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Fishing Report

Water temperature:

65-69 F

October 18, 2018



January 18, 2018 - Pattern Changing

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Lake Powell Fish Report – January 18, 2017
Lake Elevation: 3621.93
Water Temperature:  50-53 F
By: Wayne Gustaveson http://www.wayneswords.com
We have been fishing close to home in the cold winter weather.  With little competition from other anglers in the winter we have found fishing to be quite good for striped bass. During the first two weeks of January we found stripers in very deep water chasing shad. Striper schools were not often seen on the graph but we could catch stripers on spoons in 75-110 feet of water when only 2-3 fish were seen.  When one fish was hooked the school size increased dramatically as the nearby fish came to see what was happening.
Early in the month, most of the stripers had shad in their stomachs.  Last week shad numbers found in stomachs declined dramatically.  On January 15th two anglers caught 47 stripers at Lone Rock on spoons.  However, the return trip on January 17th resulted in only 3 stripers.  The schools had moved on.
We then checked Warm Creek and found the same lack of stripers in the deep spots that had been so good in December and early January. We then switched tactics and tried trolling in the back of the canyon at water depth of 20-30 feet where grebes were seen diving/feeding. The result was steady catching with a 10-15 minute intervals between fish.
A few reports continue to come in from close canyons like Navajo, Gunsight, Rock Creek and Last Chance. Fishing was great a week ago but I am not sure if the same negative effect has occurred in the uplake canyons.
Stripers can be caught trolling, casting and spooning. The trick is to find active individuals or schools and quickly deploy spoons to fish in deep water or to troll and cast in the shallow water. If fish marks of any kind are seen on the graph in the backs of canyons then stripers can be caught trolling.  If fish are seen at mid depth (30-60 feet), then down rigger trolling with shad imitating lures may be the best technique.
Water temperature remains in the 50s, which is the warmest January water temperature recorded in recent memory. That allows stripers and shad to remain active with shad scrambling to get away and stripers in hot pursuit trying to find them. Random walleye and largemouth bass can be caught occasionally. Smallmouth bass are only available in the warmest part of the day as the surface water warms in the afternoon.
The very best fishing reports come from Bullfrog where night fishing under lights with bait is working very well.  Large shad schools are attracted to the light. Shad are followed by other predators and fishing is quick when stripers arrive at the shad party.
Similar fishing results should continue through February with stripers being catchable most days at a certain time, but it is not always the same time or a predictable occurrence.  In the southern lake early morning is best for spooning with trolling working mid day.
Fish health is terrific with stripers still finding shad schools.  If this continues during February and March the annual movement of stripers from the backs of canyons to the main channel may be postponed.  Bait fishing in the spring may not be productive if the striper schools are still holding in the backs of canyons and not migrating to the main channel.  Stay tuned.

Lake Powell Fish Report – January 18, 2018

Lake Elevation: 3621.93

Water Temperature:  50-53 F

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

We have been fishing close to home in the cold winter weather.  With little competition from other anglers in the winter we have found fishing to be quite good for striped bass. During the first two weeks of January we found stripers in very deep water chasing shad. Striper schools were not often seen on the graph but we could catch stripers on spoons in 75-110 feet of water when only 2-3 fish were seen.  When one fish was hooked the school size increased dramatically as the nearby fish came to see what was happening.  

Early in the month, most of the stripers had shad in their stomachs.  Last week shad numbers found in stomachs declined dramatically.  On January 15th two anglers caught 47 stripers at Lone Rock on spoons.  However, the return trip on January 17th resulted in only 3 stripers.  The schools had moved on.

We then checked Warm Creek and found the same lack of stripers in the deep spots that had been so good in December and early January. We then switched tactics and tried trolling in the back of the canyon at water depth of 20-30 feet where grebes were seen diving/feeding. The result was steady catching with a 10-15 minute intervals between fish.  

A few reports continue to come in from close canyons like Navajo, Gunsight, Rock Creek and Last Chance. Fishing was great a week ago but I am not sure if the same negative effect has occurred in the uplake canyons. 

