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Fishing Report

Water temperature:

80-85 F

August 3, 2017



August 2, 2017 - Boils at Site 5

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Lake Powell Fish Report – August 2, 2017
Lake Elevation: 3634
Water Temperature:  81-85 F
By: Wayne Gustaveson http://www.wayneswords.com
If shopping for the best deal on striper boils at Lake Powell, the answer is simple.  The best chance of finding surface feeding action is found in the far north lake. The area from Good Hope Bay (Buoy 118) to Trachyte Canyon (Buoy 125) is the most productive.  There are boils occurring everyday over the length of the lake so it is possible to find them at any place, and at anytime. If asked to make a list of the top 5 boiling spots it would look like this and in this order:
1. Good Hope to Trachyte
2. San Juan – Cha Canyon to Great Bend
3. Escalante River Arm
4. Rincon to Forgotten Canyon
5. Face Canyon to Rainbow Bridge
The factors that influence boiling activity include wind, rain and sunshine. Wind tends to keep stripers from boiling, but when the wind quits, hungry stripers like to make up for lost time and feed very aggressively right after the wind storm. Rain may keep anglers off the lake but stripers can easily ignore a rainy period because they are already wet! When the sun is shining brightly from dawn to dark stripers choose their own best time to feed. They can start chasing shad at first light or sleep in until 8 AM before feeding. My plan when looking for boils is to head out at first light and cover lots of water during the first 3 hours of daylight. If no boils are seen that makes it more likely that surface action will occur in the evening.  Unfortunately there are no guarantees.
I live near the number 5 rated boil spot on the lake so I am reporting for that area.  Other canyons uplake are better for boils seen and fish caught, but similar in how to find fish and catch them.
Today I headed out at first light and found a breeze blowing. According to my rules that is not good for finding surface action. When I got to Padre with choppy water I stopped and trolled along the east wall in the shade. The result was one smallmouth and one striper caught in 15 minutes.  That is too slow for me and the wind let up a bit, so we moved to Face Canyon.
Surface feeding stripers were in the same bay where we found them last week.  The boils were very quick averaging about 25 seconds from beginning to end.  If we moved close enough to the previous boil and they came back up again in casting range we caught a fish. Usually we arrived at the boil site with the water still trembling on top but the fish were gone. We chased 5-6 quick boils, caught 4 fish and then moved on.
At Buoy 25 we saw a quick rise now and then but never did get in casting range. There were no fish seen or caught at the mouth of West and Dove so we went to Friendship Cove.  It was calm and quiet there but no fish were seen.  We got a report from a wave runner Captain that there had been a huge boil there at 7 AM.  We missed it.
We decided to take one look in Rock Creek and then head back.  It was 10 AM and way too late for morning boils.  The mouth of the three Rock Creeks has been a good boil spot over the years so we went there.  We were very surprised to see the biggest boil of the morning against the wall between Main Rock and Middle Rock.  Then the fish came up in the middle of the bay. The next boil was on the east wall of Dry Rock. This bay was the best spot of the day and we quickly caught 20 fish on topwater lures in less than an hour.
Surface feeding stripers can come up at any time or place. The shad in their stomachs were 2-3 inches long which means these fish need to boil to catch fast moving shad. They go down quickly because the surface temperature of the water was 84 degrees which was too warm for these 2-3 pound stripers to stay on top for long. They dive quickly to deep water to cool off and then pop back up again to eat more shad.
We saw many and caught a few smallmouth bass in the rock slide areas of Rock Creek. As the lake level declines bass fishing will get back to normal with bass occupying habitat that is easy to find.
Fishing success at Lake Powell is amazing!  When you stick with it and keep trying the result is a fun day of fishing, a good catch and memorable sites of the red rock walls and blue water.  I love this place!

bbbm2Lake Powell Fish Report – August 2, 2017

Lake Elevation: 3634

Water Temperature:  81-85 F

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

If shopping for the best deal on striper boils at Lake Powell, the answer is simple.  The best chance of finding surface feeding action is found in the far north lake. The area from Good Hope Bay (Buoy 118) to Trachyte Canyon (Buoy 125) is the most productive.  There are boils occurring everyday over the length of the lake so it is possible to find them at any place, and at anytime. If asked to make a list of the top 5 boiling spots it would look like this and in this order:

