May 18, 2016 - Escalante report
Took off from the West Slope of Colorado Friday at Noon and got to BullFrog as the sunset. Ran to Slick Rock and camped for the night. Headed out at First Light to the Escalante for what was an epic day of fishing with my brother. Between the 2 of us we caught 100+ fish; lots of SMB, our limit of Walleye (Which I think has been lifted? Anybody know? Stan Jones Map I have says 10 but I heard the limit was lifted for Walleye) The occasional Striper, 1 jumbo sized Crappie and the occasional very aggressive sunfish and blue gill.
Fished structure in Davis, Fifty Mile and Willow. Rock Piles held SMB shallow and Walleye deeper. Long casts in the clear water and Maintaining bottom contact with our grubs seemed to be key, if the SMB would let it sink that far. Used a 1/4 oz Wide Gap Jig Hook (silver lead head) with Yamamoto 4" Single tail Grub in Watermelon with Black Flake, it caught most of our fish. Did switch to a Bomber Creek Craw 4a Crank at dusk and caught Striper and a Large SMB on a shallow sand flat (4-6FOW) near the mouth of the Escalante. Down sized to a 3" Single Tail Yum Christmas Tree grub with a 1/8 oz jig with Black head when we nearly ran out of Yamamoto Grub and it worked just as well, started catching a lot more small SMB's. Main Escalante was around 63-64 degrees and back of canyons were closer to 70 especially in stained water. Walleye Shore Dinner!!!Delicious!
Sunday AM ran out to the floating restroom opposite mouth of Escalante, fished the wall/ledge directly behind the restroom for a 200 yard stretch moving back towards BullFrog and got into a school of Stripers. The Bass and Walleye that we caught the day before had spit up 4" Juvenile Walleye ( I think) that had green backs and light yellow sides so I experimented with a 3.5" Cane Thumper in Sunfish laminate manufactured by Big Bite Baits paired with a 1/4 oz Swimbait Head and the Stripers ate it. My brother had a twin tail zoom fat albert grub on in WaterMelon that was refused by the Stripers. We actually witnessed the refusal when he threw into the water while I was hooked up because the Striper I had hooked into had some buddies trying to steal my bait out of its mouth...so bro put on the swimbait rig and proceeded to go to town on the Stripers as well. Prior to heading back into Escalante after the Striper school left I caught a nice LMB on the Swimbait as well.
Back in the Escalante we fished Davis again which was a little slower (water was Murky compared to the day before) so we headed back to main Escalante and concentrated on Rock Piles in clearer water. We had switched back to Yamamoto Watermelon grub and ran out so I rigged up Smoke with Black Flake instead and it was just as well. Lots more SMB, a nice LMB, some more big Crappies and a bunch more Walleyes, we boated 60 more fish by 1:30 before we had to pack up and get back to reality. Found the mud line in Escalante at about Explorer Canyon.
Lake Powell is Awesome! Thanks to all the Waynes Word Fellas for posting reports with great info, after doing my home work on WW I was dialed in on the right baits right away and it made for a great trip. Hope to get back soon!
May 17, 2016 - Rock Creek to Last Chance
Last Updated on Tuesday, 17 May 2016 18:38
Just heading back from fishing 2 days and the fishing was spectacular!
Fished with my Dad, John Chaparro from Saint George, UT, my favorite fishing Partner.
We had been watching the weather and decided to head out on the 12th to take advantage of the forecasted warm sunny weather.
We put the boat in on Thursday afternoon and discovered a minor electrical problem and needed to replace the battery select switch.
Got up on Friday morning, headed over to Ted's Marine supply 30 minutes before opening hoping someone would show up and they did. We got our part, did a quick install and off to Rock Creek Canyon we went.
The smallmouth fishing was excellent and we caught a released over 100 fish easy with a nice mix of largemouth, smallmouth and a few token stripers.
We finished the day at the back of last chance and the Smalleys were eating the Zara puppy. What a great way to end the day. We went through four bags of Yamamoto Grubs.
Saturday morning we got up, pick up some frozen anchovies at Stix, and headed down to buoy three.
We slaughtered the stripers and filled the cooler in under two hours. Headed in for a break, went down to the fish cleaning station and spent some quality time filleting fresh fish.
Went back out for the afternoon smallmouth bite but a front was rolling in and the wind started to howl so we made it a short afternoon, came in and went out for a prime rib dinner.
This has become an annual trip to take advantage of the spawn.
The fishery is so vibrant and healthy, it never disappoints and it certainly didn't this trip.
