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Fishing Report

Water temperature:

80-85 F

August 3, 2017



June 28, 2017 - Slurps slipping

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Lake Powell Fish Report – June 28, 2017
Lake Elevation: 3634
Water Temperature:  77-84 F
By: Wayne Gustaveson http://www.wayneswords.com
My weekly striper slurp evaluation trip yesterday was quite interesting?  We started earlier than usual (first light) and I attributed the lack of slurpers at my first stop at the mouth of Labyrinth to timing.  Maybe we were too early?  Then at the east wall in Padre Bay the lack of slurpers was disconcerting.  Timing was right and the most dependable location at the mouth of Last Chance was also disappointing with no surface schools seen.
The mystery was finally solved as we found slurping stripers close to the brushy shoreline between Dove Canyon and Dungeon Canyon. Here is what I think is happening in the southern lake:
The slurping stripers we caught and then examined at the fish cleaning station contained the same size tiny shad as has been noted for the last month. While fishing in the brush I saw schools of larger shad (1 inch to 1.5 inch) using the brush as a defense against attacking stripers and smallmouth bass. Slurping stripers are still looking for the open water newly hatched shad which are less every day.  Baby shad are consumed quickly by hungry predators but a few grow larger by fleeing into the brush cover. Either way they are less available to slurping stripers waiting in open water.
Slurps will continue to a lesser degree until shad grow larger and are forced to move out of the brush into open water in search of more plankton to eat.   The next progression is striper boils which have begun in mid July over the past few years. Expect slurps to occur randomly over the next few weeks.  Stripers will blow up on shad whenever they get the chance. There will be more slurps in the mid to northern lake because there are more shad there that have been protected by poor visibility from the muddy runoff water.
A recent report indicated that slurps are increasing in the main channel from the mouth of Navajo to Antelope Point Marina.  A new shad spawn could also lead to more slurps from Padre Bay to Rainbow Bridge.  Surface fishing for stripers is just beginning and will get much better over the summer.   Bait fishing for adult stripers is still steady in deeper water in the main channel and the main canyons throughout the lake.
Smallmouth bass have gone deeper. Adult bass are now at 25 feet or deeper. Smaller bass are shallower.  Rapidly rising water has displaced many bass. They are following the rising water into the brush in the backs of canyons that are now getting much longer and covering brush that has not been wet for many years.  Largemouth bass are following the rising water and residing in brush thickets in 3 feet of water at the back of canyons and coves..
Walleye are still being caught in good numbers by anglers using bottom bouncing rigs with night crawlers or trolling over brushy flats with shallow running crankbaits. Walleye really like to perch in flooded treetops while waiting for forage fish to swim by. Rattletraps are a good choice now for walleye. We caught a walleye yesterday on a surface lure fished slowly around flooded trees.  That fish now wears tag number 2901.
Summer fishing is a lot of fun. Get out early while it is still cool and fish are active. Look for surface action.  Target the brushy shoreline to catch a wide variety of species. Surface lures are very effective during the calm morning and evening hours.

Lake Powell Fish Report – June 28, 2017

Lake Elevation: 3634

Water Temperature:  77-84 F

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


My weekly striper slurp evaluation trip yesterday was quite interesting?  We started earlier than usual (first light) and I attributed the lack of slurpers at my first stop at the mouth of Labyrinth to timing.  Maybe we were too early?  Then at the east wall in Padre Bay the lack of slurpers was disconcerting.  Timing was right and the most dependable location at the mouth of Last Chance was also disappointing with no surface schools seen. 

The mystery was finally solved as we found slurping stripers close to the brushy shoreline between Dove Canyon and Dungeon Canyon. Here is what I think is happening in the southern lake:

The slurping stripers we caught and then examined at the fish cleaning station contained the same size tiny shad as has been noted for the last month. While fishing in the brush I saw schools of larger shad (1 inch to 1.5 inch) using the brush as a defense against attacking stripers and smallmouth bass. Slurping stripers are still looking for the open water newly hatched shad which are less every day.  Baby shad are consumed quickly by hungry predators but a few grow larger by fleeing into the brush cover. Either way they are less available to slurping stripers waiting in open water.    

smallshadstbSlurps will continue to a lesser degree until shad grow larger and are forced to move out of the brush into open water in search of more plankton to eat.   The next progression is striper boils which have begun in mid July over the past few years. Expect slurps to occur randomly over the next few weeks.  Stripers will blow up on shad whenever they get the chance. There will be more slurps in the mid to northern lake because there are more shad there that have been protected by poor visibility from the muddy runoff water.

A recent report indicated that slurps are increasing in the main channel from the mouth of Navajo to Antelope Point Marina.  A new shad spawn could also lead to more slurps from Padre Bay to Rainbow Bridge.  Surface fishing for stripers is just beginning and will get much better over the summer.   Bait fishing for adult stripers is still steady in deeper water in the main channel and the main canyons throughout the lake. 

