface to the bottom.  That was not all bad as anglers in the Bullfrog area, that knew where to look, were able to spoon up stripers from 80 feet deep.  The hotspots were at the Mouth of Moki Canyon and along the east cliff wall between Lost Eden and Lake Canyon.  Anchovy bait and chum were best at Moki Canyon while jigging spoons were the ticket along the downstream wall.
Stripers in the Wahweap area also went deep but finding them was more difficult in the southern lake.  If a school of stripers was seen on the graph it was possible to drop a spoon right in the middle of the group and catch a few fish before they moved on. These schools did not hold in one spot or return to a specific location making finding them doubly difficult.  The few stripers caught in the southern lake had no shad in their stomachs.  It appears that full moon brought feeding and surface boils to a screeching halt.
Surface activity in the northern lake was absent. We found that out in a long round trip from Red Canyon to Trachyte and back during evening prime time.  It was beautiful trip with the calm water unmarked by any stripers splashing on the surface. Trolling and spooning was good but boils were missing in action.
For now, it is all about smallmouth bass. Moon effect may have slowed the bass action on the day of the blood moon, but catching is still wide open. Surface lures cast to brushy shorelines were hammered. Drop shot rigs were readily consumed.  Plastic grubs were chased and inhaled with regularity. Trolled crankbaits were chased down.  Bass fishing was really good in September and will continue to excite young and old anglers alike.  In fact this would be a great time for a grandson to go bass fishing with his grandfather. They could both catch fish.
My prediction is that darker nights and cooler temperatures over the next two weeks will rejuvenate the surface action and  make striper fishing as good as it was two weeks ago.  Shad were found in large schools in the backs of the canyons and in open water of the channel.  The next major movement will be for stripers to regain their appetites and move into the canyons and coves where shad have found safe refuge for the last few weeks.
A large striper weighing 19 pounds 4 ounces was caught trolling on leaded line at an undisclosed lake location.

Lake Powell Fish Report – September 29, 2015

Lake Elevation: 3606

Water Temperature 74-76 F

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

Super Blood Moon

 There was no better place to be than Lake Powell to watch the bright full moon this week and the eclipse.  The timing was perfect as the moon came up at dusk with a huge presence over the high sandstone cliffs.  I hope you got to see it.  
However, striped bass were not impressed.  I cannot explain why some full moons coincide with really difficult fishing success while others happen to make fishing success better.  The result of this buildup to blood moon was to chase striped bass from the surface to the bottom.  That was not all bad as anglers in the Bullfrog area, that knew where to look, were able to spoon up stripers from 80 feet deep.  The hotspots were at the Mouth of Moki Canyon and along the east cliff wall between Lost Eden and Lake Canyon.  Anchovy bait and chum were best at Moki Canyon while jigging spoons were the ticket along the downstream wall.

 
sher1Stripers in the Wahweap area also went deep but finding them was more difficult in the southern lake.  If a school of stripers was seen on the graph it was possible to drop a spoon right in the middle of the group and catch a few fish before they moved on. These schools did not hold in one spot or return to a specific location making finding them doubly difficult.  The few stripers caught in the southern lake had no shad in their stomachs.  It appears that full moon brought feeding and surface boils to a screeching halt.   


Surface activity in the northern lake was absent. We found that out in a long round trip from Red Canyon to Trachyte and back during evening prime time.  It was beautiful trip with the calm water unmarked by any stripers splashing on the surface. Trolling and spooning was good but boils were missing in action. 


For now, it is all about smallmouth bass. Moon effect may have slowed the bass action on the day of the blood moon, but catching is still wide open. Surface lures cast to brushy shorelines were hammered. Drop shot rigs were readily consumed.  Plastic grubs were chased and inhaled with regularity. Trolled crankbaits were chased down.  Bass fishing was really good in September and will continue to excite young and old anglers alike.  In fact this would be a great time for a grandson to go bass fishing with his grandfather. They could both catch fish. 


My prediction is that darker nights and cooler temperatures over the next two weeks will rejuvenate the surface action and  make striper fishing as good as it was two weeks ago.  Shad were found in large schools in the backs of the canyons and in open water of the channel.  The next major movement will be for stripers to regain their appetites and move into the canyons and coves where shad have found safe refuge for the last few weeks. 


A large striper weighing 19 pounds 4 ounces was caught trolling on leaded line at an undisclosed lake location.

