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Home Anglers Corner October 1, 2017 - SMB heating up

October 1, 2017 - SMB heating up

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Fall smallmouth fishing on Lake Powell is really starting to turn on. The fish are hungry and are becoming more aggressive. In fact, last Thursday my friend and long time fishing partner John Conrad and I enjoyed perhaps our greatest smallmouth day on Lake Powell.


With a good weather forecast we decided to make the run to Last Chance Bay. Our first stop was a nondescript slick rock canyon which didn’t look like a great smallmouth spot. We motored into the back end and began fishing. Almost immediately we were into fish, one right after another. In the first hour we took 21, and in the three hours we spent in there we caught 53. We had a number of double hookups. Many of these fish leaped more than three feet out of the water, their flapping tails sounding like rising quail. Several leaped close enough to the boat to splash my face. Lake Powell smallmouth tend to fight harder for their size than any smallmouth I’ve ever caught, but these even exceeded past Lake Powell standards. Most of the fish caught were in the one to 1 3/4 pound class, however we both caught a few that pushed two pounds. I seriously doubt if this canyon had a line thrown over it all year prior to Thursday.











































We fished two other coves finishing the day with 83 smallmouths, three largemouths and five sunfish - 91 total fish. John and I have had days where we’ve caught more fish, but we’ve never had a day where we caught as many quality fish as we did Thursday.


We caught most of our fish in 10 to 15 feet of water, however we took a few up shallower and some much deeper - as deep as 30 feet. The best presentation for the deeper fish, over 15 feet, was straight down under the boat. As normal, horizontal casting was the best presentation for the shallower fish. As usual, we fished Yamamoto Shad Shaped Worms on drop shot rigs. We used both the green and white laminate and natural shad colors. We could tell no difference in effectiveness. Color was not an issue with these fish. We did a lot of slow dragging and dead sticking. Many fish hit on the initial drop, however we also caught quite a few dragging and dead sticking. As I’ve said many times, I believe this is the best and most consistent presentation/bait for Lake Powell smallmouth as with it we can fish the entire water column from up against the bank to 35-40 feet. I have no doubt that other favorite presentations such as curly tail grubs on jig heads, tubes and shaky head and Texas-rigged plastic worms would also work; however many of the bass we caught Thursday spit up large numbers of shad while we were fighting them. I can only recall cleaning one smallie that had a crayfish in his stomach. This leads me to believe that a shad imitation fished a bit up off the bottom might work better than a crayfish imitation right now.


jc5Thursday was certainly the highlight of our trip, however we also fished Tuesday and Wednesday. Tuesday we fished the double islands just through the Castle Rock Cut, the mouth of Warm Creek and a rocky bay up the main channel from Warm Creek. While the fishing wasn’t nearly as good as Thursday, we still caught 43 smallmouths. The problem was many of those were “dinks” while most of what we caught Thursday were decent quality fish. Fishing was sort of hit and miss. We’d catch several from one small area and then fish a lot of shoreline, reefs and shelves before catching several more. We had a lot of short strikes and lost many fish. It was an inconsistent day. We spent Wednesday morning watching the thunder, lightning, wind and rain show from my Greenehaven mobile. The weather finally cleared, the winds calmed and we hit the lake around 12:45 p.m. We stayed in Wahweap Bay fishing the shelves down near the mouth catching 13 fish. Like Tuesday we lost more than we landed. It was getting late so we motored back toward the marina. Just across the lake and down from the marina I pulled into a large cove on the Antelope Island side of the bay. Due to a lack of time we decided to fish only the back of the cove. That turned out to be a good decision as we took 10 quality fish in about 30 minutes upping our total to 23 for three and a half hours of fishing.


I believe this last stop Wednesday provided the catalyst for our success Thursday as we found those fish in the very back of a fairly long cove, and these were bigger fish than we had been previously catching. That convinced us that the bass were, in fact, moving into the back ends of the coves as is their typical fall pattern. This led to our decision to make the run to Last Chance the next day and to fish the backs of the canyons and coves up there - a decision that proved to be a good one.


I believe this pattern will only get better over the next several weeks as long as the weather holds. John and I plan two more trips in October hoping to duplicate what we did this past Thursday. That will be a tall order but not beyond the realm of possibility. Hope to see you out there.