Smallmouth bass have gone deeper. Adult bass are now at 25 feet or deeper. Smaller bass are shallower.  Rapidly rising water has displaced many bass. They are following the rising water into the brush in the backs of canyons that are now getting much longer and covering brush that has not been wet for many years.  Largemouth bass are following the rising water and residing in brush thickets in 3 feet of water at the back of canyons and coves.

waemouth

 

Walleye are still being caught in good numbers by anglers using bottom bouncing rigs with night crawlers or trolling over brushy flats with shallow running crankbaits. Walleye really like to perch in flooded treetops while waiting for forage fish to swim by. Rattletraps are a good choice now for walleye. We caught a walleye yesterday on a surface lure fished slowly around flooded trees.  That fish now wears tag number 2901. 

Summer fishing is a lot of fun. Get out early while it is still cool and fish are active. Look for surface action.  Target the brushy shoreline to catch a wide variety of species. Surface lures are very effective during the calm morning and evening hours.

 

June 21, 2017 - Stripers Still on Top!

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Lake Powell Fish Report – June 21, 2017
Lake Elevation: 3631
Water Temperature:  77-84 F
By: Wayne Gustaveson http://www.wayneswords.com
Stripers Still on Top!
Surface feeding stripers have been reported from Wahweap Bay to Hite.  The slurping schools are still feeding quickly and tend to go up and down often.  My reports indicate that they stay up longer and are caught more often from Dangling Rope to the San Juan and Bullfrog Bay to Good Hope Bay.  Expect to see them anywhere and anytime. Since they are commonly feeding lakewide my goal today was to find out which lures caught the most fish.
My preference is surface casting so I can see the fish hit the top water lure. That way even if there is no hookup I can see the fish and feel the adrenaline spike. I chose the Ima Skimmer because it performed well last week and repeated that performance today. It’s a long thin lure that casts well.
My next rod had the Lucky Craft lipless vibrator (rattletrap type) tied on because the slurps go up and down quickly.  When they are up, just reel it quickly through the splashing fish.  If they go down let the ‘trap sink until it is below the submerged school and then reel it up through the school for a quick hookup.
Stripers are feeding on very small shad so the best lure to “match the hatch” is a small white fly.  It takes a fly rod to cast a fly or an added weight to get the fly out there on a spinning rod.   I tied a small white fly on behind a Kastmaster spoon. My setup was not the best and got only a few bumps without a hookup.  If using flies bring the fly rod.
The best lure of the day was a Yamamoto D Shad (white color 364) on a 5/0 Owner hook with a 3/32 ounce belly weight and a twist lock attachment. This big lure caught the most slurping stripers.  It worked well swimming through the striper school or dropping down a bit when the school went down.
All lures worked but the most important factor was to cast to the right spot. These fast moving fish feed in an erratic pattern. They start in one direction, only to change course, go down and come up in a new direction. It is critical to cast 5 feet or more ahead of the lead fish since the lure will fly for 2-3 seconds and then land near the fast moving school.  If it lands in the sweet spot where the lead fish can see it there will be a hookup.  If it lands behind the lead fish then it is often ignored. The school often stays up for up to 5 minutes or more but once the boat is in range the fish tend to go down after the lures hit the water.  The first cast must be accurate to get a quick hookup.
Today the striper slurps began at first light and quit at 9 AM.  We came in on a hot day instead of waiting for the noon slurps to start.  More slurps are found in the evening .
We did try trolling with deep divers over 25-foot slick rock bottom structure and caught stripers and smallmouth bass.  We talked with bait anglers fishing in the shady coves on the east wall in Last Chance and they were catching lots of adult stripers. Striper fishing is still good despite the heat.
I often tell anglers to fish small isolated white rock slides in the steep walled main channel to catch smallmouth bass. We tested that theory and found the rock slides to be quiet, but if we cast to the slick rock wall on the other side of the rock slide cove we caught a smallmouth bass on every cast.  Smallmouth bass are still active and very catchable. It just takes a bit of experimenting to find their preferred habitat for the day.
Walleye are active early morning and evening and during the day as they hang out under muddy water floating on the surface caused by wind or wake action. Catfish, Bluegill and green sunfish are active now as well but the rising water has not allowed them to find their summer home. That will happen when the lake stabilizes in July.

Lake Powell Fish Report – June 21, 2017

Lake Elevation: 3631

Water Temperature:  77-84 F

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

Stripers Still on Top!

