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June 5, 2019 - Lake rapidly rising

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Lake Powell Fish Report – June 5, 2019
Lake Elevation: 3586.42
Water temperature:  68-75 F
By: Wayne Gustaveson http://www.wayneswords.com or Wayneswords.net

The lake is coming up fast.  Castle Rock Cut now has over 6 feet of depth allowing all vessels to pass through. The Antelope Point launch ramp will open in a week or less. For those camping on the shoreline, be aware that the lake is coming up 6-inches or more per day.  Make sure your boat is retied every morning.  The rising water is also confusing some of the fish.

Stripers and shad are always in close proximity. Shad have been absent most of the winter and spring but are now reproducing in big numbers.  Our shad sampling shows good reproduction results over the length of the lake. There are tons of shad in the backs of the canyons. That means stripers are beginning to move from the main channel walls to the backs of canyons. This will take a few weeks for stripers to find shad and make the right moves.

Slurping stripers are now common in the northern lake.  The southern lake is slightly behind, but slurps are starting in the backs of most major canyons. This has caused some movement, as active stripers will now be searching for shad.  Stripers are scattered in the backs of canyons but can be seen surfacing very early in the morning. Catching topwater stripers is a good start for any fishing trip.

Rising lake levels have displaced largemouth and smallmouth bass. Largemouth want dense cover so newly submerged tumbleweeds are very welcome shelters.  Look for largemouth in new brushy cover in the backs of canyons. Smallmouth bass like rock structure so they are holding in familiar rock structure as the lake continues to rise.  Crayfish are not moving shallow as fast as the lake is rising so smallmouth bass are now deeper than expected.  Smallmouth are susceptible to the normal plastic baits, as their activity level has increased with the warming water temperature.  They will hit in shallow water near rocky habitat.  We also found them in open water while trolling along rocky shorelines.

Walleye are scattered but more aggressive as the water temperature has increased. We did not target walleye but were able to catch them while trolling and casting.  My biggest surprise came after catching a striper while trolling.  While playing that fish, I saw other fish on the graph following the striper.  When that happens, the troll-caught first fish is tossed in the cooler and a spoon deployed to catch more stripers. My spoon was inhaled by a walleye on the first bounce, on the bottom in 25 feet of water.  The best walleye baits are bottom bouncers, Ned rigs and bass jigs with a piece of night crawler attached.  Walleye will be vulnerable to daytime anglers for a few more weeks.  After that, they will revert to a nighttime shad and crayfish diet.

Our main target this week was Bluegill and Green Sunfish.  A piece of worm hooked to a tiny ice jig was a successful technique once the proper habitat was located.  With rapidly rising water, shallow rocky habitat can be covered and lose its appeal.  We looked for very tall rockslides that offered constant rocky habitat as the water level quickly rises. These tall, but narrow, rockslides worked well for sunfish and we found smallmouth bass happy to bite a worm.

The fishing trip produced a mixed bag of species caught while trolling, casting, spooning and dropping worms in shallow water. There are many options for your fishing enjoyment.

 

May 29, 2019 - Fish are Energized!

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Lake Powell Fish Report – May 29, 2019
Lake Elevation: 3583.42
Water temperature:  61-65 F
By: Wayne Gustaveson http://www.wayneswords.com or Wayneswords.net

 

Lake Powell is three feet higher than reported in the last fish report. That is great news for all those fishing at the lake this spring, but those on the southern end are giddy because the Castle Rock Cut is now open.  Yesterday on my fish report trip, we found a few low spots in the Cut where the depth was only 1.5 feet.  We had our outboard motor elevated so it was almost at a 45-degree angle. We did not hit bottom in the shallow spots.  Since then the lake has risen another 4 inches. In another week, the shallowest spot in the Cut will be over 2.5 feet making the Cut passable for almost all vessels.

