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Fishing Report

Water temperature:

65-69 F

October 18, 2018



May 4, 2011 - It's Time!

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Lake Powell Fish Report - May 4, 2011
Lake Elevation: 3612            
Water Temperature 55 - 62 F
By: Wayne Gustaveson 

wipernobAll the variables are now falling into place.  The best spring fishing of the year will happen in the next 10 days. Water temperature will now rise as warmer days without wind are in the forecast. Bass that have tried to spawn but were thwarted by cooling will be able to complete the task in earnest. Stripers kept at bay by cool temperatures will break loose in the middle portion of the lake where bait fishing action has been slower. Lake Powell is warming, rising and fishing success will follow suit.  The only caution is to react quickly.  Runoff that has been slow to come will now flow downstream in gushes. Rapidly rising water will make shoreline fishing more difficult within the coming weeks.  So come now. It's time.

stbpicJust returned from Good Hope Bay and am happy to report that although the water is stained from Castle Butte to Bullfrog fishing has not been negatively impacted. Water discoloration begins at Bullfrog and gets progressively darker (greenish-brown) from Bullfrog to Good Hope.   At Castle Butte water color changes to brown and then turns to muddy color further upstream.  There was no floating debris on the water at Good Hope. The main channel from Bullfrog to Wahweap is crystal clear.

wiperinjectWe targeted stripers at Good Hope Bay looking for ripe fish to be parents of hybrid striped bass or wipers. Sterile hybrid wiper populations exist at Willard Bay and New Castle Reservoir from UDWR hatchery efforts.  Wipers may now be created in Utah as disease concerns with out-of-state procurement places that program in jeopardy. This was our first attempt to create wipers using Utah fish exclusively.

spermsyringeRipe stripers were collected by trolling deep diving crankbaits that ran 20-25 feet deep along the talus slopes and rocky points in Good Hope Bay. Fishing was slow but steady for 2-5 pound fish in prespawn condition.  We found no pattern or feeding schools but rather small groups of isolated individual fish.  Pre-spawning stripers were not tightly schooled as feeding stripers would be. They still responded to bait in close proximity to their mouth but they were more interested in spawning than feeding.

Once captured fish were injected to hurry the maturation process and then held overnight.  The next day striper sperm was collected to take to Utah Lake where eggs from white bass could be fertilized to create the new hybrid fish.  

wipernetMy best fishing pattern was discovered by accident. While trolling toward the back of a canyon the channel curved around a rock island. There was just enough room to troll in a semi circle around the island.  While halfway around the island my line tangled around the rod tip as the rod was pumped to give the lure more action.  I paused to clear the tangle and when the boat moved forward again a ripe female striper was caught.  Then we turned around and retraced our path complete with a pause next to the island.  Another ripe female was caught right after the pause. We duplicated this effort 15 times.  Casting and spooning to the same locations produced no fish. Trolling was the only thing that worked. Guess we will call that trolling technique the "jerk-bait" pattern.

Stripers are still being caught in big numbers near Wahweap by anglers chumming and bait fishing along the canyon walls. Some fish have been caught on bait near Moki Wall out of Bullfrog.  Expect stripers to be caught there in big numbers next week.

escalanteBass and crappie fishing will be hot in the next 10 days as water temperature increases to 65 degrees.  Look for beds as long as visibility allows. Rapidly rising water will reduce visibility and sight-fishing success soon.   Crappie will be in the thickest brush available in the backs of the canyons where bottom depth is 10-15 feet. Stained water is usually better for crappie than clear water.  Walleye fishing will improve and peak toward the end of May. 

Use bottom bouncers with a night crawler harness slow trolled along flat sandy bottom to specifically target walleye.  Or use plastic grubs and cast to muddy wind washed coves to get walleye and bass. You can now use your favorite fishing technique to catch your favorite fish.  The action starts this weekend as the weather and fishing gets much hotter.