 

img_0810

 

September 22, 2015 - Best Fishing of the Year

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Lake Powell Fish Report – September 16, 2015
Lake Elevation: 3606
Water Temperature 74-76 F
By: Wayne Gustaveson   http://www.wayneswords.com
The fall sports season has begun with college and professional football kicking off.  Not to be outdone husky professional size striped bass in Lake Powell are lining up to compete against the smaller but more numerous underdog shad population.  Shad are huddling in the backs of the canyons hoping to come up with a playbook that will allow them to survive another day.  Stripers are on the open water side of the scrimmage line waiting for the shad to venture out in the open where they become fair game.
Right now the shad play is to keep crowding further back into the canyons and coves. Stripers have been boiling in the channels and bays but are running out of open water shad which limits the amount of boils seen each day.  While the two groups are slightly separated the best plan is to look for stripers huddling on the bottom in 40-80 feet of water. When  a striper school is seen on the graph, drop a spoon, swimbait or white hair jig into the aggressive mass of fish. Hook one fish and the rest will follow trying to see what the first fish was eating. Watch the graph to see these following fish while landing the first one.
Water temperature is dropping which allows bigger stripers to spend more time feeding on the surface.  The Super Bowl happens when water temperature is 65-70F and big stripers can go all the way to the back of the canyons.  There will be a resurgence of boils soon that will continue well into October.
Striper action is occurring lakewide now.  The game plan is to be on site before the sun hits the water in the morning.  As light intensity increases a few small stripers and some gizzard shad will hit the surface.  Go to the splash spots and troll the area while graphing. When a large school is seen on the bottom, stop and drop spoons and swimbaits to the waiting fish.  Repeat this fishing pattern in the last hour of daylight at night.  Graphing then spooning for striper schools works in the day time as well but stripers are much more active in the early morning and late evening.
There are some husky large and smallmouth bass holding in the backs of canyons right where the shad schools are hiding out.  Topwater lures and spinner baits retrieved over and through the weeds along brushy shorelines at first light will be smacked by very large bass.  Be there very early to find the larger fish.
During the day smallmouth bass from tiny to 2-pounds are going crazy along the entire length of rocky shoreline. Troll, cast or spoon near fast falling rocky structure to interact with an incredible number of smallmouth bass. Many bass anglers are now reporting 100 fish days over the length of the lake.
This report makes it sound like fishing/catching is super at Lake Powell right now.  Results from my recent weekly trip were 30 stripers spooned off the bottom in Warm Creek, along with a dozen smallmouth bass and one largemouth bass caught incidentally by trolling, spooning and casting, along with 2 large catfish hooked on spoons.  All of these fish were caught from 6:30 – 9 AM. Other incidentally occurring fish that will add to the variety are walleye and bluegill.
Fall fishing is at the peak for the year and total fishing success is perhaps the best seen in this decade.  It would be wise to take advantage of this fishing opportunity that may not be matched in the years to come.

Lake Powell Fish Report – September 16, 2015

Lake Elevation: 3606

Water Temperature 74-76 F

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


trihn5The fall sports season has begun with college and professional football kicking off.  Not to be outdone husky professional size striped bass in Lake Powell are lining up to compete against the smaller but more numerous underdog shad population.  Shad are huddling in the backs of the canyons hoping to come up with a playbook that will allow them to survive another day.  Stripers are on the open water side of the scrimmage line waiting for the shad to venture out in the open where they become fair game.


Right now the shad play is to keep crowding further back into the canyons and coves. Stripers have been boiling in the channels and bays but are running out of open water shad which limits the amount of boils seen each day.  While the two groups are slightly separated the best plan is to look for stripers huddling on the bottom in 40-80 feet of water. When  a striper school is seen on the graph, drop a spoon, swimbait or white hair jig into the aggressive mass of fish. Hook one fish and the rest will follow trying to see what the first fish was eating. Watch the graph to see these following fish while landing the first one.

 
Water temperature is dropping which allows bigger stripers to spend more time feeding on the surface.  The Super Bowl happens when water temperature is 65-70F and big stripers can go all the way to the back of the canyons.  There will be a resurgence of boils soon that will continue well into October.

 
trihn1Striper action is occurring lakewide now.  The game plan is to be on site before the sun hits the water in the morning.  As light intensity increases a few small stripers and some gizzard shad will hit the surface.  Go to the splash spots and troll the area while graphing. When a large school is seen on the bottom, stop and drop spoons and swimbaits to the waiting fish.  Repeat this fishing pattern in the last hour of daylight at night.  Graphing then spooning for striper schools works in the day time as well but stripers are much more active in the early morning and late evening. 


