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August 2, 2017 - Boils at Site 5

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Lake Powell Fish Report – August 2, 2017
Lake Elevation: 3634
Water Temperature:  81-85 F
By: Wayne Gustaveson http://www.wayneswords.com
If shopping for the best deal on striper boils at Lake Powell, the answer is simple.  The best chance of finding surface feeding action is found in the far north lake. The area from Good Hope Bay (Buoy 118) to Trachyte Canyon (Buoy 125) is the most productive.  There are boils occurring everyday over the length of the lake so it is possible to find them at any place, and at anytime. If asked to make a list of the top 5 boiling spots it would look like this and in this order:
1. Good Hope to Trachyte
2. San Juan – Cha Canyon to Great Bend
3. Escalante River Arm
4. Rincon to Forgotten Canyon
5. Face Canyon to Rainbow Bridge
The factors that influence boiling activity include wind, rain and sunshine. Wind tends to keep stripers from boiling, but when the wind quits, hungry stripers like to make up for lost time and feed very aggressively right after the wind storm. Rain may keep anglers off the lake but stripers can easily ignore a rainy period because they are already wet! When the sun is shining brightly from dawn to dark stripers choose their own best time to feed. They can start chasing shad at first light or sleep in until 8 AM before feeding. My plan when looking for boils is to head out at first light and cover lots of water during the first 3 hours of daylight. If no boils are seen that makes it more likely that surface action will occur in the evening.  Unfortunately there are no guarantees.
I live near the number 5 rated boil spot on the lake so I am reporting for that area.  Other canyons uplake are better for boils seen and fish caught, but similar in how to find fish and catch them.
Today I headed out at first light and found a breeze blowing. According to my rules that is not good for finding surface action. When I got to Padre with choppy water I stopped and trolled along the east wall in the shade. The result was one smallmouth and one striper caught in 15 minutes.  That is too slow for me and the wind let up a bit, so we moved to Face Canyon.
Surface feeding stripers were in the same bay where we found them last week.  The boils were very quick averaging about 25 seconds from beginning to end.  If we moved close enough to the previous boil and they came back up again in casting range we caught a fish. Usually we arrived at the boil site with the water still trembling on top but the fish were gone. We chased 5-6 quick boils, caught 4 fish and then moved on.
At Buoy 25 we saw a quick rise now and then but never did get in casting range. There were no fish seen or caught at the mouth of West and Dove so we went to Friendship Cove.  It was calm and quiet there but no fish were seen.  We got a report from a wave runner Captain that there had been a huge boil there at 7 AM.  We missed it.
We decided to take one look in Rock Creek and then head back.  It was 10 AM and way too late for morning boils.  The mouth of the three Rock Creeks has been a good boil spot over the years so we went there.  We were very surprised to see the biggest boil of the morning against the wall between Main Rock and Middle Rock.  Then the fish came up in the middle of the bay. The next boil was on the east wall of Dry Rock. This bay was the best spot of the day and we quickly caught 20 fish on topwater lures in less than an hour.
Surface feeding stripers can come up at any time or place. The shad in their stomachs were 2-3 inches long which means these fish need to boil to catch fast moving shad. They go down quickly because the surface temperature of the water was 84 degrees which was too warm for these 2-3 pound stripers to stay on top for long. They dive quickly to deep water to cool off and then pop back up again to eat more shad.
We saw many and caught a few smallmouth bass in the rock slide areas of Rock Creek. As the lake level declines bass fishing will get back to normal with bass occupying habitat that is easy to find.
Fishing success at Lake Powell is amazing!  When you stick with it and keep trying the result is a fun day of fishing, a good catch and memorable sites of the red rock walls and blue water.  I love this place!

bbbm2Lake Powell Fish Report – August 2, 2017

Lake Elevation: 3634

Water Temperature:  81-85 F

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

If shopping for the best deal on striper boils at Lake Powell, the answer is simple.  The best chance of finding surface feeding action is found in the far north lake. The area from Good Hope Bay (Buoy 118) to Trachyte Canyon (Buoy 125) is the most productive.  There are boils occurring everyday over the length of the lake so it is possible to find them at any place, and at anytime. If asked to make a list of the top 5 boiling spots it would look like this and in this order:

1. Good Hope to Trachyte

2. San Juan – Cha Canyon to Great Bend

3. Escalante River Arm

4. Rincon to Forgotten Canyon

5. Face Canyon to Rainbow Bridge

scouts12The factors that influence boiling activity include wind, rain and sunshine. Wind tends to keep stripers from boiling, but when the wind quits, hungry stripers like to make up for lost time and feed very aggressively right after the wind storm. Rain may keep anglers off the lake but stripers can easily ignore a rainy period because they are already wet! When the sun is shining brightly from dawn to dark stripers choose their own best time to feed. They can start chasing shad at first light or sleep in until 8 AM before feeding. My plan when looking for boils is to head out at first light and cover lots of water during the first 3 hours of daylight. If no boils are seen that makes it more likely that surface action will occur in the evening.  Unfortunately there are no guarantees.

I live near the number 5 rated boil spot on the lake so I am reporting for that area.  Other canyons uplake are better for boils seen and fish caught, but similar in how to find fish and catch them.   

Today I headed out at first light and found a breeze blowing. According to my rules that is not good for finding surface action. When I got to Padre with choppy water I stopped and trolled along the east wall in the shade. The result was one smallmouth and one striper caught in 15 minutes.  That is too slow for me and the wind let up a bit, so we moved to Face Canyon.  

Surface feeding stripers were in the same bay where we found them last week.  The boils were very quick averaging about 25 seconds from beginning to end.  If we moved close enough to the previous boil and they came back up again in casting range we caught a fish. Usually we arrived at the boil site with the water still trembling on top but the fish were gone. We chased 5-6 quick boils, caught 4 fish and then moved on. 

stbusy_edited-1At Buoy 25 we saw a quick rise now and then but never did get in casting range. There were no fish seen or caught at the mouth of West and Dove so we went to Friendship Cove.  It was calm and quiet there but no fish were seen.  We got a report from a wave runner Captain that there had been a huge boil there at 7 AM.  We missed it. 

We decided to take one look in Rock Creek and then head back.  It was 10 AM and way too late for morning boils.  The mouth of the three Rock Creeks has been a good boil spot over the years so we went there.  We were very surprised to see the biggest boil of the morning against the wall between Main Rock and Middle Rock.  Then the fish came up in the middle of the bay. The next boil was on the east wall of Dry Rock. This bay was the best spot of the day and we quickly caught 20 fish on topwater lures in less than an hour.  

Surface feeding stripers can come up at any time or place. The shad in their stomachs were 2-3 inches long which means these fish need to boil to catch fast moving shad. They go down quickly because the surface temperature of the water was 84 degrees which was too warm for these 2-3 pound stripers to stay on top for long. They dive quickly to deep water to cool off and then pop back up again to eat more shad.  The superb physical condition of stripers caught today has not been seen since 2016. They are fat again. 

We saw many and caught a few smallmouth bass in the rock slide areas of Rock Creek. As the lake level declines bass fishing will get back to normal with bass occupying habitat that is easy to find.

Fishing success at Lake Powell is amazing!  When you stick with it and keep trying the result is a fun day of fishing, a good catch and memorable sightings of the red rock walls and blue water.  I love this place!

 

July 26, 2017 - Boils Begin

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shadsize7Lake Powell Fish Report – July 26, 2017

Lake Elevation: 3635

Water Temperature:  79-83 F

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

Slurps Done – Boils Begin

Shad removed from striper stomachs after yesterday’s fishing trip were small adults that can swim fast rather than larval fish that cannot swim well at all.  When stripers pursue larval shad they trap shad against the surface and slurp up the small shad. Anglers only see the striper mouth breaking the surface and perhaps a small wake created as stripers compete with one another to eat the most shad.  However, when shad are able to swim fast, stripers still try to trap them at the surface but the speed and activity are much greater.  The surface feeding event is called a “boil” as individual stripers jump out of the water while chasing shad. When 10 to 50 stripers are seen jumping out of the water at the same time in a tight formation the feeding action can be seen from far away. These stripers are aggressive and can be caught by casting a surface lure or shallow running crankbait just beyond the action and retrieving it through the feeding school.