 

April 27, 2011

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Lake Powell Fish Report - April 27, 2011
Lake Elevation: 3611            
Water Temperature 55 - 60 F
By: Wayne Gustaveson  

                                                      Mark Gustaveson and Cooper Sparks
markcoopTypical April weather has everyone confused.  The only constant is change.  Balmy delightful mornings are often followed by windy afternoons.  Despite the uncertainty, early morning water temperature now exceeds 55 degrees.  That allows warming to reach the magical 60 degree range by afternoon. Warmwater fish respond to warming with renewed activity and vigor. Spiking temperatures trigger hormone release, forcing bass and crappie into spawning mode. Subsequent cooling pulls bass back out of the shallows as they sulk in deeper water near spawning flats waiting for the next warm period. These bass can still be caught by fishing slightly deeper water adjacent to spawning flats.

 

 

 

 

 

markbassSpawning is in full gear in some lake locations. Fishing success was hot last weekend on the San Juan but then faltered with the recent cold front. The next warming trend will bring that same fishing success to most of Lake Powell. Find water temperature exceeding 65 degrees and fishing should be super.  Look in the backs of canyons for best success this week. Murky colored water heats up faster than clear water and provides comfortable habitat in unsettled times.  Bass are stacked up in these comfort zones so keep searching until the hot spot is located.  

It may be best to avoid the Hite area as inflow has now increased to over 59,000 acre feet per day.  Cold inflowing water reduces temperature, water clarity and deposits debris in the lake making navigation difficult.  Fishing in the backs of canyons without the influence of river current is a better plan when fishing near Hite.  The mud line, where inflowing sediment settles out of main channel flow, is found near Castle Butte in Good Hope Bay and near Spencers Camp on the San Juan.

 

 

 

 

thomcatgCathy from Sandy, UT

Striper fishing is still red hot in the southern lake as hungry fish prowl along steep canyon walls from Navajo Canyon to Glen Canyon Dam. Most anglers are catching 30 plus fish per trip while fishing anchovy bait over shallow ledges protruding from steep cliffs along the edge of the main channel. Stripers return to spots where the school found     food in the form of chummed bait on a previous trip.  Take lots of bait and chum often to excite a school of stripers into activity under your boat. Chum a spot and return to fish it later in the day. The reward is a memorable fishing trip.  Catch and keep as many stripers as possible.  Stripers in the channel are excess fish that should be harvested to help balance populations of predator and prey fish as new generations of each are produced this spring.  

markcrappieStriper fishing will improve in the Bullfrog/Halls area with the next warming trend. Anglers coming this weekend will have improved catches of stripers along the canyon walls from Moki to Halls Creek to compliment fish now caught trolling in the backs on the canyons. Expect to catch fish on bait at the mouth of Lake Canyon, Hansen Creek, and Knowles.

Crappie fishing will peak in the next two weeks.

Last Updated on Friday, 29 April 2011 15:15
 

April 20, 2011

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Lake Powell Fish Report - April 20, 2011
Lake Elevation: 3610            
Water Temperature 53 - 58 F
By: Wayne Gustaveson  

dtribbleboysSpawning tension continues as bass and crappie are ready to spawn but temperature is just not warm enough. Days are warm but a persistent afternoon breeze mixes the warm surface layers which delays spawning.  Water temperature this morning was 53.7 at Wahweap.  In years when warming is late, spawning occurs in isolated locations in each cove as temperature exceeds 60 F in the afternoon. There are places on Lake Powell where bass spawning has begun but over the majority of the lake it is still a waiting game.

Remember that bass spawn more than once with each male protecting as many as 4 different nests of fry each spring.  The first spawn is overdue because of weather which will reduce spawning potential to only 3 nests this year. Expect bass spawning to extend well into mid May. The first spawn is the most exciting because low lake levels allow shallow nests and guarding bass to be seen with the naked eye.  After water rises rapidly, nests are deeper, banks slough in the water, clarity is reduced and sight fishing is over for the year. Bass and crappie are still caught but the visual portion of the equation is greatly reduced. Nevertheless spawning is imminent and good fishing continues for bass. It will be better as spawning begins over the length of the lake.

fcstaStriper fishing in the southern portion of the lake is still HOT as striper schools roam along cliff walls.  Large numbers of stripers have been caught by bait fishermen from the dam to Navajo Canyon. The key feature to find is a 25-40 foot deep ledge or shelf that extends into the main channel. Stripers swim over shallow ledges looking for crayfish and will respond to chum lying on the bottom.  Pre chum likely spots and return to them sometime later to catch fish as they return to look for more food. Perhaps the best spot this week has been Buoy 3 near the mouth of Antelope Canyon.  

