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September 12, 2018 - Spooning for Stripers

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Lake Powell Fish Report – September 12, 2018
Lake Elevation:  3595
Water temperature:  75 - 80 F
By: Wayne Gustaveson   http://www.wayneswords.com or Wayneswords.net
Spoon up some stripers!
Lake Powell continues to drop about 1-foot per week. The Castle Rock Cut should be passable for another 2 months. It was recently announced that a High Flow Experiment (HFE) will occur during the first week of November.  At that time the outflow from the dam will increase dramatically to move sediment from the river bottom to the river banks further downstream. This event improves habitat for native fish in the river and in backwaters.  It is likely that the Castle Rock Cut will no longer be open after the HFE event occurs.
The big news now is that striper schools are actively chasing shad schools in deep, open water.  That means it is time to pull out the jigging spoons and start fishing in deep water in the canyons and main channel. If you are lucky it is still possible to see a quick striper boil. You may be able to get to the school quickly and catch some fish on top water lures. More importantly a surface feeding event marks the spot where large schools of stripers are holding in deeper water.   Get to the boil site as quickly as possible and if the fish have gone down, deploy spoons into the depths, let the spoon hit bottom and then speed reel the spoon back to the boat.
Speed Reeling definition:  When the lure hits bottom start reeling the spoon as fast as physically possible. If fish are seen on the graph at a certain depth, pause and jig a few times at the suspected holding depth. Then continue reeling very fast until you are sure that the spoon is above the holding depth of the school.  Retrieve the spoon, cast again, then repeat the retrieval process.
If no boils are seen, use the graph to search for a large striper school, which may be holding somewhere between 30 and 90 feet of water. When a striper school is detected, stop quickly and drop spoons immediately. Let the spoon hit bottom to help you know where the spoon is in relation to the fish.  If the school is 10 feet off the bottom than reel up 4 turns and start jigging the spoon up 3 feet and letting it fall back down 3 feet.  Stripers often follow the spoon and then hit as it falls. It is more likely to feel the fish as you jig upwards instead of feeling the fish hit the lure as it falls. A hooked striper excites the other fish in the school as they see the fish swimming with a “shad” in its mouth.  The school follows the hooked fish looking for more food.  It is often possible to “lead” a striper school that follows the boat.  When a fish is caught, unhook the fish as quickly as possible, and return the spoon to the water immediately to keep the school under the boat and actively engaged in searching for more shad.  It is not unusual to lead a striper school for over an hour as the boat drifts with the breeze, while catching 50 or more stripers in one drift.
Spooning hotspots recently include Knowles Canyon, Good Hope Bay, Dome Rock in Bullfrog Bay, Piute Canyon in the San Juan, 50 Mile Canyon in the Escalante, and Oak Canyon upstream from Rainbow Bridge.
Smallmouth bass fishing continues to be excellent lake wide. Dropshot rigged Yamamoto Shad-shaped worms and other plastic baits are working well all day along the shoreline. Look for long rocky points that reach out into the lake at the new lower water levels we are now dealing with. Bass will be holding at 10-20 feet at the end of the point and also at the same depth perpendicular to the point.
Most fish are perking back up now that the water temperature is dropping into the mid 70’s in the morning. Expect to still catch a few largemouth bass, bluegill, walleye and catfish while fishing for your favorite species of fish.

Lake Powell Fish Report – September 12, 2018

Lake Elevation:  3595

Water temperature:  75 - 80 F

By: Wayne Gustaveson   http://www.wayneswords.com or Wayneswords.net


Spoon up some stripers!

Lake Powell continues to drop about 1-foot per week. The Castle Rock Cut should be passable for another 2 months. It was recently announced that a High Flow Experiment (HFE) will occur during the first week of November.  At that time the outflow from the dam will increase dramatically to move sediment from the river bottom to the river banks further downstream. This event improves habitat for native fish in the river and in backwaters.  It is likely that the Castle Rock Cut will no longer be open after the HFE event occurs. 

The big news now is that striper schools are actively chasing shad schools in deep, open water.  That means it is time to pull out the jigging spoons and start fishing in deep water in the canyons and main channel. If you are lucky it is still possible to see a quick striper boil. You may be able to get to the school quickly and catch some fish on top water lures. More importantly a surface feeding event marks the spot where large schools of stripers are holding in deeper water.   Get to the boil site as quickly as possible and if the fish have gone down, deploy spoons into the depths, let the spoon hit bottom and then speed reel the spoon back to the boat. 

Speed Reeling definition:  When the lure hits bottom start reeling the spoon as fast as physically possible. If fish are seen on the graph at a certain depth, pause and jig a few times at the suspected holding depth. Then continue reeling very fast until you are sure that the spoon is above the holding depth of the school.  Retrieve the spoon, cast again, then repeat the retrieval process.

If no boils are seen, use the graph to search for a large striper school, which may be holding somewhere between 30 and 90 feet of water. When a striper school is detected, stop quickly and drop spoons immediately. Let the spoon hit bottom to help you know where the spoon is in relation to the fish.  If the school is 10 feet off the bottom than reel up 4 turns and start jigging the spoon up 3 feet and letting it fall back down 3 feet.  Stripers often follow the spoon and then hit as it falls. It is more likely to feel the fish as you jig upwards instead of feeling the fish hit the lure as it falls. A hooked striper excites the other fish in the school as they see the fish swimming with a “shad” in its mouth.  The school follows the hooked fish looking for more food.  It is often possible to “lead” a striper school that follows the boat.  When a fish is caught, unhook the fish as quickly as possible, and return the spoon to the water immediately to keep the school under the boat and actively engaged in searching for more shad.  It is not unusual to lead a striper school for over an hour as the boat drifts with the breeze, while catching 50 or more stripers in one drift. 

Spooning hotspots recently include Knowles Canyon, Good Hope Bay, Dome Rock in Bullfrog Bay, Piute Canyon in the San Juan, 50 Mile Canyon in the Escalante, and Oak Canyon upstream from Rainbow Bridge. 

