I posted this report on the BB because the pictures were really nice and they show up better there. You can see it by clicking this link.
Our goal here is to save shad by encouraging harvest of striped bass. If we do that then all fisheries benefit from the effort.
Keep the reports coming. I send out high resolution pictures to the media with my weekly fish reports. If you have a good photo and would like it to be displayed in newspapers and magazines then send it to me. Be aware that your photo may be used in other locations.
November 13, 2015- Spooning in the Southern Lake
I posted this report on the BB because the pictures were really nice and they show up better there. You can see it by clicking this link.
November 8, 2015 - Fall Bass fishing
With water temperatures still comfortable, essentially room temperature (66-67) but falling, smallmouth, largemouth and striped bass continue to pursue the same artificial lures they're chased all summer long - spinnerbaits, swimbaits, topwaters, crankbaits, and Yamamoto Senkos on wacky jigs as a good second chance offerings to thrown back on missed strikers and chasers.
Some (not all) bass are staging a little deeper, gravitating to and schooling up in dark, black cracks visible in the bottom in shallow to mid-depth (up to 25 feet deep) and tucking underneath visible dark, black ledge drop-offs - but jetting out to aggressively strike passing lures.
Best (and chilliest) time of day to catch them can still be dawn although late afternoon, especially if the wind lightens by 3PM AZ time can be at least as good. As water temperature continues to cool down, bass will bunch up more and more in the aforementioned dark black bottom cracks and under ledge dropoffs - and will become increasingly reluctant to stray from those areas to chase fast-moving lures.
When that happens, then slow-moving, deep-diving jerkbaits, your deepest, slowest crankbaits, yout heaviest slow-rolled spinnerbaits and swimbaits, jigs, dropshot, Carolina and Texas rigs presented right down into the dark, black cracks or under the ledge lines will supplant the lures and tactics of summer - but that time is not yet.
October 20, 2015 - Bass and Boils
My Dad, John Chaparro from Saint George Utah, and I made another pilgrimage to the promised land for fishing, Lake Powell. After seeing all of the great reports from the last month, we figured it was our turn.
We arrived after lunch on Thursday and launched at Antelope Point where I had arranged for a slip for 3 nights. We wanted to try and get things figured out, especially with T storms in the forecast for the next few days. We ran up to Padre Bay and started metering around, looking for shad balls and after about an hour of seeing very little, we opted for hitting the rocky points for Smallmouth Bass fishing. We had an outstanding afternoon on the smallmouth and caught and released over 50 fish. We had to weed thru the dinks but we did manage a handful of quality fish.
Friday morning we were out early back up in Padre looking for Boils. Nothing! So we started metering around again and found a good spot of shad and stripers and managed half a dozen nice ones right off the bat on the jigging spoons. I figured this was it, but no, we couldn’t stay on them and that school gave us the slip. We spent the remainder of the day looking for schools and when we got bored, we’d hit a few rocky points and hammer the smallmouth again. There was no shortage of Smallies and we had another big day on the SMB, but we just couldn’t put it together on the stripers. And we looked hard. Time to stay persistent.
Now it’s Saturday and we’ve got a 50% chance of rain in the forecast. We also had some solid intel from Sam’s late post on Wayne’s Words. So we suited up in the rain gear and headed up to Dungeon Canyon. When we arrived, there were two other boats deep in the cove and we kind of stayed on the outskirts and picked at the fish. We managed a handful of mixed fish including a token Walleye. We could see the bait in there and new that it had serious potential. We decided to head over to Rock Creek canyon across the lake and spent the mid-day alternating between experiencing wide open fishing on the SMB and looking for bait balls. We found the bait, but we weren’t getting bit on the spoons. We tried trolling deep, we tried chumming and still tough.
At about 3:30 we decided to go back over to Dungeon. That proved to be the right move. We had the place all to ourselves and we found the bait still pinned in the back of the cove. While they fish were not up boiling on the bait, I made a cast with the Zara Spook and boom, Fish on! We spent the next 2 hours experiencing one of the best surface bites on the spook that I’ve ever had. It was a mixed bag of smaller stripers and the bigger models. The Largemouth and Smallmouth bass were in the mix too. It was as good as it gets. We filled the cooler with 42 quality fish before it was time to head in. After fishing all day in beautiful weather, things changed and we got hit hard by the forecasted rain on the ride in. That was an interesting ride back to say the least.
