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Fishing Report

Water temperature:

78-82 F

September 5, 2019

July 20, 2011 - Improving!

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Lake Powell Fish Report - July 20, 2011
Lake Elevation: 3660            
Water Temperature 78-83 F
By: Wayne Gustaveson  

dalejones2Fishing is improving - slowly and steadily. We survived the full moon period where catching was slow to nonexistent. Now we are heading into much better conditions with lake level stabilizing, water temperature leveling off and shad growing larger.  The variables combine to make it easy to predict good fishing times ahead.  Here is what to expect.

Slurping boil video:  



mgusmallThe headline news in summer is surface feeding by striped bass.  If not the only game in town it is certainly the biggest draw. In the southern lake the first surface dimples appear at approximately 6 AM (MST) as about 5 stripers chase slow swimming shad. The little slurping boil is noticeable but not often repeated.  The boat can be positioned near the fading surface rings but no fish pop up to take the lures.  But with time, striper group size increases to more than 10, slurps get a bit bigger, and the school resurfaces allowing a good cast over the feeding fish.  The key is to cast just as stripers resurface for the second time.  Then a lure placed in front of the first fish will be eaten perhaps a third of the time. If this sounds a bit picky - it is.  Our best lure in these conditions was a Kastmaster spoon with a chartreuse stripe.


The best time to fish boils this week is between 7-8 AM.  Fish are more likely to hit the lure during this magic hour.  Later in the day slurps are seen more often but fish are entirely focused on small shad and not as likely to hit a variety of lures.  These are "ghost boils" meaning you can see the boil but not often catch fish.  While this sounds like very tough fishing it is very encouraging to me, in that, fishing is improving every day. Perhaps as early as next week slurping fish will be very catchable.
Better news is that the first boils have been seen at White Canyon in the Hite area.  Water is clearing some allowing shad and stripers to see each other.  When the boils at Hite start up the rest of the lake will pale in comparison.  That may be the end of July but more likely sometime in August.   


Stripers are eating very well even though the surface slurps are small. Their guts are stuffed with small shad . 





This week the hot spot remains the channel from the mouth of San Juan to Escalante.  There are still lots of boils seen in this remote section of canyon. These are not "ghosts" but aggressive stripers chasing larger shad in reasonably clear water.
Bass fishing is decent with smallmouth hovering around main channel structure including rock piles and terraces.  Small fish are in shallow water now but larger bass are still down 15-30 feet. There is a decent bite going for largemouth in the deeper cuts leading to the tree lined end of the cove. Surface lures and white Zoom flukes are productive as bass are in the tree tops waiting for shad or sunfish to swim by.  






Fillets are prime again now that stripers and shad are back on the same wavelength.

Catfish are being caught in big numbers now as they are in their most active period following spawning.  Sunfish are very active in the brush near shore. They are best caught on live worms and small hooks.  The best bait for shallow water right now is a live worm. Many different species of fish can be caught on worms. 

Anchovies work at times but most stripers are now looking up to see shad and ignoring bait.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 20 July 2011 20:01

July 13, 2011 - Slurping boils?

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Lake Powell Fish Report - July 13, 2011
Lake Elevation: 3656            
Water Temperature 76-83 F
By: Wayne Gustaveson  

austintravisThe big news is all about stripers feeding on top - or not.  Slurping boils are fragile.  While visible everyday there are many factors that may prevent anglers from actually connecting with ever present surfacing stripers.  This week it may be clouds.  Here is how it works.

Shad are tiny and inhabit the warm surface layers.  Lake Powell has taken on more water color than usual with the huge muddy runoff coming in.  Surface water is mud-colored uplake from Bullfrog and stained all the way down to Dangling Rope. Stripers are visual feeders. They look up to find shad.  In these murky visibility conditions, cloudy weather reduces the number of opportunities for shad and stripers to come together on the surface.

On a normal summer morning slurping boils start as soon as there is sufficient sunlight to allow good vision.  That is usually just after 6 AM (MST).  On an overcast morning the first boil may be delayed until the clouds burn off and sunlight allows good hunting.  

clairtjjtSlurping boils are subtle.  It takes a trained eye and concentration to see boils at a distance. A windy morning really reduces the number of boils that happen and the boils seen by anglers. These are the challenges faced this week.

The good news is that boils will be seen every day and with some luck fish will be caught.  The very best location to catch surfacing stripers is from the Rincon to the mouth of the San Juan (Buoy 57-77). Here boils are large enough to see even in some wind and intense enough to persist with cloud conditions. Schools are large and fish work together to feed making it easier to see the boil location.  

cory6In the southern lake stripers are feeding in smaller groups with only a few fish involved in small slurps.  Still there are some consistent areas where fish can be caught each day.  There are larger groups of stripers working together in the Antelope to Navajo Canyon portion of the main channel.  A good strategy is to make a run around Antelope Island looking for boils at 6-8 AM or from 5-8 PM.