Smallmouth bass fishing continues to be excellent lake wide. Dropshot rigged Yamamoto Shad-shaped worms and other plastic baits are working well all day along the shoreline. Look for long rocky points that reach out into the lake at the new lower water levels we are now dealing with. Bass will be holding at 10-20 feet at the end of the point and also at the same depth perpendicular to the point. 

Most fish are perking back up now that the water temperature is dropping into the mid 70’s in the morning. Expect to still catch a few largemouth bass, bluegill, walleye and catfish while fishing for your favorite species of fish.

mardyhepworth_edited-1

Mardy Hepworth with a nice catfish caught in Wetherill Canyon.

 

September 3, 2018 - Water Cooling - Fishing Warming

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Lake Powell Fish Report – September 3, 2018

Lake Elevation:  3596

Water temperature:  76 - 80 F

By: Wayne Gustaveson   http://www.wayneswords.com or Wayneswords.net

The air temperature is cooling down now that September is here. Water temperature is following suit. That cooling makes it easier for stripers to stay near the surface and boil on a shad school.  The surface feeding activity that was confined to the northern half of the lake is now a thing of the past.  Boils are now reported from Wahweap to the Good Hope Bay.

This week expect to see some surface activity in the southern lake from Wahweap to Rainbow Bridge.  There were recent reports of boiling stripers in Ice Cream Canyon (Wahweap Bay), Padre Bay and the mouth of Rock Creek.  Generally, this means that it is possible to find surface feeding fish anywhere and at any time of day. Unfortunately, the surface action only last for a short time. Throw topwater lures into the boiling fish as long as they stay up. A good school may boil for 10-15 minutes which means you can catch 10 or more from that single event. More often they only stay up for 5 minutes or less.

Do not be discouraged when they go down quickly. Treat the surface activity as a marker buoy.  Head to the spot and watch the graph intently. These surfacing stripers are searching for shad to eat and not finding that many in the southern lake.   When they go down they are still searching for food.  Find the school on the graph and drop spoons to the hungry fish and get ready for some incredible fish-catching action.  Spoons resemble shad that stripers are searching for so they respond quickly to your bait. The striper school follows any fish with a shad [or spoon] in its mouth so they will stay under the boat as long as the spoons keep dropping. The action can be as intense as fishing a surface boil.  Watch the graph for the visual effect that surface fishing offers.  Unhook the fish quickly, immediately drop the spoon back down to find another hungry fish.

Spoons that work well include Kastmasters, Fle Fly, Real Image, and Colt Sniper. These long thin spoons are “slab spoons” which all work well for hungry stripers.   If the striper school is holding at 30 feet, drop the spoon to 40 feet and then reel it up through the feeding fish. If no fish hit the lure after coming up 20 feet then drop again to 40 feet.  Try to keep the spoon in the school as long as possible so the fish can see it and quickly get to it.  Spooning is the best way to catch a bunch a stripers in a very short time. 

Smallmouth bass are observing the feeding stripers and get very excited about their feeding behavior.  If shad, spoons, crank baits, or surface lures come near, smallmouth bass will join in on the action. Bass fishing is excellent right now as water temperature drops and stripers drive shad toward the shoreline.

Do not be surprised if walleye, largemouth bass, sunfish and bluegill are caught at the same time all the smallmouth and striper activity is occurring.  The summer boating crowds are now declining. Water and air temperature are falling. The lake is now heading to excellent fishing success such as that seen in April and May.  The best time to fish in the Fall is from September 15th to October 15th.  The fun times are right around the corner.  Come and join in on the fun.

 

 

August 21,2018 - Deep Trolling and Spooning

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Lake Powell Fish Report – August 21, 2018
Lake Elevation:  3599
Water temperature:  78 - 83 F
By: Wayne Gustaveson   http://www.wayneswords.com or Wayneswords.net
Fishing is picking up over the length of Lake Powell.  The southern lake is providing decent bait fishing and successful deep water trolling for stripers.  Bass fishing is good lake wide.  Here are the details.
It is critically important to begin fishing as early as possible.  Smallmouth bass are still responding to surface lures at first light.  Stripers are most active for the first two hours of daylight.  They can be caught on bait, deep trolling and an occasional small boil.  Regardless of the technique the results at 6 AM far outweigh the catch that happens at 10 AM with the same effort.  The first rule is to go early.
The next rule is to head north.  Best fishing success on Lake Powell is in Good Hope Bay.  The upper San Juan is good at times, as is the Escalante.  However, Good Hope Bay is the best.  Good Hope has the biggest shad population, and therefore the most striped bass that spend their lives in pursuit of shad.
A typical day at Good Hope begins with an occasional striper boil, but more often there are individual stripers chasing shad that can be seen jumping when looking toward the sunrise. These small splashes are backlit by the rising sun and easy to see over long distances.  Cruise toward the splashes and throw surface lures when in range. Catching fish on top is the best, but watching the graph is critical if catching a bunch of fish is the goal.   Down below the jumping fish are huge schools of stripers moving silently while waiting to interact with a deep shad school.  When the big striper school is seen, drop spoons into the school for quick results.  The schools are often suspended so it is important to know the depth of the spoon.  The best way is to drop the spoon to the bottom and then speed reel back to the school.  If the bottom is at 90 feet and the school is at 50 feet reel up 40 feet and then start jigging. This is easier said than done. Luckily, speed reeling works well on searching stripers.  They often tell you when the spoon is at the right depth by biting the lure.
Deep trolling is working well with the best depth being from 15-30 feet.  Holding stripers are found in this range and will hit trolled lures moving at the depth schools are holding.  Watch the graph and adjust the trolling depth to match the holding depth of striper schools.  While trolling other fish like walleye, catfish, and bass will participate.  Last week there was a 34-pound striper caught while using the deep trolling technique while the lucky angler was trolling from a jet ski!
Lake Powell has an amazing year round fishery.