I had a fabulous time fishing with my dad, the man that raised me right and taught me how to fish. I can't imagine a better way to spend time.
San Clemente, California.
May 10, 2016 - Padre Slam
Last Updated on Tuesday, 10 May 2016 20:10
I just got back from my first trip up to Powell this season, and it did not disappoint. I fished midlake with Chris Romero and Nick Sanchez. The water temps. ranged from 58-64 degrees and the fishing was on fire. The fishing was slower in the morning with the cooler water temps, but as the day wore on and the temps warmed, the fish reacted.
We spent the majority of our time fishing the Padre, Last Chance, and Rock Creek areas. We hit for the cycle, catching the big 5 in one day! We caught smallmouth, largemouth , striped bass, crappie and walleye. Most of our fish came out of very shallow water and were gearing up for the spawn. We focused our efforts around broken, chunk rock, in 2-20 ft of water. The fish were very aggressive and we caught them on just about everything we threw. Some of our best baits included senkos, sweet beavers, yamamoto 5 inch jigs in single tail, double, and hula, tubes, and small cranks. The quality of fish on this trip was very impressive and the lake seemed as healthy as I have seen it in some time.
The fishing is as good as it gets right now, so get out and enjoy it before its too late!
May 9. 2016 - Driftwood to San Juan
This year we decided to come up in April rather than June for some better fishing. Made the right choice - as Wayne said “the catching is better in April” - boy was he right. Left out of Antelope early Saturday morning – weather was decent - ran the houseboat to Driftwood just above Dangling Rope, the guys all ran their boats up fishing on the way. The guys fished the main channel before Rock Creek on the east side. Also Rock Creek and Dungeon. Caught a few fish later in the morning as water temp came up. We fought some cold rain Saturday afternoon and Sunday but the bass fishing remained constant.
Fished from Driftwood to Oak Bay Sunday & Monday. One group ran up to the Escalante. We fished the from the back of coves out to the main lake. Fish are everywhere. Years past we focused on broken rocks/riprap – did the same this year but we were also catching fish off the sandstone points in the main lake. Not the vertical cliffs but areas where the rock forms a point or a submerged island. As you drift over these sandstone points you can see cuts and holes. They all held fish. Water was clear. Back end of Oak creek had some color, shallow back there but still caught fish. - Over all the fish were deeper (10-15 ft.) at the beginning of each day - as the water warmed the fish came up to the bank. The big surprise was the number of largemouth bass. Typical 4 hour outing would yield 40-50 fish for 2 guys - 8-15 were largemouth. 1-3 walleyes. Rest smallmouths. We picked up occasional stripers. We all were impressed by the number of 1.5-2.5 lb. bass caught each day.
We cleaned more walleyes than we ever have. Jigs were the ticket - Hula grubs, single tails, salty craws and tubes/gitzits in smoke, brown, watermelon, green and even chartreuse. Couldn’t find one color was more productive than others. Three guys in the same boat each fishing different colors and all caught fish. 1/4 once head on the craws and tubes. 1/4 or 3/8 heads on the hula grubs.
Some boats played around trolling outsides of the bays and caught stripers on deep diving cranks in shad or silver colors. Found a spot on the outside of Oak Bay to chum up some stripers on anchovies - - toward the main channel side of the big island - the area of broken rocks/rip rap between the sheer walls. This spot has been good in years past, especially in June. Get close to the rocks to anchor or drift – fish holding at 25-40 ft.
Ran up the San Juan Tuesday. Stopped in Cha Bay for 20 minutes - nada. Ran the rest of the way to Piute Bay/Creek. Lots of boats up there – Fishing was crazy. Couldn’t go 5 minutes without a single or double hook up. North or south sides produced fish. Each boat caught over 100 fish in 5 hours of fishing. Lots of 10”-12” fish with occasional 2 pounder in there. Had a few fish over 2.5 lbs. Did get some nice walleyes on the south side of Piute Bay. Definitely caught more fish up there but the fish size was about the same in the main lake.
We let the most of the largemouth go, especially the big ones. Hope they continue to rebound. The smallmouth fishing is phenomenal – all the bass and walleyes look healthy , the striper are a little skinny but fought hard. Thanks to Ed, Tom, Dave, Ted, Russ, Bob, Lee and Bobby. Best fishing trip we have ever had. Trying to figure out how to get back up there. George.
