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Home Fishing Report
Fishing Report

Water temperature:

65-69 F

October 18, 2018



September 21, 2011 - Vacation

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Lake Powell Fish Report - September 21, 2011
Lake Elevation: 3653
Water Temperature 74-78 F
By: Wayne Gustaveson


brian shawThe good news is that Lake Powell surface temperature dropped 3 degrees in a week and is now holding near 74 F in the mornings.  The bad news ­ that wasn’t enough to release game fish from their thermal prison. Perhaps “prison” is the wrong term since the shad food source is locked up right with the game fish. Looking at this from a different angle, fish have found a “luxury resort” where stripers and bass are spending a few weeks of high living with all the food they want to eat while exerting absolutely no effort to obtain it.  Stripers and bass are “on vacation”.


There have been a few angling bright spots recently. The most notable was the new houseboat trolling technique employed by Brian Shaw.  Brian’s family was headed up lake from Bullfrog and decided to troll in the main channel. A large white Kalin Jig was deployed while the houseboat was slowed to 6 MPH.  After a mere 10 miles of trolling a huge striper ate the jig near Knowles Canyon.  Brian landed the trophy weighing nearly 30 pounds.   Further trolling resulted in no more fish.

There are a few signs that some bass and stripers are returning from vacation. A few quick boils have been seen this week in Oak, Rainbow, Dangling Rope and Face canyons.  Boils were quick and only a few fish were actually caught.  But it shows fishing is slowly improving and some surface activity is returning to the southern lake.

braydenThe same quick boil pattern is seen north of Bullfrog without many fish actually being caught. The exception was in Good Hope Bay where many quick boils were seen but a cooler full of fat stripers were caught on anchovies, 20 feet deep in the back of the canyon.

I guess the best way to sum this up is to look for stripers on top anywhere from Face canyon to Hite.  Then fish in the general area where splashes were seen with a wide variety of lures and bait until a willing school is found. Then enjoy the moment.


Still the very best method of consistently finding stripers in the main lake is to troll with down riggers at 60-90 feet in the open bays and channels.

Bass fishing remains slow but is coming back faster than stripers.  Look off main channel reefs and in the cracks and ledges of steep cliffs for willing smallmouth bass.  A few largemouth bass are caught in the brush shelters at the backs of the canyons.  Catfish are still eating hotdog rounds on sandy beach as the endless summer continues.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 21 September 2011 12:56
 

September 13, 2011 - Waiting

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Lake Powell Fish Report - September 13, 2011
Lake Elevation: 3654        
Water Temperature 77-80 F
By: Wayne Gustaveson

 
raynopattyLake Powell has gone quiet as game fish ready themselves for the big feeding spree that will break loose as soon as the lake level and water temperature drop just a bit more.  Now many shad schools are swimming freely in the backs of virtually every cut and cove that has more than 10 trees sticking out of the water.  Shad invariably reside in the biggest dense thicket of brush.  Interspersed in the shallow brushy coves are young largemouth bass, smallmouth bass and sunfish.   All is quiet as shad swim through the brush and coexist peacefully with small game fish that are too small to eat adult shad.


Adult game fish including bass, stripers and walleye are in deeper water (exceeding 20 feet) where temperature is cooler and more agreeable to adult fish.  There is much feeding going on at depth as each fish that is randomly caught is healthier than the last one.   Striped bass and largemouth are in prime physical condition.  They are growing and putting on weight each day.


rcolby211Anglers are waiting for sport fish to discover the abundant shad pantry that now exists in shallow water.  The variables that control the highly anticipated event are weakening.  Water temperature is the main key.  It has fallen from the 80s down to 78F.  Another few degrees and fishing will improve dramatically.  The next variable is movement of deep forage fish into shallower water.  When bass and stripers can no longer forage in deep water they will come shallow to feed.  Declining lake level will help somewhat but the lake came up so far this spring that much brush exists from the current surface level down to 30 feet.  That provides a huge amount of brush covered fish habitat in a lake where surface area increased so dramatically this summer.
This explains why fishing is still challenging over the length of the lake.  There are some bright spots.  The main channel area lined with steep cliffs lacks abundant brush. Here shad and stripers interact in a more normal fashion with surface feeding boils randomly occurring.  Boils have recently been reported from main channel Buoy 62 to 75.  Boils from Hite to Good Hope have been thwarted by windy afternoons. That is likely to change any time there is a calm evening.  No boils have been reported downstream from the mouth of the San Juan.


austinkThe most encouraging news is that bass have moved closer to the surface.  Bass fishing is good on plastic grubs on the rocky points extending in to the main channel and main bays.  Lures must be fished in water deeper than 20 feet to catch bigger fish but fishing success for bass has gotten much better over the past week.