Stripers can be caught trolling, casting and spooning. The trick is to find active individuals or schools and quickly deploy spoons to fish in deep water or to troll and cast in the shallow water. If fish marks of any kind are seen on the graph in the backs of canyons then stripers can be caught trolling.  If fish are seen at mid depth (30-60 feet), then down rigger trolling with shad imitating lures may be the best technique.   Water temperature remains in the 50s, which is the warmest January water temperature recorded in recent memory. That allows stripers and shad to remain active with shad scrambling to get away and stripers in hot pursuit trying to find them. Random walleye and largemouth bass can be caught occasionally. Smallmouth bass are only available in the warmest part of the day as the surface water warms in the afternoon.   

The very best fishing reports come from Bullfrog where night fishing under lights with bait is working very well.  Large shad schools are attracted to the light. Shad are followed by other predators and fishing is quick when stripers arrive at the shad party.  

Similar fishing results should continue through February with stripers being catchable most days at a certain time, but it is not always the same time or a predictable occurrence.  In the southern lake early morning is best for spooning with trolling working mid day.

Fish health is terrific with stripers still finding shad schools.  If this continues during February and March the annual movement of stripers from the backs of canyons to the main channel may be postponed.  Bait fishing in the spring may not be as productive if the striper schools are still holding in the backs of canyons and not migrating to the main channel. 

Stay tuned.

 

December 18, 2017 - Striper School Strategy

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Lake Powell Fish Report – December 18, 2017
Lake Elevation: 3623.92
Water Temperature:  53-56 F
By: Wayne Gustaveson http://www.wayneswords.com
The last fish report was all about a trophy striper. Here are the details for the regular sized fish. Water temperature this morning was 53.4 at the Wahweap ramp.  It is usually a half degree warmer in the main lake.  Temperature is important to threadfin shad who cannot take cold temperatures. They move to deep, stable water where a cold windy night cannot cool the water fast enough to catch them off guard and lead to their demise. Threadfin shad recently made their move and stripers followed.  Smallmouth bass have gone to dormant mode but may wake up in the late afternoon.  Largemouth bass are in the brush piles. Crappie are suspended in the 15-30 foot range usually around submerged trees or rocks. Walleye are quiet.
Striped bass are the easiest target in cold water. They follow shad into deep water and are visible on the graph as small schools instead of the 2-5 fish groups that were seen last month. When a striper is caught the school size quickly grows to large size as the school mates come over to see what the hooked fish has in its mouth.  Here is what we found last Friday and Saturday.
Striper schools were found in Warm Creek where the 30-pound striper was caught on Tuesday. They were consistently holding at 75-110 feet deep.  Unfortunately the schools were seen on the graph but the fish were not interested in our spoons. It was common to see a long thin horizontal line of fish suspended about 5-10 feet off the bottom. We could tell they were stripers because the spoons dropped to the bottom and then speed reeled through the line of fish would cause individual stripers to rise up slightly in the water column.  When lucky enough to hook a fish the rest of the school would follow toward the surface in typical striper fashion.  I found that speed reeling about 15 feet followed by jigging at mid depth would occasionally work.   In 75 feet of water I would speed reel and stop and jig at least 3 times on the way up. This was hard work but we did catch 8 fish in the morning.
Our friends fishing near us were a lot more patient. They stayed out all day and found that the striper schools finally turned on between 4-5 PM. They caught 34 fish in that magic hour.
Fish near Lone Rock were on a different schedule. Bob Reed reported catching fish all day long on spoons in deep water.  His fish were hitting well Friday morning while those in Warm Creek were snoozing.  Saturday morning was a repeat performance with stripers hitting well from dawn to 10 AM.  Then they threw the switch and no more fish were interested in spoons after 10 AM.
The lake wide report then is to find striper schools on the graph and drop spoons into the schools.  Hopefully they will hit all day long. If not, return to the schools morning, mid day or evening until the feeding schedule is discovered.  After that, catching is easy.

Lake Powell Fish Report – December 18, 2017

Lake Elevation: 3623.92

Water Temperature:  53-56 F

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

trihn5

 

The last fish report was all about a trophy striper. Here are the details for the regular sized fish. Water temperature this morning was 53.4 at the Wahweap ramp.  It is usually a half degree warmer in the main lake.  Temperature is important to threadfin shad who cannot take cold temperatures. They move to deep, stable water where a cold windy night cannot cool the water fast enough to catch them off guard and lead to their demise. Threadfin shad recently made their move and stripers followed.  Smallmouth bass have gone to dormant mode but may wake up in the late afternoon.  Largemouth bass are in the brush piles. Crappie are suspended in the 15-30 foot range usually around submerged trees or rocks. Walleye are quiet.

