April 30, 2016 - Fishing for stripers in main channel
Wayne - we slayed the stripers on April 30, 2016. We first hit the infamous dam area and caught several there but the rudeness of fishermen speeding into the fishing hole there sent us to buoy 3. Once on the canyon wall we were met by some awesome folks on a pontoon boot who were soon joined by another boat tied together. The three boats were hooting and hollering 'Fish On' for the next few hours. We fished until we had a 140qt and a 80qt. plus the live well full of fish. When we got to the fish cleaning station we counted 100 stripers and continued to fillet for the next couple of hours.
Leo's (age 7) first striper trip to lake Powell with Grandad Ron Flewellen of Queen Creek,Az. Leo caught the big fish of the trip a 4# 6oz. Striper. There were six of us on the boat and he kept reminding us he had big fish.
May 6, 2016 - San Juan and Back!
Lake Powell report for May 5 & 6, 2016 (Afternoon water temps over 66 degrees!)
I got a late start Tue morning since I planned on fishing up the San Juan this day and wanted to kill a little time to stop in for gas at Dangling Rope Marina on the way and it didn’t open until 8 so I made a stop near MM 36 on my way as this area was so good last year. The first fish for the season was a smallie pushing 3 lbs on a crawdad colored crank.
After another 5 fish in this area and then fuel and I was up fishing in the Neskahi Bay area at 9:15, targeting bass. Total for the day was 121 fish, mostly smallmouth with a fair amount of largemouth coming from congregated areas along with one striper and one crappie, both of the latter on a 5” Senko.
There was no question that the LM preferred the Lucky Craft Pointer bait (as pictured) above all other baits, tied to 12 lb fluorocarbon. Sometimes just toss and wind and other times as a jerk bait. There were several baits working well for the smallies including the Yamamoto dbl tail grub w/ 1/8 oz head, drop shot ¼ oz weight with Berkley chartreuse 4” Gulp minnow, the Pointer crank/jerk bait mentioned above, and a ½ oz spoon, but no bait was better than a 5” green Senko. (see fish/bait pics) They would eat that Senko UP! My landing rate was probably only 70% and I suspect that I could have improved this by switching from a drop shot hook rigged wacky style to a small weightless jig hook exposed, of which I did not have any with me.
I saw few fish on beds up here but there were fish in the very backs of many coves in gentle sloping flat sand bottoms with no rock, in 1-2’. This water was a little off colored and they could have actually been bedding fish. The ‘typical’ areas that I would fish in the summer/fall, outside rock piles/points, were not as good as shorelines right up tight in a foot or two of water. Interestingly enough, southern coves had many fish in the very back and with NE coves, the fish were much more point oriented but still very shallow. The 5-15’ range held hardly had any fish up here for me. I fished until 6pm and headed back to Wahweap.
[As many times as I have been up in this Neskahi area, I wasn’t aware of a shallow clump of rock out in the boat lane of this big cove and I’m sure glad someone marked it with a boat bumper!]
Wednesday I got an even later start and decided to stay relatively close to the southern areas that had done quite well last Fall and see if I could locate a few spots of concentrated fish for my Boy Scouts trip at the end of this month and I can’t say that I was all that successful. 29 fish was all that I caught from 8:30 till 4. That’s somewhat pitiful compared to Tue but it did tell me several things I wanted to know. A lot of time this day was spent targeting stripers including some time spooning but mostly trolling and I did no bait fishing.
I started in Goodman and then Kane coves and had smaller smallmouth to show for my time there by casting to the rocky shoreline with a grub, than by trolling. There were a few stripers trolled up in each cove, all of them while in 25-30’ of water. In one cove I used the extra deep pointer running about 15’ max and in the other cove I used an extra large crank with a BB in the bill and I could bounce the bottom at 22’. Both of these were run on 15 lb fluorocarbon line at about 3 mph and both were equally well at catching stripers (2 each) but the Pointer did catch several more bass than the deeper running lure did.
I left this area and then poked around MM 25 with no success and went into the Friendship Cove entrance where I caught a few on the shallow pointer before heading over to MM 36 and working my way into Dungeon Canyon. There were fish in here all right, some back in behind the ‘haystacks’ in shallow water spawning and I spent a couple of hours catching 4-5 bedding fish and dropshotting a few in addition to hooking onto a carp that looked like it had been attacked by the dreaded tiger muskie?? It was still swimming but I’m not sure how. I then fired up the Verado to do some trolling down that shoreline from the corner to Dungeon. Mostly smallies were caught doing this with one striper until I went in the very back and that Gulp minnow produced two 3 lb stripers in a foot of water.
Recap: This first trip of the season was much better than last years first one, even the second day down south. The stripers appear to still be in the same areas as they were but I may have needed to cut up some anchovies but I suspect in 2 months or so they will be willing to hit a spoon or TW better in these south areas. The San Juan was on fire but I was a little disappointed I couldn’t catch some bigger bass there.