Surface feeding stripers have been reported from Wahweap Bay to Hite.  The slurping schools are still feeding quickly and tend to go up and down often.  My reports indicate that they stay up longer and are caught more often from Dangling Rope to the San Juan and Bullfrog Bay to Good Hope Bay.  Expect to see them anywhere and anytime.  Since they are commonly feeding lakewide my goal today was to find out which lures caught the most fish.

imabasslure

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My preference is surface casting so I can see the fish hit the top water lure. That way even if there is no hookup I can see the fish and feel the adrenaline spike. I chose the Ima Skimmer because it performed well last week and repeated that performance today. It’s a long thin lure that casts well.  

lv100stb

 

My next rod had the Lucky Craft lipless vibrator (rattletrap type) tied on because the slurps go up and down quickly.  When they are up, just reel it quickly through the splashing fish.  If they go down let the ‘trap sink until it is below the submerged school and then reel it up through the school for a quick hookup. 

Stripers are feeding on very small shad so the best lure to “match the hatch” is a small white fly.  It takes a fly rod to cast a fly or an added weight to get the fly out there on a spinning rod.   I tied a small white fly on behind a Kastmaster spoon. My setup was not the best and got only a few bumps without a hookup.  If using flies bring the fly rod.  

kfs-k856

 

The best lure of the day was a Yamamoto D Shad (white color 364) on a 5/0 Owner hook with a 3/32 ounce belly weight and a twist lock attachment. This big lure caught the most slurping stripers.  It worked well swimming through the striper school or dropping down a bit when the school went down.

 slurps622bAll lures worked but the most important factor was to cast to the right spot. These fast moving fish feed in an erratic pattern. They start in one direction, only to change course, go down and come up in a new direction. It is critical to cast 5 feet or more ahead of the lead fish since the lure will fly for 2-3 seconds and then land near the fast moving school.  If it lands in the sweet spot where the lead fish can see it there will be a hookup.  If it lands behind the lead fish then it is often ignored. The school often stays up for up to 5 minutes or more but once the boat is in range the fish tend to go down after the lures hit the water.  The first cast must be accurate to get a quick hookup. 

Today the striper slurps began at first light and quit at 9 AM.  We came in on a hot day instead of waiting for the noon slurps to start.  More slurps are found in the evening .   

 

 

 

 

 

 

We did try trolling with deep divers over 25-foot slick rock bottom structure and caught stripers and smallmouth bass.  We talked with bait anglers fishing in the shady coves on the east wall in Last Chance and they were catching lots of adult stripers. Striper fishing is still good despite the heat.

 

 

codyson2

 

I often tell anglers to fish small isolated white rock slides in the steep walled main channel to catch smallmouth bass. We tested that theory and found the rock slides to be quiet, but if we cast to the slick rock wall on the other side of the rock slide cove we caught a smallmouth bass on every cast.  Smallmouth bass are still active and very catchable. It just takes a bit of experimenting to find their preferred habitat for the day. 

Walleye are active early morning and evening and during the day as they hang out under muddy water floating on the surface caused by wind or wake action. Catfish, Bluegill and green sunfish are active now as well but the rising water has not allowed them to find their summer home. That will happen when the lake stabilizes in July.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 21 June 2017 08:40
 

June 14, 2017 - Slurping Stripers on Top!

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Lake Powell Fish Report – June 14, 2017
Lake Elevation: 3626.58
Water Temperature: 69 - 78 F
By: Wayne Gustaveson http://www.wayneswords.com
Stripers on Top!
In the last report I mentioned that stripers would soon feed on the surface. We now have confirmation!  Stripers are slurping lakewide.  The recent w**dy days kept stripers down as the waves crashed against the shore and messed up surface visibility where young shad swim.  This morning it was finally calm and stripers were on top early and baby shad were being consumed by the millions. The twenty stripers I caught this morning averaged about 50 shad per stomach (average length .75 inches). That equates to 1000 shad.  It’s time to go save some shad and catch stripers in the process. Here is the plan.
Stripers hit the surface shortly after dawn and continue to feed randomly throughout the day. Slurps were seen this morning in Warm Creek, Gunsight mouth, Labyrinth Bay, Padre Bay east wall, Gregory Butte bay, West Canyon mouth, and Dove Canyon mouth. There was still a breeze blowing in Rock Creek so no striper slurps were seen there. I am sure the same events played out uplake.  If it was calm there were stripers slurping.
Surface feeding stripers stayed up longer and were likely to hit my lures better today than last week.  Today I could cast Lucky Craft (ghost) Pointers beyond the surface feeding school and work the lure through the closely feeding fish.  With a good cast and if the stripers continued to feed in the same direction, hookups came about half the time. The 4-inch lure is a lot bigger than the forage, so each striper has to give up small shad to feed on something really big like my lure.  Later in the day it occurred to me that these fish might be bold enough to hit topwater.  I tried an Ima Skimmer (white) and found them just as likely to hit the surface lure as the crankbait. I used topwater the rest of the day.
Schools varied in size from 10 fish to about 50. They fed in a semi-circular pattern more like adults cornering full grown shad. Lures that landed inside the group caused a few to splash but caused others to hit the lure. The school moved fast enough that only one cast could reach the group.  The trolling motor in high gear or the big motor at fast idle was needed to keep up with the rapidly moving school.
Most of the schools were found in the main channel over deep water. Spoons did not work as well over deep water as they do when the escaping school heads to the bottom and stops at 30-40 feet. No fish were caught on spoons today.  Stripers continued to slurp until 11 AM when wake boat traffic increased.  They will blow up any time they find food and calm seas. Expect to see slurps randomly throughout the day but more commonly early morning and late evening.
Adult stripers are still locked down below 20 feet by the warm surface water. Bait works but crayfish are coming out of hiding. Adult stripers can be caught trolling in the 10-30 foot strata. Storm deep Thundersticks are working quite well.
Bass fishing did not keep pace with stripers.  The rapidly rising water levels may be hindering bass catch rate.  Bass are staying in their preferred holding structure previously found and have not moved up even though the water level rose another 5 feet higher this week.  Water temperature also plummeted from 76 last week to 69 this morning. Bass did not bite as well today as they did last week, but I think they will recover as the water temperature warms up with the weather this week. Look in the same rocky habitat or flooded brush points to find willing smallmouth. Largemouth bass are tucked in tight in shallow weedy water. Expect bluegill and largemouth to be close and sharing the same habitat.
Now is the time to try Catfishing as these bottom dwellers are in spawning mode and are super active.
Two more tagged walleye were reported this week with both fish coming from the Cedar to Knowles canyon area of the main channel.  Both fish were tagged in Good Hope Bay but moved downstream for some reason.  We will continue to work on walleye movement and report when we have conclusive information.
My next move is to post this report and then go fishing for slurping stripers!