Striped bass are the easiest target in cold water. They follow shad into deep water and are visible on the graph as small schools instead of the 2-5 fish groups that were seen last month. When a striper is caught the school size quickly grows to large size as the school mates come over to see what the hooked fish has in its mouth.  Here is what we found last Friday and Saturday. 

Striper schools were found in Warm Creek where the 30-pound striper was caught on Tuesday. They were consistently holding at 75-110 feet deep.  Unfortunately the schools were seen on the graph but the fish were not interested in our spoons. It was common to see a long thin horizontal line of fish suspended about 5-10 feet off the bottom. We could tell they were stripers because the spoons dropped to the bottom and then speed reeled through the line of fish would cause individual stripers to rise up slightly in the water column.  When lucky enough to hook a fish the rest of the school would follow toward the surface in typical striper fashion.  I found that speed reeling about 15 feet followed by jigging at mid depth would occasionally work.   In 75 feet of water I would speed reel and stop and jig at least 3 times on the way up. This was hard work but we did catch 8 fish in the morning. 

Our friends fishing near us were a lot more patient. They stayed out all day and found that the striper schools finally turned on between 4-5 PM. They caught 34 fish in that magic hour. 

bobreed

 

Fish near Lone Rock were on a different schedule. Bob Reed reported catching fish all day long on spoons in deep water.  His fish were hitting well Friday morning while those in Warm Creek were snoozing.  Saturday morning was a repeat performance with stripers hitting well from dawn to 10 AM.  Then they threw the switch and no more fish were interested in spoons after 10 AM. 

The lake wide report then is to find striper schools on the graph and drop spoons into the schools.  Hopefully they will hit all day long. If not, return to the school sites morning, mid day or evening until the feeding schedule is discovered.  After that, catching is easy.

 

dominguezsunset

 

December 13, 2017 - Trophy caught in Warm Creek

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Lake Powell Fish Report – December 13, 2017
Lake Elevation: 3624.34
Water Temperature:  55-56 F
By: Wayne Gustaveson http://www.wayneswords.com
In the last fish report we reported stripers and shad holding in the 15-30 foot depth range but suspected that colder weather would force both species to seek deeper water where temperature was more stable. With that in mind we headed for Warm Creek to look for striper schools.  We passed the floating restroom and slowed down and started graphing.
This fall the graph has printed a mostly blank screen in deep water with an occasional layer of fish or suspended sediment at 60 feet. Since we have not caught any fish from this strange cloudy line, we ignored it when seen at 90 feet and moved on. It seems to have been the longest time since I have actually seen a striper school resting on the bottom. When that happened I got an adrenalin rush and quickly dropped spoons down to 95 feet.  It took such a long time for my ¾ ounce spoon to reach the bottom that I changed to the 2 ounce spoon which worked very well. With 4 anglers in the boat we quickly caught 6 fat stripers before they left the area. We searched some more and saw that school a few more times, but they would not hit our spoons so we moved on.
After 30 minutes of graphing we finally saw another school holding at 75 feet and caught fish on the first drop. My technician, Nob Wimmer, was having a hard time hooking fish. He got a lot of bites but they came off quickly. He usually spoons up more fish than I do on his homemade lures so it was gratifying to be in the lead this time. After missing 5-6 fish he finally hooked one and started reeling in. He said, “This is a really big fish!”  I ignored that because he says that about each fish he hooks in deep water.  I was playing a regular sized fish and spent my time concentrating on that fish. After I put my fish in the cooler I noticed that Nob had not gained any line and the fish was going deeper instead of coming to the surface.  It must be a big fish!  Then I hooked another fish and played it to the surface in short order.  While putting it in the cooler I glanced at Nob’s fish and saw that it was still pulling line and that the boat was following the fish.  I was now sure that it truly was a “Big Fish”.
Despite the excitement of having a huge striper on the line, I thought I could catch one more before netting the big one. I dropped down and caught another at mid depth as the striper school had followed the big fish off the bottom and was now seen at 20-30 feet as they watched the action.  It was easy and quick to drop again to 20 feet and catch one more before the big one came up. Nob played the big fish for 20 minutes and we landed 10 more while watching him do battle.  Stripers are a schooling fish that really get excited when one fish in the school shows feeding behavior. They often follow the hooked fish and look for something to eat. Always drop more lures in the water when a fish is being played to increase the catch.
Finally, the big one came close enough to see.  The 10-pounder I expected to see was not even close to the size of the monster fish in the water. Now I was thinking this one could be a new lake record. I grabbed the net, and hoisted the fish into the boat. The net handle bent dramatically but did not break. The fish was in the boat.
It measured 43 inches long, with a girth of 26 inches and weighed 30.35 pounds. It is very difficult to understand just how big a fish is when it is thrashing around in the net and is too large to put in a magnum sized cooler.  I was actually disappointed when we put the fish on the scale and found it was “only” 30 pounds.  I got over it quickly and took a lot of pictures to memorialize the event.
Nob later said that the big fish inhaled the spoon just after it hit bottom.  The spoon must have landed right in front of the big one, who then sucked in the spoon that was found to be lodged in the back of the throat near the last gill racker. Nob did not feel the fish until he lifted the spoon off the bottom. It was a perfect drop to the biggest fish living in Warm Creek
Congratulations to Nob Wimmer who caught the biggest fish of his life one day after his 83rd birthday.

