Lake Powell Fish Report – October 6, 2016
Lake Elevation: 3610.8
Water Temperature: 70 – 73 F
By: Wayne Gustaveson http://www.wayneswords.com
Good Hope Bay Report:
This week we sampled Good Hope Bay using electrofishing and hydroacoustic equipment. We found young-of-year fish to be abundant with largemouth and smallmouth bass present in good numbers. Young gizzard shad were common in the backs of canyons which provided lots of forage for the older predators. Black crappie made their best showing over the entire lake in the back of Popcorn Canyon.
We also sampled Rincon with the same equipment and found young largemouth and smallmouth bass to be well represented. We sample shallow brushy water in the backs of canyons and coves where these young fish hang out. Usually numbers of bass caught at Good Hope Bay are twice as numerous as those found at Rincon but this year it was almost a tie.
The huge find was really anticipated as we dealt with the same conditions last year. After a long hot summer the lake is deeply stratified, meaning the warm surface area is thick and reaches down 30-40 feet. The cool area right below the thermocline from 40-60 feet had low oxygen content. Oxygen spikes upward again at 80 feet.
There have been many fish reports lately indicating stripers caught at 80 feet on bait and spoons. Oxygen depletion is the culprit. Stripers can live well in 70 degree water in the upper 30 feet of water but don’t like to go through the 40-60 area often. When they get down to 80 they stay there where they can breathe better and they do not move shallower without a really good reason. Right now there is a two tier fishery for stripers and other fish. The depletion is more pronounced in the northern lake than in the southern.
We had only a short time to fish in Good Hope Bay. Before our “shocking” event we graphed in Popcorn Canyon and found a striper school in 30 - 45 feet just before the only island in the back of the canyon. These fish responded well to spoons and provided great action for about 15 minutes before leaving. There were an incredible number of fish graphed in shallow water behind the island but we did not catch any sport fish back there. My guess is a mixture of shad, carp and some sport fish.
The next morning we looked for this school again without success. We did find a school right at the mouth of Popcorn, dropped spoons and caught a dozen. When we looked for these schoolies again they had moved on.
That sums up the striper story. Stripers are moving and searching for shad in a high oxygen area. It is easy to tell where the oxygen depletion begins by watching the graph and seeing a long band of fish traces at 50, 60, or 70 feet. Drop a spoon or troll down rigger crank baits just below the depth where the band of fish is found. We also found the larger size smallmouth bass feeding right alongside the striper schoolies that were actively chasing spoons.
Fishing is good but it is challenging. Watch the graph. Stop immediately when a striper school is seen. Drop a spoon or yo-yo a rattletrap off the bottom. The fish caught using these methods are in great shape.