At Bullfrog the best boiling action has been in Halls Creek. These boils are impacted by the same vagaries of wind and clouds. From Bullfrog to Hite water is cloudy but the backs of canyons are clearer.  It will be possible to find boil action upstream in canyons but the better choice is to head down lake to the Rincon and beyond.  

Water is still coming up 6 inches per day. Bass fishing will improve with lake stabilization.  Right now bass are catchable but only 10-15 fish larger than 10 inches are caught per trip.  At most lakes in America that would be acceptable but at Powell bass fishing has a much higher standard.  The best chance for larger bass is to fish the shoreline after a boil subsides or go flipping in the brush to find shallow largemouth in the trees. A bonus walleye will respond in the submerged green forest.  Just be careful as the green brush is less forgiving when it comes to retrieving a lure.  Go weedless for best results.  

catboyCatfishing is excellent and bait fishing for stripers is still very effective along steep canyon walls after boils go dormant for the day.

July 6, 2011 - Summer time

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Lake Powell Fish Report – July 6, 2011

Lake Elevation: 3652

Water Temperature 75-80 F

By: Wayne Gustaveson


cooperw1Lake Powell has risen over 42 feet since the yearly low point was reached in April.  The monthly increase during June was 26 feet in 30 days. The shoreline of the lake has a brand new face.  The Independence Day Holiday was very busy with full parking lots and busy boat travel lanes from Bullfrog to Wahweap.  Muddy water prevails upstream from Bullfrog.  Somewhere amid all this change are displaced fish looking for a place to be.

Bass built nests in the spring that are now over 40 feet deep. Spawning is complete and the nests are abandoned. A new green tree line is under water beckoning largemouth to frequent the shallow brush that they love so well.  Smallmouth bass are deeper preferring the rocky structure where crayfish hide or the tree tops where they may ambush shad that swim by in open water.

boilslong 014My point is that there is twice as much water and shoreline with completely different habitat making bass fishing spotty at best.  At this great lake the opportunity to find that repeatable pattern that works exists every day.  The fishing strategy is to try many locations and techniques at the beginning of the day.  Then utilize the most effective bait and location to maximize catch. The standard summer time approach is to use a drop-shot or Carolina rig plastic bait in watermelon or black color.  Drift this rig in 20-25 feet of water looking for the deep concentrations of bass.  Periodically switch to surface walking baits in morning or evening. When an inviting stand of green trees is found run a buzz bait over the top hoping the noisy sputter will attract a fish from the tree top.  Casting a crank bait in the alleys around the trees may also be effective.   The best strategy is to keep moving and keep casting until a hot spot is located.

Striped bass have just as many options as black bass.  But stripers are focused on shad.  The new shad crop is now appearing all over the lakes warm surface layer.  Slurps are seen each day.  Boat traffic was intense this past week so slurps were very fast. Not many fish were caught.  But with each day shad get bigger, slurps happen more often and last longer.  Top water catch of stripers will increase and peak during dark moon at the end of July.  There will be many fish caught during the full moon period coming next week but expect afternoon/evening fishing to be better than morning.

connerLarger adults are still running deep and making circuits from one feeding spot to the next.  All of the spots that were good in the spring will produce striper catches now.  But a spot will be good one day and not the next.  If using bait it will be necessary to try 3-5 places before a school is found.  Once a school lights up then the normal 30 fish catch can be had.

rosetNight fishing may be the best technique during the bright moon in July.  Use a light to attract plankton and shad. Fish bait on the periphery of the lighted area to entice the large adult stripers hanging at the edge of the light field.   Night fishing will also work for bass and walleye that may be more active after dark than during the bright sunlit daytime period.

Its summer!  Fish in the shade.  Cast on the shady side of rock structure.  Fish at twilight for best results.  The only exception to that is a persistent mid day surface feeding event by slurping stripers.


June 29, 2011-

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Lake Powell Fish Report - June 29, 2011
Lake Elevation: 3647            
Water Temperature 74-78 F
By: Wayne Gustaveson  

slurptightFrom this point forward many of the reports will be about surface feeding by striped bass.   Here are some terms that will make it easier for you to understand my reports. "Slurps" are defined as surface feeding by stripers of all sizes on very small larval shad. Tiny shad are poor swimmers. There is not much chance of them eluding stripers that line up with open mouths and skim the surface sucking in shad as they go. The scrimmage line moves along at high speed (3-5 mph). Slurpers go down when the boat gets in range but then resurface in random directions. If they come up near the boat stripers are easier to catch. If they surface well out of range the boat must be quickly repositioned to get in casting range again.