Lake Powell Fish Report – June 14, 2017

Lake Elevation: 3627.36

Water Temperature: 69 - 78 F

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

Stripers on Top!

In the last report I mentioned that stripers would soon feed on the surface. We now have confirmation!  Stripers are slurping lakewide.  The recent w**dy days kept stripers down as the waves crashed against the shore and messed up surface visibility where young shad swim.  This morning it was finally calm and stripers were on top early and baby shad were being consumed by the millions. The twenty stripers I caught this morning averaged about 50 shad per stomach (average length 0.75 inches). That equates to 1000 shad.  It’s time to go save some shad and catch stripers in the process. Here is the plan.

slurps622a

 

Stripers hit the surface shortly after dawn and continue to feed randomly throughout the day. Slurps were seen this morning in Warm Creek, Gunsight mouth, Labyrinth Bay, Padre Bay east wall, Gregory Butte bay, West Canyon mouth, and Dove Canyon mouth. There was still a breeze blowing in Rock Creek so no striper slurps were seen there. I am sure the same events played out uplake.  If it was calm there were stripers slurping. 

Surface feeding stripers stayed up longer and were likely to hit my lures better today than last week.  Today I could cast Lucky Craft (ghost) Pointers beyond the surface feeding school and work the lure through the closely feeding fish.  With a good cast and if the stripers continued to feed in the same direction, hookups came about half the time. The 4-inch lure is a lot bigger than the forage, so each striper has to give up small shad to feed on something really big like my lure. Later in the day it occurred to me that these fish might be bold enough to hit topwater.  I tried an Ima Skimmer (white) and found them just as likely to hit the surface lure as the crankbait. I used topwater the rest of the day. 

Schools varied in size from 10 fish to about 50. They fed in a semi-circular pattern more like adults cornering full grown shad. Lures that landed inside the group caused a few to splash but caused others to hit the lure. The school moved fast enough that only one cast could reach the group.  The trolling motor in high gear or the big motor at fast idle was needed to keep up with the rapidly moving school. 

Most of the schools were found in the main channel over deep water. Spoons did not work as well over deep water as they do when the escaping school heads to the bottom and stops at 30-40 feet. No fish were caught on spoons today. Stripers continued to slurp until 11 AM when wake boat traffic increased.  They will blow up any time they find food and calm seas. Expect to see slurps randomly throughout the day but more commonly early morning and late evening.

 Adult stripers are still locked down below 20 feet by the warm surface water. Bait works but crayfish are coming out of hiding and adult stripers are slurpdirectionsearching the flats along the shore for a good meal. Adult stripers can be caught trolling in the 10-30 foot strata. Storm deep Thundersticks are working quite well. 

Bass fishing did not keep pace with stripers.  The rapidly rising water levels may be hindering bass catch rate.  Bass are staying in their preferred holding structure previously found and have not moved up even though the water level rose another 5 feet higher this week.  Water temperature also plummeted from 76 last week to 69 this morning. Bass did not bite as well today as they did last week, but I think they will recover as the water temperature warms up with the weather this week. Look in the same rocky habitat or flooded brush points to find willing smallmouth. Largemouth bass are tucked in tight in shallow weedy water. Expect bluegill and largemouth to be close and sharing the same habitat. 