1. Good Hope to Trachyte

2. San Juan – Cha Canyon to Great Bend

3. Escalante River Arm

4. Rincon to Forgotten Canyon

5. Face Canyon to Rainbow Bridge

scouts12The factors that influence boiling activity include wind, rain and sunshine. Wind tends to keep stripers from boiling, but when the wind quits, hungry stripers like to make up for lost time and feed very aggressively right after the wind storm. Rain may keep anglers off the lake but stripers can easily ignore a rainy period because they are already wet! When the sun is shining brightly from dawn to dark stripers choose their own best time to feed. They can start chasing shad at first light or sleep in until 8 AM before feeding. My plan when looking for boils is to head out at first light and cover lots of water during the first 3 hours of daylight. If no boils are seen that makes it more likely that surface action will occur in the evening.  Unfortunately there are no guarantees.

I live near the number 5 rated boil spot on the lake so I am reporting for that area.  Other canyons uplake are better for boils seen and fish caught, but similar in how to find fish and catch them.   

Today I headed out at first light and found a breeze blowing. According to my rules that is not good for finding surface action. When I got to Padre with choppy water I stopped and trolled along the east wall in the shade. The result was one smallmouth and one striper caught in 15 minutes.  That is too slow for me and the wind let up a bit, so we moved to Face Canyon.  

Surface feeding stripers were in the same bay where we found them last week.  The boils were very quick averaging about 25 seconds from beginning to end.  If we moved close enough to the previous boil and they came back up again in casting range we caught a fish. Usually we arrived at the boil site with the water still trembling on top but the fish were gone. We chased 5-6 quick boils, caught 4 fish and then moved on. 

stbusy_edited-1At Buoy 25 we saw a quick rise now and then but never did get in casting range. There were no fish seen or caught at the mouth of West and Dove so we went to Friendship Cove.  It was calm and quiet there but no fish were seen.  We got a report from a wave runner Captain that there had been a huge boil there at 7 AM.  We missed it. 

We decided to take one look in Rock Creek and then head back.  It was 10 AM and way too late for morning boils.  The mouth of the three Rock Creeks has been a good boil spot over the years so we went there.  We were very surprised to see the biggest boil of the morning against the wall between Main Rock and Middle Rock.  Then the fish came up in the middle of the bay. The next boil was on the east wall of Dry Rock. This bay was the best spot of the day and we quickly caught 20 fish on topwater lures in less than an hour.  

Surface feeding stripers can come up at any time or place. The shad in their stomachs were 2-3 inches long which means these fish need to boil to catch fast moving shad. They go down quickly because the surface temperature of the water was 84 degrees which was too warm for these 2-3 pound stripers to stay on top for long. They dive quickly to deep water to cool off and then pop back up again to eat more shad.  The superb physical condition of stripers caught today has not been seen since 2016. They are fat again. 

We saw many and caught a few smallmouth bass in the rock slide areas of Rock Creek. As the lake level declines bass fishing will get back to normal with bass occupying habitat that is easy to find.

Fishing success at Lake Powell is amazing!  When you stick with it and keep trying the result is a fun day of fishing, a good catch and memorable sightings of the red rock walls and blue water.  I love this place!

 

July 26, 2017 - Boils Begin

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shadsize7Lake Powell Fish Report – July 26, 2017

Lake Elevation: 3635

Water Temperature:  79-83 F

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

Slurps Done – Boils Begin

Shad removed from striper stomachs after yesterday’s fishing trip were small adults that can swim fast rather than larval fish that cannot swim well at all.  When stripers pursue larval shad they trap shad against the surface and slurp up the small shad. Anglers only see the striper mouth breaking the surface and perhaps a small wake created as stripers compete with one another to eat the most shad.  However, when shad are able to swim fast, stripers still try to trap them at the surface but the speed and activity are much greater.  The surface feeding event is called a “boil” as individual stripers jump out of the water while chasing shad. When 10 to 50 stripers are seen jumping out of the water at the same time in a tight formation the feeding action can be seen from far away. These stripers are aggressive and can be caught by casting a surface lure or shallow running crankbait just beyond the action and retrieving it through the feeding school.