Lake Powell Fish Report – August 21, 2018

Lake Elevation:  3599

Water temperature:  78 - 83 F

By: Wayne Gustaveson   http://www.wayneswords.com or Wayneswords.net

Fishing is picking up over the length of Lake Powell.  The southern lake is providing decent bait fishing and successful deep water trolling for stripers.  Bass fishing is good lake wide.  Here are the details.

It is critically important to begin fishing as early as possible.  Smallmouth bass are still responding to surface lures at first light.  Stripers are most active for the first two hours of daylight.  They can be caught on bait, deep trolling and an occasional small boil.  Regardless of the technique the results at 6 AM far outweigh the catch that happens at 10 AM with the same effort.  The first rule is to go early.

The next rule is to head north.  Best fishing success on Lake Powell is in Good Hope Bay.  The upper San Juan is good at times, as is the Escalante.  However, Good Hope Bay is the best.  Good Hope has the biggest shad population, and therefore the most striped bass that spend their lives in pursuit of shad.  

A typical day at Good Hope begins with an occasional striper boil, but more often there are individual stripers chasing shad that can be seen jumping when looking toward the sunrise. These small splashes are backlit by the rising sun and easy to see over long distances.  Cruise toward the splashes and throw surface lures when in range. Catching fish on top is the best, but watching the graph is critical if catching a bunch of fish is the goal.   Down below the jumping fish are huge schools of stripers moving silently while waiting to interact with a deep shad school.  When the big striper school is seen, drop spoons into the school for quick results.  The schools are often suspended so it is important to know the depth of the spoon.  The best way is to drop the spoon to the bottom and then speed reel back to the school.  If the bottom is at 90 feet and the school is at 50 feet reel up 40 feet and then start jigging. This is easier said than done. Luckily, speed reeling works well on searching stripers.  They often tell you when the spoon is at the right depth by biting the lure. 

Deep trolling is working well with the best depth being from 15-30 feet.  Holding stripers are found in this range and will hit trolled lures moving at the depth schools are holding.  Watch the graph and adjust the trolling depth to match the holding depth of striper schools.  While trolling other fish like walleye, catfish, and bass will participate.  Last week there was a 34-pound striper caught on Lake Canyon Wall, using the deep trolling technique while the lucky angler was trolling from a jet ski!

Lake Powell has an amazing year round fishery.

 

August 16, 2018 - Trophy Striper

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Lake Powell Fish Report

Lake  Elevation: 3600

Water Temperature:  78-83 F

By Wayne Gustaveson    http://www.wayneswords.net or www.wayneswords.com 

Great News! A trophy striper was caught near Bullfrog by WhitewaterDD, a new member following the Wayneswords.net fishing report page.  DD reported that it took over 15 minutes to land the trophy.  She thought she was severely snagged on the bottom instead of playing a trophy striper.  She stated “It was like reeling in a live cinder block.”   The big fish was caught on a Rapala Deep Diving lure that runs 16 feet deep. It was the second fish caught after trolling for 20 minutes.  We hope to talk with DD more and be able to present more details of the big fish adventure.  Look for more information in the coming days.

Fishing success is picking up over the length of the lake. Bass fishing continues to be steady along the rocky shoreline.  Smallmouth bass can be caught with plastic grubs, trolling lures throughout the day, and top water lures each morning and evening.

Largemouth bass are found in the new weed growth patches that are showing up in abundance on many flats and coves along the shoreline.  Find a new weed patch and largemouth bass and sunfish will be close by.

Bluegill and green sunfish are bigger and more numerous this year than ever before. They hold at 15-25 feet this time of year. They can be caught in big numbers with a very small bait hook tipped with a one-inch worm chunk. Kids really have a great time fishing for bluegill.

Striped bass are becoming better fishing targets for anglers trolling at 20-40 feet with deep diving lures, and/or down riggers.  Stripers are located along the length of the lake holding in 70 degree water which is found at 25-40 feet. A common spot to find stripers is along a steep cliff that has a rock slide or a shallow cove at the end of the cliff.  Adult stripers cannot stay in warm water, but they can make a quick run into the shallows, feed quickly on crayfish and then drop back down into deeper, cooler water. Look for these shallow cliff ending spots and try bait in these spots to increase the striper catch. Trolling along the cliff wall is working much better now than it was last month.

We had a large walleye report turned in by trollers working the main channel in the Escalante arm of the lake.

Catfish are eager to hit bait on the bottom near camp both morning and evening.

 

August 8, 2018 - Bass Fishing is Best

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Lake Powell Fish Report – August 8, 2018
Lake Elevation:  3602
Water temperature:  79 - 86 F
By: Wayne Gustaveson   http://www.wayneswords.com or Wayneswords.net
Fishing success on the southern end of the lake is all about smallmouth bass.  Basically smallmouth bass are found on rock structure that is 12-30 feet deep.  Look for rocky outcroppings, drop-offs, rocky points, shelves, rock slides, big rocks, little rocks, rocky coves and virtually anything else rock related.  While traveling up or down lake just scan the shoreline and look at the beauty and majesty of the giant rock walls.  Occasionally you will see rock features that could hold smallmouth bass.  Try those spots that look the most “fishy.”
Smallmouth bass can be caught while trolling a rattletrap or medium diving crankbait parallel to rocky structure.  The best method now is to use crayfish colored (green) or shad colored (white with black flake) plastic baits on a 1/8th to 1/4 ounce jig head bounced along the bottom structure. The most exciting technique is casting topwater lures toward shore before the sun hits the water.   In summary, if you have a favorite smallmouth technique, give it a try.  You will catch some fish.
It is very busy with campers and boaters in the southern lake.  It gets quieter as you go further uplake. Right now the best lakewide bass fishing spot is from Oak Canyon to the Escalante.  Bass catching near the mouth of the San Juan in the main channel is nonstop.
Striper fishing in Good Hope Bay dropped off a bit today. Instead of catching 50 -100 fish, the reported catch today was only 20 stripers caught in boils. There were also a few stripers caught in Bullfrog Bay on topwater lures while traveling uplake to Good Hope. Stripers could come to the top again tomorrow or it could take a few more days.  My guess is that the shad schools are moving and stripers were left behind for while. Broaden the search zone to find moving fish. I predict the next north lake boils will be closer to Ticaboo, Red Canyon or Blue Notch.
Stripers are more difficult to locate in the southern lake.  The common pattern is to troll and graph in 25 feet of water towards the backs of canyons. That is not always easy to do with lots of ski boats and camps in the backs of the canyons. It is better to look for stripers further uplake.
Over the length of the lake, the best time to find boiling fish is morning and evening twilight but they can pop up anytime during the day.  When large schools of shad are seen on the graph or swimming in clear water near shore, hungry stripers will be close by.  Shad do not have many brushy places to hide so they swim in very tight schools hoping stripers will eat those shad on the outer edge of the school first.  It is a difficult time to be a shad.  This is the time when anglers can actually help the forage fish by catching lots of stripers in boils and allowing shad to swim free for another day.
It is time to put on your S.H.A.D. Badge = (Shad Helpers and Defenders) Go catch some stripers!