There are some husky large and smallmouth bass holding in the backs of canyons right where the shad schools are hiding out.  Topwater lures and spinner baits retrieved over and through the weeds along brushy shorelines at first light will be smacked by very large bass.  Be there very early to find the larger fish. 


During the day smallmouth bass from tiny to 2-pounds are going crazy along the entire length of rocky shoreline. Troll, cast or spoon near fast falling rocky structure to interact with an incredible number of smallmouth bass. Many bass anglers are now reporting 100 fish days over the length of the lake.      

trihn2This report makes it sound like fishing/catching is super at Lake Powell right now.  Results from my recent weekly trip were 30 stripers spooned off the bottom in Warm Creek, along with a dozen smallmouth bass and one largemouth bass caught incidentally by trolling, spooning and casting, along with 2 large catfish hooked on spoons.  All of these fish were caught from 6:30 – 9 AM. Other incidentally occurring fish that will add to the variety are walleye and bluegill.   

Fall fishing is at the peak for the year and total fishing success is perhaps the best seen in this decade.  It would be wise to take advantage of this fishing opportunity that may not be matched in the years to come.

 

September 16, 2015 - Prime Time begins

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Lake Powell Fish Report – September 16, 2015

Lake Elevation: 3607

Water Temperature 76-79 F

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

 

shuntsep1Windy, wet weather along with the transition to the Fall season has changed fishing patterns slightly.  Excellent fishing success is still achieved each day by pursuing striped bass in the early morning and then switching targets to smallmouth which can be caught in big numbers all day long. A few walleye are now being caught while trolling and casting for other species.

 Striped bass boils are past their peak.  The massive 100+ fish boils encountered two weeks ago have been replaced by a few individual splashes marking the spot where striper schools are holding.  Striper school location is still consistent with the ‘good spots’ still producing large numbers of fish for anglers using the right techniques.  The pattern is to travel quickly at first light until a few surfacing stripers are seen. Cast surface lures to catch a few juvenile fish.  After that it is time to go to work by trolling deep and spooning.

 The good spots are Padre Bay, Last Chance, Rock Creek, Dangling Rope Bay, Oak Canyon, mouth of San Juan, main channel from San Juan to Escalante, and the upper lake from Bullfrog to Trachyte. You will be able to find stripers and bass almost anywhere in the lake during September as water temperature declines toward the magic 60-65 degree mark which will be the peak for fall fishing.

shuntsep3Adult stripers are now holding at about 40 feet.  Downrigger trolling at 40 feet is producing huge catches of 3-5 pound stripers. Troll where the small fish were seen surfacing for best results or locate the schools on the graph to make sure you are in the right spot.

My favorite technique is to troll while graphing.  Mark the spot where a school of stripers is seen holding on the bottom. Reel in the trolling lures and return to the marker.  Drop spoons into the school and start catching fish at a rate that may be faster than possible for boiling fish. The best thing about boils is being able to see the fish hit the surface lures.  The same excitement can be generated with spoons while watching the graph.  It is possible to see the lure descending into the school, and to see stripers chase after the spoon as it is speed reeled out of the school with fish in pursuit.

Striper spooning technique in the fall is to drop the spoon to the bottom and jig it up and down a few times in the school to get them started feeding.  If they are reluctant to hit the spoon, reel the spoon quickly for 15 feet and then stop it.  This pause excites trailing stripers who will then hit the lure as it starts to move quickly away once more.  Spooning is the best striper fishing technique right now.

shuntsep4Smallmouth bass fishing is fantastic. They are holding on primary points where a land mass extends out into the bay.  Cast to the shallow point and gradually work the plastic bait or lure down into deeper water until a bass find it. Most lures will work but the best recent success has come on the standard single or double tail plastic grubs fish along the bottom at 15-25 feet.   White may be the best color when shad are in the area but bass will not pass up a crayfish so green pumpkin color is also very productive.

Late September and early October are the best times to fish at Lake Powell.  The crowds have gone home, water and air temperature are delightful and fish are more than willing to bite.  The golden time for fishing and relaxing is here. Do not miss the opportunity to be at Lake Powell at its peak.

