Have you made a recent fishing trip to Lake Powell? If you have, please let us know how you did. Post your fishing report on the Fishing Message Board or send it to Wayne Gustaveson (
) via E-mail. Please include who you are and where you are from, dates fished, location, tackle used, species and number of fish caught and any other information you would like to pass on to other anglers.
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.
If possible send, first and last name, and hometown. The media likes pictures of kids (include age) and fishergirls. Be creative when taking photos. Change poses and backgrounds. Use the flash in full sun to avoid hat shadow.
Thanks to all who have contributed because it makes it easier for a newly arriving angler to start fishing with confidence needed to catch fish on this huge lake.
If you have a general question try posting on WAYNESWORDS FISHING MESSSAGE BOARD.
October 22, 2014 - Iceberg Stripers
We made a trip down to Powell for a few days of hiking and fishing from the 17th - 21st of October. What a great time to be out on Lake Powell! I thought I'd share a few notes from our trip.
On Sunday the 19th we took a ride to Iceberg Canyon to see if we could find any boils. We started trolling and watching. We never did see any real boils. We would see a few splashes here and there, but nothing of real significance. We finally did see something of a small boil (3-4 splashes) and moved over to see if we could get in on some fish. We found a few smallmouth bass using poppers in 80' of water! A few minutes later we again saw a few splashes across the canyon against a sheer wall with a nice alcove. When we got there, again we found a few smallmouth on poppers in 100' of water. However, this time we saw a nice ball of fish on the sonar down at 60'. I'm guessing that the stripers had been pushing shad to the surface, where opportunistic smallmouth were waiting and creating some small boilds. We quickly turned to spoons and started getting some very nice stripers. These were the bigger stripers, up to 25". They were VERY healthy, and nearly all fish we caught were spitting up shad as we realed them in. This action lasted for a short while before the school disapeared. This happened at about 10:30 a.m. By 11:00 the sun was high and hot.
We moved over to the alcove and found another group of stripers at the surface in the shade -- one of those was HUGE. Another couple fish were caught before they disappeared. The rest of the day was spent trolling and searching for schools, but stripers were few and far between. Smallmouth (and a couple small largemouth) could be found in the typical rocky areas, or around submerged vegetation. We never did find any more boils, and never could find another school of stripers.
On Tuesday we went back to the same spot, and sure enough there was another big school of stripers hanging out at about 60'. Again, we nailed a few big healthy stripers before the school disappeared.
If people are in the area of Iceberg looking for stripers, I would highly recommend going in to the second alcove and looking for this school. I hope this helps somebody find some of those stripers. Pictures of our trip are attached -- please let me know if you have any problems downloading them using the sharefile link. Let me know if you need any other info that might be of some help.
October 19, 2014 - Southern SMB
The only way to describe smallmouth bass fishing on the lower lake last week was tough. My partner Dale Marenda and I caught a fair number of bass, but nothing like we have grown accustomed to seeing on Lake Powell in October. On the bright side we did catch some very nice fish, so quality was up a bit but quantity was way down.
On Tuesday the 14th we motored up to Last Chance. We fished four of my favorite coves but found the going tough. We managed just 14 bass that day - a good number for just about anywhere else - but we just couldn’t establish any real pattern. We caught some fish up shallow in less than 10 feet of water, and we also caught deeper - down to 27 feet. After these disappointing results we decided to leave Last Chance early and motored back to Gunsight. Our luck there wasn’t much better, catching one fish and losing a couple others. With Wednesday’s weather forecast for afternoon wind we decided to stay close. We fished the double islands past the Castle Rock cut, the reefs and walls below Navajo Canyon and a couple other places along the channel and Warm Creek. The results were not much better than Tuesday - 15 total bass - but at least we didn’t run so far and burn so much gas to get them. Unlike Tuesday, every fish we caught was 20 feet deep or deeper. As it turned out the wind never came up, however I’m not sure we would have done much better fishing up lake.
