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Fishing Report

Water temperature:

79-84 F

July 16, 2018



March 28, 2018 - Clear water fishing improves

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Lake Powell Fish Report –March 28, 2018
Lake Elevation:  3612.74
Water temperature:  50 -56
By: Wayne Gustaveson   http://www.wayneswords.com
Many are wondering if stripers have moved into the main channel and are readily responding to anchovy bait.  Reports have been few, so I made the early morning trek to the dam to get a first hand report. It was cold and breezy and the boat near the buoy line had been there for an hour without success. It was reported that they caught 5 fish yesterday.  When stripers are abundant the average catch is 20 fish or more per boat.  So far this spring, numbers of stripers caught in the main channel have been few.  Further investigation took me to Buoy 3, Power Plant intake, and Buoy 9 with similar negative results.  Bait fishing gets better as the water warms but there are more stripers in the backs of canyons.  Best reports have been coming from Navajo, Gunsight, Last Chance and Rock Creek.
There was a major discover with travel further uplake.  Last week the hot spots were in colored water in the backs of canyons and the bite improved with warming.  This week the water temperature was still 50 degrees in the morning but it warmed quickly to 56 in the afternoon.  Fish response was surprising as stripers could be caught in crystal clear water trolling and spooning.  Trolling along the shoreline from Face Canyon to Gregory Butte and from West Canyon to Dove Canyon produced a great catch of 2-3 pound stripers.
If trolling, avoid the steep cliff walls with deep water near shore. Instead look for rocky points and humps and troll along the breaking edge where depth quickly changes from visible rock to deep water. Surprisingly, the water visibility was over 25 feet.  I saw fish on the graph at 25 feet and looked over the side of the boat and saw the actual fish.  Of course, they could see me as well so the visit was short.  The positive result of clear water is that stripers holding at 40-50 feet could see our trolled lures trolled at 12 feet and come up quickly to investigate.  The Buoy 25 cove is like a nature observatory where stripers can be seen swimming at depth on some days.
While trolling, watch the graph for striper schools holding on the bottom or swimming suspended under the boat. If the school is suspended just keep trolling because the deep fish are likely to come up and hit the shallow trolled lures. If the school is resting on the bottom (30-50 feet) then toss out a floating marker or hit the waypoint on the graph so you can return to the resting school and try spoons dropped right into the school. Both of these techniques worked well on this trip.
Fishing success has increased significantly this week.  Warming is still the trigger to watch.  Expect water temperature to rise this week so it is important to note early morning temperature as you leave the dock and then expect fishing success to improve as the water warms 3 degrees or more.
Fishing for bass is improving as well. On this trip a white grub tossed into clear water of a dry wash stream channel framed between two high cliff walls resulted in the catch of a 2.5 pound smallmouth bass and some smaller bass.  Bass are becoming more active and will be hiding in brushy cover for largemouth and rocky cover for smallmouth.  Bass were not caught trolling but were more likely to respond to plastic baits fished on bottom near rocky points and brush.  It is necessary to throw long casts in clear water while short casts can be effective in murky water in the backs of canyons.
Expect bass to come shallow and start fanning nests next week if the weather continues to warm. If it stays cold then nest building will be postponed a week or two.  Historically bass spawning begins the 3rd week of April but nest building starts as early as the first week of April.
Walleye have not turned on yet as they need another week or two to complete the spawning process. Expect walleye fishing to improve dramatically mid April.  Bluegill and catfish will spawn in May and June.
Spring is here.  It’s time for anglers to come and enjoy great fishing and beat the summer crowds.

Lake Powell Fish Report –March 28, 2018

Lake Elevation:  3612.74

Water temperature:  50-56

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

jishsmith

 

 

 

Josh Smith with Warm Creek striper.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Many are wondering if stripers have moved into the main channel and are readily responding to anchovy bait.  Reports have been few, so I made the early morning trek to the dam to get a first hand report. It was cold and breezy and the boat near the buoy line had been there for an hour without success. It was reported that they caught 5 fish yesterday.  When stripers are abundant the average catch is 20 fish or more per boat.  So far this spring, numbers of stripers caught in the main channel have been few.  Further investigation took me to Buoy 3, Power Plant intake, and Buoy 9 with similar negative results.  Bait fishing gets better as the water warms but there are more stripers in the backs of canyons.  Best reports have been coming from Navajo, Gunsight, Last Chance and Rock Creek. 