Lake Powell Fish Report – August 8, 2018

Lake Elevation:  3602

Water temperature:  79 - 86 F

By: Wayne Gustaveson   http://www.wayneswords.com or Wayneswords.net
mgus222
Fishing success on the southern end of the lake is all about smallmouth bass.  Basically smallmouth bass are found on rock structure that is 12-30 feet deep.  Look for rocky outcroppings, drop-offs, rocky points, shelves, rock slides, big rocks, little rocks, rocky coves and virtually anything else rock related.  While traveling up or down lake just scan the shoreline and look at the beauty and majesty of the giant rock walls.  Occasionally you will see rock features that could hold smallmouth bass.  Try those spots that look the most “fishy.”

Smallmouth bass can be caught while trolling a rattletrap or medium diving crankbait parallel to rocky structure.  The best method now is to use crayfish colored (green) or shad colored (white with black flake) plastic baits on a 1/8th to 1/4 ounce jig head bounced along the bottom structure. The most exciting technique is casting topwater lures toward shore before the sun hits the water.   In summary, if you have a favorite smallmouth technique, give it a try.  You will catch some fish.

It is very busy with campers and boaters in the southern lake.  It gets quieter as you go further uplake. Right now the best lakewide bass fishing spot is from Oak Canyon to the Escalante.  Bass catching near the mouth of the San Juan in the main channel is nonstop. 

Striper fishing in Good Hope Bay dropped off a bit today. Instead of catching 50 -100 fish, the reported catch today was only 20 stripers caught in boils. There were also a few stripers caught in Bullfrog Bay on topwater lures while traveling uplake to Good Hope. Stripers could come to the top again tomorrow or it could take a few more days.  My guess is that the shad schools are moving and stripers were left behind for while. Broaden the search zone to find moving fish. I predict the next north lake boils will be closer to Ticaboo, Red Canyon or Blue Notch.

Stripers are more difficult to locate in the southern lake.  The common pattern is to troll and graph in 25 feet of water towards the backs of canyons. That is not always easy to do with lots of ski boats and camps in the backs of the canyons. It is better to look for stripers further uplake. 

Over the length of the lake, the best time to find boiling fish is morning and evening twilight but they can pop up anytime during the day.  When large schools of shad are seen on the graph or swimming in clear water near shore, hungry stripers will be close by.  Shad do not have many brushy places to hide so they swim in very tight schools hoping stripers will eat those shad on the outer edge of the school first.  It is a difficult time to be a shad.  This is the time when anglers can actually help the forage fish by catching lots of stripers in boils and allowing shad to swim free for another day. 

It is time to put on your S.H.A.D. Badge = (Shad Helpers and Defenders) Go catch some stripers!

Last Updated on Tuesday, 07 August 2018 14:33
 

August 1, 2018 - Go North for Boils

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Lake Powell Fish Report – August 1, 2018
Lake Elevation:  3603
Water temperature:  80- 86 F
By: Wayne Gustaveson   http://www.wayneswords.com or Wayneswords.net
The very best place to fish this week on Lake Powell begins at Bullfrog and gets better by traveling further north. The Hot Spot is Good Hope Bay with the target being boiling stripers.
Shad schools that were hiding in the backs of the canyons have now moved out into open water hoping to avoid striper schools that were feeding ferociously on shad hiding in the canyons. That escape tactic did not work very well since shad swim in large schools that are easy for stripers to locate and then attack.  This does work well for anglers who can see the large splashes created when 2-3 pound stripers drive shad to the surface and/or against the shoreline and feed for long periods of time.  It is now possible to see “boiling fish” that stay on the surface for an hour or more. If you can get close enough to cast a lure into the boiling melee you will catch lots of stripers with a few bass mixed in as well. It is wise to take binoculars with you to quicken the search for boiling fish.
There have been a few boils reported near Halls Marina in the mornings or evenings. Boils can pop up anywhere over the length of the lake. It is likely to see boils in the San Juan, Escalante, and main channel from Rainbow Bridge to Bullfrog.  There have been only a few boils seen from Rainbow Bridge to the dam due to a lack of shad schools in open water in the southern lake. Stripers have been very efficient in slurping up most of the larval shad produced in the southern lake this spring. There is some hope for boils occurring in the south later this year as some shad schools are hiding effectively in shallow, murky, warm water in the backs of some canyons.
Larger adult stripers are not able to stay near the surface in 80 degree water (warm temperature intolerance) so they are holding at 30-50 feet looking for food.  They are finding crayfish on the bottom at 20-30 feet in the backs of canyons and on rocky shelves and drop-offs.  These stripers can be caught trolling to find schools and then casting to catch more fish. Spoons work well once a school is located holding on the bottom. From Wahweap to Padre Bay there are many campsites, houseboats, and wake boats in the backs of canyons where adult stripers are found.  It is more successful to go fishing from Last Chance uplake where summer boat traffic is less.
Smallmouth bass provide the best fishing from Wahweap to Rainbow Bridge.  Best success is achieved by getting on the water at first light and casting surface lures toward the shoreline where bottom depth of 10-25 feet.  Look for rocky points, islands, and deep coves along the shoreline where bass like to congregate. Bass feed aggressively as the sky starts to lighten but then action declines as the sun comes up.   Bass then move deeper and can be caught on double and single tail plastic grubs from 15-30 feet.
On our last sampling trip in the south, we caught lots of smallmouth bass at first light on surface poppers fished with a big splash and then a pause followed by smaller splashes. When the sun came out we dropped double and single tail grubs to the bottom at 15-25 feet on rocky points jutting out from shore.   We had a nice largemouth bass, a 3 pound striper, and a big catfish join in with the smallmouth menagerie.  We had a great full day of fishing and returned to the dock by 11 AM.

