Lake Powell Fish Report – February 23, 2017
Lake Elevation: 3594
Water Temperature: 49-54 F
By: Wayne Gustaveson http://www.wayneswords.com
February has been an excellent month for great fishing results in the southern lake. We have found great spooning results in early February with a fish count of 75 stripers. Then later in the month we caught 38 stripers while trolling and casting. Spoons did not work on that trip. When we headed uplake to see how conditions had changed this week we were prepared to give the stripers any presentation they wanted. The fish did not disappoint us, in fact, we were amazed at what happened.
Following reports from the previous day we went to the back of the canyon and started spooning when a few shad or striper traces were seen on the graph. Our spoon were ignored by the stripers seen on the graph. We went looking for cooperative fish by trolling while watching the graph. In short order 12-14 inch (plankton eating) stripers were caught randomly on Lucky Craft XD78 pointers in ghost and chartreuse shad colors. There was no real pattern or many fish seen on the bottom but the small (best eating size) fish were caught regularly. After 1.5 hours we had 10 fish in the cooler and we moved on.
Another boat was found in the distance so we pulled up close to get a fish report. They were hovering over a striper school trying to spoon them up so we joined in. In short order the school responded and we hooked 2-3 pound stripers regularly. Action was quick and intense while the school was active. Occasionally we saw a single threadfin shad come to the surface and swim quickly away to avoid predation. The striper school was actively attacking a shad ball and we were lucky enough to be there for the action. After 15 minutes the deep schools moved on and catching on spoons quit but not before we placed another 15 large stripers in the cooler.
The other boat left to search for the striper school but those shad swimming along the surface made me pick up the spinning rod and toss Pointers to shallow chasing stripers. There were a few stripers near the surface and an occasional catch was made with a long cast and a stop and go retrieve. We even did the “figure 8 musky retrieve” with the lure near the boat and caught a few trailing stripers within 5 feet of the boat. That was awesome to see them attack the lure within plain sight.
While all this was going I heard random splashes in the distance and thought gizzard shad must be jumping in the water that had warmed to 56 degrees in the back of the canyon. Another big splash sounded behind me and my focus switched from stripers swimming under the boat to the shoreline. I looked up in time to see a pod of shad jump out of the water followed by a 3-pound striper within 2 feet of the shoreline. I could not believe my eyes. I had just witnessed a striper ‘boil’ in February. Unbelievable! Later, I added up the events and realized that the school of shad the stripers were chasing below the boat, went shallow with the striper school close behind. We moved 20 yards closer to shore and cast the same lures to the bank. Stripers hit the lures on every cast and hooked up half the time. We were in the perfect spot with the right lures and caught lots of fish. I could not stand it any longer and put on a top water lure. I really wanted to catch a topwater fish in February. After 20 casts I knew it was not going to happen so I changed back and caught more stragglers on shallow running crankbaits. The action slowed and we were “reely” tired from reeling in so many fish in a short time. The weather forecast was for wind to blow in the afternoon and we were completely satisfied with an amazing fishing day, so we headed in. We filleted 55 stripers at the cleaning station.
Data for this report was collected on the last sunny, warm day before a cold winter storm arrived. It was the lull before the storm. Wait for the wind to stop blowing and temperature to rise again before trying to duplicate the events reported here.
Fishing at Lake Powell is incredible.