slurpsplashSlurping stripers can be fussy eaters because their prey is so small. The feeding school can move in just about any direction as larval shad are commonly found in most open water areas. Fishing success in slurps requires precision casting. A lure tossed into the scrimmage line will spook the whole school or be ignored by fish looking straight ahead. But a lure cast well in front of the first fish and worked back into the scrimmage line will be seen and sometimes eaten.  

slurpdirectionSlurps have begun lakewide but colder water temperatures have delayed catching success.  Slurps are seen each day from Wahweap to Bullfrog.  Wind erases the trail making it difficult to find slurpers but in calm periods keep an eye out for the small surface disturbance that marks a feeding school.  

peterfullertonLarger stripers may slurp but it is more likely to find them very deep (60-90 feet) in the same areas they have occupied all spring.  Look along the main channel walls from the dam to Bullfrog.  Fish much deeper then was necessary in May and June using copious chum to get the school going.

Bass fishing is getting better.  Largemouth are in the green brush just being flooded by increasing lake levels.  Go flippin' for best results . That entails nosing the boat into a brush thicket and working the bait vertically instead of horizontally to keep the lure from grabbing a limb instead of a fish.  Big bass are in the brush from the shoreline to 25 feet.

Smallmouth are on the rocky terraces and ledges also at 20-25 feet.  Tubes, grubs and senkos are working well now when the bait gets in the correct depth zone.  Try to keep the bait at last 20 feet deep for best results.  Black and watermelon green colors are working well for bass.

gauneyeWalleye are the surprise fish for this time of year.  Slow warming has kept walleye active longer than normal.  The best way to find walleye is to work the shoreline where brush is evident.  Look for the deep slot leading to the cove.  Fish plastic grubs or live night crawlers slowly along the deep slot where walleye are stationed scanning for food moving from one side of the brush canyon to the other.

Catfish have taken off and will be caught each evening on the sandy beach near your camp.  Bluegills are in the brush along the shoreline.   The lake level continues to increase in dramatic fashion.  The big inflow and flooded brush means there will be good survival of small fish which leads to good fishing for the coming years.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 29 June 2011 13:16

June 22, 2011 - Summer Changes

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Lake Powell Fish Report - June 22, 2011
Lake Elevation: 3642            
Water Temperature 70-75 F
By: Wayne Gustaveson  

gofish2It's now summer and big changes are happening. The lake level is increasing about one foot per day. Water temperature is climbing with an early morning base of 70 degrees which is the warmest water of the year. Not surprisingly fishing is changing right along with the other elements.

The biggest news is about striped bass. Bait fishing has taken a nose dive this past week. The fish cleaning station at Wahweap which used to resemble a stadium crowd during a big game is now lonely and quiet.  Really this great change is more about fishermen leaving and water skiers arriving, but the end result is not many fish being processed.  Bait fishing in the morning is very slow.  It is not until mid day that striper schools return to the cliff walls that have produced some many great catches in previous weeks.

kobyhubbs2Stripers have found a food source in the backs of canyons and are exploiting the little shad that are now large enough to attract a major following. Slurps and small boils are seen each morning and evening.  Bait fishing during midday still works because stripers return to favored holding spots after the morning foray into shallow shad water.  But the savvy angler is going to chase the surface action now to reap the biggest reward.

Look for surface feeding events near locations that have produced well all spring.  Good catches of stripers at Bullfrog, Halls and Lake Canyon are still correct but the location has changed.  Lake Canyon mouth was previously hot for bait fishing. Now those same fish are being caught in the back of the canyon feeding on larval shad.

matthewlmbAt Wahweap slurping action is found in Navajo, Rock Creek, Last Chance and in the main channel bertween Buoys 28-32. In reality the shad - striper confrontation is happening in almost every canyon.  It's subtle and may not be recognized by those that have not seen a slurping event.  The easiest explanation is to watch for a small boat wake where no boat is present. Look closely and see if fish are pushing the wall of water. If so, cast shad imitating crankbaits over and to the front of the leading fish to make contact with stripers from 12 inches to 4 pounds.

Watch this video for an idea of what to look for.  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gsvLbKClvfM&feature=youtu.be

Bass, walleye and crappie fishing is less productive for the same reasons listed above. Topwater fishing early in the morning may be the best bet as bass are aware of the new shad crop just like stripers.   Bass will drop back to the bottom (22-35 feet) after chasing shad in the early morning. Use crayfish imitating (green and black) plastic lures during the day.

flat_rapSince all fish are looking up and boils are often hard to approach, trolling rattletraps and flat raps may be a good way to catch a few fish while waiting for the next surface event.  After the boil, drop spoons or shad imitating Gulp minnows down to 20-30 feet to pick up a few more fish.

Fishing patterns have changed dramatically with warming and filling but success is still excellent when tuned into current events.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 22 June 2011 09:27

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