Now is the time to try Catfishing as these bottom dwellers are in spawning mode and are super active. Two more tagged walleye were reported this week with both fish coming from the Cedar to Knowles canyon area of the main channel. Both fish were tagged in Good Hope Bay but moved downstream for some reason.  We will continue to work on walleye movement and report when we have conclusive information. 

My next move is to post this report and then go fishing for slurping stripers!

catboy

Last Updated on Wednesday, 14 June 2017 09:43
 

June 6, 2017 - Stripers in Transition

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senkocatchLake Powell Fish Report – June 6, 2017
Lake Elevation: 3622
Water Temperature: 73 -78 F
By: Wayne Gustaveson http://www.wayneswords.com
Stripers in Transition:
The lake is still filling rapidly but the bigger news now is that stripers are feeding on the surface.
The ultimate goal of many freshwater anglers is to fish a striper boil.  We are not quite there yet but the big event is only a few weeks away. Right now we have the next best surface feeding event which I have named “slurps or slurping”.
Shad are being hatched lakewide.  We are not able to tell the difference between threadfin and gizzard shad larvae until the tiny fish grow a bit. Right now baby shad are only 5-10 mm long. Healthy stripers have been subsisting by eating plankton.  Now they are very happy to let shad eat plankton while stripers turn to eating shad.  Striper consumption level is often between 50-100 microscopic shad per day.  It would be better for stripers to wait until shad were at least an inch long so they could get more nutrition from less fish, but they have no patience.  It is our job as anglers to watch for slurps, then attack the marauding stripers and catch as many as possible while letting the surviving shad run away. Your reward will be catching some of the smaller healthy stripers which are great table fare.
I must remind you that the slurping striper school is feeding shoulder-to-shoulder while moving through a shad school. When some stripers run out of shad they leave the feeding line and search for the next shad group. Those “lookers” are the fish to cast toward. A small surface lure, shallow running crank bait, or small Kastmaster spoon are favorite striper lures.  If the lure lands in the middle of the feeding line the whole group splashes away and none are caught. If that happens don’t be discouraged just wait for them to surface again a short distance away and make a better cast.
Slurps have been seen for two weeks between the San Juan and the Escalante. Last week Bullfrog erupted with many small slurps.  Wahweap is still waiting for topwater action. Slurps have been recently seen in Warm Creek near double islands, Labyrinth mouth, West Canyon, and mouth of Rock Creek.  Expect each day to provide more surface action as shad get bigger and more numerous and stripers discover them on the surface. Bait fishing is not over. Warming water tends to move larger stripers into deeper water. Shad are on the surface so adult stripers are still searching for bait. Expect to find them in the same locations that have been reported for the past month.
Smallmouth bass are the next most likely fish to catch. Look for deep structure, like a long point that does not change much as the water comes up 5 feet. Bass can just move up the brushy point to their preferred feeding depth.
Walleye are still being caught like crazy from Bullfrog to Good Hope.   Most of the fish are caught from Bullfrog to Good Hope (20) but two have come from Padre Bay on the south end of the lake. We are starting to see quite a bit of movement from Good Hope Bay fish as they move downstream. One reason for the walleye contest was to determine migration patterns by comparing tagging location to the capture point. There will be another bunch of tagged fish caught during June. With water warming and rising, expect to see walleye move from rocky flats into the submerged trees. Their favorite feeding technique is to park in a submerged tree top and wait for food to swim by.  Trolling a shallow running lure right over the tree tops is the best way to catch walleye. That technique will be working within the next two weeks if not sooner.
Catfish are nearing spawning now that the water temperature is in the 70s.  They are very active and easy to catch as prespawn fish. Just put a worm on the bottom in the back of a cove or bay.  Fish 10-20 feet deep and let the meandering catfish find your bait for fast action.
The detailed information above was written yesterday. Today I went fishing to test out my theories.  Here is what I found. Young stripers were slurping on the Warm Creek side of the Castle Rock Cut. They were flighty and not interested in my rattletrap so I went on.  Saw another slurp at the mouth of Labyrinth. No takers so I switched to a small silver spoon.
I then trolled a deep Thunderstick along the east wall in Padre Bay. Caught one healthy 3-pound striper, but no more. My next spot was just upstream from Buoy 25. I trolled for stripers without success so tried for bass with a 3-inch senko which smallmouth bass just loved. There are rock reefs near shore that drop off to 15-20 feet. At each drop off the senko was consumed shortly after hitting bottom by eager 1.5 pound smallmouth bass.  That was quick fishing but I had more lake to cover so I moved on.
Saw a fishing boat catching fish like crazy near Gregory Butte.  When asked they showed me the bait they were using.  Surprisingly, it was a 5 inch senko cut in half and fished on a leadhead jig.  Great minds think alike!  That stubby square plastic bait worked extremely well the rest of the trip.
I then went around Gregory Butte to the mouth of West Canyon.  On the second long point I tried trolling with no luck and then tossed the senko toward the edge of a reef. The smallmouth bass went crazy as the bait hit the bottom. On the east side of the mouth of West Canyon the lake is covering the long points and brush. I tried the senko with similar great success.  I caught two walleye in 10 feet of water near brushy cover.
Around the corner in the mouth of Dove Canyon another fishing boat was using bait and catching some really nice stripers near shore in 45 feet of water. I dropped my small spoon and caught one of their fish. Then I started working back to Wahweap.
In the middle of the West Canyon bay I saw another slurping striper school at mid day.  This time I caught a small striper on my small 1-inch spoon. In the Gregory Butte Bay (west side) I crossed another reef and tried the senko with similar success. Near the reef in 30 feet of water I graphed a school of fish which I assumed would be small stripers. The small spoon was deployed and I caught 2 fish – both of them BLUEGILL. These adult sunfish were working in open water eating plankton.  I saw another small fish school on the bottom and dropped my spoon down to catch a sunfish and caught a WALLEYE.  It was time to head in so I ignored all the great looking habitat and just came home.  Fishing success at Lake Powell is amazing!