Since boil fishing is the most exciting type of angling experience performed in fresh water, we started out early yesterday to search for boils in the southern lake.  Unfortunately, the sky was overcast and a breeze kept the surface stirred up and prevented stripers from finding shad schools and driving them to the surface. We left the ramp at dawn and 3 hours later had covered much water but had seen no boils.  We caught an occasional striper or smallmouth bass while trolling and watching for surface action.

boiljulywwAt 8 AM the breeze quit and the sun came out. Twenty minutes later we saw the first boil break the surface about half way back in the canyon. From 8:30 to 9:30 fishing was intense and very successful.  The striper count in the cooler went from 3 to 35 in 60 minutes. This is a typical boil fishing experience. It involves lots of looking and the right weather conditions. When it all comes together it is extremely satisfying.

Look for boils in the canyons and bays early and late in the day. These feeding events usually last for about an hour and then the lake calms down again.  Recently we have seen striper surface action in Kane Creek, Labyrinth, Face Canyon, Buoy 25, Dove Canyon, Last Chance and Rock Creek.  These feeding events can occur anywhere shad and stripers come together.  Our (UT DWR) shad sampling shows that shad numbers are higher than normally found in July which means that striper boils will be seen frequently over the length of the lake for the rest of July and August.  There are more shad at Bullfrog and Good Hope Bay so boils will be better and more prolonged in the northern lake.

Stripers move quickly while boiling.  They can be seen against the shoreline and then a few minutes later pop up in the middle of the bay.  Move quickly to get in casting range of the school. Stop the boat before it gets close enough to put the feeding fish down. Use equipment that allows a long cast.  Effective lures include Kastmaster spoons, topwater lures that can be retrieved quickly such as Sammies, Jumpin’ Minnows, Ima Skimmers and shallow running rattletraps, and Lucky Craft lipless crankbaits.

Bass are often on the edge of the boil and respond well to surface lures after the boil has subsided. Top water fishing at dawn and dusk will be great for both Large and Smallmouth bass for the rest of the summer. Walleye get excited as the fleeing shad run past walleye ambush points in the brush line.  The fishing dynamic at Lake Powel has now changed as boiling stripers stir up shad and all the other game fish want to get in on the action.doubletrouble2

 

July 19, 2017 - Slurps Continue and Boils Start

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Lake Powell Fish Report – July 19, 2017
Lake Elevation: 3635
Water Temperature:  80-83 F
By: Wayne Gustaveson http://www.wayneswords.com
Striper slurps and boils are now available lakewide. Here is a rundown on what to expect.
Northern lake:
Launching access is decent at Hite.  There are a couple of options for launching including the primitive ramp and below the cement ramp.  The water surface from Hite down to Good Hope is relatively clear of debris. There is some so be careful but launch in at Hite makes for safer travel that coming uplake from Bullfrog where more floating debris exists in isolated spots in the channel.
The best, most consistent striper surface activity is found from Castle Butte to Trachyte/White Canyon.  Slurps start at first light and continue most of the day and into the evening. From Hite to the Horn there are lots of really quick slurps that come up and go down often.  The best spot is between Scorup and Castle Butte. Here the slurps and boils are larger and last longer.  There are enough slurps in sight that it is possible to just stay in a central location and cast lures to many different slurps.  When the fish go down continue to cast to the spot last seen and continue to catch random fish. Surface lures are best as are small plastic grubs on jig heads.
Bullfrog/Halls:
Boils/slurps were found most consistently this week near the mouth of Moki Canyon but boils were seen from Forgotten to Lake Canyon. Stripers were caught on top water lures and chartreuse grubs. Those fish caught in the backs of canyons were thin compared to those caught in the main channel or at the mouths of the canyons. Stripers caught ranged from 16-24 inches.
Southern Lake:
Boils/slurps were seen from Padre Bay to the mouth of Rock Creek.  Stripers came up quickly and went down in a hurry.  Usually it was possible to see a school come up and then get the boat close to the spot in time to make a cast or two when the school resurfaced. Stripers could only be caught when their heads were visibly breaking water. As they started down again they were very hard to catch. They came up 3-5 times in 5-10 minutes and often moved hundreds of yards in the process.   A surface lure placed in front of the lead fish was the most consistent producer. Lures that landed in the middle or behind the slurp were ignored.
Shad found in striper stomachs were double the size (1 inch) of those previously reported 2 weeks ago. As shad continue to grow, boils will get longer, stripers more aggressive and anglers will catch a lot more fish. This is the beginning of Boil Season. The most exciting fishing found in fresh water will continue into September this year.
Bass were found occasionally feeding with stripers on the surface.   More often largemouth bass were found in the brush line near shore. They could sometimes be seen blowing up on the surface and could be caught on topwater lures or a spinner bait.
Smallmouth bass are showing up more often on rock structure now that the lake has stabilized.  Look for isolated rock slides or rocky islands to target smallmouth. As lake level continues to stabilize or begins to decline bass habitat will be more obvious.  Bass have been harder to find than normal but that will now change with consistent lake levels.
Stabilized lake levels will make it easier to catch bluegill along the brushy shorelines as well.
Fishing success is improving as the summer moves on.

jaxsherwoodJax Gibbons

and Sam Sherwood

 

 

Lake Powell Fish Report – July 19, 2017

Lake Elevation: 3635

Water Temperature:  80-83 F

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

Striper slurps and boils are now available lakewide. Here is a rundown on what to expect.  

Northern lake:

hitelaunch3607Launching access is decent at Hite.  There are a couple of options for launching including the primitive ramp and below the cement ramp.  The water surface from Hite down to Good Hope is relatively clear of debris. There is some so be careful but launch in at Hite makes for safer travel that coming uplake from Bullfrog where more floating debris exists in isolated spots in the channel. The best, most consistent striper surface activity is found from Castle Butte to Trachyte/White Canyon.  Slurps start at first light and continue most of the day and into the evening. From Hite to the Horn there are lots of really quick slurps that come up and go down often.  The best spot is between Scorup and Castle Butte. Here the slurps and boils are larger and last longer.  There are enough slurps in sight that it is possible to just stay in a central location and cast lures to many different slurps.  When the fish go down continue to cast to the spot last seen and continue to catch random fish. Surface lures are best as are small plastic grubs on jig heads. 

Bullfrog/Halls:

Boils/slurps were found most consistently this week near the mouth of Moki Canyon but boils were seen from Forgotten to Lake Canyon. Stripers were caught on top water lures and chartreuse grubs. Those fish caught in the backs of canyons were thin compared to those caught in the main channel or at the mouths of the canyons. Stripers caught ranged from 16-24 inches.

Southern Lake: 

bretthepwifeBoils/slurps were seen from Padre Bay to the mouth of Rock Creek.  Stripers came up quickly and went down in a hurry.  Usually it was possible to see a school come up and then get the boat close to the spot in time to make a cast or two when the school resurfaced. Stripers could only be caught when their heads were visibly breaking water. As they started down again they were very hard to catch. They came up 3-5 times in 5-10 minutes and often moved hundreds of yards in the process.   A surface lure placed in front of the lead fish was the most consistent producer. Lures that landed in the middle or behind the slurp were ignored.Shad found in striper stomachs were double the size (1 inch) of those previously reported 2 weeks ago. As shad continue to grow, boils will get longer, stripers more aggressive and anglers will catch a lot more fish. This is the beginning of Boil Season. The most exciting fishing found in fresh water will continue into September this year. 

Largemouth bass were found occasionally feeding with stripers on the surface.   More often largemouth bass were found in the brush line near shore. They could sometimes be seen blowing up on the surface and could be caught on topwater lures or a spinner bait. 

Smallmouth bass are showing up more often on rock structure now that the lake has stabilized.  Look for isolated rock slides or rocky islands to target smallmouth. As lake level continues to stabilize or begins to decline bass habitat will be more obvious.  Bass have been harder to find than normal but that will now change with consistent lake levels.   Stabilized lake levels will make it easier to catch bluegill along the brushy shorelines as well.

waesmithforkWalleye were caught in the southern lake using deep diving crankbaits fished near brush at a bottom depth of 15-25 feet.