Lake Powell Fish Report – August 1, 2018

Lake Elevation:  3603

Water temperature:  80 - 86 F

By: Wayne Gustaveson   http://www.wayneswords.com or Wayneswords.net

The very best place to fish this week on Lake Powell begins at Bullfrog and gets better by traveling further north. The Hot Spot is Good Hope Bay with the target being boiling stripers. 

Shad schools that were hiding in the backs of the canyons have now moved out into open water hoping to avoid striper schools that were feeding ferociously on shad hiding in the canyons. That escape tactic did not work very well since shad swim in large schools that are easy for stripers to locate and then attack.  This does work well for anglers who can see the large splashes created when 2-3 pound stripers drive shad to the surface and/or against the shoreline and feed for long periods of time.  It is now possible to see “boiling fish” that stay on the surface for an hour or more. If you can get close enough to cast a lure into the boiling melee you will catch lots of stripers with a few bass mixed in as well. It is wise to take binoculars with you to quicken the search for boiling fish.   

There have been a few boils reported near Halls Marina in the mornings or evenings. Boils can pop up anywhere over the length of the lake. It is likely to see boils in the San Juan, Escalante, and main channel from Rainbow Bridge to Bullfrog.  There have been only a few boils seen from Rainbow Bridge to the dam due to a lack of shad schools in open water in the southern lake. Stripers have been very efficient in slurping up most of the larval shad produced in the southern lake this spring. There is some hope for boils occurring in the south later this year as some shad schools are hiding effectively in shallow, murky, warm water in the backs of some canyons.

Larger adult stripers are not able to stay near the surface in 80 degree water (warm temperature intolerance) so they are holding at 30-50 feet looking for food.  They are finding crayfish on the bottom at 20-30 feet in the backs of canyons and on rocky shelves and drop-offs.  These stripers can be caught trolling to find schools and then casting to catch more fish. Spoons or bait works well once a school is located holding on the bottom. From Wahweap to Padre Bay there are many campsites, houseboats, and wake boats in the backs of canyons where adult stripers are found.  It is more successful to go fishing from Last Chance uplake where summer boat traffic is less.

Smallmouth bass provide the best fishing from Wahweap to Rainbow Bridge.  Best success is achieved by getting on the water at first light and casting surface lures toward the shoreline where bottom depth is 10-25 feet.  Look for rocky points, islands, and deep coves along the shoreline where bass like to congregate. Bass feed aggressively as the sky starts to lighten but then action declines as the sun comes up.   Bass then move deeper and can be caught on double and single tail plastic grubs from 15-30 feet.  

On our last sampling trip in the south, we caught lots of smallmouth bass at first light on surface poppers fished with a big splash and then a pause followed by smaller splashes. When the sun came out we dropped double and single tail grubs to the bottom at 15-25 feet on rocky points jutting out from shore.   We had a nice largemouth bass, a 3-pound striper, and a big catfish join in with the smallmouth menagerie.  We had a great full day of fishing and returned to the dock by 11 AM.

lmb12

 

July 26, 2018 - Stripers Boil North Lake

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Lake Powell Fish Report – July 26, 2018
Lake Elevation:  3605
Water temperature:  79 - 84 F
By: Wayne Gustaveson   http://www.wayneswords.com or Wayneswords.net
Boiling stripers are busting loose in the northern lake.  Stripers search for larger shad at first light in the morning and drive them to the surface where they surround the shad school and eat as many as possible.  These feeding forays can be seen for a long distance.  Since striper boils last longer than slurps it is possible to see the school and quickly drive within casting range.  In boils, feeding is intense so virtually any surface lure or shallow running crankbait or spoon cast into the boil will be consumed.  This is the beginning of the best striper fishing of the year as stripers switch over from slurping small shad to crushing bigger shad.
Boils have been seen in Good Hope Bay along the shoreline.  Stripers feed more effectively when they trap shad, not only against the surface, but also against the shoreline which limits the escape routes for fleeing shad.  Slurps were previously seen in the backs of the canyons and coves where small shad reside but now the open bays have larger shad so stripers have moved there.  Small groups of stripers are in the open bays but they are either single fish on top or a resting school at depth. The single stripers can be caught occasionally but catching is more productive when a feeding school is found closer to shore.
Wind and rain can stop these boils but stripers are patient and will start feeding on the surface again as soon as the water calms and shad become visible once more.  Stripers go deep while waiting for shad. If a school is seen on the graph stripers can be caught on spoons deployed directly under the boat.
In the rest of the lake there are still more slurps than boils.  These slurps are starting to get a bit “jumpy” as a few larger shad are swimming with the newly hatched shad.  Larger shad swim faster and cause chasing stripers to speed up and hit the surface in the process.  Over the length of the lake it is wise to keep an eye out for any surface disturbance. If it is big and bold it is worth it to stop and fish. If the disturbance is small and quick then it may be better to wait until a bigger more aggressive striper group is found.
Smallmouth bass fishing is steady along the rocky shorelines and over newly visible rock islands that are appearing as the lake level declines.  It has been a really good year for catching larger (2- pound plus) bass on a variety of plastic baits fished along the bottom.  Still the best technique is to use topwater baits in the early morning hours along the rocky shoreline and on rocky points sticking out into the main lake.
Largemouth bass can be found in coves with lots of aquatic weed growth.  The most common weed is Spiny Niada.  Look for coves where the bottom is covered with green plants from the surface to 10 feet deep sometimes covering more than an acre of lake bottom.  Largemouth bass love weedy cover.  Unfortunately it is difficult to work a lure in the weed zone. The good news is that largemouth will come up to hit a loud surface lure like a Whopper Plopper with early morning or late evening being the best time to fish.