senkocatchLake Powell Fish Report – June 6, 2017

Lake Elevation: 3622

Water Temperature: 73 -78 F

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

Stripers in Transition:

The lake is still filling rapidly but the bigger news now is that stripers are feeding on the surface. The ultimate goal of many freshwater anglers is to fish a striper boil.  We are not quite there yet but the big event is only a few weeks away. Right now we have the next best surface feeding event which I have named “slurps or slurping”. 

Shad are being hatched lakewide.  We are not able to tell the difference between threadfin and gizzard shad larvae until the tiny fish grow a bit. Right now baby shad are only 5-10 mm long. Healthy stripers have been subsisting by eating plankton.  Now they are very happy to let shad eat plankton while stripers turn to eating shad.  Striper consumption level is often between 50-100 microscopic shad per day.  It would be better for stripers to wait until shad were at least an inch long so they could get more nutrition from less fish, but they have no patience.  It is our job as anglers to watch for slurps, then attack the marauding stripers and catch as many as possible while letting the surviving shad run away. Your reward will be catching some of the smaller healthy stripers which are great table fare.

I must remind you that the slurping striper school is feeding shoulder-to-shoulder while moving through a shad school. When some stripers run out of shad they leave the feeding line and search for the next shad group. Those “lookers” are the fish to cast toward. A small surface lure, shallow running crank bait, or small Kastmaster spoon are favorite striper lures.  If the lure lands in the middle of the feeding line the whole group splashes away and none are caught. If that happens don’t be discouraged just wait for them to surface again a short distance away and make a better cast.   

senkohalfSlurps have been seen for two weeks between the San Juan and the Escalante. Last week Bullfrog erupted with many small slurps.  Wahweap is still waiting for topwater action. Slurps have been recently seen in Warm Creek near double islands, Labyrinth Canyon mouth, West Canyon, and mouth of Rock Creek.  Expect each day to provide more surface action as shad get bigger and more numerous and more stripers discover them on the surface.

Bait fishing is not over. Warming water tends to move larger stripers into deeper water. Shad are on the surface so adult stripers are still searching for bait. Expect to find them in the same locations that have been reported for the past month. 

Smallmouth bass are the next most likely fish to catch. Look for deep structure, like a long point that does not change much as the water comes up 5 feet. Bass can just move up the brushy point to their preferred feeding depth.  
Walleye are still being caught like crazy from Bullfrog to Good Hope.   Most of the tagged walleye are caught from Bullfrog to Good Hope (20) but two have come from Padre Bay on the south end of the lake. We are starting to see quite a bit of movement from Good Hope Bay fish as they move downstream. One reason for the walleye contest was to determine migration patterns by comparing tagging location to the capture point. There will be another bunch of tagged fish caught during June. With water warming and rising, expect to see walleye move from rocky flats into the submerged trees. Their favorite feeding technique is to park in a submerged tree top and wait for food to swim by.  Trolling a shallow running lure right over the tree tops is the best way to catch walleye. That technique will be working within the next two weeks if not sooner.

Catfish are nearing spawning now that the water temperature is in the 70s.  They are very active and easy to catch as prespawn fish. Just put a worm on the bottom in the back of a cove or bay.  Fish 10-20 feet deep and let the meandering catfish find your bait for fast action.   

The detailed information above was written yesterday. Today I went fishing to test out my theories.  Here is what I found: Young stripers were slurping on the Warm Creek side of the Castle Rock Cut. They were flighty and not interested in my rattletrap so I went on.  Saw another slurp at the mouth of Labyrinth. No takers so I switched to a small silver spoon. 