 

 

buoy25




Buoy 25 Cove

 

 

 

 

 

 

There was a major discover with travel further uplake.  Last week the hot spots were in colored water in the backs of canyons and the bite improved with warming.  This week the water temperature was still 50 degrees in the morning but it warmed quickly to 56 in the afternoon.  Fish response was surprising as stripers could be caught in crystal clear water trolling and spooning.  Trolling along the shoreline from Face Canyon to Gregory Butte and from West Canyon to Dove Canyon produced a great catch of 2-3 pound stripers.  

If trolling, avoid the steep cliff walls with deep water near shore. Instead look for rocky points and humps and troll along the breaking edge where depth quickly changes from visible rock to deep water. Surprisingly, the water visibility was over 25 feet.  I saw stripers on the graph at 25 feet and looked over the side of the boat and saw the actual fish.  Of course, they could see me as well so the visit was short.  The positive result of clear water is that stripers holding at 40-50 feet could see our trolled lures trolled at 12 feet and come up quickly to investigate.  The Buoy 25 cove is like a nature observatory where stripers can be seen swimming at depth on some days. 

While trolling, watch the graph for striper schools holding on the bottom or swimming suspended under the boat. If the school is suspended just keep trolling because the deep fish are likely to come up and hit the shallow trolled lures. If the school is resting on the bottom (30-50 feet) then toss out a floating marker or hit the waypoint on the graph so you can return to the resting school and try spoons dropped right into the school. Both of these techniques worked well on this trip.  

 

graphshad

 

 

 

Suspended shad schools 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fishing success has increased significantly this week.  Warming is still the trigger to watch.  Expect water temperature to rise this week so it is important to note early morning temperature as you leave the dock and then expect fishing success to improve as the water warms 3 degrees or more. 

Fishing for bass is improving as well. On this trip a white grub tossed into clear water of a dry wash stream channel framed between two high cliff walls resulted in the catch of a 2.5 pound smallmouth bass and some smaller bass.  Bass are becoming more active and will be hiding in brushy cover for largemouth and rocky cover for smallmouth.  Bass were not caught trolling but were more likely to respond to plastic baits fished on bottom near rocky points and brush.  It is necessary to throw long casts in clear water while short casts can be effective in murky water in the backs of canyons.  

Expect bass to come shallow and start fanning nests next week if the weather continues to warm. If it stays cold then nest building will be postponed a week or two.  Historically bass spawning begins the 3rd week of April but nest building starts as early as the first week of April. 

Walleye have not turned on yet as they need another week or two to complete the spawning process. Expect walleye fishing to improve dramatically mid April.  Bluegill and catfish will spawn in May and June.    

Spring is here.  It’s time for anglers to come and enjoy great fishing and beat the summer crowds.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 28 March 2018 10:06
 

March 21, 2018 - Afternoon Warming

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Lake Powell Fish Report –March 21, 2018
Lake Elevation:  3613.6
Water temperature:  50 - 54
By: Wayne Gustaveson   http://www.wayneswords.com
Water temperature today (49.6F) was essentially the same as found last week.  Therefore, it seemed the results of our weekly trip would be similar to last week while fishing in the back of a major canyon with cloudy water to find active cooperative fish. The choices heading upstream from Wahweap included, Warm Creek, Navajo, Gunsight, Last Chance, West Canyon, and Rock Creek.  All have been moderately productive recently.
The first stop was in deep water (90 feet) where a few fish traces were seen holding tight to the bottom. Spoons were deployed and one was bumped but no fish were caught, so we moved on.  Few fish were seen on the graph at bottom depth of 50-80 feet.  We then moved to the back of the canyon trolling the shoreline rocky points with Lucky Craft XD pointers in chartreuse shad and ghost colors.  Catching was slow until we crossed one rocky point where the water depth changed quickly from 40 to 25 feet.  A striper school was graphed on top of the shallow ridge with two quick hookups as our lures crossed the ridge.  The school followed the two hooked fish so spoons were dropped and more fish were caught. After that fishing was again slow as the school left the ridge and did not return. For the rest of the morning a few random stripers were caught trolling with the most productive bottom depth being 20-30 feet. After lunch 2 anglers had 15 stripers in the ice chest. Two more side canyons were trolled after lunch without success except for one random walleye caught trolling. It seemed we might as well return to Wahweap.
We returned to the first spot to tell some friends that we were returning to Wahweap. They looked at us like we were crazy. We took the hint and tried fishing the back of the canyon once more with completely different results. Stripers hit trolled lures with aggression. If the school was on the bottom, spoons were whacked with passion. When one fish was reeled in the whole school followed and more fish could be caught by casting lures in any direction.  After each fish was landed we just glanced at the graph to see where the school was holding and at what depth before choosing which lure to use next.  In the next hour our catch increased to 40 stripers.
What was the difference?  Water temperature increased from 50 in the morning to 53 in the afternoon. Warming caused a complete change in attitude from the same fish.  Temperature increase to 53 is the first hurdle but a larger increase to 57 and above is the key to catching warm water fish in the springtime.
Back at the fish cleaning station the walleye was examined and found to be prespawn. The walleye spawn is not yet over so do not expect walleye catching to pick up until mid April.
Other anglers at the cleaning station reported good afternoon fishing in Navajo and Warm Creek where stripers were caught trolling in murky water at the back of the canyon.  I was glad to hear that smallmouth bass were caught in good numbers on Yamamoto creature baits in clear water coves in Navajo. There was also a second hand report that bait fishermen had caught stripers at the dam over the weekend.
In summary, fishing results improve dramatically as the water temperature increases each day. Catching is usually better in the afternoon than morning or mid day. Water warms first on the surface so fish tend to go shallower when seeking warmth and feeding opportunities.   Expect fish movement as the day progresses.  Expect better results by fishing in the backs of canyons in greenish gray colored water rather than in clear, deep water of main channel and bays. The fish caught had empty stomachs except for smaller stripers that were eating plankton in open water.  Fish that we caught remembered what shad looked like as they ate our lures.  Bait fishing is probably working well but was not tried on this trip.