Fishing success is improving as the summer moves on.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 19 July 2017 14:42
 

July 12, 2017 - Summer report

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Lake Powell Fish Report – July 12, 2017
Lake Elevation: 3635
Water Temperature:  79-85 F
By: Wayne Gustaveson http://www.wayneswords.com
Lake Powell has stabilized.  There is plenty of brush along the shoreline so hopefully the lake will continue to cover that for the rest of July before it begins to decline.
Good News!  Received the first report of a boil today near Antelope Point Marina. Stripers were eating shad larger than the tiny shad found the last month. Stripers were scattered but willing to hit a topwater lure occasionally.  It is not really time to come fish for boils but that event is getting closer.  Surface activity should pick up lakewide by the end of July and continue through the month of August, maybe longer.
We had a requirement to collect 60 stripers today to do a disease certification and confirm that Lake Powell fish are still healthy and strong. If I had known the stripers were boiling near Antelope Point I would have gone there for my fish collection.  Early this morning I only knew that bait fishing is still good along the canyon walls. We took 3 boats and headed for Warm Creek Wall. We chummed along the wall and began to catch fish steadily for the next 3 hours. The school would come up for chum and then descend to the depths.  When near the surface many fish were caught in 10-15 feet of water.  When the action died down we dropped out baits further down to 40-60 feet to find the school and drag it back towards the top. Catching slowed down at 9 AM so we counted the fish and confirmed that we had our 60 fish.  Later at the fish cleaning station we counted 80 stripers from the efforts of 10 anglers in 3 different boats. Those fishing Lake Powell for the first time were in awe of the amount of fish that can be caught on this incredible fishing lake.
Bait fishing success will continue to excel this summer as many fish remain “trapped” in the deeper water by warm temperatures on the surface.  The younger stripers will continue to feed on the top and gain weight dramatically as the boil season progresses.
Bass fishing is now getting more predictable as the lake level has stabilized. That allows bass to find a spot they like and hold there until the lake begins to go down next month.  It seems smallmouth bass are often found on a slick rock wall near the flooded brush line.  By next week that preferred habitat type should become obvious and will be reported.
Walleye fishing is slowing but some are still being caught in the mid to upper lake.  Now that shad are larger and more abundant expect walleye to feed each morning and evening.  They prefer to hold on a flat near a steep cliff wall, or in the brushy weeds along a long sandy beach or point that has been covered with water.   Bottom bouncing, or fishing a bass grub with worm attached is still a very effective technique.
It is summer and still HOT! However, Lake Powell is amazing considering the amount of fish that can be caught in these challenging conditions.  Go fishing early. Then enjoy boating, skiing, sightseeing or whatever peaks your interest.  Then as the sun starts to set go out for another fishing adventure. It is definitely worth it.

Lake Powell Fish Report – July 12, 2017

Lake Elevation: 3635

Water Temperature:  79-85 F

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


nancyLake Powell has stabilized.  There is plenty of brush along the shoreline so hopefully the lake will continue to cover that for the rest of July before it begins to decline. 

Good News!  Received the first report of a boil today near Antelope Point Marina. Stripers were eating shad larger than the tiny shad found the last month. Stripers were scattered but willing to hit a topwater lure occasionally.  It is not really time to come fish for boils but that event is getting closer.  Surface activity should pick up lakewide by the end of July and continue through the month of August, maybe longer. 

We had a requirement to collect 60 stripers today to do a disease certification and confirm that Lake Powell fish are still healthy and strong. If I had known the stripers were boiling near Antelope Point I would have gone there for my fish collection.  Early this morning I only knew that bait fishing is still good along the canyon walls. We took 3 boats and headed for Warm Creek Wall. We chummed along the wall and began to catch fish steadily for the next 3 hours. The school would come up for chum and then descend to the depths.  When near the surface many fish were caught in 10-15 feet of water.  When the action died down we dropped out baits further down to 40-60 feet to find the school and drag it back towards the top. Catching slowed down at 9 AM so we counted the fish and confirmed that we had our 60 fish.  Later at the fish cleaning station we counted 80 stripers from the efforts of 10 anglers in 3 different boats. Those fishing Lake Powell for the first time were in awe of the amount of fish that can be caught on this incredible fishing lake.

doepkestbBait fishing success will continue to excel this summer as many fish remain “trapped” in the deeper water by warm temperatures on the surface.  The younger stripers will continue to feed on the top and gain weight dramatically as the boil season progresses. 

Bass fishing is now getting more predictable as the lake level has stabilized. That allows bass to find a spot they like and hold there until the lake begins to go down next month.  It seems smallmouth bass are often found on a slick rock wall near the flooded brush line.  By next week that preferred habitat type should become obvious and will be reported.  

Walleye fishing is slowing but some are still being caught in the mid to upper lake.  Now that shad are larger and more abundant expect walleye to feed each morning and evening.  They prefer to hold on a flat near a steep cliff wall, or in the brushy weeds along a long sandy beach or point that has been covered with water.   Bottom bouncing, or fishing a bass grub with worm attached is still a very effective technique.  

It is summer and still HOT! However, Lake Powell is amazing considering the amount of fish that can be caught in these challenging conditions.  Go fishing early. Then enjoy boating, skiing, sightseeing or whatever peaks your interest.  Then walleyelurewormas the sun starts to set go out for another fishing adventure. It is definitely worth it.

 

July 5, 2017 - Fishing in Shallow Brush

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Lake Powell Fish Report – July 5, 2017
Lake Elevation: 3635
Water Temperature:  77-84 F
By: Wayne Gustaveson http://www.wayneswords.com
Lake Powell fish are in awe at the brushy cover inundated along the shoreline. Virtually any place that is not a sheer cliff is now a brushy haven for all of Lake Powell’s fish. Those enjoying cover the most are shad. Normally this time of year, defenseless shad are easy targets for stripers and other fish. Now shad can go hide in the brush making it much tougher for predators to get an easy meal. I am happy as well because this gives me hope that shad will grow to a larger size, in larger numbers which will lead to big striper boils in late July and August.  This will be a story for a future report.  Right now shad are happy in brushy cover and game fish are trying to figure out what is going on!
Stripers were thrilled to have slow moving tiny shad in open water where they could just go get an easy meal any time of the day.  Now shad are able to swim and have high-tailed it to the brush line.  Surface feeding action that was easy to see two weeks ago is now missing in action in the southern lake. Striper slurps still continue in the northern lake where shad numbers are higher and muddy water slowed the progression of shad movement to brush.
Warm surface water and lack of open-water shad have made bait fishing in deep water the most effective fishing technique now for stripers. Adult stripers are hungry and trapped down at 30 feet waiting for food. Main channel and main canyon walls anywhere on the lake can house a hungry, waiting school of stripers.  Chumming and bait fishing may be the best way to approach these waiting fish.  Another option is to troll deep diving lures along slick rock points and steep walls.  Trolling is a good way to find a school of fish. Once found, bait may work better but it really depends on which angling technique is preferred.
Smallmouth bass prefer rocky structure but are not afraid of brush. They have followed shad into the underwater jungle and can be found searching through the limbs and branches for a shad or sunfish.  Small topwater lures, swim baits, D-Shad, and weedless plastic baits fished along brushy main points have been very effective.  Watch for shad schools to pop up in the brush line and then toss a surface lure near the shad school to target any game fish also eyeing that school.
Largemouth bass will be right there rubbing shoulders with smallmouth bass. Largemouth tend to prefer brush thickets in shallow water. They live in the same brushy condo as sunfish. Bass are good neighbors most of the time but occasionally eat one of the sunfish when the time is right.  With a full stomach, largemouth return to being model citizens and continue to live in the brush pocket.
Walleye really like brush.  They are an ambush feeder so they move to a submerged tree top and wait for the right fish to swim by.  Walleye are happy to eat shad, sunfish, bass or any other fish that enters their treetop target zone. One great technique for catching walleye in brushy water is to troll or cast a shad imitating lure just over the treetops where walleye are holding.  We caught a walleye on a surface lure last week in a tree top found in murky water. More commonly a lure trolled just over the tops of a band of submerged trees is the best technique. Find trees that are at a common depth, then use a lure that runs about a foot above the brush for best results.
Catfish are really big and fun to catch this year.  Sunfish are in the trees and like to eat worms on a small hook with a bobber attached.
Lake Powell fishing in the brush is unusual and may be challenging for those of us used to snag-free open water.  The rewards are great when a new successful presentation is discovered. Lake Powell has lots of fish to catch. Sometimes trying new challenging techniques, like fishing in shallow brush, can be very rewarding.