With Thursday being our last day we decided to take the time to travel to Gunsight. Jim Buxton and I had some luck there a couple weeks ago, so I felt this would be a good place to try. Also, if we didn’t get into many smallmouth I figured we might be able to find some stripers there. Our day started like the others - a fish here and there - but around 10 a.m. things changed. We were fishing off a long point that went out into the bay. We had already take a couple smallmouth around that point when I saw some fish boiling out over open water a long cast away. I figured they were stripers, but I didn’t have time to reach my striper rod. I flung my drop shot rig in the area where the fish had come up and let out line. Suddenly I saw my line jump and then start to peel off the reel much faster. I engaged my reel and felt what appeared to be a heavy fish on my line. Again, I figured I had hooked a striper, but suddenly the fish leaped about five feet out of the water revealing that it was a nice smallmouth of about two pounds. Dale managed to get the net under it, and then I started looking on the graph for more fish. I found an area at the end of the point where the bottom dropped from 15 to 30 feet very quickly, and I saw a number of marks around the 23-foot mark. I dropped to those marks and was fast into another nice bass. We continued to work that area until the bite ended. We fished up the lake on that side a bit further, but that only produced one two-pound largemouth. We returned to the point where we had caught those smallmouths but failed to catch any more.
At that point I decided to motor directly across the lake to an area where Jim Buxton and I had success two weeks prior. We took a couple fish where we started, but the action got a lot faster when we reached another long point at the mouth of cove. Most of the point was submerged going well out into the bay before it dropped off into deeper water. By this time there was an easterly breeze blowing directly into the point as well as some pretty massive ski boat and cruiser wakes. We managed to take several nice bass off this point, and some of the fish were up on the point in the shallower water. The action lasted for about 45 minutes and then it was over. We tried one other point on the opposite side of the cove before calling it a day but had no luck. Of the 25 bass we caught Thursday, 14 came off of those two points which happened to be almost directly across the bay from each other.
The fish we cleaned Tuesday and Wednesday had about an equal number of shad and crayfish in their stomachs, however it was apparent the bass we caught in Gunsight Thursday were feeding entirely on shad. It wasn’t unusual to see a couple of shad tails still in their mouths, and many of our fish spit up large numbers of shad as we fought them. As we do most of the time, we used drop shot rigs with Yamamoto Shad Shaped Worms. We used mainly two colors, white and watermelon laminate and natural shad. I don’t think there was much difference between the two. Our most consistent presentations were straight down below the boat unless the fish were at less than 17 feet. Dale caught several dragging his rig directly behind the boat.
I believe the major reason we had tough fishing is all the forage in the lake. Previous trips seem to indicate a bumper crop of crayfish, and this trip proved there are large numbers of shad in the lake. I saw many large shad balls on my graph, particularly in Gunsight on Thursday. These are the fattest and hardest fighting smallmouths I have taken on Lake Powell. In fact, these fish fought harder for their size than any smallmouths I have taken anywhere. I am convinced fish that have a lot to eat are harder to catch than those who can’t afford to pass up anything that looks like a meal. It is also possible our location and presentation was not the best as well, but it’s hard to get away from the things that have worked so well in the past. At any rate, we still caught some very nice fish and enjoyed some terrific weather. A day on Lake Powell is almost always a good day.
October 19, 2014 - Northern Grand Slam
North Lake Powell
Water temp 70-73
The Adamson Family and I headed to a boulder flat that was holding schools of stripers, SM bass and walleye. The bite was instant on spoons in 30-40’ of water. We were catching 2-5 pound stripers, 1-2 pound SM, fat walleyes and several catfish but after a few hours we decided to try some different tactics. We ran to a shallow bay were we found stripers and SM chasing shad. Spinner baits did the trick. These stripers were skinny compared to the deeper ones caught on spoons. While they were working the spinner baits I finally had a blow up on a spook that missed but another fish hit it and it turned out to be about a 3lb LM.