Lake Powell Fish Report –March 21, 2018

Lake Elevation:  3613.6

Water temperature:  50 - 54

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

wgwaeps

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Water temperature today (49.6F) was essentially the same as found last week.  Therefore, it seemed the results of our weekly trip would be similar to last week while fishing in the back of a major canyon with cloudy water to find active cooperative fish. The choices heading upstream from Wahweap included, Warm Creek, Navajo, Gunsight, Last Chance, West Canyon, and Rock Creek.  All have been moderately productive recently.  

greengrayh20





Green Gray colored water

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The first stop was in deep water (90 feet) where a few fish traces were seen holding tight to the bottom. Spoons were deployed and one was bumped but no fish were caught, so we moved on.  Few fish were seen on the graph at bottom depth of 50-80 feet.  We then moved to the back of the canyon trolling the shoreline rocky points with Lucky Craft XD pointers in chartreuse shad and ghost colors.  Catching was slow until we crossed one rocky point where the water depth changed quickly from 40 to 25 feet.  A striper school was graphed on top of the shallow ridge with two quick hookups as our lures crossed the ridge.  The school followed the two hooked fish so spoons were dropped and more fish were caught. After that fishing was again slow as the school left the ridge and did not return. For the rest of the morning a few random stripers were caught trolling with the most productive bottom depth being 20-30 feet. After lunch 2 anglers had 15 stripers in the ice chest. Two more side canyons were trolled after lunch without success except for one random walleye caught trolling. It seemed we might as well return to Wahweap.

We returned to the first spot to tell some friends that we were returning to Wahweap. They looked at us like we were crazy. We took the hint and tried fishing the back of the canyon once more with completely different results. Stripers hit trolled lures with aggression. If the school was on the bottom, spoons were whacked with passion. When one fish was reeled in the whole school followed and more fish could be caught by casting lures in any direction.  After each fish was landed we just glanced at the graph to see where the school was holding and at what depth before choosing which lure to use next.  In the next hour our catch increased to 40 stripers. 

graphpm 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What was the difference?  Water temperature increased from 50 in the morning to 53 in the afternoon. Warming caused a complete change in attitude from the same fish.  Temperature increase to 53 is the first hurdle but a larger increase to 57 and above is the key to catching warm water fish in the springtime.  

Back at the fish cleaning station the walleye was examined and found to be prespawn. The walleye spawn is not yet over so do not expect walleye catching to pick up until mid April. 

Other anglers at the cleaning station reported good afternoon fishing in Navajo and Warm Creek where stripers were caught trolling in murky water at the back of the canyon.  I was glad to hear that smallmouth bass were caught in good numbers on Yamamoto creature baits in clear water coves in Navajo.

There was also a second hand report that bait fishermen had caught stripers at the dam over the weekend.   