Sunday morning we called it a trip and with huge grins on our faces, we drove back to dads in Saint George UT and then I continued on home to San Clemente CA.
Yes I know it’s a long drive from Southern California and the ocean fishing right out front it’s as good as it gets. I wouldn’t have changed a thing though. Great quality time with my dad who taught me to fish, some of the best scenery anyplace on earth and fishing that still has me grinning. As I write this, Im already planning my next trip. If you haven’t experienced this fishery, Go! It’s more than worth it. And persistence pays off again.
San Clemente, CA
October 15, 2015 - Dungeon to Padre
10/12-14 Powell Report (FYI, I wrote most of this report on Tue night, 10/13 on my phone just before going to bed and when the Internet popped up as accessible later that night, I found Wayne’s Words fishing report and dang if I wasn’t impressed how spot on it was…again)
10/12 – I arrived in Goodman Cove about 4 pm on Monday and drove around looking for some TW action but saw none so kept an eye on the graph looking for shad balls with fish on them but saw none of the latter either. Tried a few previous spots here and there for a little bit but no bites so ran into Padre Cove and repeated the same approach with the same result so took a quick drive back in and around Goodman and then into Kane Cove and it was all the same.
With daylight running out I headed up to the buoy 36 area and started to troll the SW shoreline with the DT6 and it took less than a minute to hook up.
This was repeated 6 times going south down this shoreline for the 25 min I had till dark, keeping the boat in 15-20’.
10/13 - I slept in Dungeon Canyon Monday night and was up before daylight Tue hoping for some good striper boils but was disappointed in finding none. That would be about the only thing that didn't go great this day. After slowly cruising around about 10 min I stopped on a ball of shad with fish on them and the rodeo was on for the rest of the day. These stripers were suspended over 35'-45'
and while good sized (3-4 lbs) they took longer to eat my spoon than they should have. After a dozen of these guys
and 45 min gone I lost the school and could not find them again. This group was about 300 yards out (north) from the very back of Dungeon Cove. I decided I'd try in closer and headed toward the back of the cove trolling. I caught 3 fish in the next 150 yards trolling and then ended up on a nice group of fish on shad in 30' and decided to try the spoon some more...
boy did that work out well!
I spooned lots of fish (all kinds) from 7:30-9, but when fish started chasing shad on top, I threw a popper on them and caught SM, stripers, and LM
in this TW action for 40 min and then changed it up a little with a jerkbait and all 3 species bit that as well.
About 10am I went back to the spoon and wore myself out for two hours, never going more than 2-3 min without
hooking up, mostly in about 28’ of water.
These fish were all in 25-35' with the bigger stripers (3-4 lbs) usually being a bit deeper. This catching was crazy good, one of the better bites and morning catches I've ever had on Powell. Results were a couple dozen smallies, 10 largemouth, 44 stripers, 3 catfish, and one sunfish. After a 5 minute lull with no bites at noon I called it quits and headed for some Dangling Rope ice cream...my only other disappointment of the day as the snack bar was closed for the season.
After lunch I hit the island out front of DR, starting with trolling the north side and again was less than a minute to catch fish. While trolling around the island I caught SM regularly but also charted several shad groups with fish on them so I went back and spooned them and caught several small stripers out of each group in 25-40'. I then decided to change it up and see if I could catch some bigger stripers in deeper water so I headed into the cove straight north of this island, trolling my DT6 crank. [A LESSON I LEARNED A LONG TIME AGO WAS TO TRY ONE OR TWO NEW SPOTS EVERY TRIP TO SEE IF THEY CAN EXPAND YOUR POSSIBILITIES] After 5 min and a couple of smallies I changed over to the DT10 hoping for a size improvement but it was just more of the same so I tied on a 25' crank and finished off the run into the back with a couple of 4 lb stripers before arriving in the back, in shade, and needing a snack break. Tossing a TW popper back there in the shallow water produced some decent LM and SM bass.
