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Fishing Report

Water temperature:

70-75 F

June 13, 2019



October 10, 2018 - Barometric Decline

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Lake Powell Fish Report – October 10, 2018

Lake Elevation:  3591.80

Water temperature:  70-74 F

By: Wayne Gustaveson   http://www.wayneswords.com or Wayneswords.net

 

Sporadic rain continues to fall over Lake Powell.  The welcome moisture has maintained the lake level at essentially the same as it was last week. Today inflow from the Colorado River is greater than outflow from Glen Canyon Dam.  Two more rainy days are forecast in the next 10 days with average air temperature in the mid 60s and evenings in the mid 40s.

There is one downside to the recent stormy weather. The drop in barometric pressure has caused a drop in fishing success.  Anglers who were catching fish every cast a week ago are now struggling to find and catch fish. The good news is that the storms are clearing, pressure is rising and fishing success will perk up again.

The secret to finding fish now – Particularly striped bass - is to go out early in the morning. In the southern lake, stripers are being caught quickly on spoons from first light to 8 AM.  After the sun gets higher and boat traffic picks up stripers are hard to find.  Mid-day they can be found with anchovy bait used in the commonly reported spots reported here. If one favorite spot does not produce, then move to another to see where the schools are now.  It should only take moving to 3 or 4 good bait fishing spots to locate an active school.

Striper schools are suspending and feeding on shad schools half way back in major canyons. They are not easy to see on the graph since they are high in the water column while the graph is focused on the bottom in 50-100 feet of water. The most consistent way to locate suspended stripers is to start near the back of a major canyon and troll out towards the mouth of the canyon. It is best to use a deep diving lure, such as a Norman Little N or Deep Little N in Lavender shad color. Troll until a striper is caught, then fish with spoons and cast crankbaits to catch more fish following the hooked school mate. This technique should work lakewide.

Smallmouth bass fishing remains steady. There has been a recent decline in total numbers caught with the same reaction to falling barometric pressure, but smallmouth are caught throughout the day.  Smallmouth are holding in relative deeper water – not in the backs of canyons. Look for visible open water reefs surrounded by deep water.  They were also found on deep cliff walls, in the shade at 15-30 feet.   They are feeding on crayfish so use green colored grubs, senkos and dropshot lures.

Walleye are caught periodically while trolling for stripers or dragging a bass bait along the bottom. Walleye are not schooling fish, but they do tend to aggregate in the same location.  It is wise to turn around and try to retrace the path where the first fish was caught to see if another walleye can be caught at the same spot using the same technique.

Finally, the water temperature will soon drop into the 60’s which is the prime temperature for fish activity in Lake Powell. Catching should improve and peak during the next few weeks of October.

 

October 2, 2018 - Bait and spoons best

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Lake Powell Fish Report – September 26, 2018
Lake Elevation:  3592
Water temperature:  73-76 F
By: Wayne Gustaveson   http://www.wayneswords.com or Wayneswords.net
Weather is cooling, rain is finally falling, and fishing is picking up. Hopefully the rainy period will slow down the decline in water level for a short time and allow the Castle Rock Cut to stay open for a few more weeks.   Water depth is 12 feet in the Cut which means it should be passable through October.
Fishing is improving as the water temperature has declined to the low 70s.  Smallmouth bass have been the constant, most dependable target species to pursue. They are gorging on crayfish and very cooperative for anglers. The best techniques are very similar to springtime bass fishing. Weightless shad shaped worms and senkos are dependable baits fished in 5-15 feet of water.  Bass are moving shallower as the lake continues to decline. They are very active early in the mornings and late in the evenings. During the day it may be better to switch to drop shot fishing in slightly deeper water.
Habitat preference is very different compared to other years. Usually there are brushy spots with tumbleweeds and brush. This year the rapid drop in water level has left the brush high and dry. This past week the best bass habitat was long shallow gravel points shaded by mud lines. Bass are much more likely to be on the outside primary points instead of in the backs of shallow coves. Look for deeper water in shallow bays to find bass.
Stripers have been harder to find in the southern lake. There is a short period at dawn where striper schools can be located on the graph and then caught using deep diving spoons. This flurry of activity is short lived and drops off as the sun gets higher in the sky. During a normal fishing day the very best technique is to use bait with lots of chumming. The spring time spots:  dam, Buoy 3, Navajo Canyon points etc. are working again.  Add to that some uplake spots that have produced good catches this week: Warm Creek Wall, Labyrinth Wall, back of main Rock Creek and Middle Rock Creek.  The technique is to graph the bottom structure while trolling.  When a school is seen, mark the spot. Return to the school, chum the spot with cut bait and then drop a one-inch piece of anchovy down to the school to catch lots of stripers.
In the northern lake, from Bullfrog to Good Hope, there are many more shad schools and normal fall fishing techniques work well. Again, troll and graph but when a striper school is seen, drop spoons into the school to catch lots of fish in a hurry.  Good spots this week include mouth of Stanton Creek, Bullfrog Bay haystacks, and mouth of Knowles.  The best lures are slab spoons, including Fle Fly Slabs or any spoons that resemble them.
Bait fishing also worked at Bullfrog this past week with many stripers caught on bait at the mouth of Lake Canyon.
Other fish that are responding well are walleye, catfish and bluegill. Tip your jig, small spoon, or just a small jighead with a piece of night crawler to catch a wide variety of fish in a short time. Fishing is improving and will peak as the lake temperature drops into the 60s.