In summary, fishing results improve dramatically as the water temperature increases each day. Catching is usually better in the afternoon than morning or mid day. Water warms first on the surface so fish tend to go shallower when seeking warmth and feeding opportunities.   Expect fish movement as the day progresses.  Expect better results by fishing in the backs of canyons in greenish gray colored water rather than in clear, deep water of main channel and bays. The fish caught had empty stomachs except for smaller stripers that were eating plankton in open water.  Fish that we caught remembered what shad looked like as they ate our lures.  Bait fishing is probably working well but was not tried on this trip.

stgwaecooler

Last Updated on Wednesday, 21 March 2018 11:00
 

March 13, 2018 - Warming Begins

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Lake Powell Fish Report –March 13, 2018
Lake Elevation:  3614.63
Water temperature:  50-55
By: Wayne Gustaveson   http://www.wayneswords.com
Warming is slowly happening but there is a long way to go. Today the early morning water temperature finally registered at 50 F.  Temperatures have consistently been below 50 for first two weeks of March. However, on warm, calm March afternoons, water temperature may rise to 55 degrees in isolated spots which can quickly be erased with the slightest light breeze. The end result is that warm water fish are still hunkered down waiting for the 60-70 degree water they crave.
Fishing is slow in cold water but still worth it.  The bass tournament held at Bullfrog over the weekend is a good example.  Bass fishing was slow but after many casts and covering much shoreline the end results were terrific.  Bass anglers really like to catch big largemouth bass and they did. The winning weight for the team with the heaviest 10 fish in the 2-day event was 38 pounds (3.8 pounds average per fish). Individually, largemouth bass weighing 4, 5 and 6 pounds were caught.  Bass anglers pounded the shoreline and found bass on the main outside points more often than in the very backs of the coves. Colored water was better than clear water. Best baits were Yamamoto Senkos and single and double tail plastic baits fished slowly along the bottom and near brushy cover.
Stripers are acting a bit confused with warming water as well.  Schools have been in deep water resting on the bottom in 60 to 100 feet most of the winter. These deep fish were catchable on spoons but recently the schools have moved to new, unknown locations.  Some stripers have recently been found in 15-40 feet in the backs of canyons with significant water color. Shallow stripers can be caught sporadically while trolling and casting lures that dive from 7-20 feet. My best lure is the LC Pointer XD 78 in chartreuse shad color that dives 10-12 feet. Others have been successful with Norman deep divers (20 feet) in chartreuse color.  Like bass anglers, striper chasers have to cover a lot of water to catch a few fish.
While trolling we have seen many striper groups (not schools) normally resting on the breaking edge where depth quickly drops from 15 to 30 or 40 feet.  We caught stripers most consistently after retracing our trolling route back to where the first fish was caught.  The next fish often hit right where the first fish was caught near a ledge, boulder or depth change. Trolling in the back of the canyon in a circular pattern was better than trolling in a straight line in open water.  We stopped on many striper groups and dropped spoons which were ignored.
The message here is to try many different options at the beginning of the day. Eliminate those techniques that are not working and concentrate on those that catch stripers.  We graph, troll, cast and spoon in each spot trying to find the best technique for the day and then concentrate on the one that works. It is best to have different 3 rods rigged with spoons, plastic grubs and crankbaits so the terminal tackle does not have to be retied at each new cove or bay. There are many striper schools that have not been located so they may be found somewhere between the deep water where they spent the winter and the backs of canyon where more shad can be found. Please report new striper information and I will continue to report the results of my fishing events.  As of now, no reports have been received about stripers being caught on bait in the main channel.  All reported striper activity is in the backs of canyons in colored water. That may change but for now look for stripers in the canyons. The best news is that the vast majority of stripers are fat and healthy.  Those fish normally stay in the canyons while thin fish head for the channel. Fat healthy fish are harder to find and catch but are a great prize when found.
Some walleye have begun to spawn now with slight warming but the main spawning event is still to come. Expect walleye to be caught in larger numbers beginning in April. That catch will peak in May.
Largemouth bass are catchable with consistent effort on main canyon points. Smallmouth bass are still mostly dormant with a short flurry of activity on a warm afternoon when water temperature exceeds 57 degrees. Catfish and bluegill are waiting for warmer water before joining in on the fun.

Lake Powell Fish Report –March 13, 2018

Lake Elevation:  3614.63

Water temperature:  50-55

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

mardiwhitniMardi, Whitni and Brett Hepworth

 

 

Warming is slowly happening but there is a long way to go. Today the early morning water temperature finally registered at 50 F.  Temperatures have consistently been below 50 for first two weeks of March. However, on warm, calm March afternoons, water temperature may rise to 55 degrees in isolated spots which can quickly be erased with the slightest light breeze. The end result is that warm water fish are still hunkered down waiting for the 60-70 degree water they crave. Fishing is slow in cold water but still worth it. 