Lake Powell Fish Report – July 26, 2018

Lake Elevation:  3605

Water temperature:  79 - 84 F

By: Wayne Gustaveson   http://www.wayneswords.com or Wayneswords.net

boiljulyww

 


Boiling stripers are busting loose in the northern lake.  Stripers search for larger shad at first light in the morning and drive them to the surface where they surround the shad school and eat as many as possible.  These feeding forays can be seen for a long distance.  Since striper boils last longer than slurps it is possible to see the school and quickly drive within casting range.  In boils, feeding is intense so virtually any surface lure or shallow running crankbait or spoon cast into the boil will be consumed.  This is the beginning of the best striper fishing of the year as stripers switch over from slurping small shad to crushing bigger shad.

Boils have been seen in Good Hope Bay along the shoreline.  Stripers feed more effectively when they trap shad, not only against the surface, but also against the shoreline which limits the escape routes for fleeing shad.  Slurps were previously seen in the backs of the canyons and coves where small shad reside but now the open bays have larger shad so stripers have moved there.  Small groups of stripers are in the open bays but they are either single fish on top or a resting school at depth. The single stripers can be caught occasionally but catching is more productive when a feeding school is found closer to shore.

Wind and rain can stop these boils but stripers are patient and will start feeding on the surface again as soon as the water calms and shad become visible once more.  Stripers go deep while waiting for shad. If a school is seen on the graph stripers can be caught on spoons deployed directly under the boat. 

In the rest of the lake there are still more slurps than boils.  These slurps are starting to get a bit “jumpy” as a few larger shad are swimming with the newly hatched shad.  Larger shad swim faster and cause chasing stripers to speed up and hit the surface in the process.  Over the length of the lake it is wise to keep an eye out for any surface disturbance. If it is big and bold it is worth it to stop and fish. If the disturbance is small and quick then it may be better to wait until a bigger more aggressive striper group is found.

Smallmouth bass fishing is steady along the rocky shorelines and over newly visible rock islands that are appearing as the lake level declines.  It has been a really good year for catching larger (2- pound plus) bass on a variety of plastic baits fished along the bottom.  Still the best technique is to use topwater baits in the early morning hours along the rocky shoreline and on rocky points sticking out into the main lake.  

Largemouth bass can be found in coves with lots of aquatic weed growth.  The most common weed is Spiny Niada.  Look for coves where the bottom is covered with green plants from the surface to 10 feet deep sometimes covering more than an acre of lake bottom.  Largemouth bass love weedy cover.  Unfortunately it is difficult to work a lure in the weed zone. The good news is that largemouth will come up to hit a loud surface lure like a Whopper Plopper with early morning or late evening being the best time to fish.

spinyniada

 

July 18, 2018 - Slurps, boils and smallmouth

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Lake Powell Fish Report – July 18, 2018

Lake Elevation:  3606

Water temperature:  79 - 84 F

By: Wayne Gustaveson   http://www.wayneswords.com or Wayneswords.net

Lake Powell’s water level is declining at the rate of about 1-foot per week. That will slow down slightly in September or level out if the monsoon season provides more inflow to counter that being released. This decline will bring the lake level back down to near the 5 year average of 3590-3600 feet (MSL). That means the Castle Rock Cut will remain open for those boaters launching at the south end of the lake and running upstream. We certainly hope that the winter of 2018 will provide more moisture to the parched southwestern area of the US and allow the lake to remain in this comfort zone.

Fishing continues to be good for smallmouth bass over the length of the lake. The hot spot this past week was the San Juan Arm. Bass there average a 1-2 pounds but they are super aggressive. If looking for a great family fishing trip the San Juan is a good choice.

Over the length of the lake smallmouth bass fishing is consistent, with the best lures being green (crayfish colored) plastic grubs.  A wide variety of lures, baits and techniques work well, with time of day being as important as which lures are used.  Make sure to get out early and stay out late for the best bass fishing results.  While jigging along the 12-25 foot bottom for bass, a few walleye, largemouth bass and catfish will join in the fun.   Topwater action at first light in the morning is still the best bass fishing technique.

Striped bass are boiling in the northern lake from The Horn (just upstream from Good Hope Bay) to Trachyte and White Canyon.  Boils happen there because the shad crop is larger in size and numbers.   It’s a long run to launch at Halls or Bullfrog and run to Trachyte but the fishing results are quite productive.  Boils are performed by a wide range of small to adult size stripers. Adult stripers are only able to stay up in warm surface water for short period of time. They feed quickly on 2-inch shad and then dive down to deep water to cool off before hitting the surface again. This behavior makes stripers vulnerable to topwater lures when fish are boiling. When they are resting, deep trolling with down riggers works well, along with spoons when the striper school is seen on the graph.