Lake Powell Fish Report – July 5, 2017

Lake Elevation: 3635

Water Temperature:  77-84 F

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


buoy25aLake Powell fish are in awe at the brushy cover inundated along the shoreline. Virtually any place that is not a sheer cliff is now a brushy haven for all of Lake Powell’s fish. Those enjoying cover the most are shad. Normally this time of year, defenseless shad are easy targets for stripers and other fish. Now shad can go hide in the brush making it much tougher for predators to get an easy meal. I am happy as well because this gives me hope that shad will grow to a larger size, in larger numbers which will lead to big striper boils in late July and August.  This will be a story for a future report.  Right now shad are happy in brushy cover and game fish are trying to figure out what is going on! 

Stripers were thrilled to have slow moving tiny shad in open water where they could just go get an easy meal any time of the day.  Now shad are able to swim and have high-tailed it to the brush line.  Surface feeding action that was easy to see two weeks ago is now missing in action in the southern lake. Striper slurps still continue in the northern lake where shad numbers are higher and muddy water slowed the progression of shad movement to brush. 

Warm surface water and lack of open-water shad have made bait fishing in deep water the most effective fishing technique now for stripers. Adult stripers are hungry and trapped down at 30 feet waiting for food. Main channel and main canyon walls anywhere on the lake can house a hungry, waiting school of stripers.  Chumming and bait fishing may be the best way to approach these waiting fish.  Another option is to troll deep diving lures along slick rock points and steep walls.  Trolling is a good way to find a school of fish. Once found, bait may work better but it really depends on which angling technique is preferred. 

Smallmouth bass prefer rocky structure but are not afraid of brush. They have followed shad into the underwater jungle and can be found searching through the limbs and branches for a shad or sunfish.  Small topwater lures, swim baits, D-Shad, and weedless plastic baits fished along brushy main points have been very effective.  Watch for shad schools to pop up in the brush line and then toss a surface lure near the shad school to target any game fish also eyeing that school.  Largemouth bass will be right there rubbing shoulders with smallmouth bass.

bbjorksbLargemouth tend to prefer brush thickets in shallow water. They live in the same brushy condo as sunfish. Bass are good neighbors most of the time but occasionally eat one of the sunfish when the time is right.  With a full stomach, largemouth return to being model citizens and continue to live in the brush pocket.

Walleye really like brush.  They are an ambush feeder so they move to a submerged tree top and wait for the right fish to swim by.  Walleye are happy to eat shad, sunfish, bass or any other fish that enters their treetop target zone. One great technique for catching walleye in brushy water is to troll or cast a shad imitating lure just over the treetops where walleye are holding.  We caught a walleye on a surface lure last week in a tree top found in murky water. More commonly a lure trolled just over the tops of a band of submerged trees is the best technique. Find trees that are at a common depth, then use a lure that runs about a foot above the brush for best results.   

Catfish are really big and fun to catch this year.  Sunfish are in the trees and like to eat worms on a small hook with a bobber attached. Lake Powell fishing in the brush is unusual and may be challenging for those of us used to snag-free open water.  The rewards are great when a new successful presentation is discovered.

Lake Powell has lots of fish to catch. Sometimes trying new challenging techniques, like fishing in shallow brush, can be very rewarding.

 

castlebutte

 

June 28, 2017 - Slurps slipping

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Lake Powell Fish Report – June 28, 2017
Lake Elevation: 3634
Water Temperature:  77-84 F
By: Wayne Gustaveson http://www.wayneswords.com
My weekly striper slurp evaluation trip yesterday was quite interesting?  We started earlier than usual (first light) and I attributed the lack of slurpers at my first stop at the mouth of Labyrinth to timing.  Maybe we were too early?  Then at the east wall in Padre Bay the lack of slurpers was disconcerting.  Timing was right and the most dependable location at the mouth of Last Chance was also disappointing with no surface schools seen.
The mystery was finally solved as we found slurping stripers close to the brushy shoreline between Dove Canyon and Dungeon Canyon. Here is what I think is happening in the southern lake:
The slurping stripers we caught and then examined at the fish cleaning station contained the same size tiny shad as has been noted for the last month. While fishing in the brush I saw schools of larger shad (1 inch to 1.5 inch) using the brush as a defense against attacking stripers and smallmouth bass. Slurping stripers are still looking for the open water newly hatched shad which are less every day.  Baby shad are consumed quickly by hungry predators but a few grow larger by fleeing into the brush cover. Either way they are less available to slurping stripers waiting in open water.
Slurps will continue to a lesser degree until shad grow larger and are forced to move out of the brush into open water in search of more plankton to eat.   The next progression is striper boils which have begun in mid July over the past few years. Expect slurps to occur randomly over the next few weeks.  Stripers will blow up on shad whenever they get the chance. There will be more slurps in the mid to northern lake because there are more shad there that have been protected by poor visibility from the muddy runoff water.
A recent report indicated that slurps are increasing in the main channel from the mouth of Navajo to Antelope Point Marina.  A new shad spawn could also lead to more slurps from Padre Bay to Rainbow Bridge.  Surface fishing for stripers is just beginning and will get much better over the summer.   Bait fishing for adult stripers is still steady in deeper water in the main channel and the main canyons throughout the lake.
Smallmouth bass have gone deeper. Adult bass are now at 25 feet or deeper. Smaller bass are shallower.  Rapidly rising water has displaced many bass. They are following the rising water into the brush in the backs of canyons that are now getting much longer and covering brush that has not been wet for many years.  Largemouth bass are following the rising water and residing in brush thickets in 3 feet of water at the back of canyons and coves..
Walleye are still being caught in good numbers by anglers using bottom bouncing rigs with night crawlers or trolling over brushy flats with shallow running crankbaits. Walleye really like to perch in flooded treetops while waiting for forage fish to swim by. Rattletraps are a good choice now for walleye. We caught a walleye yesterday on a surface lure fished slowly around flooded trees.  That fish now wears tag number 2901.
Summer fishing is a lot of fun. Get out early while it is still cool and fish are active. Look for surface action.  Target the brushy shoreline to catch a wide variety of species. Surface lures are very effective during the calm morning and evening hours.

Lake Powell Fish Report – June 28, 2017

Lake Elevation: 3634

Water Temperature:  77-84 F

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


My weekly striper slurp evaluation trip yesterday was quite interesting?  We started earlier than usual (first light) and I attributed the lack of slurpers at my first stop at the mouth of Labyrinth to timing.  Maybe we were too early?  Then at the east wall in Padre Bay the lack of slurpers was disconcerting.  Timing was right and the most dependable location at the mouth of Last Chance was also disappointing with no surface schools seen. 

The mystery was finally solved as we found slurping stripers close to the brushy shoreline between Dove Canyon and Dungeon Canyon. Here is what I think is happening in the southern lake:

The slurping stripers we caught and then examined at the fish cleaning station contained the same size tiny shad as has been noted for the last month. While fishing in the brush I saw schools of larger shad (1 inch to 1.5 inch) using the brush as a defense against attacking stripers and smallmouth bass. Slurping stripers are still looking for the open water newly hatched shad which are less every day.  Baby shad are consumed quickly by hungry predators but a few grow larger by fleeing into the brush cover. Either way they are less available to slurping stripers waiting in open water.    

smallshadstbSlurps will continue to a lesser degree until shad grow larger and are forced to move out of the brush into open water in search of more plankton to eat.   The next progression is striper boils which have begun in mid July over the past few years. Expect slurps to occur randomly over the next few weeks.  Stripers will blow up on shad whenever they get the chance. There will be more slurps in the mid to northern lake because there are more shad there that have been protected by poor visibility from the muddy runoff water.

A recent report indicated that slurps are increasing in the main channel from the mouth of Navajo to Antelope Point Marina.  A new shad spawn could also lead to more slurps from Padre Bay to Rainbow Bridge.  Surface fishing for stripers is just beginning and will get much better over the summer.   Bait fishing for adult stripers is still steady in deeper water in the main channel and the main canyons throughout the lake. 

Smallmouth bass have gone deeper. Adult bass are now at 25 feet or deeper. Smaller bass are shallower.  Rapidly rising water has displaced many bass. They are following the rising water into the brush in the backs of canyons that are now getting much longer and covering brush that has not been wet for many years.  Largemouth bass are following the rising water and residing in brush thickets in 3 feet of water at the back of canyons and coves.

waemouth

 

Walleye are still being caught in good numbers by anglers using bottom bouncing rigs with night crawlers or trolling over brushy flats with shallow running crankbaits. Walleye really like to perch in flooded treetops while waiting for forage fish to swim by. Rattletraps are a good choice now for walleye. We caught a walleye yesterday on a surface lure fished slowly around flooded trees.  That fish now wears tag number 2901. 