Lake Powell Fish Report – October 2, 2018

Lake Elevation:  3592

Water temperature:  73-76 F

By: Wayne Gustaveson   http://www.wayneswords.com or Wayneswords.net

Weather is cooling, rain is finally falling, and fishing is picking up. Hopefully the rainy period will slow down the decline in water level for a short time and allow the Castle Rock Cut to stay open for a few more weeks.   Water depth is 12 feet in the Cut which means it should be passable through October. 

Fishing is improving as the water temperature has declined to the low 70s.  Smallmouth bass have been the constant, most dependable target species to pursue. They are gorging on crayfish and very cooperative for anglers. The best techniques are very similar to springtime bass fishing. Weightless shad shaped worms and senkos are dependable baits fished in 5-15 feet of water.  Bass are moving shallower as the lake continues to decline. They are very active early in the mornings and late in the evenings. During the day it may be better to switch to drop shot fishing in slightly deeper water. 

Habitat preference is very different compared to other years. Usually there are brushy spots with tumbleweeds and brush. This year the rapid drop in water level has left the brush high and dry. This past week the best bass habitat was long shallow gravel points shaded by mud lines. Bass are much more likely to be on the outside primary points instead of in the backs of shallow coves. Look for deeper water in shallow bays to find bass. 

Stripers have been harder to find in the southern lake. There is a short period at dawn where striper schools can be located on the graph and then caught using deep diving spoons. This flurry of activity is short lived and drops off as the sun gets higher in the sky. During a normal fishing day the very best technique is to use bait with lots of chumming. The spring time spots:  dam, Buoy 3, Navajo Canyon points etc. are working again.  Add to that some uplake spots that have produced good catches this week: Warm Creek Wall, Labyrinth Wall, back of main Rock Creek and Middle Rock Creek.  The technique is to graph the bottom structure while trolling.  When a school is seen, mark the spot. Return to the school, chum the spot with cut bait and then drop a one-inch piece of anchovy down to the school to catch lots of stripers. 

In the northern lake, from Bullfrog to Good Hope, there are many more shad schools and normal fall fishing techniques work well. Again, troll and graph but when a striper school is seen, drop spoons into the school to catch lots of fish in a hurry.  Good spots this week include mouth of Stanton Creek, Bullfrog Bay haystacks, and mouth of Knowles.  The best lures are slab spoons, including Fle Fly Slabs or any spoons that resemble them. 

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Bait fishing also worked at Bullfrog this past week with many stripers caught on bait at the mouth of Lake Canyon. 
Other fish that are responding well are walleye, catfish and bluegill. Tip your jig, small spoon, or just a small jighead with a piece of night crawler to catch a wide variety of fish in a short time. Fishing is improving and will peak as the lake water temperature drops into the 60s.

 