The bass tournament held at Bullfrog over the weekend is a good example.  Bass fishing was slow but after many casts and covering much shoreline the end results were terrific.  Bass anglers really like to catch big largemouth bass and they did. The winning weight for the team with the heaviest 10 fish in the 2-day event was 38 pounds (3.8 pounds average per fish). Individually, largemouth bass weighing 4, 5 and 6 pounds were caught.  Bass anglers pounded the shoreline and found bass on the main outside points more often than in the very backs of the coves. Colored water was better than clear water. Best baits were Yamamoto Senkos and single and double tail plastic baits fished slowly along the bottom and near brushy cover. 

xdpointer_edited-1   

XD Pointer Chartruese Shad

 

Stripers are acting a bit confused with warming water as well.  Schools have been in deep water resting on the bottom in 60 to 100 feet most of the winter. These deep fish were catchable on spoons but recently the schools have moved to new, unknown locations.  Some stripers have recently been found in 15-40 feet in the backs of canyons with significant water color. Shallow stripers can be caught sporadically while trolling and casting lures that dive from 7-20 feet. My best lure is the LC Pointer XD 78 in chartreuse shad color that dives 10-12 feet. Others have been successful with Norman deep divers (20 feet) in chartreuse color. 

normandd22

Like bass anglers, striper chasers have to cover a lot of water to catch a few fish. While trolling we have seen many striper groups (not schools) normally resting on the breaking edge where depth quickly drops from 15 to 30 or 40 feet.  We caught stripers most consistently after retracing our trolling route back to where the first fish was caught.  The next fish often hit right where the first fish was caught near a ledge, boulder or depth change. Trolling in the back of the canyon in a circular pattern was better than trolling in a straight line in open water.  We stopped on many striper groups and dropped spoons which were ignored.  

                                                                                                                                                                                                                 

The message here is to try many different options at the beginning of the day. Eliminate those techniques that are not working and concentrate on those that catch stripers.  We graph, troll, cast and spoon in each spot trying to find the best technique for the day and then concentrate on the one that works. It is best to have different 3 rods rigged with spoons, plastic grubs and crankbaits so the terminal tackle does not have to be retied at each new cove or bay. There are many striper schools that have not been located so they may be found somewhere between the deep water where they spent the winter and the backs of canyon where more shad can be found. Please report new striper information and I will continue to report the results of my fishing events. As of now, no reports have been received about stripers being caught on bait in the main channel.  All reported striper activity is in the backs of canyons in colored water. That may change but for now look for stripers in the canyons. The best news is that the vast majority of stripers are fat and healthy.  Those fish normally stay in the canyons while thin fish head for the channel. Fat healthy fish are harder to find and catch but are a great prize when found.   

Some walleye have begun to spawn now with slight warming but the main spawning event is still to come. Expect walleye to be caught in larger numbers beginning in April. That catch will peak in May. 

Largemouth bass are catchable with consistent effort on main canyon points. Smallmouth bass are still mostly dormant with a short flurry of activity on a warm afternoon when water temperature exceeds 57 degrees. Catfish and bluegill are waiting for warmer water before joining in on the fun.

 

March 7, 2018 - Welcome Back!