 

September 8, 2015 - Boils moving South

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Lake Powell Fish Report – September 8, 2015
Lake Elevation: 3608
Water Temperature 78-81 F
By: Wayne Gustaveson   http://www.wayneswords.com
Stripers are changing habits again with long absent boils occurring in the southern lake. For the past week early morning and late evening boils are blowing up in the main channel from Antelope Point Marina to Padre Bay.  Morning boils last from first light to 7:30 AM (MST) or even 8 AM if a morning cloud in the east blocks the sun and delays the start time. If the evening is calm another boil event occurs from 6 PM until dark.
My take is that stripers are chasing threadfin shad up and down the main channel.  More accurately, threadfin shad are moving throughout the channel trying to avoid stripers. Shad school during the daylight hours using the “ball of shad” for protection. Each shad uses the shad next to him as a shield and hopes that he lives to see another day.  At night shad no longer school but swim independently. Then when the sun rises in the morning shad schools reform and stripers attack once more. It seems that the open water shad schools move at night or mid day to avoid predation from relentless striper schools. Eventually shad schools move to a new location and resident stripers take up the boiling pursuit where the other stripers left off.
Striper boil epicenters have moved from the San Juan all the way downlake to the current location in the last month.  These same boil location changes have happened uplake with boils at Good Hope one week and the Rincon the next.  The great news is that boils are continuing into September over the length of the lake.  Boils have been reported in the last week in the main river channel leading to Padre Bay, San Juan (Cha Canyon), Last Chance Bay, Escalante, and Good Hope Bay.  Boils are better on calm mornings.
The current striper population is in excellent physical condition and will continue to thrive into the winter with enough shad remaining to allow them to feed during winter and continue to grow next spring. If these conditions prevail large stripers will delight many anglers in 2016.
It is hard for me to fish for bass when stripers are actively boiling but bass are benefitting from the same positive forage conditions and growing bigger and stronger as well. The best technique to catch a big largemouth in the fall is to find a striper boil near shore.  As soon as stripers leave the surface, cast top water lures to any brush shelters along the shoreline to tangle with a dandy largemouth bass.
I am excited about the current state of the fishery.  The fall fishing will be epic from now until November.  If you have not yet experienced a fall boil, the chances are excellent of successfully accomplishing that bucket list event.  You just have to correctly guess where the boil will be tomorrow morning.

Lake Powell Fish Report – September 8, 2015

Lake Elevation: 3608

Water Temperature 78-81 F

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


travissanderssmallStripers are changing habits again with long absent boils occurring in the southern lake. For the past week early morning and late evening boils are blowing up in the main channel from Antelope Point Marina to Padre Bay.  Morning boils last from first light to 7:30 AM (MST) or even 8 AM if a morning cloud in the east blocks the sun and delays the start time. If the evening is calm another boil event occurs from 6 PM until dark. 


My take is that stripers are chasing threadfin shad up and down the main channel.  More accurately, threadfin shad are moving throughout the channel trying to avoid stripers. Shad school during the daylight hours using the “ball of shad” for protection. Each shad uses the shad next to him as a shield and hopes that he lives to see another day.  At night shad no longer school but swim independently. Then when the sun rises in the morning shad schools reform and stripers attack once more. It seems that the open water shad schools move at night or mid day to avoid predation from relentless striper schools. Eventually shad schools move to a new location and resident stripers take up the boiling pursuit where the other stripers left off. 


Striper boil epicenters have moved from the San Juan all the way downlake to the current location in the last month. These same boil location changes have happened uplake with boils at Good Hope one week and the Rincon the next. The great news is that boils are continuing into September over the length of the lake.  Boils have been reported in the last week in the main river channel leading to Padre Bay, San Juan (Cha Canyon), Last Chance Bay, Escalante, and Good Hope Bay.  Boils are better on calm mornings.

 
The current striper population is in excellent physical condition and will continue to thrive into the winter with enough shad remaining to allow them to feed during winter and continue to grow next spring. If these conditions prevail large stripers will delight many anglers in 2016.


dominguezsunsetIt is hard for me to fish for bass when stripers are actively boiling but bass are benefitting from the same positive forage conditions and growing bigger and stronger as well. The best technique to catch a big largemouth in the fall is to find a striper boil near shore.  As soon as stripers leave the surface, cast top water lures to any brush shelters along the shoreline to tangle with a dandy largemouth bass.


I am excited about the current state of the fishery.  The fall fishing will be epic from now until November.  If you have not yet experienced a fall boil, the chances are excellent of successfully accomplishing that bucket list event.  You just have to correctly guess where the boil will be tomorrow morning.