When I was at Dangling Rope Marina I had some folks ask me what kind of mileage I got with my Mercury Verado outboard, the same question many bass boat people ask and I would say based on experience and after running the lake for these 2 days inc up to the start of the Great Bend in the San Juan and points between and running it hard occasionally (It still hit 76.5 mph up there Wed and used 50 gal for the 2 days). I suspect that overall it is better on fuel than my 2010 Merc 250 XS and it certainly performs much better at Powell’s elevation. If running over 4800 rpm it may be slightly worse but better otherwise. It is also great to have the throttle option of hand or foot and essentially cruise control for the long runs common to Lake Powell.
With the increased trolling success at Powell I also find the ‘troll feature’ to be quite handy where I can dial in the trolling speed to what produces the most success. When it gets warmer, all the fish like it a little faster and I’ve found that I can increase rpm’s/mph up a few tenths to be more attractive to the stripers, with 3.3 mph being about ideal for them and a little slower for the bass. I’m going to need to invest in a selfie stick apparently with ongoing no show situations as these are poor pics to say the least.
Sam Sherwood – Mesa, AZ
May 3, 2016 - Rock Creek to Padre Bay
Last Updated on Friday, 06 May 2016 11:27
Had some friends that braved the weather last week. Main lake rock piles from Rock Creek to Padre. Grubs, tubes and medium divers were working. Almost all smallies with a few walleye and Stripers. They did not try to fish for striper.
April 27, 2016 - North End Report
The wife and I fished last Thursday Friday and Sunday - Saturday was windy so we worked on the Houseboat.
Thursday morning looked for bass around Bullfrog with little success. Went out to Bouy 94 and caught 13 stripers in about an hour and a half. That afternoon went up to Forgotten Knowles and Cedar. Still did not have much luck with the bass??? Caught 13 Walleyes in using mostly bottom bouncers.
Friday went up to Good hope looking for crappies. Caught about 10 or 12, 6 nice ones. They were scattered could not find any concentrations and the water was pretty stained/dirty. Got windy later so we started on the walleye again, found a few hot spots and caught 25, most we had ever caught in a day. Did not catch many bass??? 3 or so.
Sunday was a repeat of Friday except for we could not find any crappies, so we worked on the walleyes again - caught 27.
Ended up with just shy of 100 fish for the trip, which for the third week of April is a little slow, but 65 walleyes made it well worth the trip. Wife had never used a bottom bouncer before so I was telling her how to hold the rod, and what angle the line was supposed to be, what to look for etc.., and she said I've caught 4 already and you have yet to catch your first one. When you get a few in the boat you can start giving me instructions.
Details - Gas was $2.36 at the top of the hill - $3.98 on the water. The run off has begun and the water at the horn (MM 129 - top of GHB) was to stained/muddy to fish, less than a foot of visibility. At MM 125 right at Castle butte was 1 to 1.5 feet and still had a bit of green to it. Was browner on the west side there for some reason. Red canyon and Ticaboo were about the same with 2 to 3 feet of visibility with a nice green tint - just right to fish. Very back of Red was really red with less than a foot of visibility in the very back. MM 119 or south end of GHB the visibility was similar to Cedar. Knowles and Forgotten 4 to 6 feet nice and green. Bull frog water was still pretty clear. Saw a few trucks parked at Blue notch.
Caught the walleyes on worm harnesses using chrome and white blades with a baitfish print on one side. Yellow and orange were not near as productive. Did also catch a few on flickers shad cranks and green tube jigs tipped with a piece of crawler. Surprising thing beside the number of fish caught was they were in 2 to 6 feet of water for the most part? We looked for wind blown points and banks with small rock or gravel shores that were catching waves from a long way off. We caught over 30 on an 80 yard stretch of bank just going back and forth.
What crappies we did catch were on white Berkley gulps shad with the long flip tails slow trolled and cast to the shallow water.
Would love to tell you what the bass were hitting, but only caught 12 or so, half of them were caught on bottom bouncers or crappie jigs. - Did catch a 17" SMB on a crappie jig
On a bright note, the second MM 114 is brand new, and has a light on it. This may sound funny to you folks from the south, but this is the only lit MM bouy north of Bullfrog. Over half the MM bouys are missing north of Bullfrog.
Be very carefull traveling in GHB there are many whales lurking in Ticaboo - Red - and Scorup. With water clearity less that 2 feet in places you can not see them. I am guessing in 2 weeks or so all of GHB will be to murky to fish.