I headed out of here trolling the deep crank and made a circle for an hour and caught another dozen good sized stripers. Now it was time to go try the NW shoreline, out from the back of Dungeon. Again it only took a short time to get fish on so as I trolled over shad/fish groups in 25-30' I'd mark them on the graph and then go back with a spoon and catch a few spoon fish at each of these stops. The best catch of the trip came here out of a bush in 35’, a new weapon for my youngest grandson,and his fish…
I finished the last 20 min of the day throwing top water up shallow and catching SM, a few small stripers, and one more largemouth for the day, bringing the day's total for fish in the boat right close to 125. A slower pm bite than the morning but still enough to keep you interested and tired!
10/14 – I was up earlier than the day before and motored all of 50 yards before the HDS-12 lit up with a school of fish in 40-50’.
It took a little while to get them started but the Lowrance made it like shopping at the meat counter where you could see the fish and almost choose which ones you would target, although I must admit I didn’t see this walleye in there!
OR this catfish, 1 of 3.
While the bite rate was slower than the previous morning, these stripers were bigger and stronger! These guys were usually hanging on the dropoff edge, up 30’ off the bottom of the deep crevice of 70’ and were hard to stay on top of and I eventually lost them so I just started working my way towards the back of the cove and eventually ran into the little stripers group mixed in with the SM and LM although going in here and zig-zagging back and forth over the deepest part of the cut, I tossed over to one side with the spoon and caught the biggest fish of the trip, a 5 lb striper in 18’. Hmmmmm I didn’t expect that but he must have been enjoying that cooler water up top, only 70 degrees early.
The fish population was not as stacked up in the back here as the morning previously so it was a bit hit and miss with the spoon so I’d toss the popper awhile and catch a few, mostly SM. As I needed to head back to the ramp at 9, I decided I’d give my snoopy pole bush one last spoon bath but never quite made it as on my way there were fish boils 300 yards out from the back of Dungeon Canyon on the west side in a little bay with a 20-25’ bottom.
OF COURSE I had to fish that even though it looked like smaller stripers and bass on the shad but I did catch some 3 lb stripers out of here on TW as well. Both TW, cranks, and spoons caught fish here for 30 minutes before I decided enough was enough and I was already late so I buttoned down the hatches and flew into Wahweap about as fast as the Phoenix would go. Nice to have a lot less traffic in the Warm Creek narrows and calmer water for a change!
When arriving at the ramp I was greeted by a member of the Utah DNR Posse (didn’t catch the name) who wanted to ask some questions about fishing and gave me a ride up the ramp to my truck. Turns out he was a sidekick of Wayne Gustaveson (Wayne’s Words) who heads up the Lake Powell fishery for Utah and he directed me to where Wayne was hiding out. It gave me my first chance to meet Wayne in person and find out that he only masquerades as a fishing guy when he isn’t doing drywall repairs. Who knew? Thanks Wayne for all the good info and the website that helps cut our time down tremendously finding fish on the lake!! Truly Wayne is the man, the myth, the legend!
Sam Sherwood – Mesa, AZ –
October 13, 2015 - Bass in Last Chance
In the twenty years I’ve fished Lake Powell I’ve enjoyed a lot of outstanding smallmouth bass fishing, but there is no doubt in my mind that the smallmouth fishing here right now is the best I’ve experienced. In fact, last week’s fishing trip was I believe the very best single trip I’ve ever had here for smallmouth bass in terms of both size and numbers. I was joined once again by longtime fishing partner John Conrad. John’s Lake Powell fishing experiences date back to the 1970s when Powell was one of the premiere largemouth and crappie lakes in North America. Despite enjoying many productive trips over the past 40 plus years, John believes fishing on Lake Powell right now is the best he has seen. In three days on the water we caught 183 smallmouths, five largemouths, five stripers and three catfish - 196 total fish. In all the years we’ve fished here, neither of us could remember three more productive days.