September 26, 2018 - Use Worms to add to the Catch

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Lake Powell Fish Report – September 26, 2018
Lake Elevation:  3591
Water temperature:  75-78 F
By: Wayne Gustaveson   http://www.wayneswords.com or Wayneswords.net
Lake Powell continues to drop.  Lake elevation today is 3591. That still leaves 11 feet of water in the Castle Rock Cut. If the current rate of decline continues, the Cut will remain open for approximately 5 weeks which would mean that it will be open through most of October.  The Cut and Antelope ramp will both close before the HFE (High Flow Experiment) scheduled for November 5th occurs.
Fishing in the southern lake during the past week has been slower than usual with full moon and declining lake levels. Here are the bright spots:
Smallmouth bass continue to cooperate with bass anglers who are using plastic baits and targeting open water reefs. With the lake falling there are some long, narrow rocky points extending from shore and gradually declining to 30 feet or more.  Work green plastic grubs or shad shaped worms along the bottom in 15-25 foot range to target the larger bass. Smaller bass will be mixed in but are more common at shallower depths. There are some bass in the backs of canyons and coves. They are usually on the breaking edge where shallow water drops into a deeper channel. Water clarity over the length of the lake has declined considerably with dropping lake levels allowing sand and sediment to mix in the water column with each wind event. Big patches of aquatic weeds are now showing in the backs of many coves. The weed mats are coming out of the water and drying up as the lake drops.
Striped bass schools are found in deeper water (50-75 feet).  These fish have been searching for shad but not finding many in the southern lake. When a school is seen try spooning, but if that does not work then drop anchovy bait for a quick catch of lots of fish. When stripers are schooled up with low shad numbers, many in the school do not get fed. Only the quickest fish will get enough shad to eat. Right now about 75% of the schooling stripers are healthy and 25% malnourished.  I suggest keeping all stripers to reduce total striper numbers and to increase the opportunity for those remaining fish to find adequate nourishment.
From Bullfrog north, shad numbers are much higher than in the south. Graph and troll to find striper schools and then use spoons to catch a bunch. Spoons resemble shad and stripers really respond well to spoons in these conditions. The target depth is a bit shallower in the north but striper schools can be graphed from 30 to 70 feet.  Striper schools may be harder to find now than commonly found this time of year but when a school is graphed these fish respond very well.
We found out last week that the very best way to catch large numbers and a huge variety of fish is to use night crawlers. Tip a plastic grub, spoon or a plain bait hook with a one-inch piece of worm.  Drop the bait down to the bottom in 5-25 feet of water and gently jig it up and down.  The response is amazing.  Expect to catch bluegill, green sunfish, smallmouth bass, walleye and channel catfish in big numbers. A really small hook is best. An ice jig or ice fly has a very small hook but packs a lot of weight for its size.  If you want to catch a lot of fish this is the technique for you.

Lake Powell Fish Report – September 26, 2018

Lake Elevation:  3591

Water temperature:  75-78 F

By: Wayne Gustaveson   http://www.wayneswords.com or Wayneswords.net


Lake Powell continues to drop.  Lake elevation today is 3591. That still leaves 11 feet of water in the Castle Rock Cut. If the current rate of decline continues, the Cut will remain open for approximately 5 weeks which would mean that it will be open through most of October.  The Cut and Antelope ramp will both close before the HFE (High Flow Experiment) scheduled for November 5th occurs.

Fishing in the southern lake during the past week has been slower than usual with full moon and declining lake levels. Here are the bright spots: 

Smallmouth bass continue to cooperate with bass anglers who are using plastic baits and targeting open water reefs. With the lake falling there are some long, narrow rocky points extending from shore and gradually declining to 30 feet or more.  Work green plastic grubs or shad shaped worms along the bottom in 15-25 foot range to target the larger bass. Smaller bass will be mixed in but are more common at shallower depths. There are some bass in the backs of canyons and coves. They are usually on the breaking edge where shallow water drops into a deeper channel. Water clarity over the length of the lake has declined considerably with dropping lake levels allowing sand and sediment to mix in the water column with each wind event. Big patches of aquatic weeds are now showing in the backs of many coves. The weed mats are coming out of the water and drying up as the lake drops.

Striped bass schools are found in deeper water (50-75 feet).  These fish have been searching for shad but not finding many in the southern lake. When a school is seen try spooning, but if that does not work then drop anchovy bait for a quick catch of lots of fish. When stripers are schooled up with low shad numbers, many in the school do not get fed. Only the quickest fish will get enough shad to eat. Right now about 75% of the schooling stripers are healthy and 25% malnourished.  I suggest keeping all stripers to reduce total striper numbers and to increase the opportunity for those remaining fish to find adequate nourishment. 

From Bullfrog north, shad numbers are much higher than in the south. Graph and troll to find striper schools and then use spoons to catch a bunch. Spoons resemble shad and stripers really respond well to spoons in these conditions. The target depth is a bit shallower in the north but striper schools can be graphed from 30 to 70 feet.  Striper schools may be harder to find now than commonly found this time of year but when a school is graphed these fish respond very well.

We found out last week that the very best way to catch large numbers and a huge variety of fish is to use night crawlers. Tip a plastic grub, spoon or a plain bait hook with a one-inch piece of worm.  Drop the bait down to the bottom in 5-25 feet of water and gently jig it up and down.  The response is amazing.  Expect to catch bluegill, green sunfish, smallmouth bass, walleye and channel catfish in big numbers. A really small hook is best. An ice jig or ice fly has a very small hook but packs a lot of weight for its size.  If you want to catch a lot of fish this is the technique for you.