Our trip goal was to find out how fishing conditions have changed since the big cold front passed through.  We started by trolling for stripers on the Wahweap side of Castle Rock.  We caught 2 stripers in 3 short runs confirming that as a valid technique. We then tried the mouth of Labyrinth with no success in one short trolling run.  We caught another 3 stripers in 3 short runs on the east wall of Padre Canyon. Our next stop was Buoy 25 where we got a real time fish report that stripers were still hitting bait on the canyon wall. We then hit the back of Last Chance and Rock Creek and found stripers willing to hit trolled Flicker Shad (Chartruese), Lucky Craft XD 78 Pointers (Chartruese shad), and small, dark colored rattletraps. Using trolling, casting and spooning techniques, we caught 25 healthy stripers, of which only 4 were malnourished.

Uplake stripers were caught trolling in the back of Bullfrog and Halls and other canyons. Bait fishing works as well at Moki Wall and Moki Canyon, Lake Canyon, mouth of Halls Creek, and many other spots.  Bait will continue to work on the main channel walls and mouths of canyons for a few more weeks.

The most exciting report of the week is that stripers are beginning to “slurp” on larval shad in Moki Canyon and many other canyons in the northern lake. Newly hatched shad are just learning how to swim near the surface.  Stripers form a line, swim through the floating shad school and slurp shad off the surface. Their surface disturbance is visible from about 100 yards away. Cast small surface lures to the side of the slurper line or to individual fish that are breaking ranks with the main body of their cohorts.  These individuals are looking for a new target while the school feeding in formation is only interested in eating small shad. Stripers will now regain their health since shad are now available for a daily meal.

Smallmouth bass fishing slowed down with the cold, rainy weather but will now peak as the water temperature climbs from 60 to 70F in the next week. Ned rigs, single and double tail grubs, square bill crankbaits and a variety of other plastic lures based on your personal preference will work great this week as bass are re-energized with warming conditions.  Largemouth bass will follow suit but they will be parked in the tumbleweed piles that have recently gone underwater.

Walleye are energized, as well, by the warming water as they search for food at 15-20 feet.  Crayfish colored Ned Rigs fished very slowly along 15-foot flat shelves have been the most dependable presentation so far this spring.  Add a piece of worm to increase your confidence in catching these toothy predators.  Keep all the walleye you want as there is no limit on walleye and they are harder to catch in the summer months. This is prime time.

Bluegill and green sunfish will be easy to catch on tiny ice jigs with a piece of worm around shallow brush and rocks in the warming water.  Bluegill will also use your houseboat for shade and can be caught by children off the back of the boat.

So take your pick of which species to chase. Fishing at Lake Powell will be supercharged this week with the warming weather.

 

May 22, 2019 - Cold and rainy

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Lake Powell Fish Report – May 22, 2019
Lake Elevation: 3580
Water temperature:  60-65F
By: Wayne Gustaveson http://www.wayneswords.com or Wayneswords.net

The last report was all about spawning potential of Lake Powell fish in warming water. Then the temperature dropped, the rain fell and the wind blew.  Spawning will eventually happen but it was delayed for at least a week or more by the weather change.

As the water cools there will be fewer bass guarding nests but more bass and other fish in deeper water. The lake is now rising at a rate of 3-6 inches per day. Lures that have been effective this spring will continue to work. Just slow down the presentation and work the lure into deeper water to find fish.  Ned rigs, single and double tailed grubs, and shad shaped worms will still be the most effective lures, but crankbaits cast and trolled in deeper water will be a good way to find bass that are on the move in these changing lake level conditions.  Watch for weeds and rocks that were recently submerged that may provide a new brush or rock shelter for bass and other fish.

Striped bass schools have not moved, and remain along the steep canyon walls.  Those anglers that are chumming and using bait along the walls will still find many fish willing to hit bait.  The hot spots include:  Dam (West wall),  Buoy 3,  Navajo Canyon (points after the double islands and further back in the main canyon), Labyrinth Wall, Buoy 25 (coves and wall), and Grotto Canyon.

Fly fishing for stripers along the east canyon walls in the early morning continues as the spawning congregations gather waiting for the temperature surge that will cause nightly spawning.

Bait fishing for stripers is picking up dramatically in the Bullfrog area. Most of the canyons above and below Bullfrog Bay will have a school of stripers holding right at the intersection of the canyon and the main channel. Chum with anchovies to get the school started and then enjoy the action for the next hour or more.