Our trip got off to a rough start with heavy rains on Monday, our arrival date. Our original plan was to fish Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday and come home Friday, however Monday’s storms and more threatening weather Tuesday morning led us to believe that it would be best not fish Tuesday. As the weather forecast looked great for the remainder of the week, we decided to stay an extra day fishing Wednesday, Thursday and Friday and coming home Saturday. I believe this proved to be a wise choice.
Wednesday we fished in close, starting in a rocky bay on the north side of the main channel just upstream from the mouth of Warm Creek. We fished there, the east side of the mouth of Warm Creek, and the reefs and ledges around the mouth of Navajo Canyon. Although I caught a nice smallmouth on my first cast, fishing under post-front conditions was slow by Lake Powell standards most of the morning. It wasn’t until around 10:30 a.m. that our strikes started to increase, and it got better as the day went on. We caught 61 smallmouths, two largemouths and a catfish Tuesday, with 50 of these fish coming after 10:30 a.m.
Thursday we decided to run up to Last Chance Bay where Jim Buxton and I had experienced outstanding fishing two weeks prior. Like Wednesday, the early morning action on Thursday was slow, and most of the fish we caught were small. It really wasn’t until noon before we started getting into more and bigger fish with the best action coming in the last hour. Our total for Thursday was 52 smallmouths, three stripers, two largemouths and one catfish. The highlight of my day was landing a 3 1/4-pound smallie that completely cleared water six times before I was able to bring it to the net. It was my best smallmouth of the year thus far. After getting a few pictures I released it back into the lake. That, and a number of other fish, were caught on a long shallow point in the back of a large cove on the west side of the bay. We found a lot of fish the back of the last cove we fished as well.
Except for that one really nice smallmouth, our success Thursday in Last Chance was really not quite as good as it had been when we fished in close on Wednesday, so we decided to remain close on Friday. Our first stop was at what used to be the double islands just through the Castle Rock cut. We started on a large flat on the east end when was absolutely loaded with smallies. We caught 11 in the first 40 minutes on top of that flat, however as the sun came up and the wind died the action abruptly stopped. We then moved to steeper, deeper structure taking a number of really nice bass as well as a couple little stripers and a catfishover the next five plus hours. We finished the day fishing the same ledges and reefs on the east side of the mouth of Warm Creek where we had fished Wednesday enjoying more good action there. Our Friday total was 70 smallmouths, two stripers, one largemouth and a catfish.
Just like two weeks prior we were unable to find any specific pattern. We caught fish in the backs of coves and on main lake structure and just about everywhere in between. We caught fish, including my biggest smallmouth, in water as shallow as five to eight and feet; and we caught fish as deep as 35 feet and virtually everywhere between those extremes. The first two days early morning action was slow, but on Friday we had a lot of success early. We caught nearly everything on drop shot rigs. I don’t think the lure was all that important. As in the past, I mostly used a Yamamoto Shad Shaped Worm while John used a Berkley Gulp Minnow. I really don’t think one was any better than the other. John used a natural shad color. I used watermelon, watermelon/white laminate and natural shad all with equal success. I believe any color would have worked. I believe that crankbaits would have been very effective early Friday had we used them on that first flat. There was some wind creating a good riffle, and the fish were spread out in five to 12 feet of water - ideal conditions for crankbait fishing. Spinnerbaits would have likely worked as well.
The bass appeared to be equal opportunity feeders with both crayfish and shad being taken about equally. One particularly fat 11-incher we kept had two crayfish and three shad in its stomach AFTER spitting out a couple more shad while I was playing it. Every fish we caught was about as fat and healthy as I have ever seen smallmouth on this lake. They are getting plenty of forage.
We had a lot of strikes on the initial drop, however we had hits while dead sticking and slowing dragging our baits. We also had strikes while reeling in quickly. We caught fish making long horizontal casts, short pitches along the sides of the reefs and by dropping straight down below the boat. I did throw some topwater but did not get a strike. In fact, we saw very little surface activity despite fishing in areas that were loaded with shad.
The bottom line is smallmouth fishing is about as good as it gets on Lake Powell right now with a multitude of presentations/lures likely working. If you like to catch bass, particularly smallmouth, there has never been a better time to fish Lake Powell. Jim Buxton and I plan to return next week for one more trip. Hope to see you there.