April 25, 2016 - San Juan report
Another great year fishing at Lake Powell. We went to the San Juan on Thursday Friday and Saturday came back on Sunday. The ride down on Thursday was gorgeous. We set up camp near the mouth of Piute bay and did a little fishing close to camp. Caught a couple dozen bass all sizes. Friday we fished the north end of the bay using different colors and brands of soft plastics. Yums, mister twister, yamamotos, and strike kings.
The fish where on the banks and it was red hot. A lot of the time we had two and three at a time. The crappie where in three age groups 6", 10" and 15". Each day we caught and released over 50 crappie. Every where we found them they where bunch up. The Large mouth where in great shape. They where also in three size group, 8", 12", and 16". We saw a lot of fish nesting. We caught more Large Mouth than we have for years. We picked up a few stripers but did not fish for them. We caught one walleye and a few blue gills.
The story on smallmouth is there are almost too many. You have a hard time keeping the little ones off your hook. Even if you uses bigger lures they still bite. The small mouth were fat and full of crawdads. On Saturday fishing was good in the morning down on the great bend, but the wind came up and it was crazy. It would gust so hard it would lift sprays of water right off of the surface. In the canyon the was coming from two different directions at the same time. As the day went on you could find coves to get out of the wind.
Does any know how a domestic sheep got on the island at the mouth of piute bay. It would be a long swim from all directions. We pick up camp and started home on Sunday it was cooler but the wind was gone. At Bullfrog we had our boat inspected and cleaned it took about 15 mins and people at the station where real nice. The over all trip was fantastic, thanks for keeping the lake such a great place to fish.
April 21, 2016 - Stripers at the Dam
Thank you for your website and the information provided. We had a great day fishing near the dam. Caught about 70 fish for the day.
My mom had the time of her life catching stripers for the first time.
Thank you Wayne and Lake Powell
April 19. 2016 - South Lake Variety
Last Updated on Wednesday, 20 April 2016 17:28
Our fishing trip was planned for this weekend with nine guys and three boats for at least three months. We were not gonna let mother nature stop us. I'm very glad all the fair weather weekend warriors stayed home. Friday night we are all but rained out and caught a few strippers at the power plant intake, and a few bass at antelope point.
Just up as I have seen at the dam last weekend. Saturday morning we converged on the intake. We got at least 70 stripers to the boats in a few hours and cleaned about 35 or so.
Saturday evening was very windy. So we stayed around and antelope point and caught mostly small mouth, Grubs, spinners and some crank bait. Sparkly gray and pumpkin spice seem to be the colors!
Fishing was slow for the most part.
Sunday morning saw much better weather and still a light wind. So we headed to the back of Navajo Canyon. We got into the brown water and started there. We immediately got into a large school of largemouth. White spinners, and chatter bait seem to work the best, if the sun was out? I have never had chatter bait work so well. At one point, I had five of six casts boat a fish.
Because it was still partly cloudy, as soon as the clouds came back, the fishing turned off. We moved to Clear water, and started dragging Grubbs on the bottom. As soon as the sun came out, we got into Crappie and smallmouth.
We kept moving our way back to the channel stopping at any interesting structure. The very clear and uninterrupted shelves responded well to crank bait.
My friends on the other boat got into walleye in about 25 to 30 feet of water. There is a new structure slide. About 3 to 4 miles in the canyon, Eastside very noticeable. It produced walleye in 25 to 30 feet of water. As well as many small bass on the shelves. Great structure! We fished from 7 to 2, and were in fish almost all the time. And caught at almost every structure. My arms are killing me.... We were just a few degrees away from great water temperature, I'm guessing 7 to 14 days before it really turns on? Great trip....
April 14, 2016 - Bullfrog April 7-11
Last Updated on Thursday, 14 April 2016 18:15
We just returned from Bullfrog, camping at Stanton...We also found many 3-6 lb stripers in the trees in a side canyon in Iceberg. Super flukes, and chumming chovies worked there. Good for bass in Iceberg too, we found them on the sunny North walls in the afternoon. Dark green plastic craws on traditional bass hair jigs (football jigs?) worked for us. We caught stripers trolling various areas around Bullfrog, on the plateau near bouy 94 (these were small fish though), at the entrance to Seven-mile Canyon and in Good hope bay. When we went to Good Hope bay, we just started to find LM bass (near Blue Notch) when we were forced to head back closer to camp due to increasing winds and storm clouds; we never made the run again, but I wish we could have.
For trolling, our best lures were Lucky Craft pointers in Sexy shad, both sizes and a white Berkley Flicker-shad. We did run snap weights on the smaller lures. 2 oz. at 50 feet of line, then let out another 50-70. We also had great fun and success casting an ice white Zoom Super-fluke with a split tail on a 3/8 oz. jig head. Bonus is that walleye like that too, and some times a bass. When we felt like we found a good school trolling, I liked to stop and chum and fish one rod with bait in the holder, while casting the Super fluke with the other rod. Of course, sometimes the action is so hot that you can't keep up with 2 rods.