I then trolled a deep Thunderstick along the east wall in Padre Bay. Caught one healthy 3-pound striper, but no more. My next spot was just upstream from Buoy 25. I trolled for stripers without success so tried for bass with a 5-inch senko, cut in half and placed on a leadhead jig, which smallmouth bass just loved. There are rock reefs near shore that drop off to 15-20 feet. At each drop off the senko was consumed shortly after hitting bottom by eager 1.5 pound smallmouth bass.  That was quick fishing but I had more lake to cover so I moved on.  

Saw a fishing boat catching fish like crazy near Gregory Butte.  When asked they showed me the bait they were using. Surprisingly, it was a 5 inch senko cut in half and fished on a leadhead jig.  Great minds think alike!  That stubby square plastic bait worked extremely well the rest of the trip.

senkowaeI then went around Gregory Butte to the mouth of West Canyon.  On the second long point I tried trolling with no luck and then tossed the senko toward the edge of a reef. The smallmouth bass went crazy as the bait hit the bottom. On the east side of the mouth of West Canyon the lake is covering the long points and brush. I tried the senko with similar great success catching a number of bass.  I then caught two walleye in 10 feet of water near brushy cover. 

Around the corner in the mouth of Dove Canyon another fishing boat was using bait and catching some really nice stripers near shore in 45 feet of water. I dropped my small spoon and caught one of their fish. Then I started working back to Wahweap.  

In the middle of the West Canyon bay I saw another slurping striper school at mid day.  This time I caught a small striper on my small 1-inch spoon cast just beyond the slurping school.  In the Gregory Butte Bay (west side) I crossed another reef and tried the senko with similar success. Near the reef in 30 feet of water I graphed a school of fish which I assumed would be small stripers. The small spoon was deployed and I caught 2 fish – both of them BLUEGILL. These adult sunfish were working in open water eating plankton.  I saw another small fish school on the bottom and dropped my spoon down to catch a sunfish and caught a WALLEYE.

It was time to head in so I ignored all the great looking habitat and just came home.  Fishing success at Lake Powell is amazing!

 

Last Updated on Tuesday, 06 June 2017 17:05
 

May 31, 2017 - Fish are biting and spawning

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Lake Powell Fish Report – May 31, 2017
Lake Elevation: 3618
Water Temperature: 68-73 F
By: Wayne Gustaveson http://www.wayneswords.com
Lake Powell has risen 4 feet in the last week.  Expect the same for this week.  Inflow is over 80K acre feet with only 21K AF being released.  Retie your boat anchor lines each morning and then enjoy the day.  Rapidly rising water is flooding vegetation that has not been wet for a while. This new habitat attracts largemouth bass, bluegill and crappie like a magnet.
Water temperature is in the high 60s in the morning and mid 70s in the afternoon. Warmer water means spawning time for bluegill, carp, channel catfish and threadfin shad. Bluegill and catfish are very active during the spawn and easy to catch. Bluegill can be seen guarding nests and will respond to a chunk of worm on a very small hook. Attach a bobber about 6 feet above the bait so the subtle bite can be seen as the bobber wiggles. The size of bluegill is very impressive for a panfish and the fight is like a roller coaster ride. Give it a try.
Water clarity is decreasing lakewide as algae numbers increase making the water a lovely blue green color in the southern lake.  Sloughing banks make many mud lines that just float on the surface while giving walleye a pleasant place to hide as they wait for the next meal to swim by.  Walleye are ambush feeders that lie in wait for a tasty morsel to swim in view.  If that happens to be your night crawler towed behind a bottom bouncer, or a plastic jig with a chunk of worm attached, the chances are good the hungry walleye will bite the bait. The northern lake, from the San Juan to White Canyon is the walleye hotspot. There have been over 20 tagged walleye captured in the last two weeks.  Chris Crosby was the winner when he caught 2 tagged fish in one day in Good Hope Bay. He reports water clarity to be only a few inches upstream from Red Canyon, 2-3 feet in Ticaboo while Blue Notch had over 6 feet visibility. Good Hope Bay is fishable despite the high runoff.
Smallmouth bass fishing is amazing with active fish in rock structure lakewide. I took a break from striper fishing over the weekend and pulled into an isolated main channel rock slide in Last Chance Canyon.  My goal was to see how many bass I could catch in 10 casts using a 4 inch Senko lazily attached to a jighead.  The bait was cast to the rocks and then let sink 6 to 10 feet.  When the lure hit bottom it was tested gingerly to see if there was extra weight on the uplift.  If so the hook was set and fish reeled in. The count was 7 bass caught on 10 casts. That was better than expected but disappointing because fish number 8 got away. Oh well, next time!
Striper fishing is still as hot as the weather from Wahweap to Bullfrog. Stripers were kind enough to delight most of the anglers who went to down to the dam over the Holiday weekend. Anchovy bait was used effectively at the dam, Buoy 3, Antelope Canyon mouth and first point, Navajo Canyon first two points beyond the double islands, and Warm Creek Wall (intersection of Warm Creek and the main channel at Buoy 12). Further uplake stripers were caught on bait in Last Chance, Rock Creek, and the steep walls near Dangling Rope.  Stripers are still being caught on bait at Bullfrog, Moki Wall and mouth of Moki Canyon.  It will be possible to catch stripers on bait in most canyons on the lake for the next two weeks. However the end is in sight.
Stripers are waiting for shad to become available so they can revert back to what they do best, which is chasing shad relentlessly.  Shad have spawned and tiny fish are growing. Striper slurps have been reported in the channel from the mouth of the San Juan to the Escalante. Shad may be hidden by the cloudy water in the northern lake. If looking for surface action this week head downstream from Bullfrog or upstream from Rainbow Bridge. Shad like to spawn in the backs of canyons so the young shad and hungry stripers will most likely be seen first in the backs of major canyons lake wide.
Lake Powell has an amazing fishery which means that some fish will be available to catch at any time of the year. Right now there is a wide variety to choose from. The scenery is incredible and the fish are amazing.   I love this place!