October 5, 2015 - Padre Boils and spoons
Steve Doepke (Doepke Fishing)
Xpress H24 Bay Boat
I made a quick trip to Padre Bay from Friday 10/2 - 10/4 to get in my last fishing before the big rain storm and cooler weather. I camped half way back in Padre Canyon on the West side. I had a great camp site but the fishing in Padre Canyon was a disappointment. No boils and the stripers were just single fish on the surface. I headed over to Goodman/Kane Creek where we caught them on our September 12 trip and the stripers and shad are still there. The back of the canyon is full of shad and the stripers have them trapped back there. The stripers attacked at 3:30pm on Saturday, 10/3 in the back of the cove "see video" and I caught a fish on every cast until it was dark. I even caught two fish on one lure at the same time (striper and Largemouth).
I had the pleasure to meet and fish with Garland and Arthur Sawyer from Utah on Saturday and Sunday. This father son team filled the boat with stripers from a boil in the same Canyon at 2:30pm. When the stripers weren't boiling we spooned them in 50-60 of water. See the picture of Arthur at the fish cleaning station.
We decided to leave the lake at noon on Sunday as the approaching storm looked like it packed high wind and rain.
What a great summer it was on lake Powell in 2015!!!
October 5, 2015 - LMB and SMB
Bassdozer says, This largemouth was not caught in or near the marina. That's where a friend was that took the photo. Although Powell is a super deep lake, quality largemouth like this don't try to compete versus smallies and stripers in deep water. Largemouth are drawn to and dominate the shallowest brush berms and tumbleweed windrows. My trolling motor was kicking up silt when I caught this one and released several others like it on this orange and gold spinnerbait."
Bassdozer says, "Smallmouth are deep thinkers; not shallow-minded like largemouth. Like this one was, quality smallies often situate straight down the deepest centerline of a gut or belly sandwiched between two shallow shorelines that peter out to form a pocket or cut in the shoreline. Smallies will align down the relatively deeper center (and off the edges of outlying points or shoals) while largemouth will set up on the shallow, inner fringes. Good luck catching with spinnerbaits.”
September 27, 2015 - Smallmouth fishing lures
Bassdozer says, “Powell’s finest largemouth bass continue to pound spinnerbaits during the pre-dawn hour. Shown are some (not all) Bassdozer spinnerbaits that have inveigled good-size bass (all released) during the past week or so. The key is matching which one to throw when conditions call for it. Generally bulkier, darker, bolder or opaque colors are for low light or dark water. Even super clear lakes like Powell have plenty of stained and dirty water sections toward backs of canyons. More compact, lighter, sparkly and translucent ones for clear water and once the sun rises. Lighter weights for super-shallow water, heavier ones for prospecting relatively deeper down. In a single morning from pre-dawn through 9 o'clock, I could have 3-4 spinnerbait rods on the deck and cycle through all the colors, sizes configurations shown as pre-dawn turns to sunrise and then mid-morning, working from the back of a canyon where water’s fertile and dark, shallow water, moving out to stained mid-canyon, then deep and crystal clear at the juncture with the main lake. Spinnerbaits work everywhere under all conditions if you apply the correct one for the cast at hand. Good luck fishing with spinnerbaits!”
September 27, 2015 - Smallmouth fishing south
I’ve said for years that my favorite time for smallmouth bass fishing on Lake Powell is the fall, and this past week proved it once again. Fishing familiar fall patterns, longtime fishing partner Jim Buxton and I enjoyed three days of absolutely outstanding fishing. Every area we fished yielded at least a few fish with some places producing spectacularly. Our three days on the water yielded 174 smallmouths, five largemouths and two stripers. What makes this so amazing is this is what I’ve come to expect from Lake Powell this time of year as I’ve had similar success year after year.