Since boil fishing is the most exciting type of angling experience performed in fresh water, we started out early yesterday to search for boils in the southern lake.  Unfortunately, the sky was overcast and a breeze kept the surface stirred up and prevented stripers from finding shad schools and driving them to the surface. We left the ramp at dawn and 3 hours later had covered much water but had seen no boils.  We caught an occasional striper or smallmouth bass while trolling and watching for surface action.

boiljulywwAt 8 AM the breeze quit and the sun came out. Twenty minutes later we saw the first boil break the surface about half way back in the canyon. From 8:30 to 9:30 fishing was intense and very successful.  The striper count in the cooler went from 3 to 35 in 60 minutes. This is a typical boil fishing experience. It involves lots of looking and the right weather conditions. When it all comes together it is extremely satisfying.

Look for boils in the canyons and bays early and late in the day. These feeding events usually last for about an hour and then the lake calms down again.  Recently we have seen striper surface action in Kane Creek, Labyrinth, Face Canyon, Buoy 25, Dove Canyon, Last Chance and Rock Creek.  These feeding events can occur anywhere shad and stripers come together.  Our (UT DWR) shad sampling shows that shad numbers are higher than normally found in July which means that striper boils will be seen frequently over the length of the lake for the rest of July and August.  There are more shad at Bullfrog and Good Hope Bay so boils will be better and more prolonged in the northern lake.

Stripers move quickly while boiling.  They can be seen against the shoreline and then a few minutes later pop up in the middle of the bay.  Move quickly to get in casting range of the school. Stop the boat before it gets close enough to put the feeding fish down. Use equipment that allows a long cast.  Effective lures include Kastmaster spoons, topwater lures that can be retrieved quickly such as Sammies, Jumpin’ Minnows, Ima Skimmers and shallow running rattletraps, and Lucky Craft lipless crankbaits.

Bass are often on the edge of the boil and respond well to surface lures after the boil has subsided. Top water fishing at dawn and dusk will be great for both Large and Smallmouth bass for the rest of the summer. Walleye get excited as the fleeing shad run past walleye ambush points in the brush line.  The fishing dynamic at Lake Powel has now changed as boiling stripers stir up shad and all the other game fish want to get in on the action.doubletrouble2

 

July 19, 2017 - Slurps Continue and Boils Start

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Lake Powell Fish Report – July 19, 2017
Lake Elevation: 3635
Water Temperature:  80-83 F
By: Wayne Gustaveson http://www.wayneswords.com
Striper slurps and boils are now available lakewide. Here is a rundown on what to expect.
Northern lake:
Launching access is decent at Hite.  There are a couple of options for launching including the primitive ramp and below the cement ramp.  The water surface from Hite down to Good Hope is relatively clear of debris. There is some so be careful but launch in at Hite makes for safer travel that coming uplake from Bullfrog where more floating debris exists in isolated spots in the channel.
The best, most consistent striper surface activity is found from Castle Butte to Trachyte/White Canyon.  Slurps start at first light and continue most of the day and into the evening. From Hite to the Horn there are lots of really quick slurps that come up and go down often.  The best spot is between Scorup and Castle Butte. Here the slurps and boils are larger and last longer.  There are enough slurps in sight that it is possible to just stay in a central location and cast lures to many different slurps.  When the fish go down continue to cast to the spot last seen and continue to catch random fish. Surface lures are best as are small plastic grubs on jig heads.
Bullfrog/Halls:
Boils/slurps were found most consistently this week near the mouth of Moki Canyon but boils were seen from Forgotten to Lake Canyon. Stripers were caught on top water lures and chartreuse grubs. Those fish caught in the backs of canyons were thin compared to those caught in the main channel or at the mouths of the canyons. Stripers caught ranged from 16-24 inches.
Southern Lake:
Boils/slurps were seen from Padre Bay to the mouth of Rock Creek.  Stripers came up quickly and went down in a hurry.  Usually it was possible to see a school come up and then get the boat close to the spot in time to make a cast or two when the school resurfaced. Stripers could only be caught when their heads were visibly breaking water. As they started down again they were very hard to catch. They came up 3-5 times in 5-10 minutes and often moved hundreds of yards in the process.   A surface lure placed in front of the lead fish was the most consistent producer. Lures that landed in the middle or behind the slurp were ignored.
Shad found in striper stomachs were double the size (1 inch) of those previously reported 2 weeks ago. As shad continue to grow, boils will get longer, stripers more aggressive and anglers will catch a lot more fish. This is the beginning of Boil Season. The most exciting fishing found in fresh water will continue into September this year.
Bass were found occasionally feeding with stripers on the surface.   More often largemouth bass were found in the brush line near shore. They could sometimes be seen blowing up on the surface and could be caught on topwater lures or a spinner bait.
Smallmouth bass are showing up more often on rock structure now that the lake has stabilized.  Look for isolated rock slides or rocky islands to target smallmouth. As lake level continues to stabilize or begins to decline bass habitat will be more obvious.  Bass have been harder to find than normal but that will now change with consistent lake levels.
Stabilized lake levels will make it easier to catch bluegill along the brushy shorelines as well.
Fishing success is improving as the summer moves on.