Lake Powell Fish Report – December 13, 2017

Lake Elevation: 3624.34

Water Temperature:  55-56 F

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


noblapIn the last fish report we reported stripers and shad holding in the 15-30 foot depth range but suspected that colder weather would force both species to seek deeper water where temperature was more stable. With that in mind we headed for Warm Creek to look for striper schools.  We passed the floating restroom and slowed down and started graphing.

This fall the graph has printed a mostly blank screen in deep water with an occasional layer of fish or suspended sediment at 60 feet. Since we have not caught any fish from this strange cloudy line, we ignored it when seen at 90 feet and moved on. It seems to have been the longest time since I have actually seen a striper school resting on the bottom. When that happened I got an adrenalin rush and quickly dropped spoons down to 95 feet.  It took such a long time for my ¾ ounce spoon to reach the bottom that I changed to the 2-ounce spoon which worked very well. With 4 anglers in the boat we quickly caught 6 fat stripers before they left the area. We searched some more and saw that school a few more times, but they would not hit our spoons so we moved on.

nob30smallAfter 30 minutes of graphing we finally saw another school holding at 75 feet and caught fish on the first drop. My technician, Nob Wimmer, was having a hard time hooking fish. He got a lot of bites but they came off quickly. He usually spoons up more fish than I do on his homemade lures so it was gratifying to be in the lead this time. After missing 5-6 fish he finally hooked one and started reeling in. He said, “This is a really big fish!”  I ignored that because he says that about each fish he hooks in deep water.  I was playing a regular sized fish and spent my time concentrating on that fish. After I put my fish in the cooler I noticed that Nob had not gained any line and the fish was going deeper instead of coming to the surface.  It must be a big fish!  Then I hooked another fish and played it to the surface in short order.  While putting it in the cooler I glanced at Nob’s fish and saw that it was still pulling line and that the boat was following the fish.  I was now sure that it truly was a “Big Fish”.       

spoonfaceDespite the excitement of having a huge striper on the line, I thought I could catch one more before netting the big one. I dropped down and caught another at mid depth as the striper school had followed the big fish off the bottom and was now seen at 20-30 feet as they watched the action.  It was easy and quick to drop again to 20 feet and catch one more before the big one came up. Nob played the big fish for 20 minutes and we landed 10 more while watching him do battle.  Stripers are a schooling fish that really get excited when one fish in the school shows feeding behavior. They often follow the hooked fish and look for something to eat. Always drop more lures in the water when a fish is being played to increase the catch. 

Finally, the big one came close enough to see.  The 10-pounder I expected to see was not even close to the size of the monster fish in the water. Now I was thinking this one could be a new lake record. I grabbed the net, and hoisted the fish into the boat. The net handle bent dramatically but did not break. The fish was in the boat.
It measured 43 inches long, with a girth of 26 inches and weighed 30.35 pounds. It is very difficult to understand just how big a fish is when it is thrashing around in the net and is too large to put in a magnum sized cooler.  I was actually disappointed when we put the fish on the scale and found it was “only” 30 pounds.  I got over it quickly and took a lot of pictures to memorialize the event. 