Walleye are hungry and willing to eat slow trolled lures, plastic ned rigs fished very slowly on the bottom, and bait following a bottom bouncer.  The muddy runoff has made the northern lake very brown but reports coming in say that when fishing for walleye in areas with 1-2 feet of visibility the catch rate can be quite good.

Fishing success will heat up with the warming water temperatures forecast for next week.  Stripers will go into spawning mode after Memorial Day.  Largemouth and smallmouth bass will spawn one more time with warming water.  Bluegill and green sunfish will start nest building the first week of June.

There are some really good fishing events forecast for the coming weeks.
 

May 15, 2019 - It is Spawning Time

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Lake Powell Fish Report – May 15, 2019
Lake Elevation: 3577
Water temperature:  65-72 F
By: Wayne Gustaveson http://www.wayneswords.com or Wayneswords.net

 The water temperature this morning was 65 degrees, which has spawning implications for Lake Powell fish.  Some species have already spawned: walleye, largemouth bass and smallmouth bass.  Walleye completed their spawn by April 1st and are now easier to catch with warming water temperatures.  Bass are not done spawning since they can continue to build nests and raise broods for another two weeks.  Bass may make as many as 5 separate nests and successfully hatch that many broods of fry during April and May.  Spawning beds are visible in clear water and provide anglers with good targets for catching male bass that guard the nests. Please return nest-guarding fish to the lake so they can complete their spawning duties.

Lake Powell fish now entering the spawning season are blue gill and green sunfish. They are close cousins to bass and abide by the same rules. Male sunfish guard the nests, protect the young brood, and make more nests after the first hatchlings are released on their own recognizance. Bluegill are amazing in that they build giant nests compared to their small size. Find a nest and drop a small “ice fly” with a small piece of worm attached to catch a bright colored bluegill. Take a picture of the fish quickly as the color fades from super bright orange to more subtle colors in less than a minute.

Striped bass are next to spawn.  Male stripers are very patient and have been waiting for this opportunity since April. They wait each day for the females to join the spawning party, which has not happened yet.   Females control the spawning event based on water temperature.  Stripers do not build nests but spawn on the surface at night when water temperature increases about 8-10 degrees from early morning to late evening. Yesterday the temperature rose from 65 in the morning to 75 at dusk.  Some spawning may have occurred but it is more likely that the spawn will be triggered by surface temperature rising from 70-80F.  A cold front scheduled for tomorrow will delay any further spawning until the next great warming trend.

Finding a school of actively spawning stripers is an amazing fishing experience.  The fish roll and boil on the surface but are still ready to eat whatever swims by.  Large females join the group of 3-pound males making it possible to catch a large fish on any cast. On one occasion, we found a spawning school near Castle Rock and caught 150 fish that ranged in size from 3 pounds to 22 pounds while fishing from 9 PM until midnight.

The best way to find an actively spawning school is to head out at dusk and troll and cast to points at the mouths of coves that are only 30 feet deep.  Lively males will hit your lures and mark the spot where they are waiting for the larger females to arrive. If you are lucky enough to find an actively spawning school you will remember it forever.

You can also look for spawning coves by searching along the shade line of tall east walls first thing in the morning.  Striper males are hungry after a long night and will sip plankton off the surface. Their heads will poke out of the water and be visible and reminiscent of carp feeding on the surface. Try casting a fly to the slurping fish and do not be surprised to catch some very nice, healthy stripers in the process.

Carp used the same warming spawning trigger (65-75F ) as stripers and were seen actively spawning during the day over the length of the lake.  It is possible to hear them splash in the backs of canyons as groups of 10-15 spawning carp race in pods along the surface while spawning.

The last fish to spawn are channel catfish as they wait for 80-degree water.  They are the most secretive spawners as they hide their nests in small caves or crevices in the rocks along the shore.  Noodling for catfish may be possible at Lake Powell during their spawning season.

 

 

May 1, 2019 - Cool temperatures- Trophy Smallmouth

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Lake Powell Fish Report – May 1, 2019
Lake Elevation: 3571
Water temperature: 58-60 F
By: Wayne Gustaveson http://www.wayneswords.com or Wayneswords.net

Lake Powell water level is on the rise.   The inflowing water (64,000 AF) has doubled and lake level came up 2 feet this week.  Expect that inflowing water rate to increase even more during May.  This requires caution while shoreline camping. Expect to move or retie the boat each day.