Lake Powell Fish Report – May 31, 2017

Lake Elevation: 3618

Water Temperature: 68-73 F

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

bgcoolerrhLake Powell has risen 4 feet in the last week.  Expect the same for this week.  Inflow is over 80K acre feet with only 21K AF being released.  Retie your boat anchor lines each morning and then enjoy the day.  Rapidly rising water is flooding vegetation that has not been wet for a while. This new habitat attracts largemouth bass, bluegill and crappie like a magnet.  

Water temperature is in the high 60s in the morning and mid 70s in the afternoon. Warmer water means spawning time for bluegill, carp, channel catfish and threadfin shad. Bluegill and catfish are very active during the spawn and easy to catch. Bluegill can be seen guarding nests and will respond to a chunk of worm on a very small hook. Attach a bobber about 6 feet above the bait so the subtle bite can be seen as the bobber wiggles. The size of bluegill is very impressive for a panfish and the fight is like a roller coaster ride. Give it a try.

Water clarity is decreasing lakewide as algae numbers increase making the water a lovely blue green color in the southern lake.  Sloughing banks make many mud lines that just float on the surface while giving walleye a pleasant place to hide as they wait for the next meal to swim by.  Walleye are ambush feeders that lie in wait for a tasty morsel to swim in view.  If that happens to be your night crawler towed behind a bottom bouncer, or a plastic jig with a chunk of worm attached, the chances are good the hungry walleye will bite the bait. The northern lake, from the San Juan to White Canyon is the walleye hotspot. There have been over 20 tagged walleye captured in the last two weeks.  Chris Crosby was the winner when he caught 2 tagged fish in one day in Good Hope Bay. He reports water clarity to be only a few inches upstream from Red Canyon, 2-3 feet in Ticaboo while Blue Notch had over 6 feet visibility. Good Hope Bay is fishable despite the high runoff. 

Smallmouth bass fishing is amazing with active fish in rock structure lakewide. I took a break from striper fishing over the weekend and pulled into an isolated main channel rock slide in Last Chance Canyon.  My goal was to see how many bass I could catch in 10 casts using a 4 inch Senko lazily attached to a jighead.  The bait was cast to the rocks and then let sink 6 to 10 feet.  When the lure hit bottom it was tested gingerly to see if there was extra weight on the uplift.  If so the hook was set and fish reeled in. The count was 7 bass caught on 10 casts. That was better than expected but disappointing because fish number 8 got away. Oh well, next time!

Striper fishing is still as hot as the weather from Wahweap to Bullfrog. Stripers were kind enough to delight most of the anglers who went to down to the dam over the Holiday weekend. Anchovy bait was used effectively at the dam, Buoy 3, Antelope Canyon mouth and first point, Navajo Canyon first two points beyond the double islands, and Warm Creek Wall (intersection of Warm Creek and the main channel at Buoy 12). Further uplake stripers were caught on bait in Last Chance, Rock Creek, and the steep walls near Dangling Rope.  Stripers are still being caught on bait at Bullfrog, Moki Wall and mouth of Moki Canyon.  It will be possible to catch stripers on bait in most canyons on the lake for the next two weeks. However the end is in sight.

Stripers are waiting for shad to become available so they can revert back to what they do best, which is chasing shad relentlessly.  Shad have spawned and tiny fish are growing. Striper slurps have been reported in the channel from the mouth of the San Juan to the Escalante. Shad may be hidden by the cloudy water in the northern lake. If looking for surface action this week head downstream from Bullfrog or upstream from Rainbow Bridge. Shad like to spawn in the backs of canyons so the young shad and hungry stripers will most likely be seen first in the backs of major canyons lake wide. 

Lake Powell has a robust fishery which means that some fish will be available to catch, using the right techniques, at any time of the year. Right now there is a wide variety to choose from.

The scenery is incredible and the fish are amazing.   I love this place!

 

chriscrosby2tags_edited-1

Last Updated on Wednesday, 31 May 2017 16:18
 


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