 

September 20, 2018 - Walleye tagging

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Lake Powell Fish Report – September 20, 2018
Lake Elevation: 3594
Water temperature: 75 - 79 F
By: Wayne Gustaveson http://www.wayneswords.com or Wayneswords.net

This week we traveled to Good Hope Bay to begin a study of migrational movement of walleye in the northern lake. It is possible that walleye may migrate up the Colorado River and then move back and forth between the river and Lake Powell. Our goal was to tag as many walleye as possible with sonic tags, which includes an underwater transmitter that can be detected by a hydrophone which can be attached to the lake bottom in the main channel and then detect and record which fish swim by.  The hydrophone records the data by tag number of each fish passes by. The data can then be checked and recorded by our scientists on a regular basis.

 My job was easy. I was supposed to catch some walleye so the fish could be tagged and used in the experiment.  The only hard part was that the recent warm weather has kept the water in the high 70s instead of the 60s when walleye are more aggressive. Twelve really good anglers headed out to collect 40 walleye. We fished all day and then returned to camp with only one walleye in the live well. Fishing was tough!  We finally figured out that the walleye pattern was to troll across 10-15 feet deep humps and let bottom bouncers or deep diving lures drag across the bottom. Walleye would hit as the lure cleared the hump and began to swim in open water.  We were proud to finally tag and release 20 walleye which are now part of the migration study.  More will be added in the future. I suggest waiting until water temperatures cools before making a trip to catch walleye.

We did catch lots of smallmouth, largemouth, bluegill, green sunfish, and catfish while trying for walleye.  We tipped our plastic grubs, jigs, spoons and other lures with a one-inch piece of night crawler and caught tons of the non-target species.  We really liked parking the boat in the shade morning and evening and dangling our lures at 10-30 feet while catching a wide variety of fish.

Stripers were found in large schools swimming in open water looking for shad schools.  It was not as easy as usual to find a striper school because they were not often boiling, but when we found some by trolling we could stop over them and spoon up lots of stripers.

Perhaps the most unique experience we had while fishing so hard for walleye in Good Hope Bay was the arrival of Jack “Hotwheels” Herrin. He is a long-time participant on Wayneswords.com and we have been friends for decades. He was in the area and wanted to stop in and say Hi!  We talked for a while and when he was leaving I told him we needed some walleye and they were hard to catch. He said he would give it a try.  Five minutes later he was back with a walleye caught trolling in the cove next to camp.  He set out again and as I left to search for more walleye his boat came roaring back. Sure enough, he had another nice walleye!  That was amazing.  Two walleye in 20 minutes and I only caught 3 in 3 days.

Thanks Hotwheels!

 

September 12, 2018 - Spooning for Stripers

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Lake Powell Fish Report – September 12, 2018
Lake Elevation:  3595
Water temperature:  75 - 80 F
By: Wayne Gustaveson   http://www.wayneswords.com or Wayneswords.net
Spoon up some stripers!
Lake Powell continues to drop about 1-foot per week. The Castle Rock Cut should be passable for another 2 months. It was recently announced that a High Flow Experiment (HFE) will occur during the first week of November.  At that time the outflow from the dam will increase dramatically to move sediment from the river bottom to the river banks further downstream. This event improves habitat for native fish in the river and in backwaters.  It is likely that the Castle Rock Cut will no longer be open after the HFE event occurs.
The big news now is that striper schools are actively chasing shad schools in deep, open water.  That means it is time to pull out the jigging spoons and start fishing in deep water in the canyons and main channel. If you are lucky it is still possible to see a quick striper boil. You may be able to get to the school quickly and catch some fish on top water lures. More importantly a surface feeding event marks the spot where large schools of stripers are holding in deeper water.   Get to the boil site as quickly as possible and if the fish have gone down, deploy spoons into the depths, let the spoon hit bottom and then speed reel the spoon back to the boat.
Speed Reeling definition:  When the lure hits bottom start reeling the spoon as fast as physically possible. If fish are seen on the graph at a certain depth, pause and jig a few times at the suspected holding depth. Then continue reeling very fast until you are sure that the spoon is above the holding depth of the school.  Retrieve the spoon, cast again, then repeat the retrieval process.
If no boils are seen, use the graph to search for a large striper school, which may be holding somewhere between 30 and 90 feet of water. When a striper school is detected, stop quickly and drop spoons immediately. Let the spoon hit bottom to help you know where the spoon is in relation to the fish.  If the school is 10 feet off the bottom than reel up 4 turns and start jigging the spoon up 3 feet and letting it fall back down 3 feet.  Stripers often follow the spoon and then hit as it falls. It is more likely to feel the fish as you jig upwards instead of feeling the fish hit the lure as it falls. A hooked striper excites the other fish in the school as they see the fish swimming with a “shad” in its mouth.  The school follows the hooked fish looking for more food.  It is often possible to “lead” a striper school that follows the boat.  When a fish is caught, unhook the fish as quickly as possible, and return the spoon to the water immediately to keep the school under the boat and actively engaged in searching for more shad.  It is not unusual to lead a striper school for over an hour as the boat drifts with the breeze, while catching 50 or more stripers in one drift.
Spooning hotspots recently include Knowles Canyon, Good Hope Bay, Dome Rock in Bullfrog Bay, Piute Canyon in the San Juan, 50 Mile Canyon in the Escalante, and Oak Canyon upstream from Rainbow Bridge.
Smallmouth bass fishing continues to be excellent lake wide. Dropshot rigged Yamamoto Shad-shaped worms and other plastic baits are working well all day along the shoreline. Look for long rocky points that reach out into the lake at the new lower water levels we are now dealing with. Bass will be holding at 10-20 feet at the end of the point and also at the same depth perpendicular to the point.
Most fish are perking back up now that the water temperature is dropping into the mid 70’s in the morning. Expect to still catch a few largemouth bass, bluegill, walleye and catfish while fishing for your favorite species of fish.