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Lake Powell Fish Report –March 7, 2018
Lake Elevation:  3615
Water temperature:  47-52
By: Wayne Gustaveson   http://www.wayneswords.com
Welcome back to the weekly fish reports from Lake Powell. 2017 was a banner year with high water levels that covered shoreline vegetation and provided extensive habitat for both predators and prey fish. Young fish survived in big numbers and these fat healthy fish will awake and become active as soon as Lake Powell water temperature rises above the 54-57 range.  “Warm water” fish residing in Lake Powell really do like warmer water better than the 47-50 F water they are now enduring. Here is what is happening with fish in the cold conditions.
Walleye begin spawning in March, which actually makes them harder to catch because they focus on spawning instead of eating.  After the spawn is over in April walleye start to feed regularly and often.
Striped bass have been resting on the bottom in deep water but with warming they will get more active and pursue shad wherever they can find them from the 100 foot depths to the shallow shoreline. Expect lots more movement by stripers with warming water in March.
Largemouth bass get very active in March with the first hint of warming (53 F). Their cousins, smallmouth bass don’t really get active until the water temperature exceeds 57 but they will not have to wait long for that comfort zone.
Catfish, bluegill, and crappie wait until April before starting their spring feeding ritual.
As this report is written the weather forecast shows a quick warming period coming this weekend. That means most fish will respond to warming weather in a certain fashion.  Clear blue water is beautiful but does not retain the warmth of the sun as well as colored water. The first positive fish response will be in the backs of canyons where water is cloudy or murky.  Just watch the water color while heading to the back of the canyon. Do not start fishing until the clear water gives way to murky and visibility decreases to less than 5 feet.  If you can see the bottom at 20-25 feet you are in the wrong spot.
Striped bass have been the most active fish over the winter and that will continue through March. Travel to the back of any major canyon. When water color change is seen, start graphing the bottom at 100 feet or less looking for 2-3 fish traces to show.  This winter most fish seen in deep water on the graph have been stripers. Drop spoons as quickly and close as possible to the fish traces seen. Jig the spoons up about 18 inches and let them fall back to the bottom to imitate shad and entice stripers to bite. You may get lucky and catch fish on the first drop.  If not, move on to the second best technique which is trolling.
After stripers quit resting on the bottom they head to the back of the canyon looking for food.  They are seen on the graph as individuals or small groups of 5-10 fish. Note the depth and then deploy trolling lures that run close to the holding depth.  Most flat line trolling lures are only effect down to 25 feet. If fish traces are deeper, then downriggers are a better option.  If fish traces are shallower than 20 feet then casting to the shoreline may be better than trolling.
Largemouth and smallmouth bass reside in brush or rocky structure.  A good plan is to target stripers in the cool March morning and then switch to bass as water temperature rises 2 degrees or more.  Rising water temperature triggers bass activity. If water temperature is 52 at dawn and then rises to 54, bass respond.   If morning water temperature is 57 and then rises to 60, bass behave in a similar fashion. Warming is the trigger.
Look for bass by checking water temperature. Sometimes similar coves on one side of the lake may be 2-3 degrees cooler than similar coves on the other side.  Target the warmer coves. A large sandstone boulder facing the morning sun might warm the water near the rock and attract bass into the cove.
This report purposely covers general patterns rather than specific locations.  We have found during the winter that a good trip to one canyon is followed by a mediocre result on the return trip. Time of day has been important but randomly swings between morning and afternoon. Now as temperature is warming fishing results will become more predictable and dependable.  The first hour of daylight is another trigger but warming is the better indicator in March.  Afternoons and evenings are best in March.
It is my prediction that bait fishing for stripers along main channel walls (Dam, Buoy 3, Moki Wall etc.) will not be as successful as it most years. Physical condition of striped bass is exceptional now due to the strong shad crop produced in 2017.  Fat healthy stripers tend to stay in the backs of canyons rather than moving to the main channel walls looking for forage.  You may try fishing bait in an old hotspot but if it does not produce then move to the back of a nearby canyon and try trolling, spooning, and casting for a better result.
When your trip is completed please share your fishing experience with us on Wayneswords.com.  That way we can give each other hints on fishing success at this huge lake. If you share your results it helps the next person to fish in your spot.  Then when you return in a month or two you can have the same advantage by reading a fish report on where you should try as you return.

Lake Powell Fish Report –March 7, 2018

Lake Elevation:  3615

Water temperature:  47-52

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

fatstbwg

Welcome back to the weekly fish reports from Lake Powell. 2017 was a banner year with high water levels that covered shoreline vegetation and provided extensive habitat for both predators and prey fish. Young fish survived in big numbers and these fat healthy fish will awake and become active as soon as Lake Powell water temperature rises above the 54-57 range.  “Warm water” fish residing in Lake Powell really do like warmer water better than the 47-50 F water they are now enduring. Here is what is happening with fish in the cold conditions.

Walleye begin spawning in March, which actually makes them harder to catch because they focus on spawning instead of eating.  After the spawn is over in April walleye start to feed regularly and often. 

Striped bass have been resting on the bottom in deep water but with warming they will get more active and pursue shad wherever they can find them from the 100 foot depths to the shallow shoreline. Expect lots more movement by stripers with warming water in March. 

Largemouth bass get very active in March with the first hint of warming (53 F). Their cousins, smallmouth bass don’t really get active until the water temperature exceeds 57 but they will not have to wait long for that comfort zone.   

Catfish, bluegill, and crappie wait until April before starting their spring feeding ritual. 