Summer fishing is a lot of fun. Get out early while it is still cool and fish are active. Look for surface action.  Target the brushy shoreline to catch a wide variety of species. Surface lures are very effective during the calm morning and evening hours.

 

June 21, 2017 - Stripers Still on Top!

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Lake Powell Fish Report – June 21, 2017
Lake Elevation: 3631
Water Temperature:  77-84 F
By: Wayne Gustaveson http://www.wayneswords.com
Stripers Still on Top!
Surface feeding stripers have been reported from Wahweap Bay to Hite.  The slurping schools are still feeding quickly and tend to go up and down often.  My reports indicate that they stay up longer and are caught more often from Dangling Rope to the San Juan and Bullfrog Bay to Good Hope Bay.  Expect to see them anywhere and anytime. Since they are commonly feeding lakewide my goal today was to find out which lures caught the most fish.
My preference is surface casting so I can see the fish hit the top water lure. That way even if there is no hookup I can see the fish and feel the adrenaline spike. I chose the Ima Skimmer because it performed well last week and repeated that performance today. It’s a long thin lure that casts well.
My next rod had the Lucky Craft lipless vibrator (rattletrap type) tied on because the slurps go up and down quickly.  When they are up, just reel it quickly through the splashing fish.  If they go down let the ‘trap sink until it is below the submerged school and then reel it up through the school for a quick hookup.
Stripers are feeding on very small shad so the best lure to “match the hatch” is a small white fly.  It takes a fly rod to cast a fly or an added weight to get the fly out there on a spinning rod.   I tied a small white fly on behind a Kastmaster spoon. My setup was not the best and got only a few bumps without a hookup.  If using flies bring the fly rod.
The best lure of the day was a Yamamoto D Shad (white color 364) on a 5/0 Owner hook with a 3/32 ounce belly weight and a twist lock attachment. This big lure caught the most slurping stripers.  It worked well swimming through the striper school or dropping down a bit when the school went down.
All lures worked but the most important factor was to cast to the right spot. These fast moving fish feed in an erratic pattern. They start in one direction, only to change course, go down and come up in a new direction. It is critical to cast 5 feet or more ahead of the lead fish since the lure will fly for 2-3 seconds and then land near the fast moving school.  If it lands in the sweet spot where the lead fish can see it there will be a hookup.  If it lands behind the lead fish then it is often ignored. The school often stays up for up to 5 minutes or more but once the boat is in range the fish tend to go down after the lures hit the water.  The first cast must be accurate to get a quick hookup.
Today the striper slurps began at first light and quit at 9 AM.  We came in on a hot day instead of waiting for the noon slurps to start.  More slurps are found in the evening .
We did try trolling with deep divers over 25-foot slick rock bottom structure and caught stripers and smallmouth bass.  We talked with bait anglers fishing in the shady coves on the east wall in Last Chance and they were catching lots of adult stripers. Striper fishing is still good despite the heat.
I often tell anglers to fish small isolated white rock slides in the steep walled main channel to catch smallmouth bass. We tested that theory and found the rock slides to be quiet, but if we cast to the slick rock wall on the other side of the rock slide cove we caught a smallmouth bass on every cast.  Smallmouth bass are still active and very catchable. It just takes a bit of experimenting to find their preferred habitat for the day.
Walleye are active early morning and evening and during the day as they hang out under muddy water floating on the surface caused by wind or wake action. Catfish, Bluegill and green sunfish are active now as well but the rising water has not allowed them to find their summer home. That will happen when the lake stabilizes in July.

Lake Powell Fish Report – June 21, 2017

Lake Elevation: 3631

Water Temperature:  77-84 F

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

Stripers Still on Top!

Surface feeding stripers have been reported from Wahweap Bay to Hite.  The slurping schools are still feeding quickly and tend to go up and down often.  My reports indicate that they stay up longer and are caught more often from Dangling Rope to the San Juan and Bullfrog Bay to Good Hope Bay.  Expect to see them anywhere and anytime.  Since they are commonly feeding lakewide my goal today was to find out which lures caught the most fish.

imabasslure

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My preference is surface casting so I can see the fish hit the top water lure. That way even if there is no hookup I can see the fish and feel the adrenaline spike. I chose the Ima Skimmer because it performed well last week and repeated that performance today. It’s a long thin lure that casts well.  

lv100stb

 

My next rod had the Lucky Craft lipless vibrator (rattletrap type) tied on because the slurps go up and down quickly.  When they are up, just reel it quickly through the splashing fish.  If they go down let the ‘trap sink until it is below the submerged school and then reel it up through the school for a quick hookup. 

Stripers are feeding on very small shad so the best lure to “match the hatch” is a small white fly.  It takes a fly rod to cast a fly or an added weight to get the fly out there on a spinning rod.   I tied a small white fly on behind a Kastmaster spoon. My setup was not the best and got only a few bumps without a hookup.  If using flies bring the fly rod.  

kfs-k856

 

The best lure of the day was a Yamamoto D Shad (white color 364) on a 5/0 Owner hook with a 3/32 ounce belly weight and a twist lock attachment. This big lure caught the most slurping stripers.  It worked well swimming through the striper school or dropping down a bit when the school went down.

 slurps622bAll lures worked but the most important factor was to cast to the right spot. These fast moving fish feed in an erratic pattern. They start in one direction, only to change course, go down and come up in a new direction. It is critical to cast 5 feet or more ahead of the lead fish since the lure will fly for 2-3 seconds and then land near the fast moving school.  If it lands in the sweet spot where the lead fish can see it there will be a hookup.  If it lands behind the lead fish then it is often ignored. The school often stays up for up to 5 minutes or more but once the boat is in range the fish tend to go down after the lures hit the water.  The first cast must be accurate to get a quick hookup. 

Today the striper slurps began at first light and quit at 9 AM.  We came in on a hot day instead of waiting for the noon slurps to start.  More slurps are found in the evening .   

 

 

 

 

 

 

We did try trolling with deep divers over 25-foot slick rock bottom structure and caught stripers and smallmouth bass.  We talked with bait anglers fishing in the shady coves on the east wall in Last Chance and they were catching lots of adult stripers. Striper fishing is still good despite the heat.

 

 

codyson2

 

I often tell anglers to fish small isolated white rock slides in the steep walled main channel to catch smallmouth bass. We tested that theory and found the rock slides to be quiet, but if we cast to the slick rock wall on the other side of the rock slide cove we caught a smallmouth bass on every cast.  Smallmouth bass are still active and very catchable. It just takes a bit of experimenting to find their preferred habitat for the day. 

Walleye are active early morning and evening and during the day as they hang out under muddy water floating on the surface caused by wind or wake action. Catfish, Bluegill and green sunfish are active now as well but the rising water has not allowed them to find their summer home. That will happen when the lake stabilizes in July.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 21 June 2017 08:40
 

June 14, 2017 - Slurping Stripers on Top!