 

September 1, 2015 - Boils are Best!

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Lake Powell Fish Report – September 1, 2015

Lake Elevation: 3609

Water Temperature 79 - 82 F

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

 

The number of striper boils in the southern lake is increasing each day.  This morning boils were seen at Buoy 1, Buoy 3, Buoy 9, mouth of Navajo, Padre Bay (Padre Butte and east wall), mouth of Last Chance and mouth of Rock Creek.  I am sure there were more but after working these schools I needed a rest!

 

There are some established rules to follow.

 

superspookBoils start at 6 AM and continue until 7:30 AM. After that boils are seen randomly throughout the day with no schedule, time or place.  Evenings boils start up at 6 PM and continue until dark at the same location and with the same aggression seen in the morning.

 

Surface lures may be the best bait to start with when approaching a new boil.  You will know it is the right lure if stripers attack the lure as soon as it hits the water.  After a short time boiling fish tend to chase shad in opposite directions as the surface action widens.  When a surface lure is chased but missed a few times it may be time to change to a shallow running lure like a rattletrap or flat rap or Kastmaster.  Finally when the school goes down, drop a spoon to the bottom where they were last seen. Speed reel the lure up to catch a few more.  When they quit hitting spoons move on to find the next boil and repeat the lure sequence.  Fishing is intense from 6 – 7:30 AM.

 

unknownFinally, stripers caught this morning were stuffed with 3-inch threadfin shad.  We need some more anglers out there catching and keeping stripers so the shad population will last longer.  They are being decimated at a high rate now.

 

At midlake stripers have quit boiling but can be caught readily by graphing the 20-40 foot contour and dropping spoons to any stripers schools seen.  This technique worked great this week in the back of Bullfrog Bay.

 

In the northern lake boils continue from Good Hope Bay to Trachyte Canyon.  The morning and evening time periods are best here as well.

 

Bass are caught near shore as the striper boils go down.  Big largemouth and lots of smallmouth bass are following shad schools and become energized as stripers push shad toward shore.

 

The boils season now happening is the best boil action we have seen for a very long time.   If you like to fish topwater there is no better place than at Lake Powell in September 2015.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 01 September 2015 14:09
 

August 25, 2015 - Spoons are Best!

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Lake Powell Fish Report – August 21, 2015
Lake Elevation: 3610
Water Temperature 80-85 F
By: Wayne Gustaveson   http://www.wayneswords.com
Stripers are changing their schedule and location.  As soon as we get them figured out they do something else.  The big boils on the San Juan last week turned into little boils over the weekend.  San Juan is still a good place to go but the successful fishing technique is different.
Let me explain by sharing our experience from this morning.  Reports of boils uplake took us to Rock Creek early this morning.  We looked in the main channel between Rock Creek and Dungeon Canyon well before the sun came up. When no surfacing fish were seen on top we began a large circular path around the mouth of Rock Creek.  We soon saw tiny but numerous splashes against a canyon wall. These fish would swirl on our surface lures but not hookup.  When I finally caught one, we discovered that these fish were yearlings happily chasing shad but our full size surface lures were too big for them to consume.
The choice then was to downsize our lures to catch the little surface feeders or to fish deeper water looking for larger fish.  Jigging spoons, bucktail jigs and Kastmasters were deployed and immediately 2-4 pound stripers were being hoisted into the boat.  Catching continued for the next hour with big fish hitting our deep spoons anywhere from 20 to 60 feet deep.  We just followed the little surface feeders and fished under the surface action to catch some really nice fish in a very short time. We ended up with 36 stripers caught in one hour.
Let me explain what’s happening right now.  The water surface temperature has climbed back into the 80s with the recent hot weather.  Larger stripers cannot stay in water warmer than 80 degrees for more than a minute or two. If they exert lots of energy in the warm surface water they build up lactic acid in their muscles and cramp up, or worse, die from the exertion.   These big stripers watch the yearling stripers feed on top and follow them hoping that a wounded shad sinks or an escapee runs into deeper water.
Right now the small stripers mark the location of the larger fish.  The big fish are easy prey to a lure resembling a dying or wounded shad. The very best lure is a heavy slab spoon that sinks quickly to deep cool water where big fish are waiting. A heavy white bucktail jig or a heavy Kastmaster spoon work well also.  Find the school of big fish on the graph.   Drop the spoon to the bottom if they are deep or stop the lure at mid depth if the school is suspended. Perhaps the easiest technique is to drop the spoon to the bottom, jig it up twice and then speed reel it back to the surface. I stop the spoon and jig it once or twice before speed reeling again. Stop it at 20 foot intervals to convince the following stripers to eat the fleeing shad (spoon) as it starts to swim once more.
Spooning under surface feeding yearlings works lake wide. Spooning is the best technique now even if boils are not seen.  Graph the bottom contour looking for big striper schools. When a school is seen, mark the spot and drop spoons into the school. Best time is early morning. Second best time is evening.
New boil spots are being reported.  Buoy One, Mouth of Navajo Canyon, Rock Creek, San Juan, Escalante, Good Hope Bay and beyond are still experiencing boils.  Most of these are from small fish so look for large fish in deeper water. Over the rest of the lake, locate striper schools on the graph and then spoon to catch many fish.  This is working in Last Chance, Moki Canyon and 100 other spots.
Finally there were big stripers caught on bait down by the dam at the buoy line this morning. Fishing is picking up but the weather is changing from hot to rainy.  It will be interesting to see what changes are in store for Lake Powell fishermen in the coming week.   I will track the changes and report next week.