As this report is written the weather forecast shows a quick warming period coming this weekend. That means most fish will respond to warming weather in a certain fashion.  Clear blue water is beautiful but does not retain the warmth of the sun as well as colored water. The first positive fish response will be in the backs of canyons where water is cloudy or murky.  Just watch the water color while heading to the back of the canyon. Do not start fishing until the clear water gives way to murky and visibility decreases to less than 5 feet.  If you can see the bottom at 20-25 feet you are in the wrong spot. 

Striped bass have been the most active fish over the winter and that will continue through March. Travel to the back of any major canyon. When water color change is seen, start graphing the bottom at 100 feet or less looking for 2-3 fish traces to show.  This winter most fish seen in deep water on the graph have been stripers. Drop spoons as quickly and close as possible to the fish traces seen. Jig the spoons up about 18 inches and let them fall back to the bottom to imitate shad and entice stripers to bite. You may get lucky and catch fish on the first drop.  If not, move on to the second best technique which is trolling. 

After stripers quit resting on the bottom they head to the back of the canyon looking for food.  They are seen on the graph as individuals or small groups of 5-10 fish. Note the depth and then deploy trolling lures that run close to the holding depth.  Most flat line trolling lures are only effect down to 25 feet. If fish traces are deeper, then downriggers are a better option.  If fish traces are shallower than 20 feet then casting to the shoreline may be better than trolling.       

Largemouth and smallmouth bass reside in brush or rocky structure.  A good plan is to target stripers in the cool March morning and then switch to bass as water temperature rises 2 degrees or more.  Rising water temperature triggers bass activity. If water temperature is 52 at dawn and then rises to 54, bass respond.   If morning water temperature is 57 and then rises to 60, bass behave in a similar fashion. Warming is the trigger. 

Look for bass by checking water temperature. Sometimes similar coves on one side of the lake may be 2-3 degrees cooler than similar coves on the other side.  Target the warmer coves. A large sandstone boulder facing the morning sun might warm the water near the rock and attract bass into the cove.

This report purposely covers general patterns rather than specific locations.  We have found during the winter that a good trip to one canyon is followed by a mediocre result on the return trip. Time of day has been important but randomly swings between morning and afternoon. Now as temperature is warming fishing results will become more predictable and dependable.  The first hour of daylight is another trigger but warming is the better indicator in March.  Afternoons and evenings are best in March.  

It is my prediction that bait fishing for stripers along main channel walls (Dam, Buoy 3, Moki Wall etc.) will not be as successful as it most years. Physical condition of striped bass is exceptional now due to the strong shad crop produced in 2017.  Fat healthy stripers tend to stay in the backs of canyons rather than moving to the main channel walls looking for forage.  You may try fishing bait in an old hotspot but if it does not produce then move to the back of a nearby canyon and try trolling, spooning, and casting for a better result. 

When your trip is completed please share your fishing experience with us on Wayneswords.com.  That way we can give each other hints on fishing success at this huge lake. If you share your results it helps the next person to fish in your spot.  Then when you return in a month or two you can have the same advantage by reading a fish report on where you should try as you return.

 

Dana Andrus - with 7 pound winter caught striper.