From the Horn downstream, stripers are still slurping on the surface because they target the small shad that were recently spawned and have not found a good hiding place. Shad that were spawned last month have to find murky colored water to be able to hide and survive the constant onslaught of juvenile striper predation. These slurps are seen virtually every day in most canyons.  A school of stripers finds a shad pod, comes to the surface for 15 seconds and then goes back down.  Anglers awaiting the slurpers see the school and rush to get in range to cast.  The hard part is trying to predict where the school will resurface for the next 15 second burst.    If the boat is in casting range when the school pops back up, a good cast, beyond the school, will likely catch a fish as the lure is retrieved through the surfacing school. If they come up out of range, then the boat has to be repositioned again to hopefully be in range when the school resurfaces. It’s a real ‘cat and mouse’ game with the fish winning most of the time.  The visual portion of seeing a lot of fish and catching a few makes for an exciting day.

[Next week's fish report will be late since Wayne is going on vacation for a week]

Last Updated on Tuesday, 17 July 2018 09:44
 

July 11, 2018 - Boils in Far North Lake

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Lake Powell Fish Report – July 11, 2018
Lake Elevation:  3608
Water temperature:  80 - 84 F
By: Wayne Gustaveson   http://www.wayneswords.com or Wayneswords.net
Water temperature is now in the 80s all day and night.  That is great for swimming, wake-boarding and scuba diving but it makes fishing a bit more challenging.  Here are some ways to beat the heat and catch some fish.
Fishing success lakewide is best for smallmouth bass.  Bass are caught morning and evening on plastic baits fished near shore or around submerged islands that are now coming out of the water as the lake goes down.  Target rocky structure at a depth of 10-25 feet, for best results.  Use plastic single or double tails grubs, swimbaits, Yamamoto D-Shad, and topwater lures.  If you hit the lake just before dawn, the top water fishing for bass is incredible.  Once the sun comes up bass fishing slows down as fish go deep looking for crayfish. It lights up again near sunset as the light diminishes and fish get more aggressive.
Walleye are still being caught occasionally trolling in the morning near rocky structure but the catch rate is declining.  Walleye are more active at night now and can be caught on rocky habitat at 15-30 feet right as the sun comes up and goes down and the daylight fades.
Each year in July we are challenged to catch 60 stripers for a disease certification check up.  The common result is that stripers are disease free of viruses. This year the results are still undecided, not because some diseases have appeared, but for the first time we failed to collect our required numbers of fish.  A slight breeze this morning, kept the slurping stripers away from view.  Our fallback position was to use bait along the walls in Navajo Canyon but that was not up to par.  In fact, we only caught 5 stripers with 3 boats and 9 anglers fishing from Navajo Canyon to the San Juan.  No boils or slurps were seen in the main channel from Wahweap to Cha Canyon because of the slight breeze that kept the fish down. Some days fishing is not as good. We chose one of those days.  That really makes me want to go out tomorrow because I know it will be better then.
The best striper fishing is in the far northern lake where full blown striper boils are wide open from North Wash to Good Hope Bay.  Launching at Hite is no longer possible due to dropping lake level, but it is worth the long run uplake from Bullfrog to the Horn to chase boiling stripers.
If you go, pick a day with calm water and no wind in the forecast to make sure the fish will come to the top to feed.
Many are now camping on the shore of the lake in houseboats or tents.  There are more fishing opportunities than those mentioned above.  Catfish are really aggressive now and are easy to catch on the sandy beaches where boats can park.   Both Bluegill and Green Sunfish are in the shallows and can be seen in shallow water where brush resides.  Many of the brushy sites are drying out as the lake declines but sunfish are still near those areas.  Look for blocky rocks, that fish can use as shade, near the dried brush to find sunfish. Use small hooks and small worms to catch some very impressive sized bluegill that are now just finishing up their spawning ritual.  After spawning fish get hungry and are easier to catch.   Fishing is always great at the lake if you pick the right species, at the right time, and the right spot.

Lake Powell Fish Report – July 11, 2018

Lake Elevation:  3608

Water temperature:  80 - 84 F

By: Wayne Gustaveson   http://www.wayneswords.com or Wayneswords.net


Water temperature is now in the 80s all day and night.  That is great for swimming, wake-boarding and scuba diving but it makes fishing a bit more challenging.  Here are some ways to beat the heat and catch some fish.

Fishing success lakewide is best for smallmouth bass.  Bass are caught morning and evening on plastic baits fished near shore or around submerged islands that are now coming out of the water as the lake goes down.  Target rocky structure at a depth of 10-25 feet, for best results.  Use plastic single or double tails grubs, swimbaits, Yamamoto D-Shad, and topwater lures.  If you hit the lake just before dawn, the top water fishing for bass is incredible.  Once the sun comes up bass fishing slows down as fish go deep looking for crayfish. It lights up again near sunset as the light diminishes and fish get more aggressive. 

Walleye are still being caught occasionally trolling in the morning near rocky structure but the catch rate is declining.  Walleye are more active at night now and can be caught on rocky habitat at 15-30 feet right as the sun comes up and goes down and the daylight fades.

Each year in July we are challenged to catch 60 stripers for a disease certification check up.  The common result is that stripers are disease free of viruses. This year the results are still undecided, not because some diseases have appeared, but for the first time we failed to collect our required numbers of fish.  A slight breeze this morning, kept the slurping stripers away from view.  Our fallback position was to use bait along the walls in Navajo Canyon but that was not up to par.  In fact, we only caught 5 stripers with 3 boats and 9 anglers fishing from Navajo Canyon to the San Juan.  No boils or slurps were seen in the main channel from Wahweap to Cha Canyon because of the slight breeze that kept the fish down. Some days fishing is not as good. We chose one of those days.  That really makes me want to go out tomorrow because I know it will be better then. 

The best striper fishing is in the far northern lake where full blown striper boils are wide open from North Wash to Good Hope Bay.  Launching at Hite is no longer possible due to dropping lake level, but it is worth the long run uplake from Bullfrog to the Horn to chase boiling stripers.   If you go, pick a day with calm water and no wind in the forecast to make sure the fish will come to the top to feed. 