Water temperature is essentially the same as it was in March. That means most fish are still behaving exactly as they did last month.  Patterns that worked in March are still working this week.  Largemouth bass are in shallow muddy water in the backs of canyons.  They are vulnerable to a slow methodical retrieve as lures are worked through tree limbs and allowed to rest on bottom for extended periods.  Crappie are near brush but can also be found suspended in open water. Try trolling a small jig very slowly using the trolling motor to control speed.

dalejones2A good portion of the striper population, particularly juvenile fish and trophy size individuals, still reside in the back of the canyons. Juveniles are vulnerable to fast trolling (4.5 mph or faster).  My most effective technique now is to troll fast and hook a juvenile fish. As that fish is being retrieved spoons are deployed by other anglers in the boat.  School fish trailing the hooked fish dive as they see the boat and discover the spoons at depth.  Spoons are readily taken by trailing fish. More stripers are caught on spoons than by trolling at the end of the day.  

There are many ways and many places where fish are being caught on Lake Powell.  The next 2-3 weeks will provide the best of the spring fishing.  Use your favorite technique to catch fish. It's just a matter of being here on a day when the weather cooperates.
 

April 13, 2011

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Lake Powell Fish Report - April 13, 2011
Lake Elevation: 3609   
Water Temperature 51 - 57 F
By: Wayne Gustaveson 

bassonbedThe aquatic tension in Lake Powell is reaching critical mass.  Days are getting longer.  Water temperature warms in the afternoon only to crash back to the low 50s at night.  Noticeable frowns mark the faces of impatient bass and crappie. What's the hold up?
Spawning time is overdue and bass are getting anxious.

In reality bass spawning is right on schedule. For the past 3 years spawning occurred when early morning water temperature exceeded 54 degrees. This week base temperature is still 51.8F.  In 2009 and 2010 the spawn began as base water temperature rose 8 degrees from April 14 to April 20. In 2008 spawning occurred a week earlier but then was halted by a cold front during the same critical week near April 20th.  This year warming is forecast to occur this weekend.  Expect nest building to begin now with actual spawning occurring as soon as early morning temperature spikes. The moon watchers luck out this year as spawning will occur during full moon.  That has not been the case for the past 3 years.  Spawning is dictated by water temperature and not by moon beams. 

darleenmccoyThe big bonus this year will be about the large size of spawning smallmouth bass.  With the resurgence of largemouth bass in the brush in recent years, smallmouth have been ignored.  Expect to see some very large smallmouth bass caught during the spawn.  Hopefully the current lake record of 5 pounds 6 ounces will be broken this spring.   Duration of the bass spawn will be from April 18 to May 10 with the warmest, calmest times providing the best fishing.

Striped bass are still biting well in the southern lake but they too are waiting for warming in the mid and northern lake. Hotspots include the forebay at the dam, Buoy 1 and 3 in the main channel, Antelope and Navajo Canyons.  Adult stripers are present in large numbers in the channel and also in the canyons.           Darleen McCoy

New regulations prohibit tying up to the barricades in front of the dam.  Consider a new strategy when fishing the main channel and forebay.  The current hotspot at the barricade line connecting to the west wall in front of the dam is created by consistent chumming over  time.  Fish and fishermen both come to the same place.  It is possible to create other consistent fishing spots.  The key ingredient is a ledge with a depth of 20-40 feet that extends into the main channel. Chum the shallow shelf above deep water and stripers will find food as they travel along the cliff wall searching for crayfsh. Repeat the process and fish will return. One proven method is to chum a likely spot or two in the morning and then return in the afternoon to fish at your own private striper hot spot.

kphillipsYesterday we found stripers holding on the bottom in the back of Navajo at 33 feet in dirty water. They were reluctant to bite until we discovered that dropping a piece of anchovy on a 3/8 ounce short shanked jighead would entice fish to bite.  The secret was to gently raise the bait 3 inches off bottom and then ease it back to bottom.  The bite was subtle but could be detected with a sensitive rod.  When the bait rising off bottom felt different, either lighter or heavier, a hook set was in order. Our catch immediately went from none to 'every cast' when we discovered the right technique. 

