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Fishing Report

Water temperature:

78-82 F

September 5, 2019



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.

 

September 3, 2018 - Water Cooling - Fishing Warming

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Lake Powell Fish Report – September 3, 2018

Lake Elevation:  3596

Water temperature:  76 - 80 F

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

The air temperature is cooling down now that September is here. Water temperature is following suit. That cooling makes it easier for stripers to stay near the surface and boil on a shad school.  The surface feeding activity that was confined to the northern half of the lake is now a thing of the past.  Boils are now reported from Wahweap to the Good Hope Bay.

This week expect to see some surface activity in the southern lake from Wahweap to Rainbow Bridge.  There were recent reports of boiling stripers in Ice Cream Canyon (Wahweap Bay), Padre Bay and the mouth of Rock Creek.  Generally, this means that it is possible to find surface feeding fish anywhere and at any time of day. Unfortunately, the surface action only last for a short time. Throw topwater lures into the boiling fish as long as they stay up. A good school may boil for 10-15 minutes which means you can catch 10 or more from that single event. More often they only stay up for 5 minutes or less.

Do not be discouraged when they go down quickly. Treat the surface activity as a marker buoy.  Head to the spot and watch the graph intently. These surfacing stripers are searching for shad to eat and not finding that many in the southern lake.   When they go down they are still searching for food.  Find the school on the graph and drop spoons to the hungry fish and get ready for some incredible fish-catching action.  Spoons resemble shad that stripers are searching for so they respond quickly to your bait. The striper school follows any fish with a shad [or spoon] in its mouth so they will stay under the boat as long as the spoons keep dropping. The action can be as intense as fishing a surface boil.  Watch the graph for the visual effect that surface fishing offers.  Unhook the fish quickly, immediately drop the spoon back down to find another hungry fish.

Spoons that work well include Kastmasters, Fle Fly, Real Image, and Colt Sniper. These long thin spoons are “slab spoons” which all work well for hungry stripers.   If the striper school is holding at 30 feet, drop the spoon to 40 feet and then reel it up through the feeding fish. If no fish hit the lure after coming up 20 feet then drop again to 40 feet.  Try to keep the spoon in the school as long as possible so the fish can see it and quickly get to it.  Spooning is the best way to catch a bunch a stripers in a very short time. 

Smallmouth bass are observing the feeding stripers and get very excited about their feeding behavior.  If shad, spoons, crank baits, or surface lures come near, smallmouth bass will join in on the action. Bass fishing is excellent right now as water temperature drops and stripers drive shad toward the shoreline.

Do not be surprised if walleye, largemouth bass, sunfish and bluegill are caught at the same time all the smallmouth and striper activity is occurring.  The summer boating crowds are now declining. Water and air temperature are falling. The lake is now heading to excellent fishing success such as that seen in April and May.  The best time to fish in the Fall is from September 15th to October 15th.  The fun times are right around the corner.  Come and join in on the fun.

 

 

August 21,2018 - Deep Trolling and Spooning

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Lake Powell Fish Report – August 21, 2018
Lake Elevation:  3599
Water temperature:  78 - 83 F
By: Wayne Gustaveson   http://www.wayneswords.com or Wayneswords.net
Fishing is picking up over the length of Lake Powell.  The southern lake is providing decent bait fishing and successful deep water trolling for stripers.  Bass fishing is good lake wide.  Here are the details.
It is critically important to begin fishing as early as possible.  Smallmouth bass are still responding to surface lures at first light.  Stripers are most active for the first two hours of daylight.  They can be caught on bait, deep trolling and an occasional small boil.  Regardless of the technique the results at 6 AM far outweigh the catch that happens at 10 AM with the same effort.  The first rule is to go early.
The next rule is to head north.  Best fishing success on Lake Powell is in Good Hope Bay.  The upper San Juan is good at times, as is the Escalante.  However, Good Hope Bay is the best.  Good Hope has the biggest shad population, and therefore the most striped bass that spend their lives in pursuit of shad.
A typical day at Good Hope begins with an occasional striper boil, but more often there are individual stripers chasing shad that can be seen jumping when looking toward the sunrise. These small splashes are backlit by the rising sun and easy to see over long distances.  Cruise toward the splashes and throw surface lures when in range. Catching fish on top is the best, but watching the graph is critical if catching a bunch of fish is the goal.   Down below the jumping fish are huge schools of stripers moving silently while waiting to interact with a deep shad school.  When the big striper school is seen, drop spoons into the school for quick results.  The schools are often suspended so it is important to know the depth of the spoon.  The best way is to drop the spoon to the bottom and then speed reel back to the school.  If the bottom is at 90 feet and the school is at 50 feet reel up 40 feet and then start jigging. This is easier said than done. Luckily, speed reeling works well on searching stripers.  They often tell you when the spoon is at the right depth by biting the lure.
Deep trolling is working well with the best depth being from 15-30 feet.  Holding stripers are found in this range and will hit trolled lures moving at the depth schools are holding.  Watch the graph and adjust the trolling depth to match the holding depth of striper schools.  While trolling other fish like walleye, catfish, and bass will participate.  Last week there was a 34-pound striper caught while using the deep trolling technique while the lucky angler was trolling from a jet ski!
Lake Powell has an amazing year round fishery.

Lake Powell Fish Report – August 21, 2018

Lake Elevation:  3599

Water temperature:  78 - 83 F

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

Fishing is picking up over the length of Lake Powell.  The southern lake is providing decent bait fishing and successful deep water trolling for stripers.  Bass fishing is good lake wide.  Here are the details.

It is critically important to begin fishing as early as possible.  Smallmouth bass are still responding to surface lures at first light.  Stripers are most active for the first two hours of daylight.  They can be caught on bait, deep trolling and an occasional small boil.  Regardless of the technique the results at 6 AM far outweigh the catch that happens at 10 AM with the same effort.  The first rule is to go early.

The next rule is to head north.  Best fishing success on Lake Powell is in Good Hope Bay.  The upper San Juan is good at times, as is the Escalante.  However, Good Hope Bay is the best.  Good Hope has the biggest shad population, and therefore the most striped bass that spend their lives in pursuit of shad.  

A typical day at Good Hope begins with an occasional striper boil, but more often there are individual stripers chasing shad that can be seen jumping when looking toward the sunrise. These small splashes are backlit by the rising sun and easy to see over long distances.  Cruise toward the splashes and throw surface lures when in range. Catching fish on top is the best, but watching the graph is critical if catching a bunch of fish is the goal.   Down below the jumping fish are huge schools of stripers moving silently while waiting to interact with a deep shad school.  When the big striper school is seen, drop spoons into the school for quick results.  The schools are often suspended so it is important to know the depth of the spoon.  The best way is to drop the spoon to the bottom and then speed reel back to the school.  If the bottom is at 90 feet and the school is at 50 feet reel up 40 feet and then start jigging. This is easier said than done. Luckily, speed reeling works well on searching stripers.  They often tell you when the spoon is at the right depth by biting the lure. 

Deep trolling is working well with the best depth being from 15-30 feet.  Holding stripers are found in this range and will hit trolled lures moving at the depth schools are holding.  Watch the graph and adjust the trolling depth to match the holding depth of striper schools.  While trolling other fish like walleye, catfish, and bass will participate.  Last week there was a 34-pound striper caught on Lake Canyon Wall, using the deep trolling technique while the lucky angler was trolling from a jet ski!

Lake Powell has an amazing year round fishery.

 


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