Many are now camping on the shore of the lake in houseboats or tents.  There are more fishing opportunities than those mentioned above.  Catfish are really aggressive now and are easy to catch on the sandy beaches where boats can park.   Both Bluegill and Green Sunfish are in the shallows and can be seen in shallow water where brush resides.  Many of the brushy sites are drying out as the lake declines but sunfish are still near those areas.  Look for blocky rocks, that fish can use as shade, near the dried brush to find sunfish. Use small hooks and small worms to catch some very impressive sized bluegill that are now just finishing up their spawning ritual.  After spawning fish get hungry and are easier to catch.   Fishing is always great at the lake if you pick the right species, at the right time, and the right spot.

 

July 4, 2018 - Come Join the Crowd

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Lake Powell Fish Report – July 4,  2018
Lake Elevation:  3609
Water temperature:  75 - 83 F
By: Wayne Gustaveson   http://www.wayneswords.com or Wayneswords.net
Lake Powell is BUSY on the 4th of July week.  There are lots of visitors lakewide enjoying the sun and warm water. Houseboats, fast running boats, kayaks, wake boats, and all other watercraft are on the lake now. When heading to Lake Powell for vacation it is wise to bring along a fishing rod to broaden the whole lake experience.  Fisherman need to get up early and then stay up late to catch fish.
Early morning is the best time to catch fish.  Rig up with a surface lure and toss that lure toward shore to attract smallmouth bass, largemouth bass, and stripers.  Bass will be near stickups or rocky cover. Stripers will be slurping anywhere from the mid channel in most long canyons to open water in the main channel.  All these fish are very cooperative from the time the sky lightens in the east until the sun hits the water.  The best lures for slurpers are small narrow topwater lures, small white jigs or swim baits, and Kastmaster type spoons.
As the sun comes up, so do the skiers, wake boarders and surfers.  The lake gets busy and rough so be selective in choosing your fishing location.   Run to the end of the long canyons like the Escalante, San Juan, Navajo, or near Hite. Or join in with those that are celebrating their time on the water with swimming or water toys.
In busy areas it is still possible to find a deep canyon or cove and fish with bait for stripers. Schools are moving along the canyon walls and can be found with a little effort.  There were recent reports of striper schools at the mouth of the San Juan, the main channel in the Escalante Arm and at the mouth of Moki Canyon.
Big walleye have been caught recently while trolling with deep diving Fat Free shad lures.  Down rigger trolling is another way to get the lure down to the cooler temperature zone where most fish hangout while waiting to head back to the warm surface water to chase some more small shad.  During the day, fish move quickly from cooler, deeper water to the surface and then they go deep again in short order.  This up and down activity really makes fish fight well during the hot days of summer.
Catfish are actively spawning in the backs of many canyons.  When in spawning mode catfish are very active and catchable.  Head to the back of the canyon where water is less than 25 feet deep.  Use hot dog rounds, shrimp, worms or 3 inch artificial Gulp minnows.  Begin fishing for catfish at dusk and continue into the night.  Circle hooks are great hooks for catching catfish.  It is possible to catch catfish with just a rod propped up in a rod holder with a bell on the tip to announce when a catfish come calling. But I prefer to hold the rod in my hand to feel the first bite and then set the hook when the cat comes back for the second look. You will catch more catfish if you hold the rod instead of propping it up.

Lake Powell Fish Report – July 4,  2018

Lake Elevation:  3609

Water temperature:  75 - 83 F

By: Wayne Gustaveson   http://www.wayneswords.com or Wayneswords.net

Lake Powell is BUSY during the 4th of July week.  There are lots of visitors lakewide enjoying the sun and warm water. Houseboats, fast running boats, kayaks, wake boats, and all other watercraft are on the lake now. When heading to Lake Powell for vacation it is wise to bring along a fishing rod to broaden the whole lake experience.  Fisherman need to get up early and then stay up late to catch fish. 

Early morning is the best time to catch fish.  Rig up with a surface lure and toss that lure toward shore to attract smallmouth bass, largemouth bass, and stripers.  Bass will be near stickups or rocky cover. Stripers will be slurping anywhere from the mid channel in most long canyons to open water in the main channel.  All these fish are very cooperative from the time the sky lightens in the east until the sun hits the water.  The best lures for slurpers are small narrow topwater lures, small white jigs or swim baits, and Kastmaster type spoons.  

As the sun comes up, so do the skiers, wake boarders and surfers.  The lake gets busy and rough so be selective in choosing your fishing location.   Run to the end of the long canyons like the Escalante, San Juan, Navajo, or near Hite. Or join in with those that are celebrating their time on the water with swimming or water toys.

In busy areas it is still possible to find a deep canyon or cove and fish with bait for stripers. Schools are moving along the canyon walls and can be found with a little effort.  There were recent reports of striper schools at the mouth of the San Juan, the main channel in the Escalante Arm and at the mouth of Moki Canyon.

Big walleye have been caught recently while trolling with deep diving Fat Free shad lures.  Down rigger trolling is another way to get the lure down to the cooler temperature zone where most fish hangout while waiting to head back to the warm surface water to chase some more small shad.  During the day, fish move quickly from cooler, deeper water to the surface and then they go deep again in short order.  This up and down activity really makes fish fight well during the hotamymcbeth days of summer.

Catfish are actively spawning in the backs of many canyons.  When in spawning mode catfish are very active and catchable.  Head to the back of the canyon where water is less than 25 feet deep.  Use hot dog rounds, shrimp, worms or 3 inch artificial Gulp minnows.  Begin fishing for catfish at dusk and continue into the night.  Circle hooks are great hooks for catching catfish.  It is possible to catch catfish with just a rod propped up in a rod holder with a bell on the tip to announce when a catfish comes calling. But I prefer to hold the rod in my hand to feel the first bite and then set the hook when the cat comes back for the second look. You will catch more catfish if you hold the rod instead of propping it up.

 

Amy McBeth with Walleye from Navajo Canyon

Last Updated on Tuesday, 03 July 2018 10:45
 
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