jaxsherwoodJax Gibbons

and Sam Sherwood

 

 

Lake Powell Fish Report – July 19, 2017

Lake Elevation: 3635

Water Temperature:  80-83 F

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

Striper slurps and boils are now available lakewide. Here is a rundown on what to expect.  

Northern lake:

hitelaunch3607Launching access is decent at Hite.  There are a couple of options for launching including the primitive ramp and below the cement ramp.  The water surface from Hite down to Good Hope is relatively clear of debris. There is some so be careful but launch in at Hite makes for safer travel that coming uplake from Bullfrog where more floating debris exists in isolated spots in the channel. The best, most consistent striper surface activity is found from Castle Butte to Trachyte/White Canyon.  Slurps start at first light and continue most of the day and into the evening. From Hite to the Horn there are lots of really quick slurps that come up and go down often.  The best spot is between Scorup and Castle Butte. Here the slurps and boils are larger and last longer.  There are enough slurps in sight that it is possible to just stay in a central location and cast lures to many different slurps.  When the fish go down continue to cast to the spot last seen and continue to catch random fish. Surface lures are best as are small plastic grubs on jig heads. 

Bullfrog/Halls:

Boils/slurps were found most consistently this week near the mouth of Moki Canyon but boils were seen from Forgotten to Lake Canyon. Stripers were caught on top water lures and chartreuse grubs. Those fish caught in the backs of canyons were thin compared to those caught in the main channel or at the mouths of the canyons. Stripers caught ranged from 16-24 inches.

Southern Lake: 

bretthepwifeBoils/slurps were seen from Padre Bay to the mouth of Rock Creek.  Stripers came up quickly and went down in a hurry.  Usually it was possible to see a school come up and then get the boat close to the spot in time to make a cast or two when the school resurfaced. Stripers could only be caught when their heads were visibly breaking water. As they started down again they were very hard to catch. They came up 3-5 times in 5-10 minutes and often moved hundreds of yards in the process.   A surface lure placed in front of the lead fish was the most consistent producer. Lures that landed in the middle or behind the slurp were ignored.Shad found in striper stomachs were double the size (1 inch) of those previously reported 2 weeks ago. As shad continue to grow, boils will get longer, stripers more aggressive and anglers will catch a lot more fish. This is the beginning of Boil Season. The most exciting fishing found in fresh water will continue into September this year. 

Largemouth bass were found occasionally feeding with stripers on the surface.   More often largemouth bass were found in the brush line near shore. They could sometimes be seen blowing up on the surface and could be caught on topwater lures or a spinner bait. 