May 9, 2016 - Walleye in north lake
The crew from The Arizona Crappie Association made our annual Lake Powell trip fishing out of Hall's Crossing in search of Walleye. This year we had 5 boats making day trips from Hall's to points south as far as Iceberg Canyon and points north as far as Warm Springs. In the 6 1/2 days our crew fished we ended our week with 440 Walleye kept which proved to be one of our better Walleye years!!
We caught the majority of the Walleye trolling worm harnesses using 2 oz to 3 oz bottom bouncers in 25' to +40' of water. Most of our crew used bait casters spooled with heavy braid (I used 50 lbs Power Pro braid) tied direct to the bottom bouncer. From there we used various worm harnesses with different size blades such as Mack Lures smile blades or #6 Colorado blades. Blade colors didn't seem to matter as not one color(s) seemed to have an advantage over others. I tended to use bluegill or shad colored harnesses in attempt to mimmic forage fish. We trolled shallower shelves around the 30' range with close access to deep water drop offs at .8 to 1.2 mph.
Using bottom bouncers takes work as you must be a graph watcher and constantly adjusting your depth by reeling in line or letting more line out as you troll over the ever changing bottom depth. Dragging a bottom bouncer will guarantee lost gear. With my set up I was able to guesstimate the position/depth of my bottom bouncer by watching my graph and was able to reel in line as my bottom bouncer travel uphill and let line out as the depth dropped off. There were many spots we trolled where the shallower ledges would sharply drop off into deep water (+150'). We caught many Walleye by watching for this drop off and releasing our reel's spool (which is why I use a bait caster thumbing the spool) allowing the bait to fall over the ledge into deep water.
We also caught many Walleye by casting the rock rubble shore with 5/8 oz lead head jigs with a 5" Yamamoto single tailed grub in pumpkin color. Jigs were ALWAYS tipped with a small piece of nightcrawler.
The most productive areas for us were from the island outside Hall's Creek to Warm Springs. Walleye catch rate for those that went south didn't come close to those that went north. As mentioned in other posts, the water color become slightly stained to the north. We caught all our Walleye along the main channel or the entrance to different canyons as we didn't catch any Walleye very far back into the canyons. Mouths of canyons that produced for us were Warm Springs, Cedar, Knowles, Forgotten and Crystal. Trolling around the island outside Hall's Creek also produced along with the fingers & drop offs that are across the main channel from the Hall's Marina along the western edge of Bullfrog Bay.
Thank you to all that post your own fishing reports and Thank You to Wayne for such a great website & resource.....
May 9, 2016 - Halls to Good Hope bass
We fished in your backyard last week, selecting the best weather days from Tuesday- Thursday. Upon arrival at Bullfrog on Tuesday, we quickly adjusted our attire, prepped the boat, and hit the lake for some afternoon fishing....
Tuesday afternoon- We stuck around Bullfrog Bay, fishing from the back of the canyon to the mouth of the bay. Fishing was spotty, but when we sighted beds, we could pick-up both smallmouth and largemouth bass. The highest concentrations of beds were on the north shore, with southern exposure. We caught fish on Yamamoto grubs in watermelon and drop shot rigs with KVD minnows or Zoom worms. Water temps up to 67F.
Wednesday- We fished uplake, and started trolling near the Tapestry Wall. We caught some stripers and a few walleye trolling cranks like Wally Divers (black/silver, orange peel) and Berkley Flicker Shads (red shad, chartreuse/white). Speed was 3.2mph, but we also caught fish on the outside of turns. We left there and headed uplake to Good Hope to pitch jigs along shore. We caught some smallmouth bass and a surprise carp, but fishing was spotty. The next stop was the mouth of Red Canyon where there was a significant color change (pea green). We trolled the transition using the same gear as above, catching another half dozen stripers. Some were yearlings, even really small ones, only about 8-inches in length. All were healthy though, even the 3-4lbers. I was pretty surprised at the two smaller stripers, which seemed really small for a yearling. From there we bounced downlake, hitting a canyon here and there, finding some bass, crappie, and sunfish on a variety of jigs. We saw water temps climb to 69F.
Thursday- We received a good report of crappies in Halls Creek and gave it a try. We only boated a couple in the old cottonwood forest, but they were good ones. Later on in the day, we ran into the same angler that shared his report, and he also noted slower crappie fishing. We boated some nice largemouth and a couple smallmouth in Halls too.
