Lake Powell Fish Report – August 3, 2016
Lake Elevation: 3617
Water Temperature: 80 – 86 F
By: Wayne Gustaveson http://www.wayneswords.com
Last week the suggested fishing spot was “Go North”. That is still good advice. This week with surface water temperatures climbing into the mid 80s the suggested “Hot” spot is “Go Deep”. A walleye report just received indicates the walleye was caught at a depth of 50 feet. Smallmouth fishing has slowed but these fish are still available at 25 feet and deeper. Stripers are holding at 30 feet or deeper. All of the species that prefer water temperatures in the 70s are forced into deeper water to find their comfort zone.
Here is the breakdown by species:
Striped Bass: Stripers love shad. Shad love warm shallow water that is enriched with plankton. Shad would prefer to hold in 75 degree water but that depth zone is overpopulated with predators. Shad then stay on the surface and move toward the brush line where it is possible to move into the brush when danger threatens. Adult stripers are forced into deep water because after they mature their body can only withstand 80 degree water for a few minutes. They can attack a shallow shad school, grab a bite to eat, but then must quickly dive to cooler water. This is synonymous with humans snorkeling. We can dive into deep water while holding our breath but must soon surface to take another breath.
Striper surface activity seen yesterday lasted less than a minute. In one Padre Bay location, a striper school surfaced many times but only for 30 seconds per trip. When close to the rising fish, catching was easy. If we had to run toward the school there was no surface catching. The simple answer to this dilemma was to use a medium size spoon that could be cast 50 yards to reach surface feeding fish or dropped toward the bottom to chase fish that were diving for cooler water. One resting school was graphed on the bottom at 55 feet. They responded quickly to spoons. Three fish were caught before the school vacated the spot.
The most effective fishing method for stripers is to use bait while chumming along steep canyon walls. Not surprisingly, these adult fish are holding at 30 feet which provides a comfortable temperature while they wait for food to descend from above. Productive fishing spots included: Warm Creek Wall, Labyrinth Wall, East side of Padre Bay, Mouth of Padre Canyon, and the west wall between Wetherill and Cornerstone Canyon (fish the lighter grey wall instead of the colorful red wall.)
Walleye: Prefer cooler water but will come shallow in low light and at night. Use night crawlers on bottom bouncers or added to single tail grubs that can be worked slowly along the bottom. Walleye are not a schooling fish but they congregate in the same areas. When one is caught by any means, mark the location and return to capture site to target more. Sometimes a walleye is caught trolling. That catch may mark the spot where many more can be found using many different walleye fishing techniques.
Largemouth bass are brush loving fish and will be in brush despite water temperature. If an old tumble weed pile is available in deeper, cooler water that is the preferred habitat. Smallmouth bass like rock structure, so they can be anywhere in this lake. With shallow shad being present, the best smallmouth technique now is to use topwater lures at dusk and dawn each day.
Bluegill love the brushy coves with tumbleweeds windrowed at the base of the tamarisk forest at the waters edge. Small worms on small hooks make for a perfect match for the bold attitude of these aggressive panfish. Kids and bluegill were made for each other.
It’s hot, but fish can still be caught. Try fishing early in the morning when it’s cool and then use the wakeboards and PWCs for the rest of the day. Have a great trip to Lake Powell.