On Saturday the schools on the boulder flat were not there but it turned out to be a Grand Slam day. We did catch a couple of SM and then we moved onto a bay that has been choked full of shad all month. We caught several LM on spinner baits and then we hit one that was pushing 4lbs. This young lady was on fire with the spinner bait. We saw lots of fish under the shad clouds but we could only spoon up 4-8” stripers. We ran to the back of another cut and shad were being chased by birds and fish. We caught several SM and stripers on the spinner baits but when we got to the back of the cut we found a boulder in 15’ of water and loaded the boat with 9 nice fat walleye and 3 giant crappie. Stripers, LM, SM, Walleye, Crappie and several big Blue Gill all landed in the boat today. If there was ever a time to learn what fish are doing on the graph it is now. We could see them and know if we could catch them or not even in shallow water. The bite should only get better.
October 16, 2014 - Rock Creek Stripers
Last Updated on Friday, 17 October 2014 09:27
I took the Ed Antus group out on Tuesday October 14 and did really well. We took off from the docks early, about 6am and braved the cold air for about an hour and made our way up lake to the mouth of Rock Creek where I took another group the day before and caught a lot of stripers. The fish were hitting the surface here and there but no all-out boils. We found a school on the graph about 65 feet deep and started spooning and in no time we started hauling them into the boat. They were not big stripers, they averaged 14 to 18 inches long and were fat and healthy and really fought great! By 9:30 we had caught somewhere between 50 and 60 stripers and decided to try and catch some smallmouth bass in a canyon close by.
The day before we caught about 10 nice fat smallies but that day only caught one and then Vee brought in a nice 3+ pound largemouth. That is the nicest largemouth we have caught in my boat since June. Finding largemouth has been really difficult this summer. I was happy to see a largemouth in good shape. Hopefully more of them will start biting soon. We had a great time and I really enjoyed everyones company, we had fun and caught lots of fish.
Good fishing to everyone,
October 13, 2014 - San Juan
Arrived at the lake on Thursday afternoon about 5:15pm. The plan was to run to the San Juan and join another owner of the houseboat and his crew. We made it to Dangling Rope before total darkness. We continued undaunted. Unfortunately the mile markers do not have any blinking lights past Dangling. NPS where are you. In any case with the spotlight we finally made it to the San Juan around 9pm, cooked our steaks and went to bed. Up early although it was hard to tell with the full moon shining on us all night long. We knew the fishing would be affected. Ran up past Wilson Creek and hit the coves around the area. The smallmouth bite was mixed with some on the senko and some on the topwater. We did get into a small striper boil and catch 4. Total for the morning was 26 smallies and 4 stripers. The Friday afternoon bite was really slow, with no boils at the mouth of the San Juan and slow bass fishing in Reflection. I had to get back early to prepare for the fish fry for 9 guys.
Saturday early we headed to Cha to see if the striper boils were still active. Arrived a little late but they were going strong. We caught 14 in the morning and as we all know these fish are heavy and feisty. There is no horsing these guys in. All had shad in them. The length averaged from 17 to 21 inches. We then traveled to Desha Canyon and the stripers were stacked up at the entrance. We caught 6 trolling near the mouth of the canyon. The other guys went to Escalante and did very well on bass. The best spot was Davis Gulch. I netted some shad in the morning because the guys wanted to catfish in the evening. The wind kicked up on Saturday afternoon. No boils so we put a shad on a hook and sent it down to 40 feet. Moved up to 40 feet and drifted the bait out to deeper water. We started catching nice stripers this way. The wind continued to blow and after 8 fish we went back to camp. The wind blew all Saturday night and along with the moon shining at us all night we saw no boils on Sunday morning. We decided to break camp and head back around 8 am. The wind got progressively stronger as we got closer to Antelope. I noticed there was some damage at Hall’s. That does not surprise me knowing the gusts we bucked heading in. Added notes: Make sure your poles have good heavy line on them for the stripers, trolled crank baits from 14 to 21 feet, the deeper ones caught the most fish, trolled 3 to 5 miles per hour, shad size was small only 2 to 3 inches, millions of shad everywhere, go to a shad color for smallies, moon definitely affected the fishing.
Fabulous trip as usual. Good temps. Wish I could have stayed another 2 days. Maybe one more trip.