The wind picked up, so we headed to Moki Canyon, starting in the backs and fishing pockets all the way out. The pockets were talus slopes among slickrock walls. This proved very productive and we caught up to 30 fish in just a couple hours, including: walleye, stripers, largemouth, and predominantly smallmouth bass. Jigs were the ticket, 1/4oz heads with watermelon Yamamotos. The storms and need to get a decontamination before departure cut our "fun run" short, but it was great to end on a really high note. Though it was cloudy most of the day, we saw water temps up to 68F.
Other than the smaller than usual yearling stripers, the only other surprise was the abundance of spawning gizzard shad and carp. I even saw gizzards chasing lures and bass off nests. I don't recall seeing that behavior in them before, but it might be my timing. Many of the anglers we spoke to were seeing similar trends in catch rates too.
Hope that helps some. Thanks a bunch for all your hard work which gives us an exceptional starting point for last minute trips like this one!
May 9, 2016 - Knowles Canyon
My Son and I pitched camp in Knowles canyon on the 5th in the morning, and stayed through the 7th. Reports about the afternoon bite are spot on. Fishing picked up every day as the weather warmed. We did have to fight the wind a bunch at that made things a bit tough at times but overall the fishing was very good. Forgotten, Knowles, and Cedar were all very good for SM and a surprising amount of LM in the rocks. Trees produced some nice size crappie also. We also found more Walleye than I have ever found at LP. All the canyons produced a few walleye and the mouth of Cedar canyon had a bunch of them.
Drop shot with cut tails in greens or browns were very good, also shad shaped worms and the newer bio spawn plasma tail was good also. Ned rig was also decent as a finesse rig as well as a flick shake senko picked up a few
Top water bite was very tough in the morning but we picked up a few.
Over the course of the 3 days, I think we put about 175 of mixed bag in the boat. Great trip despite the wind and rain! Always fun to spend 3 days fishing hard with my best fishing partner. We will be back on June 3rd for a week on our houseboat.
May 8, 2016 - Bullfrog to Escalante
Hi Wayne, Our annual Mothers day trip to Bullfrog started a day early hoping to have better weather. We started fishing on May 4th and headed to the Escalante. We tried bottom bouncers on the chunk rock, trolling with walleye rigs and a night crawler. We picked up about seven walleye 12" to 16". We head toward the back until we hit the stained water. We had the best luck in the water that was fresh cement color kind of green. We started fishing the banks and picked up quite a few small mouth, walleyes and crappie. We did pretty good in all the small coves working our way out. The day was georgous, no wind and the weather was 85. The surface water got up in the afternoons to 68 degrees and the fishing got fast and furious. We would catch three and four at a time using single tailed grubs in white, chartreuse and smoke sparkle. I caught a lot of crappie on Berkley minnows in chartreuse and white with a 1/6 or 1/8 lead head. In the shade was the best. The crappie where about 12" long and some where 6". Our wives had a great time fishing. We stuck it out until about 5 pm then head back to Bullfrog.
On Thursday we headed back to the Escalante to find a lot more people fishing. It started out a little slow so we drifted a bank casting colored lead heads with a night crawler and picked up quite a few walleye and crappie. 10 to 15 feet of water. We had good luck in the morning with night crawlers, then we switched back to plastic. Mizmo 3" white, chartreuse and smoked beaver tails worked great on all fishes. Yum warning shot in pumpkin with purple flake picked up a lot of bass. We fished the mouth of Indian creek in the afternoon and fishing was red hot. Mostly small mouth, all sizes. We headed back about 5:30 but the fishing was still real good.
On Friday we went north to the mouth of warm springs where we caught a lot of walleye. Tried Cedar and picked up a few but it was slower. Fished the first little cove south of Cedar and got into the large mouth. It was a lot of fun catching those big guys and throwing them back for another day. The wind came up in the afternoon and it got rough so we headed back early so we could take wives to Mothers day prime rib. It is nice to have a wife who likes to fish and to have a lake as beatiful as Lake Powell to enjoy it.
May 7, 2016 - South smallmouth
Most of the time Lake Powell fishing is so good we become spoiled, so when the action is a bit below the norm it can be somewhat disappointing. When this happens we have to look at the success we’ve had on a particular trip and realistically assess how we would have done on most of the other local fisheries to put things in perspective. When we do this we realize that even subpar Lake Powell trips are far better than most other places.