Smallmouth bass are showing up more often on rock structure now that the lake has stabilized.  Look for isolated rock slides or rocky islands to target smallmouth. As lake level continues to stabilize or begins to decline bass habitat will be more obvious.  Bass have been harder to find than normal but that will now change with consistent lake levels.   Stabilized lake levels will make it easier to catch bluegill along the brushy shorelines as well.

waesmithforkWalleye were caught in the southern lake using deep diving crankbaits fished near brush at a bottom depth of 15-25 feet.

Fishing success is improving as the summer moves on.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 19 July 2017 14:42
 

July 12, 2017 - Summer report

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Lake Powell Fish Report – July 12, 2017
Lake Elevation: 3635
Water Temperature:  79-85 F
By: Wayne Gustaveson http://www.wayneswords.com
Lake Powell has stabilized.  There is plenty of brush along the shoreline so hopefully the lake will continue to cover that for the rest of July before it begins to decline.
Good News!  Received the first report of a boil today near Antelope Point Marina. Stripers were eating shad larger than the tiny shad found the last month. Stripers were scattered but willing to hit a topwater lure occasionally.  It is not really time to come fish for boils but that event is getting closer.  Surface activity should pick up lakewide by the end of July and continue through the month of August, maybe longer.
We had a requirement to collect 60 stripers today to do a disease certification and confirm that Lake Powell fish are still healthy and strong. If I had known the stripers were boiling near Antelope Point I would have gone there for my fish collection.  Early this morning I only knew that bait fishing is still good along the canyon walls. We took 3 boats and headed for Warm Creek Wall. We chummed along the wall and began to catch fish steadily for the next 3 hours. The school would come up for chum and then descend to the depths.  When near the surface many fish were caught in 10-15 feet of water.  When the action died down we dropped out baits further down to 40-60 feet to find the school and drag it back towards the top. Catching slowed down at 9 AM so we counted the fish and confirmed that we had our 60 fish.  Later at the fish cleaning station we counted 80 stripers from the efforts of 10 anglers in 3 different boats. Those fishing Lake Powell for the first time were in awe of the amount of fish that can be caught on this incredible fishing lake.
Bait fishing success will continue to excel this summer as many fish remain “trapped” in the deeper water by warm temperatures on the surface.  The younger stripers will continue to feed on the top and gain weight dramatically as the boil season progresses.
Bass fishing is now getting more predictable as the lake level has stabilized. That allows bass to find a spot they like and hold there until the lake begins to go down next month.  It seems smallmouth bass are often found on a slick rock wall near the flooded brush line.  By next week that preferred habitat type should become obvious and will be reported.
Walleye fishing is slowing but some are still being caught in the mid to upper lake.  Now that shad are larger and more abundant expect walleye to feed each morning and evening.  They prefer to hold on a flat near a steep cliff wall, or in the brushy weeds along a long sandy beach or point that has been covered with water.   Bottom bouncing, or fishing a bass grub with worm attached is still a very effective technique.
It is summer and still HOT! However, Lake Powell is amazing considering the amount of fish that can be caught in these challenging conditions.  Go fishing early. Then enjoy boating, skiing, sightseeing or whatever peaks your interest.  Then as the sun starts to set go out for another fishing adventure. It is definitely worth it.

Lake Powell Fish Report – July 12, 2017

Lake Elevation: 3635

Water Temperature:  79-85 F

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


nancyLake Powell has stabilized.  There is plenty of brush along the shoreline so hopefully the lake will continue to cover that for the rest of July before it begins to decline. 

Good News!  Received the first report of a boil today near Antelope Point Marina. Stripers were eating shad larger than the tiny shad found the last month. Stripers were scattered but willing to hit a topwater lure occasionally.  It is not really time to come fish for boils but that event is getting closer.  Surface activity should pick up lakewide by the end of July and continue through the month of August, maybe longer. 