Fall has arrived in the high desert surrounding Lake Powell.  Nights are cool which will continue to drop surface temperature and heat up the catch rate. Good fishing is only a few days away now. I can’t wait!

 

September 7, 2011 - Repositioning

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Lake Powell Fish Report - September 7, 2011
Lake Elevation: 3654        
Water Temperature 78-83 F
By: Wayne Gustaveson  

deb3Lake Powell has kicked off the covers.  Surface water temperature first thing in the morning has dropped from 83 to 78 in the past few days. The warmest water in the afternoon has dropped from 88 down to 83.  These are small steps but the lake is now headed in the right direction. Night time air temperatures are now in the 60s.  Water level dropped only one foot as the large outflow was curtailed to a steady state flow of 15,000 CFS.  Expect the smaller flow released through the dam to continue through the month of September.

All of these environmental adjustments are not lost on the fish.  There have been significant adjustments in where fish are positioned and what anglers must do to catch them.  The most important information is that stripers are no longer boiling at Hite.  The easy pickings found near the launch ramp last week has quieted temporarily.  Boils are still found in the upper lake but the action has now moved downstream.

deb2Anglers now have to go down lake a few miles to White and Trachyte where individual fish splashes have replaced boils. Surface lures thrown immediately to a splash ring will often catch fish but trolling with deep diving lures puts many more fish in the cooler.  The best boil concentration is found in Good Hope Bay. Most of the surface events are quick making it necessary to chase many boils before catching fish.  But the excitement is awesome. Good Hope is the best spot this week.

debThere are some boils near Bullfrog centered near the Halls houseboat buoy field.  Scattered boils may be seen at many different locations both upstream and down from Bullfrog. Again look for isolated splashes both morning and evening which indicate stripers feeding on top.  Trolling works better for filling the cooler in these conditions but surface fishing is more exciting.   

There will be much repositioning and relocating as water conditions and temperatures change. Expect big changes as cooling continues and fall weather exerts a stronger hold on the lake.  Expect daily changes now with fishing improving in the main lake.  Hey! There may even be a striper caught near Wahweap in the coming weeks.   

ashtonSmallmouth bass have been the first fish to respond in the southern lake. They are being steadily caught from Padre Bay to the San Juan on drop shot plastic baits at 20-30 feet. The best lure has been the Yamamoto shad shaped worm fished about 12 inches off bottom.  

It's been a long hot summer.  But conditions are changing and fishing is improving. The shad population is strong and fishing success will improve in the short term and be excellent all the way through the cold weather in December.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 07 September 2011 07:49
 

August 31, 2011 - Still Hite!

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Lake Powell Fish Report - August 31, 2011
Lake Elevation: 3655            
Water Temperature 80-88 F
By: Wayne Gustaveson  

anthonycattersonLake Powell is covered by a blanket of warm water that snugly holds game fish in the cooler depths. Declining lake levels also contribute to current conditions by forcing fish down instead of bringing them up. The net result is difficult fishing conditions over most of the lake.  The bright spots are around deep tributary inflows where incoming river water provides a constant temperature corridor for fish to mingle with forage and maintain the normal predator-prey relationship which equates to good fishing.

Shad numbers are somewhat higher than the annual average which means all fish species have adequate forage. At Hite stripers are taking advantage of shad by feeding around the clock.  The result is a grand fishing opportunity to catch striped bass chasing shad on the surface.  These "boils" can be seen from great distance and provide anglers easy targets as they cast to the surface disturbance knowing that each cast will attract the interest of many fish.  Some fish bump the lure while others slash at it and others whack it with their tail. The lure is jostled and tossed until one fish finally puts a mouth around it.  Then it's a race to land that fish in record time so another cast can be made before the feeding party atmosphere ends. Surface fishing for stripers also causes an adrenaline boil in the angler that is not often duplicated in other inland fishing opportunities.