October 12, 2014 - Northern Lake
Last Updated on Thursday, 16 October 2014 20:11
Sept. 27 – Oct 11 Water Temp 70-78
Pounded bank from Striper City to Rincon and a bunch in-between. Stripers, LM and SM bass all feeding together. When feeding. The moon kept the bait on the run and it was hard to relocate feeding schools the next day. The bite got as tough as I can remember. After catching a LM on a spinner bait I might as well of thrown the spinner bait away after that fish. Went through the entire arsenal with reaction baits to produce enough fish for a long day.
When feeding they give themselves away with short chases. Top water was constantly attacked but with little success of hookups. Spoons were the ticket once the moon decided to fade. Stripers, SM and walleye schools in 40” of water. There is so many fish you can feel them running into your line and the spoon bouncing off of them all the way down. SM were pounders but fought like 5lb stripers. The shad clouds are amazing as are the number of new LM bass schools. Fish were puking up shad and baby crawdads all over and using the boat as a toilet. PU fish poo!
The water is rising making for some nice shallow cover and floating debris. Do not leave your boat unless you have sticker resistant boots and pants. If it isn’t rocks or cliff it’s stickers. If you want to get some kids on fish there is a pond that will soon trap small LM and Blue Gill. It is about ½ way between the Rincon and Bowns on your right traveling south. A T-rigged single tail grub and a buzz bait should do the trick. Catch and release them back into the lake.
October 10, 2014 - Main Channel Boils
October 10, 2014
Went out this morning to see if there were any changes in fish behavior since the last trip. It was about 7 AM when the Castle Rock Cut was close at hand. Just before passing the wakeless buoys there were 2 splashes just to the right of the Cut. I swerved that direction and cast twice with a rattletraps with no results.
Then I noticed fish traces on the graph. I immediately dropped the spoon for a quick hook up on a yearling striper. The spoon fell out of the fishes mouth when it hit the deck so it was immediately dropped again to a waiting fish. Four fish were caught in about 3 minutes before drifting into shallow water and leaving the school at 30 feet.
I headed uplake hoping to get into main channel boiling schools. The last report was from the mouth of Warm Creek but I did not see any there. My next stop was Gregory Butte to see if the big fish schools were still working there. As I rounded the Butte I splashes against the East Wall of Last Chance. It took about 5 minutes but I finally got to the fish in time to catch two 3-pound fish.
I filleted fish while watching for the next boil. I lost another fish earlier when my Rapala clacker broke off when the knot between the braid and the fluorocarbon leader failed. I should have retied that one as it had caught a few big fish without me checking it for nicks. I tied on a surface lure directly to the braid because I wanted to see if it made a difference to the fish.
Heading back down lake there was a small boil out in the middle of the channel but I didn’t get there in time. But the next group that came up were closer and I got there in time to throw the topwater lure and confirm that boiling fish hit lures tied directly to braid just fine. That fish was on the deck and I picked up another rod with the lure on braid and confirmed that fish hit that just fine. I am now tying all of my surface and shallow runners directly to braid for more strength.
No more boils were seen on the trip back down lake.
October 8, 2014 - Southern boils
Just back from the lower end of the lake where my wife and I met up with my x-cop buddies from California. We met a guy that goes by the name of Number 7 on your site the day before we really got into the boils. We found the fish mid day down Last chance a couple of miles in the middle of the channel. Also found boils around the mouth of Rock Creek and Last chance in the early morning and late evening just before dark.
The photo is a 5 1/2 pound Striper caught by my wife Lisa.
We caught around 50 in a couple of days and all were healthy ranging from 2 lbs to 6 lbs. Fun times until Lisa got a hook deep in her finger and had to be taken to the emergency room to get it removed..Thanks for you great website...Tell Number 7 I couldn't find him later to tell him where the fish were....Don Nix
October 7, 2014 - Boils and smallmouth
Last Updated on Tuesday, 07 October 2014 15:19
Paste in browser until I figure out how to make this link work :(
October 6, 2014 = Smallmouth Bass in So. Lake
This past week was one of the more unusual fall fishing trips I’ve had on Lake Powell. We found fish both individually and in small pockets, but we just could not hit the mother lode. Also, the fishing was not consistent all day long. We would have long periods of very little action followed by shorter periods of sporadic action. For most waters what we experienced would be considered very good fishing, but for Lake Powell it was below the norm for this time of year.