We had a requirement to collect 60 stripers today to do a disease certification and confirm that Lake Powell fish are still healthy and strong. If I had known the stripers were boiling near Antelope Point I would have gone there for my fish collection.  Early this morning I only knew that bait fishing is still good along the canyon walls. We took 3 boats and headed for Warm Creek Wall. We chummed along the wall and began to catch fish steadily for the next 3 hours. The school would come up for chum and then descend to the depths.  When near the surface many fish were caught in 10-15 feet of water.  When the action died down we dropped out baits further down to 40-60 feet to find the school and drag it back towards the top. Catching slowed down at 9 AM so we counted the fish and confirmed that we had our 60 fish.  Later at the fish cleaning station we counted 80 stripers from the efforts of 10 anglers in 3 different boats. Those fishing Lake Powell for the first time were in awe of the amount of fish that can be caught on this incredible fishing lake.

doepkestbBait fishing success will continue to excel this summer as many fish remain “trapped” in the deeper water by warm temperatures on the surface.  The younger stripers will continue to feed on the top and gain weight dramatically as the boil season progresses. 

Bass fishing is now getting more predictable as the lake level has stabilized. That allows bass to find a spot they like and hold there until the lake begins to go down next month.  It seems smallmouth bass are often found on a slick rock wall near the flooded brush line.  By next week that preferred habitat type should become obvious and will be reported.  

Walleye fishing is slowing but some are still being caught in the mid to upper lake.  Now that shad are larger and more abundant expect walleye to feed each morning and evening.  They prefer to hold on a flat near a steep cliff wall, or in the brushy weeds along a long sandy beach or point that has been covered with water.   Bottom bouncing, or fishing a bass grub with worm attached is still a very effective technique.  

It is summer and still HOT! However, Lake Powell is amazing considering the amount of fish that can be caught in these challenging conditions.  Go fishing early. Then enjoy boating, skiing, sightseeing or whatever peaks your interest.  Then walleyelurewormas the sun starts to set go out for another fishing adventure. It is definitely worth it.

 

July 5, 2017 - Fishing in Shallow Brush

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Lake Powell Fish Report – July 5, 2017
Lake Elevation: 3635
Water Temperature:  77-84 F
By: Wayne Gustaveson http://www.wayneswords.com
Lake Powell fish are in awe at the brushy cover inundated along the shoreline. Virtually any place that is not a sheer cliff is now a brushy haven for all of Lake Powell’s fish. Those enjoying cover the most are shad. Normally this time of year, defenseless shad are easy targets for stripers and other fish. Now shad can go hide in the brush making it much tougher for predators to get an easy meal. I am happy as well because this gives me hope that shad will grow to a larger size, in larger numbers which will lead to big striper boils in late July and August.  This will be a story for a future report.  Right now shad are happy in brushy cover and game fish are trying to figure out what is going on!
Stripers were thrilled to have slow moving tiny shad in open water where they could just go get an easy meal any time of the day.  Now shad are able to swim and have high-tailed it to the brush line.  Surface feeding action that was easy to see two weeks ago is now missing in action in the southern lake. Striper slurps still continue in the northern lake where shad numbers are higher and muddy water slowed the progression of shad movement to brush.
Warm surface water and lack of open-water shad have made bait fishing in deep water the most effective fishing technique now for stripers. Adult stripers are hungry and trapped down at 30 feet waiting for food. Main channel and main canyon walls anywhere on the lake can house a hungry, waiting school of stripers.  Chumming and bait fishing may be the best way to approach these waiting fish.  Another option is to troll deep diving lures along slick rock points and steep walls.  Trolling is a good way to find a school of fish. Once found, bait may work better but it really depends on which angling technique is preferred.
Smallmouth bass prefer rocky structure but are not afraid of brush. They have followed shad into the underwater jungle and can be found searching through the limbs and branches for a shad or sunfish.  Small topwater lures, swim baits, D-Shad, and weedless plastic baits fished along brushy main points have been very effective.  Watch for shad schools to pop up in the brush line and then toss a surface lure near the shad school to target any game fish also eyeing that school.
Largemouth bass will be right there rubbing shoulders with smallmouth bass. Largemouth tend to prefer brush thickets in shallow water. They live in the same brushy condo as sunfish. Bass are good neighbors most of the time but occasionally eat one of the sunfish when the time is right.  With a full stomach, largemouth return to being model citizens and continue to live in the brush pocket.
Walleye really like brush.  They are an ambush feeder so they move to a submerged tree top and wait for the right fish to swim by.  Walleye are happy to eat shad, sunfish, bass or any other fish that enters their treetop target zone. One great technique for catching walleye in brushy water is to troll or cast a shad imitating lure just over the treetops where walleye are holding.  We caught a walleye on a surface lure last week in a tree top found in murky water. More commonly a lure trolled just over the tops of a band of submerged trees is the best technique. Find trees that are at a common depth, then use a lure that runs about a foot above the brush for best results.
Catfish are really big and fun to catch this year.  Sunfish are in the trees and like to eat worms on a small hook with a bobber attached.
Lake Powell fishing in the brush is unusual and may be challenging for those of us used to snag-free open water.  The rewards are great when a new successful presentation is discovered. Lake Powell has lots of fish to catch. Sometimes trying new challenging techniques, like fishing in shallow brush, can be very rewarding.