Striper boils are often good on calm mornings and then seen intermittently throughout the day.  The best time to fish is from 5 PM until dark.  In this magic period boils often cover the surface from Hite to North Wash and downstream as far as Trachyte and to the Horn.  Anglers adept at positioning the boat, then efficiently casting and landing fish, are catching up to 60 fish in an evening.   Others just learning the art of chasing boils are catching enough to bring bright smiles and a feeling of success to all.   Hite is the best place to fish this week with good launching access and short runs to highly productive fishing areas.

bbene1If a trip to Hite is not possible then fishing opportunities, normally considered awesome when compared to other fisheries that are not Lake Powell, still exist.  Boils are seen midlake around Bullfrog.  Look near the houseboats fields at Halls Crossing and as a good starting place both morning and evening.  Again the best time to see boils lakewide is in the evening.   Unfortunately, the lower half of Lake Powell from San Juan down to Wahweap is not producing boils now.

kathy coblentzBass fishing is challenging but one lake wide pattern is consistently producing.  Bass are now off the steep vertical cliffs in the main channel and main canyons.  The best spot to fish would be in the shade of a cliff on a 20 foot deep ledge or outcropping protruding from the cliff wall. Here bass can quickly up from the cool depths to feed quickly and drop straight down in to the preferred temperature zone.  The backs of canyons feature a gentle sloping bottom that requires a longer swim from the cool water to the feeding areas.  Shad have a myriad of brush in which to hide in the back of the canyon.  Bass work harder chasing shad in the shallows than they do waiting for a school to swim by in the main channel.   Bass spend time waiting for shad searching the bottom for crayfish that may venture out of their rocky hideout.

Fishing for all species will get better in September.  Temperature will drop by mid September removing the warm blanket and releasing fish lakewide to feed closer to the surface.  But for now there are still fish to catch by traveling to Hite or fishing the main channel vertical habitat.
 

August 23. 2011 - Hite Boils are Hot!

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Lake Powell Fish Report - August 23, 2011
Lake Elevation: 3657            
Water Temperature 79-83 F
By: Wayne Gustaveson  

rcolbysjIt feels much better to write this report after catching a striper in a boil.  It is amazing how that can change ones attitude for the better.  When stripers pop to the top, adrenaline flows freely as the boat zips toward the feeding frenzy.  Once in range, properly directed casts will immediately score as the bait hits the water. Then the fight is on.  Attention is divided between landing the fish on the line and watching all the fish wallowing on the surface.  What a rush!  It's been a long time!

A few more details are warranted.  The choice for the weekly trip wavered between fishing near Wahweap and trying to make fish with closed mouths bite or running uplake where boils have been recently reported.  I thought about it for 2 long minutes before selling out for the San Juan.  The ride at dawn in a fast bass boat took 40 minutes on flat water.  Lake Powell is absolutely beautiful even when fish are not boiling.

youthdockWe went to Cha Canyon (60 miles) before giving up and heading back without throwing a cast.  A houseboat crew near Bald Rock Canyon reported one quick boil at dawn in the channel and one at the mouth of the San Juan the night before.  We caught a few bass near the houseboat. Bass fishing in the San Juan is fine on reefs and terraces at the edge of the main channel.  Daiquiri colored Yamamoto grubs worked very well at 20-35 feet.

But we were looking for boils so we headed to the mouth of the San Juan. Spoons and stump jumpers were ignored by the myriad of fish layered at the 40 feet depth contour.  We were just rigging up for trolling when the boil erupted.  The next 6 minutes made the long trip and early morning departure worth the effort.  The boil lasted less than a minute. Then singles were seen chasing shad for another 5 minutes. I caught two 8 inch stripers and two smallmouth bass on a Kastmaster while my partner, Ron Colby, got a nice fat 4-pound striper and two smallmouth on a full size surface lure. Then it was over.  That's it.  Boil fever relieved for the moment.


thomcatgWe confirmed that a layer of fish between 30 and 40 feet exists from Wahweap to the San Juan. It is likely that a narrow comfort zone has formed between the thermocline and a low oxygen layer that has set up at 45 feet. Open water fish, including shad and stripers, are in the middle of the channel making them very hard to catch.  My guess for the southern lake is that feeding occurs at depth with no need for stripers to leave the narrow comfort zone.  Further uplake there is wider zone. Stripers still occasionally chase shad to the top so an occasional boil is seen.  Striper chasing shad to shore ignite the bass and fishing is super for a few minutes or until the next boil.

fallwestAll the way uplake at Hite boils are going nonstop. There is no question where to be this week. If fishing is your game then Hite is the place to be.  Reports of 40 -60 stripers caught in boils are common each morning and evening. Full size surface lures are working fine. Bass, catfish and sunfish are also being regularly caught. There is no need to look farther than the bay at the end of the Hite ramp for boil activity.  

Fishing success in the southern lake will improve as the surface temperature drops into the 70s and mixing relieves the low oxygen event.

 


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