My fishing partner for this trip was former longtime co-worker Jim Buxton. Jim and I have been fishing together for 31 years. We’ve had a lot of great trips together over those years and always enjoy fishing together no matter how good or not so good the fishing is. We were scheduled to come up Monday, September 29, but the storm that hit the Phoenix area the previous Saturday forced us to postpone for a day while we cleaned up and made some quick repairs. We did manage to get away the next day, and we planned to fish Wednesday, Thursday and Friday.
Wednesday’s windy forecast forced us to stay in Wahweap Bay. We fished down from the marina on both sides of the lake. We concentrated our early efforts on the Lakeshore Drive side but caught just a few fish. We switch to the other side around 11:00 a.m. but didn’t see much action until around 11:30. Between 11:30 and around 1:40 we managed to land 19 fish, all smallmouths, to finish the day with 28 total. Most of our fish were caught at around 20 feet just off the drop off. The best presentation was extremely slow. Our biggest bass was around 1 3/4 pounds. Thursday’s forecast was for calmer winds so we decided to run up to Gunsight. Our plan was to fish the reefs on the east side of the mouth, but it was way too windy to fish there when we arrived. We motored about halfway up the bay and found some sheltered water on the west side. We fished there until around 1:00 taking a fish or two here and there. Again, around 11:30 we started experiencing some increased action off of two points separated by one fairly large cove. We also took some fish inside the north side of that cove. Most fish were caught at 18-22 feet. By the time we had completed fishing that area the winds had calmed so we went back to the mouth of Gunsight but only managed four fish where two weeks before John Conrad and I had taken 51. It appeared clear that a bulk of the fish had left that area.
Our final tally for Thursday was 21 smallmouths and two little largemouths. At the fish cleaning station we met Wayne who told us there were a lot of smallmouth in the coves up in Last Chance so that is where we decided to go on Friday. We worked two of my better spots, but the action was incredibly slow. By 11:30 we had caught just seven smallmouths and a couple little largemouths. At that point we were working the back end of a cove that had not produced for me this season. Suddenly we began catching smallmouths, and not at the 20-foot depths we had taken them the previous days. These fish were in less than 10 feet of water. The temp gauge on my depth finder read 75 degrees, yet these fish were on the very tops of the reefs and just off the banks. Why were these fish there, and why did they decide to start hitting when the action had been so slow previously? I have no clue, but I’m glad it did. Over the next four hours in two coves we caught 27 smallmouths and two sunfish. Virtually all of these fish were in less than 10 feet. We could see large numbers of smallies swimming on the tops of the points and reefs. As with previous days, our biggest bass were around 1 3/4 pounds, but these were extremely hard-fighting fish. I can’t recall ever catching smallmouths that fought so hard for their size. One-pound fish fought like two and three-pounders.
It was very clear these fish had been eating well. On Friday many of our bass spit out shad as we were playing them. A number of the fish we cleaned were also crammed full of crayfish. They had much more girth for their length than any smallmouths I’ve seen on this lake. As previously mentioned these fish were extremely strong for their size. While we did not have as many hookups as on previous trips, most of the ones we had were solid. We lost relatively few of the fish we hooked. Once again our best lures were Yamamoto Shad Shaped Worms fished on drop shot setups. My best color was the watermelon/white laminate, while Jim had his best luck on the baby bass color. I really don’t think color mattered very much as any sort of darker green or natural shad color would have worked.
Although we had numerous reports of striper boils, we saw only a few scattered splashes which didn’t stay up long enough for us to cast into them. I did fish a surface lure in an area where saw some splashes but got no hits. I guess when it comes to boils I’m rarely in the right place at the right time. While it wasn’t the best of fall fishing trips I’ve had at Powell, we still caught decent numbers of fish and enjoyed some breath-taking scenery. I guess that’s really what’s important.