Lake Powell Fish Report – July 5, 2017

Lake Elevation: 3635

Water Temperature:  77-84 F

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


buoy25aLake Powell fish are in awe at the brushy cover inundated along the shoreline. Virtually any place that is not a sheer cliff is now a brushy haven for all of Lake Powell’s fish. Those enjoying cover the most are shad. Normally this time of year, defenseless shad are easy targets for stripers and other fish. Now shad can go hide in the brush making it much tougher for predators to get an easy meal. I am happy as well because this gives me hope that shad will grow to a larger size, in larger numbers which will lead to big striper boils in late July and August.  This will be a story for a future report.  Right now shad are happy in brushy cover and game fish are trying to figure out what is going on! 

Stripers were thrilled to have slow moving tiny shad in open water where they could just go get an easy meal any time of the day.  Now shad are able to swim and have high-tailed it to the brush line.  Surface feeding action that was easy to see two weeks ago is now missing in action in the southern lake. Striper slurps still continue in the northern lake where shad numbers are higher and muddy water slowed the progression of shad movement to brush. 

Warm surface water and lack of open-water shad have made bait fishing in deep water the most effective fishing technique now for stripers. Adult stripers are hungry and trapped down at 30 feet waiting for food. Main channel and main canyon walls anywhere on the lake can house a hungry, waiting school of stripers.  Chumming and bait fishing may be the best way to approach these waiting fish.  Another option is to troll deep diving lures along slick rock points and steep walls.  Trolling is a good way to find a school of fish. Once found, bait may work better but it really depends on which angling technique is preferred. 

Smallmouth bass prefer rocky structure but are not afraid of brush. They have followed shad into the underwater jungle and can be found searching through the limbs and branches for a shad or sunfish.  Small topwater lures, swim baits, D-Shad, and weedless plastic baits fished along brushy main points have been very effective.  Watch for shad schools to pop up in the brush line and then toss a surface lure near the shad school to target any game fish also eyeing that school.  Largemouth bass will be right there rubbing shoulders with smallmouth bass.

bbjorksbLargemouth tend to prefer brush thickets in shallow water. They live in the same brushy condo as sunfish. Bass are good neighbors most of the time but occasionally eat one of the sunfish when the time is right.  With a full stomach, largemouth return to being model citizens and continue to live in the brush pocket.

Walleye really like brush.  They are an ambush feeder so they move to a submerged tree top and wait for the right fish to swim by.  Walleye are happy to eat shad, sunfish, bass or any other fish that enters their treetop target zone. One great technique for catching walleye in brushy water is to troll or cast a shad imitating lure just over the treetops where walleye are holding.  We caught a walleye on a surface lure last week in a tree top found in murky water. More commonly a lure trolled just over the tops of a band of submerged trees is the best technique. Find trees that are at a common depth, then use a lure that runs about a foot above the brush for best results.   

Catfish are really big and fun to catch this year.  Sunfish are in the trees and like to eat worms on a small hook with a bobber attached. Lake Powell fishing in the brush is unusual and may be challenging for those of us used to snag-free open water.  The rewards are great when a new successful presentation is discovered.

Lake Powell has lots of fish to catch. Sometimes trying new challenging techniques, like fishing in shallow brush, can be very rewarding.

 

castlebutte

 


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