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Lake Powell Fish Report – June 14, 2017
Lake Elevation: 3626.58
Water Temperature: 69 - 78 F
By: Wayne Gustaveson http://www.wayneswords.com
Stripers on Top!
In the last report I mentioned that stripers would soon feed on the surface. We now have confirmation!  Stripers are slurping lakewide.  The recent w**dy days kept stripers down as the waves crashed against the shore and messed up surface visibility where young shad swim.  This morning it was finally calm and stripers were on top early and baby shad were being consumed by the millions. The twenty stripers I caught this morning averaged about 50 shad per stomach (average length .75 inches). That equates to 1000 shad.  It’s time to go save some shad and catch stripers in the process. Here is the plan.
Stripers hit the surface shortly after dawn and continue to feed randomly throughout the day. Slurps were seen this morning in Warm Creek, Gunsight mouth, Labyrinth Bay, Padre Bay east wall, Gregory Butte bay, West Canyon mouth, and Dove Canyon mouth. There was still a breeze blowing in Rock Creek so no striper slurps were seen there. I am sure the same events played out uplake.  If it was calm there were stripers slurping.
Surface feeding stripers stayed up longer and were likely to hit my lures better today than last week.  Today I could cast Lucky Craft (ghost) Pointers beyond the surface feeding school and work the lure through the closely feeding fish.  With a good cast and if the stripers continued to feed in the same direction, hookups came about half the time. The 4-inch lure is a lot bigger than the forage, so each striper has to give up small shad to feed on something really big like my lure.  Later in the day it occurred to me that these fish might be bold enough to hit topwater.  I tried an Ima Skimmer (white) and found them just as likely to hit the surface lure as the crankbait. I used topwater the rest of the day.
Schools varied in size from 10 fish to about 50. They fed in a semi-circular pattern more like adults cornering full grown shad. Lures that landed inside the group caused a few to splash but caused others to hit the lure. The school moved fast enough that only one cast could reach the group.  The trolling motor in high gear or the big motor at fast idle was needed to keep up with the rapidly moving school.
Most of the schools were found in the main channel over deep water. Spoons did not work as well over deep water as they do when the escaping school heads to the bottom and stops at 30-40 feet. No fish were caught on spoons today.  Stripers continued to slurp until 11 AM when wake boat traffic increased.  They will blow up any time they find food and calm seas. Expect to see slurps randomly throughout the day but more commonly early morning and late evening.
Adult stripers are still locked down below 20 feet by the warm surface water. Bait works but crayfish are coming out of hiding. Adult stripers can be caught trolling in the 10-30 foot strata. Storm deep Thundersticks are working quite well.
Bass fishing did not keep pace with stripers.  The rapidly rising water levels may be hindering bass catch rate.  Bass are staying in their preferred holding structure previously found and have not moved up even though the water level rose another 5 feet higher this week.  Water temperature also plummeted from 76 last week to 69 this morning. Bass did not bite as well today as they did last week, but I think they will recover as the water temperature warms up with the weather this week. Look in the same rocky habitat or flooded brush points to find willing smallmouth. Largemouth bass are tucked in tight in shallow weedy water. Expect bluegill and largemouth to be close and sharing the same habitat.
Now is the time to try Catfishing as these bottom dwellers are in spawning mode and are super active.
Two more tagged walleye were reported this week with both fish coming from the Cedar to Knowles canyon area of the main channel.  Both fish were tagged in Good Hope Bay but moved downstream for some reason.  We will continue to work on walleye movement and report when we have conclusive information.
My next move is to post this report and then go fishing for slurping stripers!

Lake Powell Fish Report – June 14, 2017

Lake Elevation: 3627.36

Water Temperature: 69 - 78 F

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

Stripers on Top!

In the last report I mentioned that stripers would soon feed on the surface. We now have confirmation!  Stripers are slurping lakewide.  The recent w**dy days kept stripers down as the waves crashed against the shore and messed up surface visibility where young shad swim.  This morning it was finally calm and stripers were on top early and baby shad were being consumed by the millions. The twenty stripers I caught this morning averaged about 50 shad per stomach (average length 0.75 inches). That equates to 1000 shad.  It’s time to go save some shad and catch stripers in the process. Here is the plan.

slurps622a

 

Stripers hit the surface shortly after dawn and continue to feed randomly throughout the day. Slurps were seen this morning in Warm Creek, Gunsight mouth, Labyrinth Bay, Padre Bay east wall, Gregory Butte bay, West Canyon mouth, and Dove Canyon mouth. There was still a breeze blowing in Rock Creek so no striper slurps were seen there. I am sure the same events played out uplake.  If it was calm there were stripers slurping. 

Surface feeding stripers stayed up longer and were likely to hit my lures better today than last week.  Today I could cast Lucky Craft (ghost) Pointers beyond the surface feeding school and work the lure through the closely feeding fish.  With a good cast and if the stripers continued to feed in the same direction, hookups came about half the time. The 4-inch lure is a lot bigger than the forage, so each striper has to give up small shad to feed on something really big like my lure. Later in the day it occurred to me that these fish might be bold enough to hit topwater.  I tried an Ima Skimmer (white) and found them just as likely to hit the surface lure as the crankbait. I used topwater the rest of the day. 

Schools varied in size from 10 fish to about 50. They fed in a semi-circular pattern more like adults cornering full grown shad. Lures that landed inside the group caused a few to splash but caused others to hit the lure. The school moved fast enough that only one cast could reach the group.  The trolling motor in high gear or the big motor at fast idle was needed to keep up with the rapidly moving school. 

Most of the schools were found in the main channel over deep water. Spoons did not work as well over deep water as they do when the escaping school heads to the bottom and stops at 30-40 feet. No fish were caught on spoons today. Stripers continued to slurp until 11 AM when wake boat traffic increased.  They will blow up any time they find food and calm seas. Expect to see slurps randomly throughout the day but more commonly early morning and late evening.

 Adult stripers are still locked down below 20 feet by the warm surface water. Bait works but crayfish are coming out of hiding and adult stripers are slurpdirectionsearching the flats along the shore for a good meal. Adult stripers can be caught trolling in the 10-30 foot strata. Storm deep Thundersticks are working quite well. 

Bass fishing did not keep pace with stripers.  The rapidly rising water levels may be hindering bass catch rate.  Bass are staying in their preferred holding structure previously found and have not moved up even though the water level rose another 5 feet higher this week.  Water temperature also plummeted from 76 last week to 69 this morning. Bass did not bite as well today as they did last week, but I think they will recover as the water temperature warms up with the weather this week. Look in the same rocky habitat or flooded brush points to find willing smallmouth. Largemouth bass are tucked in tight in shallow weedy water. Expect bluegill and largemouth to be close and sharing the same habitat. 

Now is the time to try Catfishing as these bottom dwellers are in spawning mode and are super active. Two more tagged walleye were reported this week with both fish coming from the Cedar to Knowles canyon area of the main channel. Both fish were tagged in Good Hope Bay but moved downstream for some reason.  We will continue to work on walleye movement and report when we have conclusive information. 

My next move is to post this report and then go fishing for slurping stripers!