One thing I found is that we mostly only had luck in less than 50 feet of water, around 20-35 being ideal. Although we did get a couple around 70 fow. We tried trolling and bait at deep spots like moki wall with no bites, even though you could see them on the graph.
At one time we were trolling and went over a large gravel bar where we could see the bottom in around 20-25 FOW, and we saw stripers there on the bottom. We stopped the boat and caught them on Superflukes for a couple hours, along with several walleye. We checked this spot every day, but while the walleye remained, the stripers never returned.
One little camping note, the crow thing is true, they will rip through your plastic garbage bag and make a huge mess of your camp. We will prepare for this better next time.
This was my first trip in over 20 years and I thank Wayne and all of you forum members for posting reports and methods that helped us find and catch fish.
April 14, 2016 - Buoy 25 Stripers Return
I have recently been alluding to the feeding behavior of stripers in the backs of canyons compared to the ravenous bait consuming behavior of main channel fish. It has taken some time, but now main channel stripers are feeding on bait provided by anglers on a daily basis.
That behavior was reinforced on my weekly fish sampling trip. We checked on Buoy 25 to see if stripers were there. The answer is YES - Striper schools are present in large numbers just as they were in 2013.
The difference was that these fish were actively feeding on plankton. We trolled in the 300 ft deep cove just east of the big red wall. I caught one of the hardest hitting stripers ever as he attacked my trolled Lucky Craft 78XD Chartreuse Shad colored baits. It was not a big fish but very strong and aggressive. He had an attitude!
We stopped and looked under the boat and saw 100s of stripers swimming under the boat at a depth of 10 feet. We tried spoons, cast lures, jigs, swimbaits, etc. But we could not get them going. These fish were obviously swimming with their mouths open eating plankton.
This may be what Brandon Hammond saw when he reported the big schools of fish there in April 2013.
Striper Heaven - 3 Years ago - Hi Guys and Gals, Last weekend I fished the UBTT Bass Tournament out of the south end and hit the mother load of stripers! I was born and raised at Page and have been on the Lake all my life fishing and no where have I ever seen this many stripers under the boat. I wanted to share this info so that hopefully one of you can go fill some coolers. There must have been thousands that I could physically see under the boat and all were in the 4 to 7lbs range with a couple that had to be over 10lbs. I have placed a picture from google maps below and have highlighted the area in Red that I saw them in. It is located on the right side of the bend heading up lake just before Gregory Butte, in between Face Canyon and West Canyon. It is a small cove that maybe runs back 100 yards or so. The water depth was around 80 ft and I could see them on the surface all the way down to the bottom with my fish finder. The picture is at high water and obviously the water is a lot lower now but hopefully this makes sense. I would love it if someone would head on up there and let me know how they did. They would follow our crank baits up but were not real committed. I'm assuming if you took some chovies up there and got one going the whole cove would light up. Also if you drive up that shoreline towards Gregory Butte you will find a few more notches that are holding a ton of stripers as well. Keep me posted if anyone heads up there. If you need more details on where this is please let me know and I will try and be more descriptive.
Thanks, Brandon Hammond
We cut up a striper and chummed and bait fished for awhile without success. It will probably take some training but I think these fish can be taught to hit bait once more. This is not a guarantee because these fish were all fat and healthy as they have learned how to cruise and consume large amounts of plankton to keep them going until shad spawn next month.
Fly fishers are the ones that ought to be really excited about this information. The fish are eating tiny bait. They are swimming at a shallow depth. It seems that they would eat flies presented on a fast sinking line as they do each May as stripers go shallow and into pre-spawn mode. This is when fly fishermen make me look like a rookie. So, next week I am going to take my flies out and see if I can pretend to be a TR or Dave Sellers. I am skeptical.
April 11, 2016 - San Juan report
Last Updated on Monday, 11 April 2016 06:18
Just wanted to give you a quick report of our trip up the san juan this last week (6-9th).
Fishing for all species was fabulous! I caught more large mouth than ever before. All of them were healthy. It seems that they were just coming up to spawn. we did see some beds, but no fish on them, though from camp may small mouth and largemouth were up close to the shore. I assume waiting for that magical moment to spawn.
Most fish were caught on jigs with doubletail grubs. We even caught some nice crappie (15") while trolling for stripers. Both striper and crappie were caught at about 8' trolling the shadow raps. See attached pics.
Water temps were from 58-64 degrees depending on weather. It stormed on us good Friday, but after it cleared up we caught close to 50 smb and a few lmb in the final hours of the day. I truly don't remember such a great fishing trip this early in the year.
Other fishing methods that produced were casting suspending jerkbaits, and spinner baits.
Thanks for all the info you share that is useful and gets us excited to come back to Powell again and again! PS your book has been a great read!