danaandrus

Last Updated on Wednesday, 07 March 2018 08:52
 

February 6, 2018 - Warming and moving

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Lake Powell Fish Report – February 6, 2018
Lake Elevation: 3618
Water Temperature:  50-53 F
By: Wayne Gustaveson http://www.wayneswords.com
Warm weather makes it seem like Spring is upon us. Yesterday the water temperature was 50F when we started and over 53 degrees on the return trip. Surprisingly stripers responded unexpectedly to that warming.
I was so proud of the last report showing graph pictures of the complete feeding cycle from resting fish to super actively feeding fish resulting in a quick catch of stripers in Gunsight Canyon.   We headed out armed with that great information, headed to the same canyon, used the same techniques and – Struck Out!  Fishing is such fun because it is challenging.
We searched the deep bottom structure with the graph looking for the deep resting schools from 50-100 feet.  We saw one small bunch of fish and dropped spoons, catching one yearling striper, but that was the total catch. After trying the 3rd canyon in Padre Bay we made the choice between going back in or headed further uplake.   I am glad we made the choice to try Rock Creek.
We began by searching the same deep structure in the back of the canyon only to find stripers missing in action.  With that information we switched back to search mode which is to troll deep diving lures while watching the graph for a school to mark. If a school is seen, a floating marker is thrown overboard while we troll over the school to see if they will hit the trolled lures. If not, we go back to the floating marker and drop spoons on the resting school. Results were slim as we trolled the deep water until we passed over a shallow hump at 25 feet and hooked a nice striper. As that fish was retrieved and landed we saw a few more fish follow it to the boat. The spoons were deployed and the striper school was happy to feed on our shad-imitating spoons.   When the school left us we trolled Lucky Craft pointers in the 25 foot deep water, hooked a fish and then caught many more on spoons as the school followed the hooked fish under the boat. With 36 fish in the cooler we made the hour long run back to Wahweap.
At the fish cleaning station we found a few stripers had shad in the stomachs along with crayfish and plankton.  Then it was obvious that the change in catch rate over the last month was all about shad.  When shad were common we could catch 60 fish in 2 hours in deep water. As shad became scarce in deepwater the schools kept looking but not finding food.  Stripers are not as willing to hit spoons when they are eating plankton or crayfish. Bait works better in hard times. These schools then began searching shallow water as the temperature warmed and found that shad were again in shallow brushy water.
The moral of the story is to use all of your lures and expertise when searching for stripers in the winter.  They can be shallow, deep, or somewhere in between, but will be where the shad are.  Those locations can change quickly as striper schools move from deep to shallow water and back, in their relentless pursuit of shad who are moving to find a safe haven.
It was gratifying to find the answer to why stripers were not in deep water at the first stop.  My only regret was not trying to troll in shallow water at Gunsight. It is possible that we could have filled the cooler in the back of the first canyon instead of making the long run uplake.
That’s fishing!  In Lake Powell, striper fishing is more like hunting with a great reward when a cooperative school is located.  Oh, and the scenery is quite nice as well.

Lake Powell Fish Report – February 6, 2018

Lake Elevation: 3618

Water Temperature:  50-53 F

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

Warm weather makes it seem like Spring is upon us. Yesterday the water temperature was 50F when we started and over 53 degrees on the return trip. Air temperature was in the mid 60s.  Surprisingly stripers responded unexpectedly to that warming. 

I was so proud of the last report showing graph pictures of the complete feeding cycle from resting fish to super actively feeding fish resulting in a quick catch of stripers in Gunsight Canyon.   We headed out armed with that great information, headed to the same canyon, used the same techniques and – Struck Out!  Fishing is such fun because it is challenging.

We searched the deep bottom structure with the graph looking for the deep resting schools from 50-100 feet.  We saw one small bunch of fish and dropped our home made spoons, catching one yearling striper, but that was the total catch. After trying the 3rd canyon in Padre Bay we made the choice between going back in or headed further uplake.   I am glad we made the choice to try Rock Creek. 

nobspoon1We began by searching the same deep structure in the back of the canyon only to find stripers missing in action.  With that information we switched back to search mode which is to troll deep diving lures while watching the graph for a school to mark. If a school is seen, a floating marker is thrown overboard while we troll over the school to see if they will hit the trolled lures. If not, we go back to the floating marker and drop spoons on the resting school. Results were slim as we trolled the deep water until we passed over a shallow hump at 25 feet and hooked a nice striper. As that fish was retrieved and landed we saw a few more fish follow it to the boat. The spoons were deployed and the striper school was happy to feed on our shad-imitating spoons.   When the school left us we trolled Lucky Craft pointers in the 25 foot deep water, hooked a fish and then caught many more on spoons as the school followed the hooked fish under the boat. With 36 fish in the cooler we made the hour long run back to Wahweap.

At the fish cleaning station we found a few stripers had shad in the stomachs along with crayfish and plankton.  Then it was obvious that the change in catch rate over the last month was all about shad.  When shad were common we could catch 60 fish in 2 hours in deep water. As shad became scarce in deepwater the striper schools kept looking but not finding food.  Stripers are not as willing to hit spoons when they are eating plankton or crayfish. Bait works better in hard times. These schools then began searching shallow water as the temperature warmed and found that shad were again in shallow brushy water.

The moral of the story is to use all of your lures and expertise when searching for stripers in the winter.  They can be shallow, deep, or somewhere in between, but will be where the shad are.  Those locations can change quickly as striper schools move from deep to shallow water and back, in their relentless pursuit of shad who are moving to find a safe haven.  

It was gratifying to find the answer to why stripers were not in deep water at the first stop.  My only regret was not trying to troll in shallow water at Gunsight. It is possible that we could have filled the cooler in the back of the first canyon instead of making the long run uplake. 

That’s fishing!  In Lake Powell, striper fishing is more like hunting with a great reward when a cooperative school is located.  Oh, and the scenery is quite nice as well.

fr26

Last Updated on Tuesday, 06 February 2018 09:54
 


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