catboy

Last Updated on Wednesday, 14 June 2017 09:43
 

June 6, 2017 - Stripers in Transition

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senkocatchLake Powell Fish Report – June 6, 2017
Lake Elevation: 3622
Water Temperature: 73 -78 F
By: Wayne Gustaveson http://www.wayneswords.com
Stripers in Transition:
The lake is still filling rapidly but the bigger news now is that stripers are feeding on the surface.
The ultimate goal of many freshwater anglers is to fish a striper boil.  We are not quite there yet but the big event is only a few weeks away. Right now we have the next best surface feeding event which I have named “slurps or slurping”.
Shad are being hatched lakewide.  We are not able to tell the difference between threadfin and gizzard shad larvae until the tiny fish grow a bit. Right now baby shad are only 5-10 mm long. Healthy stripers have been subsisting by eating plankton.  Now they are very happy to let shad eat plankton while stripers turn to eating shad.  Striper consumption level is often between 50-100 microscopic shad per day.  It would be better for stripers to wait until shad were at least an inch long so they could get more nutrition from less fish, but they have no patience.  It is our job as anglers to watch for slurps, then attack the marauding stripers and catch as many as possible while letting the surviving shad run away. Your reward will be catching some of the smaller healthy stripers which are great table fare.
I must remind you that the slurping striper school is feeding shoulder-to-shoulder while moving through a shad school. When some stripers run out of shad they leave the feeding line and search for the next shad group. Those “lookers” are the fish to cast toward. A small surface lure, shallow running crank bait, or small Kastmaster spoon are favorite striper lures.  If the lure lands in the middle of the feeding line the whole group splashes away and none are caught. If that happens don’t be discouraged just wait for them to surface again a short distance away and make a better cast.
Slurps have been seen for two weeks between the San Juan and the Escalante. Last week Bullfrog erupted with many small slurps.  Wahweap is still waiting for topwater action. Slurps have been recently seen in Warm Creek near double islands, Labyrinth mouth, West Canyon, and mouth of Rock Creek.  Expect each day to provide more surface action as shad get bigger and more numerous and stripers discover them on the surface. Bait fishing is not over. Warming water tends to move larger stripers into deeper water. Shad are on the surface so adult stripers are still searching for bait. Expect to find them in the same locations that have been reported for the past month.
Smallmouth bass are the next most likely fish to catch. Look for deep structure, like a long point that does not change much as the water comes up 5 feet. Bass can just move up the brushy point to their preferred feeding depth.
Walleye are still being caught like crazy from Bullfrog to Good Hope.   Most of the fish are caught from Bullfrog to Good Hope (20) but two have come from Padre Bay on the south end of the lake. We are starting to see quite a bit of movement from Good Hope Bay fish as they move downstream. One reason for the walleye contest was to determine migration patterns by comparing tagging location to the capture point. There will be another bunch of tagged fish caught during June. With water warming and rising, expect to see walleye move from rocky flats into the submerged trees. Their favorite feeding technique is to park in a submerged tree top and wait for food to swim by.  Trolling a shallow running lure right over the tree tops is the best way to catch walleye. That technique will be working within the next two weeks if not sooner.
Catfish are nearing spawning now that the water temperature is in the 70s.  They are very active and easy to catch as prespawn fish. Just put a worm on the bottom in the back of a cove or bay.  Fish 10-20 feet deep and let the meandering catfish find your bait for fast action.
The detailed information above was written yesterday. Today I went fishing to test out my theories.  Here is what I found. Young stripers were slurping on the Warm Creek side of the Castle Rock Cut. They were flighty and not interested in my rattletrap so I went on.  Saw another slurp at the mouth of Labyrinth. No takers so I switched to a small silver spoon.
I then trolled a deep Thunderstick along the east wall in Padre Bay. Caught one healthy 3-pound striper, but no more. My next spot was just upstream from Buoy 25. I trolled for stripers without success so tried for bass with a 3-inch senko which smallmouth bass just loved. There are rock reefs near shore that drop off to 15-20 feet. At each drop off the senko was consumed shortly after hitting bottom by eager 1.5 pound smallmouth bass.  That was quick fishing but I had more lake to cover so I moved on.
Saw a fishing boat catching fish like crazy near Gregory Butte.  When asked they showed me the bait they were using.  Surprisingly, it was a 5 inch senko cut in half and fished on a leadhead jig.  Great minds think alike!  That stubby square plastic bait worked extremely well the rest of the trip.
I then went around Gregory Butte to the mouth of West Canyon.  On the second long point I tried trolling with no luck and then tossed the senko toward the edge of a reef. The smallmouth bass went crazy as the bait hit the bottom. On the east side of the mouth of West Canyon the lake is covering the long points and brush. I tried the senko with similar great success.  I caught two walleye in 10 feet of water near brushy cover.
Around the corner in the mouth of Dove Canyon another fishing boat was using bait and catching some really nice stripers near shore in 45 feet of water. I dropped my small spoon and caught one of their fish. Then I started working back to Wahweap.
In the middle of the West Canyon bay I saw another slurping striper school at mid day.  This time I caught a small striper on my small 1-inch spoon. In the Gregory Butte Bay (west side) I crossed another reef and tried the senko with similar success. Near the reef in 30 feet of water I graphed a school of fish which I assumed would be small stripers. The small spoon was deployed and I caught 2 fish – both of them BLUEGILL. These adult sunfish were working in open water eating plankton.  I saw another small fish school on the bottom and dropped my spoon down to catch a sunfish and caught a WALLEYE.  It was time to head in so I ignored all the great looking habitat and just came home.  Fishing success at Lake Powell is amazing!

senkocatchLake Powell Fish Report – June 6, 2017

Lake Elevation: 3622

Water Temperature: 73 -78 F

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

Stripers in Transition:

The lake is still filling rapidly but the bigger news now is that stripers are feeding on the surface. The ultimate goal of many freshwater anglers is to fish a striper boil.  We are not quite there yet but the big event is only a few weeks away. Right now we have the next best surface feeding event which I have named “slurps or slurping”. 

Shad are being hatched lakewide.  We are not able to tell the difference between threadfin and gizzard shad larvae until the tiny fish grow a bit. Right now baby shad are only 5-10 mm long. Healthy stripers have been subsisting by eating plankton.  Now they are very happy to let shad eat plankton while stripers turn to eating shad.  Striper consumption level is often between 50-100 microscopic shad per day.  It would be better for stripers to wait until shad were at least an inch long so they could get more nutrition from less fish, but they have no patience.  It is our job as anglers to watch for slurps, then attack the marauding stripers and catch as many as possible while letting the surviving shad run away. Your reward will be catching some of the smaller healthy stripers which are great table fare.

I must remind you that the slurping striper school is feeding shoulder-to-shoulder while moving through a shad school. When some stripers run out of shad they leave the feeding line and search for the next shad group. Those “lookers” are the fish to cast toward. A small surface lure, shallow running crank bait, or small Kastmaster spoon are favorite striper lures.  If the lure lands in the middle of the feeding line the whole group splashes away and none are caught. If that happens don’t be discouraged just wait for them to surface again a short distance away and make a better cast.   

senkohalfSlurps have been seen for two weeks between the San Juan and the Escalante. Last week Bullfrog erupted with many small slurps.  Wahweap is still waiting for topwater action. Slurps have been recently seen in Warm Creek near double islands, Labyrinth Canyon mouth, West Canyon, and mouth of Rock Creek.  Expect each day to provide more surface action as shad get bigger and more numerous and more stripers discover them on the surface.

Bait fishing is not over. Warming water tends to move larger stripers into deeper water. Shad are on the surface so adult stripers are still searching for bait. Expect to find them in the same locations that have been reported for the past month. 

Smallmouth bass are the next most likely fish to catch. Look for deep structure, like a long point that does not change much as the water comes up 5 feet. Bass can just move up the brushy point to their preferred feeding depth.  
Walleye are still being caught like crazy from Bullfrog to Good Hope.   Most of the tagged walleye are caught from Bullfrog to Good Hope (20) but two have come from Padre Bay on the south end of the lake. We are starting to see quite a bit of movement from Good Hope Bay fish as they move downstream. One reason for the walleye contest was to determine migration patterns by comparing tagging location to the capture point. There will be another bunch of tagged fish caught during June. With water warming and rising, expect to see walleye move from rocky flats into the submerged trees. Their favorite feeding technique is to park in a submerged tree top and wait for food to swim by.  Trolling a shallow running lure right over the tree tops is the best way to catch walleye. That technique will be working within the next two weeks if not sooner.

Catfish are nearing spawning now that the water temperature is in the 70s.  They are very active and easy to catch as prespawn fish. Just put a worm on the bottom in the back of a cove or bay.  Fish 10-20 feet deep and let the meandering catfish find your bait for fast action.   

The detailed information above was written yesterday. Today I went fishing to test out my theories.  Here is what I found: Young stripers were slurping on the Warm Creek side of the Castle Rock Cut. They were flighty and not interested in my rattletrap so I went on.  Saw another slurp at the mouth of Labyrinth. No takers so I switched to a small silver spoon. 

I then trolled a deep Thunderstick along the east wall in Padre Bay. Caught one healthy 3-pound striper, but no more. My next spot was just upstream from Buoy 25. I trolled for stripers without success so tried for bass with a 5-inch senko, cut in half and placed on a leadhead jig, which smallmouth bass just loved. There are rock reefs near shore that drop off to 15-20 feet. At each drop off the senko was consumed shortly after hitting bottom by eager 1.5 pound smallmouth bass.  That was quick fishing but I had more lake to cover so I moved on.  

Saw a fishing boat catching fish like crazy near Gregory Butte.  When asked they showed me the bait they were using. Surprisingly, it was a 5 inch senko cut in half and fished on a leadhead jig.  Great minds think alike!  That stubby square plastic bait worked extremely well the rest of the trip.

senkowaeI then went around Gregory Butte to the mouth of West Canyon.  On the second long point I tried trolling with no luck and then tossed the senko toward the edge of a reef. The smallmouth bass went crazy as the bait hit the bottom. On the east side of the mouth of West Canyon the lake is covering the long points and brush. I tried the senko with similar great success catching a number of bass.  I then caught two walleye in 10 feet of water near brushy cover. 

Around the corner in the mouth of Dove Canyon another fishing boat was using bait and catching some really nice stripers near shore in 45 feet of water. I dropped my small spoon and caught one of their fish. Then I started working back to Wahweap.  