Rising water is helpful for fishing success because tumbleweeds that have collected along the shoreline will now be covered by water and provide more fish habitat. The weather was cooler this week, which slowed down angling success for bass.  Water temperature dropped from the mid 60s down to 58.   This happens all the time in the spring. If planning a fishing trip to Lake Powell just watch the weather report and come as the air and water temperature rises again.  That temperature boost immediately enhances bass fishing success.


Big news this week is the capture of the largest smallmouth bass ever caught in Lake Powell.  On April 26, Richard Dickinson from Strawberry AZ was fishing for bass along the primary points in Wahweap Bay.  He was using a Texas Rig Baby Craw.  The big fish was hooked at 29 feet and played for a long time before finally surrendering. The huge bass weighed 6.1 pounds and measured 21 inches long.  Richard decided to release the big female that was still full of eggs. Since the fish was not weighed on certified scales, it does not qualify for the Lake Powell record smallmouth bass.  However, it was measured before release. The length of the fish was 21 inches which is 2 inches longer than the current Lake Powell record smallmouth bass caught in 2001, by Eric Inman which weighed 5 pounds 6 ounces and measured 19 inches long.  Richard Dickinson now holds the “Catch and Release” record for smallmouth bass in Lake Powell.


Bait fishing for stripers was still great over the length of the lake despite the recent cold weather.  The main channel from the dam to Navajo Canyon was steady. On our weekly uplake sampling trip we found willing stripers in Buoy 25 Cove but did not find the school in Grotto Canyon. I suspect they were there but we did not spend enough time to locate the school.


We left Grotto and went to Rock Creek where we found stripers willing to hit trolled lures.  Shallow stripers in the backs of canyons will hit rattletraps, Lucky Craft Pointers, and other baits that run 8-12 feet deep.  Stripers willing to chase the shallow running baits are usually the fat, young male fish.  While fishing with bait, a wide variety of stripers were caught that ranged from skinny to healthy.  Stripers caught trolling were healthier but less in number.


May is walleye month at Lake Powell.  Take some night crawlers along and drag plastic baits, tipped with a piece of worm, very slowly along the bottom in 10-25 feet of water.  When a walleye is caught, continue to work that specific spot to catch more of the tasty, toothy fish. Walleye congregate in the same location. Find one walleye and there should be others close by.


May is the best month to catch all species of fish in Lake Powell.

 

April 24, 2019 - Fishing is Excellent

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Lake Powell Fish Report – April 24, 2019
Lake Elevation: 3569
Water temperature: 57-64 F
By: Wayne Gustaveson http://www.wayneswords.com or Wayneswords.net

Lake Powell is on the move.  The inflowing water (31,000 AF) now exceeds the outflow (24,000 AF) enough to allow the lake to rise (3569 MSL).   More importantly, the afternoon lake water temperature is rising into the 60s, which is the spawning trigger for largemouth and smallmouth bass.  Bass nest building has begun and spawning is imminent.

Our weekly trip took us through the Maytag straits, which is not bad in the early morning but slow and bumpy on the return. Our first stop was the east wall in Padre Canyon. My favorite striper spot is now a rocky peninsula, well out of the water, so we moved on to Buoy 25 Cove.  We saw stripers in high numbers all over the cove.  However, they wanted bait and I did not bring any.  This led to my first discovery.  I changed from trolling to casting in the back of the canyon.  A green plastic Creature Bait on a 3/16 ounce leadhead jig was immediately inhaled, by a fat, 2-pound smallmouth bass.  Each cast produced another smallmouth until the stripers moved in and started grabbing the bait before a bass could hit it. We caught 10 bass and 10 stripers in the cove on plastic baits.

This discovery is very logical because most predator fish in Lake Powell prefer to eat shad.  If shad are not available then the second most consumed bait species is crayfish. These bottom dwelling creatures are greenish brown in color.  A wide variety of plastic baits that resemble crayfish, fished on the rocky bottom at 10-25 feet are the most effective lures in these conditions.