That’s how my fishing partner Jim Buxton and I had to look at our trip this past week. In reading Wayne’s report concerning the previous week’s storms and the effect they had on the water temperature, I figured we might encounter some slower smallmouth fishing, however I expected it to get better as the week progressed. The fact is we had similar action on both Tuesday and Wednesday with perhaps Wednesday being a bit slower than Tuesday. While I don’t have a temperature indicator on either of my depth finders, the water seemed much colder than normal for this time of year. The fact we were fishing post front conditions didn’t help, either. Nevertheless, in two days we caught 62 smallmouths, three stripers, one largemouth and one bluegill. Many of the smallmouths we caught were in the 1 1/2 to 1 3/4 pound class. While we didn’t get any really big bass, we didn’t get many dinks, either. As a bonus all three stripers were nice sized and in good condition providing far better than average table fare for stripers.
We fished Tuesday in Gunsight Bay, a rocky bay on the north side of the channel between Warm Creek and Gunsight and the east side of lower Warm Creek Bay. On Wednesday we fished around what used to be the double islands just through the Castle Rock Cut, the east side of lower Warm Creek and the shelves below the mouth of Navajo. I believe the action was a little better Tuesday than Wednesday which surprised me because I thought the further removed from the storms the better the fishing would be. Over both days both Jim and I probably lost as many of the fish we hooked as we landed. One thing I noticed is many of the fish we landed were barely hooked in the thin upper lipped membrane. The circle hooks we were using normally hook fish in the corner of the mouth and sometimes in the hard tissue in the roof of the mouth. We had relatively few of these type hookups. To me this indicates they weren’t really sucking in the soft plastic lures we were fishing. If we’d have landed just half the fish we lost our totals would have been more like normal for this time of year.
We caught fish anywhere from about two feet deep down to 20. Most of my fish came in very shallow water while Jim seemed to catch most of his a bit deeper. Jim was mostly dragging his rig behind the boat while I was casting ahead. The best presentation was slow as the bass seemed to have little inclination to chase. When fishing is good dropping the lure back down immediately after losing a fish often results in another hookup, either from the original fish or a chaser, but we only had a couple instances of that this time. In addition I only saw a couple times where another bass was chasing a hooked smallmouth. When the action is hotter seeing three or four chasers is very common. Jim and I both fished drop shot rigs with Yamamoto Shad Shaped Worms in the 901 (watermelon with white laminate) color. I’ve decided that this is consistently the best color for Lake Powell smallmouths. The best presentation was slow.
There is no doubt some of the fish we caught were on beds, however the spawn of many of the females I filleted was not fully developed. Based on this, I think the bulk of the smallmouth spawn is still a week or so away. A few females did have ripe eggs, however. I believe three or four days with warm, stable weather will bring on some outstanding smallmouth fishing. It’s not that we had bad fishing as most people would be thrilled to catch what Jim and I caught. I doubt we’d have done as well anywhere else in Arizona. It’s just that we get so used to such outstanding smallmouth action on Powell that anything that falls a bit short is a downer. I guess we can say we’re spoiled!
I wanted to say a word about Gary Yamamoto Custom Baits, headquartered in Page by the way. For the past 15 or so years I have been using Yamamoto soft plastics almost exclusively. I’ve found them to be superior to other brands I’ve used and have always found the customer service very good. This past week when I was going through my tackle for this trip I noticed I was nearly out of Shad Shaped Worms in the 901 color. I placed an online order over a weekend figuring they would be delivered by the middle of the next week. The following Monday, a week before I was scheduled to leave for this trip, I received a call from a woman at Yamamoto explaining they were out of the 901 color in that lure. I explained that I would be leaving for a Lake Powell trip in exactly a week and that it would really be nice to have them. She said that if they could get them in stock she could send some over to the Lake Powell Campground (owned by Yamamoto) store. When I stopped at the store while driving into Page last Monday my order was waiting for me there. Now that’s customer service we rarely see these days!
The fact that Yamamoto baits are so good and that they are manufactured locally in Page is good reason to use them. But the fact that this company still cares about customer service in an age where fewer and fewer companies do is even more reason to give them our business. As long as I continue to bass fish I will continue to buy these baits.
May 4, 2016 -Big Largemouth in Wetherill
Hey Wayne, my name is Jason and just wanted to send you a pic of a good largemouth caught on Monday the 2nd. Just read your report from today and it was pretty spot on with how the action was for us from Sunday till today. Our best luck was in cloudy water in the back of the canyons, especially wetherill where this largemouth was caught. It's tail was pretty beat up so I think it was on a bed. Watermelon imitation crawdad plastic seem to work great as well as single tail pumpkins.
On our way out today we had surprisingly exceptional luck in the shallows on the right before you go into the cut if you were coming from Wawheap. Tight lines!