In the middle of the West Canyon bay I saw another slurping striper school at mid day.  This time I caught a small striper on my small 1-inch spoon cast just beyond the slurping school.  In the Gregory Butte Bay (west side) I crossed another reef and tried the senko with similar success. Near the reef in 30 feet of water I graphed a school of fish which I assumed would be small stripers. The small spoon was deployed and I caught 2 fish – both of them BLUEGILL. These adult sunfish were working in open water eating plankton.  I saw another small fish school on the bottom and dropped my spoon down to catch a sunfish and caught a WALLEYE.

It was time to head in so I ignored all the great looking habitat and just came home.  Fishing success at Lake Powell is amazing!

 

Last Updated on Tuesday, 06 June 2017 17:05
 

May 31, 2017 - Fish are biting and spawning

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Lake Powell Fish Report – May 31, 2017
Lake Elevation: 3618
Water Temperature: 68-73 F
By: Wayne Gustaveson http://www.wayneswords.com
Lake Powell has risen 4 feet in the last week.  Expect the same for this week.  Inflow is over 80K acre feet with only 21K AF being released.  Retie your boat anchor lines each morning and then enjoy the day.  Rapidly rising water is flooding vegetation that has not been wet for a while. This new habitat attracts largemouth bass, bluegill and crappie like a magnet.
Water temperature is in the high 60s in the morning and mid 70s in the afternoon. Warmer water means spawning time for bluegill, carp, channel catfish and threadfin shad. Bluegill and catfish are very active during the spawn and easy to catch. Bluegill can be seen guarding nests and will respond to a chunk of worm on a very small hook. Attach a bobber about 6 feet above the bait so the subtle bite can be seen as the bobber wiggles. The size of bluegill is very impressive for a panfish and the fight is like a roller coaster ride. Give it a try.
Water clarity is decreasing lakewide as algae numbers increase making the water a lovely blue green color in the southern lake.  Sloughing banks make many mud lines that just float on the surface while giving walleye a pleasant place to hide as they wait for the next meal to swim by.  Walleye are ambush feeders that lie in wait for a tasty morsel to swim in view.  If that happens to be your night crawler towed behind a bottom bouncer, or a plastic jig with a chunk of worm attached, the chances are good the hungry walleye will bite the bait. The northern lake, from the San Juan to White Canyon is the walleye hotspot. There have been over 20 tagged walleye captured in the last two weeks.  Chris Crosby was the winner when he caught 2 tagged fish in one day in Good Hope Bay. He reports water clarity to be only a few inches upstream from Red Canyon, 2-3 feet in Ticaboo while Blue Notch had over 6 feet visibility. Good Hope Bay is fishable despite the high runoff.
Smallmouth bass fishing is amazing with active fish in rock structure lakewide. I took a break from striper fishing over the weekend and pulled into an isolated main channel rock slide in Last Chance Canyon.  My goal was to see how many bass I could catch in 10 casts using a 4 inch Senko lazily attached to a jighead.  The bait was cast to the rocks and then let sink 6 to 10 feet.  When the lure hit bottom it was tested gingerly to see if there was extra weight on the uplift.  If so the hook was set and fish reeled in. The count was 7 bass caught on 10 casts. That was better than expected but disappointing because fish number 8 got away. Oh well, next time!
Striper fishing is still as hot as the weather from Wahweap to Bullfrog. Stripers were kind enough to delight most of the anglers who went to down to the dam over the Holiday weekend. Anchovy bait was used effectively at the dam, Buoy 3, Antelope Canyon mouth and first point, Navajo Canyon first two points beyond the double islands, and Warm Creek Wall (intersection of Warm Creek and the main channel at Buoy 12). Further uplake stripers were caught on bait in Last Chance, Rock Creek, and the steep walls near Dangling Rope.  Stripers are still being caught on bait at Bullfrog, Moki Wall and mouth of Moki Canyon.  It will be possible to catch stripers on bait in most canyons on the lake for the next two weeks. However the end is in sight.
Stripers are waiting for shad to become available so they can revert back to what they do best, which is chasing shad relentlessly.  Shad have spawned and tiny fish are growing. Striper slurps have been reported in the channel from the mouth of the San Juan to the Escalante. Shad may be hidden by the cloudy water in the northern lake. If looking for surface action this week head downstream from Bullfrog or upstream from Rainbow Bridge. Shad like to spawn in the backs of canyons so the young shad and hungry stripers will most likely be seen first in the backs of major canyons lake wide.
Lake Powell has an amazing fishery which means that some fish will be available to catch at any time of the year. Right now there is a wide variety to choose from. The scenery is incredible and the fish are amazing.   I love this place!

Lake Powell Fish Report – May 31, 2017

Lake Elevation: 3618

Water Temperature: 68-73 F

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

bgcoolerrhLake Powell has risen 4 feet in the last week.  Expect the same for this week.  Inflow is over 80K acre feet with only 21K AF being released.  Retie your boat anchor lines each morning and then enjoy the day.  Rapidly rising water is flooding vegetation that has not been wet for a while. This new habitat attracts largemouth bass, bluegill and crappie like a magnet.  

Water temperature is in the high 60s in the morning and mid 70s in the afternoon. Warmer water means spawning time for bluegill, carp, channel catfish and threadfin shad. Bluegill and catfish are very active during the spawn and easy to catch. Bluegill can be seen guarding nests and will respond to a chunk of worm on a very small hook. Attach a bobber about 6 feet above the bait so the subtle bite can be seen as the bobber wiggles. The size of bluegill is very impressive for a panfish and the fight is like a roller coaster ride. Give it a try.

Water clarity is decreasing lakewide as algae numbers increase making the water a lovely blue green color in the southern lake.  Sloughing banks make many mud lines that just float on the surface while giving walleye a pleasant place to hide as they wait for the next meal to swim by.  Walleye are ambush feeders that lie in wait for a tasty morsel to swim in view.  If that happens to be your night crawler towed behind a bottom bouncer, or a plastic jig with a chunk of worm attached, the chances are good the hungry walleye will bite the bait. The northern lake, from the San Juan to White Canyon is the walleye hotspot. There have been over 20 tagged walleye captured in the last two weeks.  Chris Crosby was the winner when he caught 2 tagged fish in one day in Good Hope Bay. He reports water clarity to be only a few inches upstream from Red Canyon, 2-3 feet in Ticaboo while Blue Notch had over 6 feet visibility. Good Hope Bay is fishable despite the high runoff. 

Smallmouth bass fishing is amazing with active fish in rock structure lakewide. I took a break from striper fishing over the weekend and pulled into an isolated main channel rock slide in Last Chance Canyon.  My goal was to see how many bass I could catch in 10 casts using a 4 inch Senko lazily attached to a jighead.  The bait was cast to the rocks and then let sink 6 to 10 feet.  When the lure hit bottom it was tested gingerly to see if there was extra weight on the uplift.  If so the hook was set and fish reeled in. The count was 7 bass caught on 10 casts. That was better than expected but disappointing because fish number 8 got away. Oh well, next time!

Striper fishing is still as hot as the weather from Wahweap to Bullfrog. Stripers were kind enough to delight most of the anglers who went to down to the dam over the Holiday weekend. Anchovy bait was used effectively at the dam, Buoy 3, Antelope Canyon mouth and first point, Navajo Canyon first two points beyond the double islands, and Warm Creek Wall (intersection of Warm Creek and the main channel at Buoy 12). Further uplake stripers were caught on bait in Last Chance, Rock Creek, and the steep walls near Dangling Rope.  Stripers are still being caught on bait at Bullfrog, Moki Wall and mouth of Moki Canyon.  It will be possible to catch stripers on bait in most canyons on the lake for the next two weeks. However the end is in sight.

Stripers are waiting for shad to become available so they can revert back to what they do best, which is chasing shad relentlessly.  Shad have spawned and tiny fish are growing. Striper slurps have been reported in the channel from the mouth of the San Juan to the Escalante. Shad may be hidden by the cloudy water in the northern lake. If looking for surface action this week head downstream from Bullfrog or upstream from Rainbow Bridge. Shad like to spawn in the backs of canyons so the young shad and hungry stripers will most likely be seen first in the backs of major canyons lake wide. 

Lake Powell has a robust fishery which means that some fish will be available to catch, using the right techniques, at any time of the year. Right now there is a wide variety to choose from.

The scenery is incredible and the fish are amazing.   I love this place!

 

chriscrosby2tags_edited-1

Last Updated on Wednesday, 31 May 2017 16:18
 


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