As we fished other locations we found that virtually all the rocky coves with submerged rocky structure from 10-30 feet were hotspots for smallmouth bass, The many sandy coves and peninsulas were not prime fishing spots as bass were near rocky coves and structures where crayfish were found.  We saw a few spawning beds but it seems the main bass spawning event still appears to be a week out. These great bass-catching conditions will hold on for another week. Smallmouth bass are waiting for you in all canyons with narrow coves and rocky habitat over the length of the lake.

We traveled to Last Chance and began trolling again to locate fat, healthy stripers. Small fat stripers (plankton eaters) were bunched up in one of the side canyons. Each trolling pass produced another striper. The best lures were 4 inch, LC Bevy Shad, Pointers, and small rattletraps.  When a school was located, striper fishing was great.  There were other spots where no fish were found.   Move quickly between spots in the backs of canyons (Lakewide) to find willing school fish.

Bait fishing for stripers is still producing amazing numbers of fish per trip.  Good striper spots include the Dam, Buoy 3, Navajo Canyon (2 points just past the double islands, and the back of the canyon), Buoy 25, Grotto Canyon, Lake Canyon mouth, and Moki Wall.

There are hundreds of spots to catch stripers on bait.  Select a spot, chum with anchovies or striper meat, cast out 50 feet from the boat and let the bait descend.  Give the bait a soft jerk periodically to attract the attention of schooling stripers that are waiting for the bait to arrive.

Lake Powell fishing is amazing right now for bass, stripers, walleye, catfish and an occasional crappie. Expect great fishing conditions to continue during the remainder of April and through the month of May.

It is time to go fishing!

 

 

 

 

Last Updated on Wednesday, 24 April 2019 10:47
 

April 10, 2019 - Bass Spawning update- Bait fishing for stripers

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Lake Powell Fish Report – April 10, 2019
Lake Elevation: 3568
Water temperature: 54-60 F
By: Wayne Gustaveson http://www.wayneswords.com or Wayneswords.net

The warm, calm weather that we have recently enjoyed was blown away by the strong two-day windstorm with cool temperatures. Before the wind, morning water temperature was as high as 60F. Now the lake temperature is back to the mid 50s which slows down the highly anticipated bass spawn. Expect to wait another week before bass go shallow and start making spawning beds. Bass spawning should peak from the last week of April through early May.

Bass fishing is solid as reported by the participants from the weekend bass tournament held at Wahweap. The winning weight (5 fish) was 16 pounds on Saturday and 18 pounds on Sunday. Most of the fish were caught in Wahweap, Navajo or Warm Creek. Some tournament anglers ran further uplake and caught more fish but they were of smaller size.

Crappie and walleye are being caught more often but they must be specifically targeted. Crappie are found in shallow muddy water and hit small jigs or grubs. Walleye are on the bottom at 10-20 feet and will hit
s-l-o-w-l-y moving, dark colored, Ned Rigs. (Check out a discussion of Ned Rigs on the Fishing Forum at Wayneswords.com.)

Crappie will follow the same schedule. Hopefully some tumbleweeds blew into the water with the recent wind storm to give both bass and crappie some more spawning structure.

Striper schools are on the move. They can be in the backs of the canyons in 10-20 feet of water in the morning and then move out to deeper water later in the day. Once in deep water they are prone to come up from the depths to check out shallower humps looking for forage. A 40-foot hump in deep water can be a trolling target. Use shallow running rattletraps and crankbaits for shallow stripers, then switch to 20-foot deep running lures (Deep Thunderstick) when the stripers are in deeper water. When the hotspot is located, retrace the route each time instead of trolling in a long straight line. Stripers are schooling fish and there will usually be more than the one fish caught on the trolling rod, interested in the same bait. Repeat the trolling path to catch more fish. Cast lures in the general area while the hooked fish by trolling fights behind the boat.

Bait fishing is taking off. There have been many stripers caught at the Dam (West side near 3rd barricade), Buoy 3 (south side, on corner before reaching Antelope Canyon), and Navajo Canyon (first point on left after passing the double islands). These locations are very familiar areas where stripers have been caught in previous years. There are many visible stripers swimming in shallow water in the back of West Canyon. These can be caught on bait.

Bait fishing uplake in the Bullfrog area usually peaks a week or two later than in the southern lake.