spoons

 

Lake Powell Fish Report – August 21, 2015

Lake Elevation: 3610

Water Temperature 80-85 F

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

Stripers are changing their schedule and location.  As soon as we get them figured out they do something else.  The big boils on the San Juan last week turned into little boils over the weekend.  San Juan is still a good place to go but the successful fishing technique is different.  

Let me explain by sharing our experience from this morning.  Reports of boils uplake took us to Rock Creek early this morning.  We looked in the main channel between Rock Creek and Dungeon Canyon well before the sun came up. When no surfacing fish were seen on top we began a large circular path around the mouth of Rock Creek.  We soon saw tiny but numerous splashes against a canyon wall. These fish would swirl on our surface lures but not hookup.  When I finally caught one, we discovered that these fish were yearlings happily chasing shad but our full size surface lures were too big for them to consume.   

ethanstb2The choice then was to downsize our lures to catch the little surface feeders or to fish deeper water looking for larger fish.  Jigging spoons, bucktail jigs and Kastmasters were deployed and immediately 2-4 pound stripers were being hoisted into the boat.  Catching continued for the next hour with big fish hitting our deep spoons anywhere from 20 to 60 feet deep.  We just followed the little surface feeders and fished under the surface action to catch some really nice fish in a very short time. We ended up with 36 stripers caught in one hour.

Let me explain what’s happening right now.  The water surface temperature has climbed back into the 80s with the recent hot weather.  Larger stripers cannot stay in water warmer than 80 degrees for more than a minute or two. If they exert lots of energy in the warm surface water they build up lactic acid in their muscles and cramp up, or worse, die from the exertion.   These big stripers watch the yearling stripers feed on top and follow them hoping that a wounded shad sinks or an escapee runs into deeper water.

Right now the small stripers mark the location of the larger fish.  The big fish are easy prey to a lure resembling a dying or wounded shad. The very best lure is a heavy slab spoon that sinks quickly to deep cool water where big fish are waiting. A heavy white bucktail jig or a heavy Kastmaster spoon work well also.  Find the school of big fish on the graph.   Drop the spoon to the bottom if they are deep or stop the lure at mid depth if the school is suspended. Perhaps the easiest technique is to drop the spoon to the bottom, jig it up twice and then speed reel it back to the surface. I stop the spoon and jig it once or twice before speed reeling again. Stop it at 20 foot intervals to convince the following stripers to eat the fleeing shad (spoon) as it starts to swim once more.

dallintrotterSpooning under surface feeding yearlings works lake wide. Spooning is the best technique now even if boils are not seen.  Graph the bottom contour looking for big striper schools. When a school is seen, mark the spot and drop spoons into the school. Best time is early morning. Second best time is evening. 

New boil spots are being reported.  Buoy One, Mouth of Navajo Canyon, Rock Creek, San Juan, Escalante, Good Hope Bay and beyond are still experiencing boils.  Most of these are from small fish so look for large fish in deeper water. Over the rest of the lake, locate striper schools on the graph and then spoon to catch many fish.  This is working in Last Chance, Moki Canyon and 100 other spots. 

Finally there were big stripers caught on bait down by the dam at the buoy line this morning. Fishing is picking up but the weather is changing from hot to rainy.  It will be interesting to see what changes are in store for Lake Powell fishermen in the coming week.   I will track the changes and report next week.

 
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