Nob later said that the big fish inhaled the spoon just after it hit bottom.  The spoon must have landed right in front of the big one, who then sucked in the spoon that was found to be lodged in the back of the throat near the last gill racker. Nob did not feel the fish until he lifted the spoon off the bottom. It was a perfect drop to the biggest fish living in Warm Creek 

Congratulations to Nob Wimmer who caught the biggest fish of his life one day after his 83rd birthday.

 

December 1, 2017 - Seems like October

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Lake Powell Fish Report – December 1, 2017
Lake Elevation: 3625,29
Water Temperature:  57-60 F
By: Wayne Gustaveson http://www.wayneswords.com
Warm calm weather continues into December with no freezing air temperatures yet over Lake Powell.  Water temperature did hit 60 degrees again yesterday in the warmest part of the afternoon. It was 57-58 degrees yesterday morning. This means that Lake Powell fish still think it is autumn rather than winter and are responding accordingly. Largemouth bass and crappie are still in submerged trees in 12-25 feet of water. Smallmouth bass are holding on rocky points but only respond to anglers as the water warms during mid day and afternoon.  Smallmouth bass are near their shut down temperature of 54 degrees.
Striped bass and threadfin shad are still battling it out in the upper 30 feet of water. Yesterday we were in Last Chance hoping for another close encounter with striper schools.  We started in the back of the canyon looking for striper schools in 10-15 of brushy water without success. Then we moved deeper searching the 20-30 foot strata.  We first trolled along the edge of the canyon without success. Next we started spooning in 25 feet of water after seeing 2 fish traces on the graph. The two fish moved quickly away as our spoons hit the bottom.
We continued drifting and spooning without success until I looked ahead of the boat and saw what I thought was a morbid gizzard shad circling on the surface. Then two more riffles appeared and we were amazed to realize that we had stripers hitting the surface within casting range.  There was no time to change to surface lures so we cast our spoons to surface feeding stripers.  The mini boil went down but stripers wasted no time in eating our shad imitations. We started piling fish in the iced cooler immediately.  We drifted away from the school after 15 frantic minutes of catching fish and counted 15 stripers in the cooler.
Next we went back to the spot where we had seen the quick little boil and drifted again until a few more fish came into view. We dropped spoons and caught 10 more stripers before we parted ways. We found the school one more time, caught 10 more and ended up with 35 stripers.
The secret now to catching stripers is to search the 15-30 depth strata in the back of the canyon where shad or bluegill are providing food for hungry stripers. Last week these striper schools were shallow eating bluegill. Yesterday they were a bit deeper and were eating threadfin shad.
There is a subtle difference in identifying fish on the graph now as compared to other years. Normally big striper schools are seen and quickly identified. Now the screen is usually blank with only an occasional fish or two showing up. I suggest dropping spoons when a single fish is seen.  Those single fish are often stripers.  Also, I think that most stripers are really tight to the bottom and not visible on the graph.  The new normal is to hook one striper on spoons and then watch as the graph lights up with a whole school of fish coming over to investigate the hooked fish.  Remember that feeding behavior in one striper triggers a feeding response in the entire school of fish.
When the water temperature drops to normal winter temperatures, threadfin shad will have to leave the shallows and go to deeper water. Stripers will follow, form large schools and be easier to see and identify. Right now stripers and shad are shallow and acting like it is October instead of December.  I am good with that.

Lake Powell Fish Report – December 1, 2017

Lake Elevation: 3625.29

Water Temperature:  57-60 F

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


Warm calm weather continues into December with no freezing air temperatures yet over Lake Powell.  Water temperature did hit 60 degrees again yesterday in the warmest part of the afternoon. It was 57-58 degrees yesterday morning. This means that Lake Powell fish still think it is autumn rather than winter and are responding accordingly. Largemouth bass and crappie are still in submerged trees in 12-25 feet of water. Smallmouth bass are holding on rocky points but only respond to anglers as the water warms during mid day and afternoon.  Smallmouth bass are near their shut down temperature of 54 degrees.

briangusStriped bass and threadfin shad are still battling it out in the upper 30 feet of water. Yesterday we were in Last Chance hoping for another close encounter with striper schools.  We started in the back of the canyon looking for striper schools in 10-15 feet of brushy water without success. Then we moved deeper searching the 20-30 foot strata.  We first trolled along the edge of the canyon without success. Next we started spooning in 25 feet of water after seeing 2 fish traces on the graph. The two fish moved quickly away as our spoons hit the bottom. 