If you have found a productive bait fishing spots in a previous year it would be worth a try again now as striper schools are on the move.
 

March 20, 2019 - Fish moving shallow

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Lake Powell Fish Report – March 20, 2019

Lake Elevation: 3570

Water temperature: 49 – 53 F

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

 

Cold, windy weather has been replaced by beautiful, calm, warming spring weather. My fishing results the first two weeks of March in the cold water were not stellar so I hoped for much better success for the 3rd weekly fishing trip. In preparation for that trip I reviewed my archived fish reports - both the recent reports on Wayneswords.net, and the older reports on Wayneswords.com. The old reports are still insightful and I found one that resonated with the current conditions faced this week. The water has been cold and is now warming so what is the fish response to the change in temperature? I found several reports from mid-March but one really stood out to me. Briefly, the report stated that stripers moved from deep water to very shallow water and were receptive to fast moving, shallow running crank baits.

The old reports were from Last Chance and Rock Creek, but I find that a fishing pattern is likely to work over the length of the lake instead of in one isolated canyon. With that in mind, we headed uplake and tried some of the deep water spots that had been productive in previous reports. On one trip we caught 80 stripers on spoons along with one 20-pound striper. We stopped at that spot and saw no fish on the graph. We went further back to shallower water and saw no fish on the graph.

It was time to try the pattern given in the old fish report. Water temperature in the morning held steadily at 49 degrees in the clear water of the main channel, but as we moved to the back of the canyon the temperature rose to 52, and finally to 53 degrees in the slightly turbid water. There were many unfamiliar islands showing up with the recent decline in lake level. We started trolling, at 3.5 mph, in 15 feet of water, seeing no fish on the graph. (Remember the visible graph cone size is very small when graphing in shallow water.)

The first striper hit our trolled Lucky Craft Bevy Shad, and XD pointers at a depth of 11 feet. We stopped to reel in the fish, then started to cast at that spot and were rewarded with constant catching of willing, very healthy stripers, from 12 inches to 3 pounds. We were surrounded by single splashes of jumping fish, which were eventually identified as gizzard shad. We had found the warm spot where many different species of fish were enjoying the sunshine and frolicking in the warmer water. The shallowest fish caught was in 2 feet of water and the deepest was at 14 feet.

Back at the fish cleaning station we found the vast majority of stripers were males that will spawn this year. These precocious males are the most likely stripers to catch in abundance each spring. They are usually in shallower water and much more aggressive than pre-spawn females. They are very fun fish to catch.  They all had empty stomachs so they were happy to see our lures.

Bass fishing is turning on due to the same warming triggers mentioned for stripers. Find shallow murky water that is warmer than the clear water in the main channel. Fish plastic grubs, senkos and jerk baits around rocky structure. Bass will be grouped up. Sometimes you find a regular point that has many bass, while other similar points are vacant. Pound the shoreline and catch a decent amount of bass each day.

The winning weight of the Utah BASS Nation State Team Qualifier held at Bullfrog last weekend was 10 bass with a total weight of 32 pounds.  Overall, 64 anglers caught and released 396 bass (300 largemouth and 96 smallmouth). Largemouth prime time is right now at Lake Powell.

(Pictures on wayneswords.net)

 

 

March 13, 2019 - Cold, wet and windy

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Lake Powell Fish Report – March 13, 2019

Lake Elevation: 3570

Water temperature: 47 – 53 F

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



The snow and rain continues providing the moisture and eventually the runoff needed to allow the lake to rise back to the levels needed to have safe passage and enjoyable fishing trips over the length of the lake. Lake Powell water level is slowly declining due to the continued stormy and cool weather that we all have experienced lately. The lake has been holding near 3571 (MSL) during March, until today when if dipped down to 3570.90.  Lake level will continue to slowly decline until the runoff starts with melting snow and more rainstorms, which is good news for those planning to come to the lake this year.  We hope for a large rise in lake elevation as the weather warms.