What makes fall smallmouth fishing unique is the fish are not concentrated at any specific depth. To maximize our catch we had to fish a variety of depths and structures. We caught fish at five to 10 feet on the tops of reefs, shelves, points and in the backs of cuts. We caught them at 15-20 feet off the ends of points, sides of reefs and along rockslides, and we caught them offshore at 25-35 feet. We caught them making long horizontal casts. We also caught them making short pitches along the reef edges and under overhanging ledges, and we caught them fishing vertically straight down below the boat. As in the past, drop shotting was most successful, however we did manage some hookups on jigging spoons. We caught fish by slowly dragging our drop shot rigs, deadsticking them and retrieving them with short twitches. Jim had a lot of luck dragging and twitching his rig directly behind the boat.
I tried throwing a topwater on several occasions but did not get a strike. Despite seeing a lot of shad Thursday in the backs of the coves in Last Chance, we saw relatively little surface activity. Perhaps if I’d have spent more time fishing on top I would have been successful, however we were catching so many fish drop shotting it was hard to switch to other methods. We used the Yamamoto Shad Shaped Worm in the green/white laminate color (901 on Yamamoto’s chart). I’m certain other baits and colors would have worked, too, but when you’re catching as many fish as Jim and I were catching on one particular lure/color combo, it’s hard to switch.
On Tuesday we fished the rocky bay on the north side of the main channel just up lake from the mouth of Warm Creek. We also fished both sides of the lower end of Warm Creek itself. We took 57 fish that day. On Tuesday we went to Gunsight Bay fishing coves and points about halfway in on both sides of the bay. We also fished the reefs on the east side at the mouth of Gunsight. Most of our success came before 11 a.m. with the action slowing down considerably afterwards. We caught all five of our largemouths on Tuesday as well as 57 smallies. Fishing in Last Chance on Thursday was good all day. We only fished three coves on the east side of the bay. As good as the fishing was Thursday, I suspect it will get better as I believe the bass were just beginning to follow the shad into the backs of the coves. I believe that over the next couple weeks there will be a lot more smallmouths moving into those areas and suspect there will be stripers and walleyes in backs of coves as well. We took 60 smallmouths on Thursday as well as the two stripers.
The only down side to the fishing was the large number of smaller fish we caught, particularly on Tuesday and Wednesday. Thursday was a different story as we caught a number of smallmouths in the two-pound class and quite a few just below that range. Although all areas we fished produced similar numbers, the average size fish was definitely larger in Last Chance which suggests that getting up lake away from the crowds is a good strategy. That’s not to say you won’t find some nice smallmouths in Wahweap, Warm Creek and the lower main channel. I simply believe you will find more of them further up lake.
If you like to catch smallmouth bass, now is the time to go after them on Lake Powell. Be prepared to motor up lake to get away from the crowds and fish a variety of structures and depths. Do those things and you will catch fish.
September 26, 2015 -Spooning in Padre Bay
Just got back from taking my EPIC Plumbing Mr. do everything handy man, Matt Redfield to Powell for a few days fishing Thursday - Saturday morning.
I was hoping it had cooled off weather wise from two weeks ago but both the fish catching and the afternoon temps were still pretty hot.
The striper boils were few and far between this trip but there were plenty of other ways to catch lots of fish! For this trip we stuck mostly with spooning and trolling as the latter provided some heat relief.
The Padre Bay Area canyons were good for a few boils and large striper schools for spooning if/when you could stay on top of the shad balls that had fish on them. When you got these two combined the fishing was easy but the stripers would move from shallow out to 80' with regularity and make it a challenge to keep up but good electronics helped. It's not very often you chase fish around in 80' and catch them in abundance.
We could put deep diving crank baits out in these areas and troll up the stripers with some regularity but nothing like the trolling success we had with smallmouth closer to the Dangling Rope area on shallow running cranks. Similar to two weeks ago, areas with underwater islands in 10-30' held all kinds of fish species in large numbers. I've trolled more at Lake Powell in the last 2 months than ever before and literally caught hundreds of fish doing it while just trying to cool off and take a break. While most of these fish were smallmouth, some of our best stripers were mixed in here as well as most of the walleye.
This might be my last go at Powell this season as it's almost Mexico time but with the continued stable weather up there I'd look for the current bite to stay good and similar catch rates for some time.
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