We continued drifting and spooning without success until I looked ahead of the boat and saw what I thought was a morbid gizzard shad circling on the surface. Then two more riffles appeared and we were amazed to realize that we had stripers hitting the surface within casting range.  There was no time to change to surface lures so we cast our spoons to surface feeding stripers.  The mini boil went down but stripers wasted no time in eating our shad imitations. We started piling fish in the iced cooler immediately.  We drifted away from the school after 15 frantic minutes of catching fish and counted 15 stripers in the cooler.

Next we went back to the spot where we had seen the quick little boil and drifted again until a few more fish came into view. We dropped spoons and caught 10 more stripers before we parted ways. We found the school one more time, caught 10 more and ended up with 35 stripers.

The secret now to catching stripers is to search the 15-30 depth strata in the back of the canyon where shad or bluegill are providing food for hungry stripers. Last week these striper schools were shallow eating bluegill. Yesterday they were a bit deeper and were eating threadfin shad.   

graphshadThere is a subtle difference in identifying fish on the graph now as compared to other years. Normally big striper schools are seen and quickly identified. Now the screen is usually blank with only an occasional fish or two showing up. I suggest dropping spoons when a single fish is seen.  Those single fish are often stripers.  Also, I think that most stripers are really tight to the bottom and not visible on the graph.  The new normal is to hook one striper on spoons and then watch as the graph lights up with a whole school of fish coming over to investigate the hooked fish.  Remember that feeding behavior in one striper triggers a feeding response in the entire school of fish. 

When the water temperature drops to normal winter temperatures, threadfin shad will have to leave the shallows and go to deeper water. Stripers will follow, form large schools and be easier to see and identify. Right now stripers and shad are shallow and acting like it is October instead of December.  I am good with that.rimrockcup

 

November 22, 2017 - Thanksgiving Report

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Lake Powell Fish Report – November 22, 2017
Lake Elevation: 3625.71
Water Temperature:  59-62 F
By: Wayne Gustaveson http://www.wayneswords.com
Following three weeks of gill netting over the length of the lake I finally got back out on the southern lake to see how fish were responding to angling techniques.  The biggest surprise was water temperature which was still in the 60s near Thanksgiving.  Next the shoreline brush was still covered by the slowly declining lake level.  Finally, the behavior of striped bass was unusual for this time of year.
Recent bass tournaments have proven that large and smallmouth bass are abundant and prowling through shoreline vegetation to feed on bluegill and sunfish. Topwater lures worked well cast over the top of submerged brush, along with plastic grubs that could be fished straight down to avoid snagging in the brush thickets.  Bass fishing remains good as expected in these conditions.
Normally in November, water temperature drops, which forces threadfin shad to leave the shallow brush sanctuaries.  In deep water the temperature remains stable and is not impacted by random wind events and cold nights.  Stripers typically follow shad to the depths, form large schools and feed on shad at 30-90 feet over the winter.
That is currently not the case. We were surprised to find stripers roaming the shallow water in small groups instead of big schools. Recent reports of stripers feeding on the surface in the brush line have been given often in the past weeks. Basically, stripers were feeding in shallow water as they are prone to do in October.
We hoped to find a boil but were disappointed. Instead, we found a few small groups of fish (less than 5) which we could troll for or drop spoons on. When we saw the striper group on the graph in 15-30 feet of water we had equal success hooking up trolling or spooning.  We caught more fish spooning because we could get the lure back into the water quickly while they were still active under the boat.  Action was fast enough to keep us interested and fish quality was terrific.
We ended up with 35 stripers and a walleye with most of the fish caught on spoons. Surprisingly, our normal shad pattern spoons were not as effective as a more colorful Dixie Jet Spoon with a white background, chartreuse line and an orange spot. This lure looked more like a bluegill than a shad. Back at the fish cleaning station we found that stripers were feeding mostly on sunfish in the brush zone just like bass caught in recent tournaments.
Fishing over the Thanksgiving holiday weekend will be best in shallow brushy water where sunfish are abundant. It seems all game fish are using this drive up window for their fast food needs with great success.   I am thrilled that sunfish had a very successful spawning year and are surviving in the flooded brush line which is normally out of the water this time of year.  That takes some of the predatory pressure off shad until the water finally cools forcing these bait fish into deeper water.  Health and condition of large and smallmouth bass, walleye, stripers, and other sport fish are at a peak not seen since 2011.
Fishing success will remain excellent for all species until water temperature drops into the low 50s which should occur in early December. At that time spooning in deep water for healthy stripers will successfully continue. Smallmouth bass shut down in cold water, but largemouth bass and walleye will continue to feed for a short time.
It has been a banner year for sport fish as they have survived well, had plenty to eat, and grown to larger size.  When that happens, fishing success sometimes declines because fish get fussy and can eat at their leisure.  If you experienced that, just know you can return in 2018 and get even with the larger fish you missed this year.