Fishing is good right now but expected to get superb as bass and crappie begin to spawn.                      Kevin Phillips Crew

Inflow to Lake Powell now equals outflow.  Lake level will not decline below the  curent level of 3609 unless unforeseen conditions occur. Castle Rock Cut could then reopen in May when runoff increases.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 13 April 2011 08:59
 

April 6, 2011 - Striper Fishing Hot in South

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Lake Powell Fish Report - April 6, 2011
Lake Elevation: 3609   
Water Temperature 51 - 57 F
By: Wayne Gustaveson 

dalejones2The report this week finds most striper fishing success in the southern end of Lake Powell. Fishing upstream from Dangling Rope Marina has not started as quickly for most with striped bass being hard to catch.  Fish that are responding well right now are largemouth bass and crappie. Brush lined coves from Good Hope Bay to Hite harbor good populations of crappie that are moving ever closer to spawning with each warm afternoon.  Crappie have responded well to 2-inch pearl or white plastic grubs in thick brush. Largemouth bass and walleye are being caught on a regular basis now with smallmouth bass fishing improving every day.

Dale Jones holds up fat striper caught at Dam while partner plays a fish in the background.

The common theme over the entire lake is that murky water in the backs of the canyons warms more quickly than clear water.  Searching for active fish visually by selecting stained water and with thermometer to find the warmest water available is the most effective search pattern. This general pattern works until base water temperature exceeds 60F. Then clear water is just as good.

My weekly fish sampling trip included a circuit of the striper spots near Wahweap. Anglers tied off to the barricade in front of the dam reported striper fishing to be outstanding beginning precisely as the first sun rays hit the water.  That flurry of action lasted about 1.5 hours before slowing down.  Those at the barricade caught over 50 fish in the initial skirmish. The next flurry of catching was at midday and lasted for 2 hours with similar numbers of fish caught.  I suspect an evening bite as well but did not document it. Never trust fish to repeat a previous pattern but download the information that recently fishing at the dam is good in streaks during first light and later at midday.

nobwimmerWe then moved on to other likely striper spots beginning with Buoy 1.  Two boats were fishing there. Later at the fish cleaning station we found that both groups collected 30 some stripers from this location. We graphed at Buoy 3 but did not see fish traces so moved on to Antelope Canyon where we caught 2 stripers in 10 minutes. I did not heed my own advice, fishing only clear water where we could actually see stripers at 25 feet before catching them.  There have been many more fish caught recently in the back of Antelope where water is stained.

Nob Wimmer with 7.5 pound striper caught spooning in the back of Navajo Canyon. (Note murky water color.)

Next stop was the Power Plant Intake. Two more fish were caught here in another 10 minute effort.  But I was anxious to fish dirty water so went quickly to Navajo Canyon. The first point past the double islands was good for 2 more stripers in 5 minutes but we didn't stay. We past the big sand dune and saw water color change from clear to off-color. Around the next corner color changed again this time to murky. We began to troll deep diving Lucky Craft pointers in ghost color at 4.5 miles per hour and immediately began hooking stripers.  As each fish was brought to the boat we would spoon the bottom for to catch trailing fish with good results. We ended up with the same number of fish at the end of the day as those that were fishing bait but I like to troll and use spoons better than bait.  There is a fishing technique to suit your individual desires working now. The bottom line is that striper fishing in the southern lake is red hot. It will get much better for stripers in the mid lake to Hite area in the near future.  Bass and crappie fishing is slightly better uplake but warming water will make fishing success superb from April 15th to May 15th weather permitting.

Advisory:  Castle Rock Cut near Wahweap is now closed due to low water. It is necessary to go through the main channel for uplake travel.  Antelope Point launch ramp is open and provides time savings for those heading uplake.  

Last Updated on Wednesday, 06 April 2011 08:11
 


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