My weekly trip was on a rare calm sunny day. The water temperature was 47 F degrees at launch and did not change much until the afternoon with a high near 53 F.  Last week I only got one bite in Navajo Canyon so this time I went all out, to the back of Last Chance.  The water was clear on the way into the canyon.  Visibility in the water was over 10 feet deep at most main channel locations.  Near the back of Last Chance, there is a distinct color change from clear to murky.  Visibility changed from 10 feet down to 2 feet.  In Navajo, the back of the canyon was muddy because there is an inflowing stream. Visibility there was only a few inches.  Last Chance only gets storm runoff so it is not as murky.  This concept is the same over the length of the lake. Canyons with inflowing streams have lower visibility.


In most years, I fish in the last arm on the right. This time that arm was very shallow due to low water levels. Striper schools in February were found on the bottom at 60 feet or deeper. After graphing for a while and not seeing any deep schools, I switched to trolling with a Lucky Craft XD pointer (Chartreuse Shad color).   It took about 20 minutes before I hooked the first striper.  It was gratifying to land that fish after being skunked the week before.  It took another 30 minutes to catch striper number 2.  It was disappointing to get one more bite and have that fish just rattle the lure but miss the hook. Two hours of trolling resulted in 2 stripers which was 200% better than experienced last week.


The water temperature increased so I switched to bass fishing. This time of year, bass fishing is better in the afternoons with warming water. There are some great bass spots in the back of Last Chance.   I went to a few of my favorite spots and fished rocky structure, sandy flats, and tumbleweed piles.  Despite my expertise, warming colored water and calm conditions, neither bass, crappie, nor bluegill responded.  I finally got the message and departed back to Wahweap.  Two hours later, I was safely off the lake.  I am sure the fish were giddy with excitement as they saw me leave, but I will be back and catching will be a lot better as the water warms into the 60s.


The best is yet to come!  Significant warming will result in much better catching results.  Watch the weather and plan future trips during calm warming periods that continue for at least 3 days.

 

February 3, 2019 - Lots of stripers plus a trophy

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Lake Powell Fish Report – February 13, 2019
Lake Elevation: 3574

Water temperature: 45 F

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

 

My last fish report suggested a pattern for finding striper schools by cruising toward the back of a major canyon while watching the graph for a quick depth change from deep water to a consistent depth range of 65-85 feet. On Feb.12th there was finally a small break in the weather where the sun was out with no wind blowing. We loaded the open boat with no windshield, put on ski goggles and headed to Warm Creek. Normally the trip to Warm Creek takes 10 minutes from Wahweap but with low water the Castle Rock Cut is closed and the 15-mile ride is closer to an hour.

We finally completed the long journey, saw the anticipated depth change, slowed down and started graphing for fish traces. It helped my confidence to see a huge school of grebes hovering over the 65-foot deep bottom. Amazingly, we graphed a couple of fish traces within the first two minutes and then saw a hump on the bottom that could have been a rock. Rocks are usually irregular in shape while fish traces are smooth and blend into the bottom. This looked like fish so we dropped spoons quickly to the bottom.

It only took about two minutes of bouncing slab spoons on the bottom before the first striper was hooked. With three anglers in the boat, there were plenty of spoons to imitate a shad school and the fish responded aggressively.  Within 15 minutes the cooler was half full of 2-3 pound stripers. The fish were in good shape and were squeezing out shad as the stripers were quickly lifted off the bottom, and brought to the surface.

Fishing could not have been much better, but then that changed as well. Nob Wimmer was using his homemade 1.5 ounce spoon and consistently tossing stripers in the cooler.  The he said “I’ve got a big one”.  He said the same thing on a trip to Warm Creek on December 12, 2017 and eventually put a 30-pound striper in the boat. I looked at his spinning rod bent over double, watched the line going out and knew we were about to see another trophy striper.  The time was 10:15 AM and the fish finally turned over on the surface at 10:30.  I grabbed it by the jaw and brought it into the boat.  The fish was 38 inches long but we did not know the weight until we placed it on certified scales back at the office. This fish weighed 20 pounds (officially 19.45 lbs).

We ended up fishing for 90 minutes following the same school for the entire time. We counted 80 small stripers and one trophy fish at the fish cleaning station.  We had a calm ride back through the main channel and Antelope Point Marina before returning to Wahweap Main Ramp.  It was a great day of fishing that makes me want to go again next week.

 

(See pictures on wayneswords.net)

 


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