Lake Powell Fish Report – November 22, 2017

Lake Elevation: 3625.71

Water Temperature:  59-62 F

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

Following three weeks of gill netting over the length of the lake I finally got back out on the southern lake to see how fish were responding to angling techniques.  The biggest surprise was water temperature which was still in the 60s near Thanksgiving.  Next the shoreline brush was still covered by the slowly declining lake level.  Finally, the behavior of striped bass was unusual for this time of year. 

Recent bass tournaments have proven that large and smallmouth bass are abundant and prowling through shoreline vegetation to feed on bluegill and sunfish. Topwater lures worked well cast over the top of submerged brush, along with plastic grubs that could be fished straight down to avoid snagging in the brush thickets.  Bass fishing remains good as expected in these conditions.

Normally in November, water temperature drops, which forces threadfin shad to leave the shallow brush sanctuaries.  In deep water the temperature remains stable and is not impacted by random wind events and cold nights.  Stripers typically follow shad to the depths, form large schools and feed on shad at 30-90 feet over the winter. 

That is currently not the case. We were surprised to find stripers roaming the shallow water in small groups instead of big schools. Recent reports of stripers feeding on the surface in the brush line have been given often in the past weeks. Basically, stripers were feeding in shallow water as they are prone to do in October. 

We hoped to find a boil but were disappointed. Instead, we found a few small groups of fish (less than 5) which we could troll for or drop spoons on. When we saw the striper group on the graph in 15-30 feet of water we had equal success hooking up trolling or spooning.  We caught more fish spooning because we could get the lure back into the water quickly while they were still active under the boat.  Action was fast enough to keep us interested and fish quality was terrific.  

We ended up with 35 stripers and a walleye with most of the fish caught on spoons. Surprisingly, our normal shad pattern spoons were not as effective as a more colorful Dixie Jet Spoon with a white background, chartreuse line and an orange spot. This lure looked more like a bluegill than a shad. Back at the fish cleaning station we found that stripers were feeding mostly on sunfish in the brush zone just like bass caught in recent tournaments.

sforage_edited-1

 

Forage fish found in Stomachs:

Bluegill and Crappie

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fishing over the Thanksgiving holiday weekend will be best in shallow brushy water where sunfish are abundant. It seems all game fish are using this drive up window for their fast food needs with great success.   I am thrilled that sunfish had a very successful spawning year and are surviving in the flooded brush line which is normally out of the water this time of year.  That takes some of the predatory pressure off shad until the water finally cools forcing these bait fish into deeper water. 

Health and condition of large and smallmouth bass, walleye, stripers, and other sport fish are at a peak not seen since 2011.  Fishing success will remain excellent for all species until water temperature drops into the low 50s which should occur in early December. At that time spooning in deep water for healthy stripers will successfully continue. Smallmouth bass shut down in cold water, but largemouth bass and walleye will continue to feed for a short time.  

It has been a banner year for sport fish as they have survived well, had plenty to eat, and grown to larger size.  When that happens, fishing success sometimes declines because fish get fussy and can eat at their leisure.  If you experienced that, just know you can return in 2018 and get even with the larger fish you missed this year.

 


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