Lake Powell Fish Report – September 12, 2018

Lake Elevation:  3595

Water temperature:  75 - 80 F

By: Wayne Gustaveson   http://www.wayneswords.com or Wayneswords.net


Spoon up some stripers!

Lake Powell continues to drop about 1-foot per week. The Castle Rock Cut should be passable for another 2 months. It was recently announced that a High Flow Experiment (HFE) will occur during the first week of November.  At that time the outflow from the dam will increase dramatically to move sediment from the river bottom to the river banks further downstream. This event improves habitat for native fish in the river and in backwaters.  It is likely that the Castle Rock Cut will no longer be open after the HFE event occurs. 

The big news now is that striper schools are actively chasing shad schools in deep, open water.  That means it is time to pull out the jigging spoons and start fishing in deep water in the canyons and main channel. If you are lucky it is still possible to see a quick striper boil. You may be able to get to the school quickly and catch some fish on top water lures. More importantly a surface feeding event marks the spot where large schools of stripers are holding in deeper water.   Get to the boil site as quickly as possible and if the fish have gone down, deploy spoons into the depths, let the spoon hit bottom and then speed reel the spoon back to the boat. 

Speed Reeling definition:  When the lure hits bottom start reeling the spoon as fast as physically possible. If fish are seen on the graph at a certain depth, pause and jig a few times at the suspected holding depth. Then continue reeling very fast until you are sure that the spoon is above the holding depth of the school.  Retrieve the spoon, cast again, then repeat the retrieval process.

If no boils are seen, use the graph to search for a large striper school, which may be holding somewhere between 30 and 90 feet of water. When a striper school is detected, stop quickly and drop spoons immediately. Let the spoon hit bottom to help you know where the spoon is in relation to the fish.  If the school is 10 feet off the bottom than reel up 4 turns and start jigging the spoon up 3 feet and letting it fall back down 3 feet.  Stripers often follow the spoon and then hit as it falls. It is more likely to feel the fish as you jig upwards instead of feeling the fish hit the lure as it falls. A hooked striper excites the other fish in the school as they see the fish swimming with a “shad” in its mouth.  The school follows the hooked fish looking for more food.  It is often possible to “lead” a striper school that follows the boat.  When a fish is caught, unhook the fish as quickly as possible, and return the spoon to the water immediately to keep the school under the boat and actively engaged in searching for more shad.  It is not unusual to lead a striper school for over an hour as the boat drifts with the breeze, while catching 50 or more stripers in one drift. 

Spooning hotspots recently include Knowles Canyon, Good Hope Bay, Dome Rock in Bullfrog Bay, Piute Canyon in the San Juan, 50 Mile Canyon in the Escalante, and Oak Canyon upstream from Rainbow Bridge. 

Smallmouth bass fishing continues to be excellent lake wide. Dropshot rigged Yamamoto Shad-shaped worms and other plastic baits are working well all day along the shoreline. Look for long rocky points that reach out into the lake at the new lower water levels we are now dealing with. Bass will be holding at 10-20 feet at the end of the point and also at the same depth perpendicular to the point. 

Most fish are perking back up now that the water temperature is dropping into the mid 70’s in the morning. Expect to still catch a few largemouth bass, bluegill, walleye and catfish while fishing for your favorite species of fish.

mardyhepworth_edited-1

Mardy Hepworth with a nice catfish caught in Wetherill Canyon.

 


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