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May 9, 2017 - Walleye and Big Stripers

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danmiller-1Lake Powell Fish Report – May 9, 2017

Lake Elevation:  3606

Water Temperature:  62-67 F

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

 

Trophy Striper Caught at Bullfrog

Dan Miller from Paonia CO caught a 29-pound striped bass near Bullfrog on May 6th.  The big fish was caught on a 4 inch Berkeley Smelt.  May is the best month to catch a trophy stripers at Lake Powell.

Bass have moved back on to the spawning beds after the cold spell that slowed things down last week..  Nests can now be seen from Bullfrog to Wahweap where visibility is still between 5-10 feet. There is no chance of sight fishing in the northern lake where visibility is 3 feet or less.

Sight fishing is unique in that nests can be seen with a male bass often hovering over the light colored circular rock depression. Usually the boat is too close to the nest when discovered to actually catch the guarding fish, but it is possible to return to the site at a later date, throw a long cast and catch the male guardian.  Larger females are usually in close proximity and can be caught by fishing the deeper water next to the nest location.  Yamamoto 5 inch senkos are working well now for nesting bass while other smallmouth can be caught on plastic grubs.  The green, watermelon and green pumpkin colors are all working well.

Walleye fishing is HOT!  There were at least 4 tagged walleye caught over the weekend which is more than were caught in 2016. The walleye contest did not start until July last year making it tough to catch large numbers of walleye, but that has now changed.  May is definitely the best walleye fishing month at Lake Powell with the water temperature in the 60s and low 70s.

billschaeferHere is a report from Jason Johnston received today: “Fished Saturday and Sunday from 7am-3pm both days. Ended up with 80 walleyes, 11 stripers and 1 smalley. Launched out of Halls and didn't go far. All fish were caught on crawler harnesses with 2-3oz bouncers in 15-45 fow. Speed was 1.2mph and orange beads with silver or gold blades produced most. “

                                                                       Bill Schaefer with his tagged walleye  

Walleye on very active now and can be caught all day long.  They are abundant from the Escalante to the Colorado River inflow. Most of the tagged fish are near Bullfrog and Good Hope Bay.  The best technique is to use a live worm or artificial bait, like Berkeley Gulp Minnows and Smelt. Maintain bottom contact while slowly moving the bait along a flat bench in the 10-30 foot range.

When filleting the walleye don’t forget to take the cheek meat for a special dinner surprise. 

Striped bass fishing is slowing down in the well know areas like the dam.  Its time to expand your range while chasing stripers to canyon walls further uplake.  There are many untouched bait fishing spots in most canyons, including Warm Creek Wall, Labyrinth Wall, Padre Canyon, Last Chance and Rock Creek. Look for the high cliff walls near the back of the canyon for best results. Just chum an area and fish for a short time to find fish.  If no fish are caught, then move to the next likely spot.

The mature stripers are preparing to spawn. They respond to rapid warming and spawn at night.  That makes them good angling targets at dusk and dawn but not easy to catch  during the day.

This is the peak of the spring fishing season with fish willing to respond to your favorite techniques.  Great results are expected through the rest of May.

 

May 1, 2017 - Walleye Season Begins

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Lake Powell Fish Report – May 1, 2017
Lake Elevation: 3604
Water Temperature: 57-62 F
By: Wayne Gustaveson http://www.wayneswords.com
Our walleye tagging trip was challenged by cool windy weather. The water in lower Good Hope Bay was murky but fishable.  The visibility was about 3 feet which is fine for walleye but may inhibit bass and stripers from finding our baits.  Bass catch was slow, with stripers uncommon as we used bottom bouncing techniques to target walleye that are abundant in the northern lake.  Water temperature ranged from 57-62 during the day which proved to be a bit cool for these walleye.
The best walleye trips last year were at the water temperature range from 65-80 degrees.  However, we had a large group of anglers and managed to tag almost 200 walleye from Seven Mile Canyon to Red Canyon. Now that our tagging trip is done the water temperature is going to climb into the 60s which will turn on the walleye lakewide.  May is the magic month and the best time to catch a tagged fish from Wahweap to Good Hope Bay.  Here are some helpful hints.
Walleye were found most often on flat benches that averaged 20-25 feet deep. Sometimes there was a bench or flat extending from a steep cliff wall. Trolling close to the wall and over the bench will put the night crawler right along the ledge where fish are holding.  Other productive habitats included an open water ridge where the shallow peak was near 20-25 feet.  Surrounding water was much deeper often falling to 70-100 feet.  Walleye liked to park on top of the ridge and wait for food. Trolling a bottom bouncer along the ridge top was very effective. The most common technique was to just fish near shore where the underwater ledges were near 20 feet.  The lakewide message is to know the depth and fish on flat surfaces near the 20 foot mark.
The best technique during our trip was to make bottom contact with a bottom bouncer rig that weighed 1-3 ounces. Heavy rigs worked on the cliff wall bench where the weight would make a distinct thump as it contacted bottom. Each time the weight came off the bottom it would make another distinct jolt with bottom contact. This worked when fishing almost straight down (jigging) on a shallow small bench where the rig would not be as effective on the deep water side of the bench.
Lighter bottom bouncer rigs could be slow trolled over large shallow flats where the night crawler was displayed over a large flat area until contact was made with a hungry walleye. Whole night crawlers impaled on a 2 or 3 hook harness seemed to be the most successful presentation in colder water.  That may change as the water warms and walleye get more aggressive.
Other techniques that will work better in the coming warm days include trolling a walleye lure (Banana shaped crankbaits) over rocky main channel points that are 12-20 feet deep. Target the 12 foot depth so the lure hits bottom on the top of the point and then swims into open water where a waiting walleye often bites. When a walleye is caught, retrace your steps and then troll over the ridge again or cast worm harnesses or a bass grub adorned with a piece of worm to catch more fish.  Walleye tend to live in groups.  Catching one fish by any method is a sign to return to the capture site and work that area extensively to catch more fish in their gathering spot.
You must register for the contest at  http://j.mp/lp-contest before qualifying for a prize by capturing a tagged fish. When a tagged fish is caught send a picture of the tagged fish, the tag number and a fish report to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it I will then award you with a prize for catching a tagged fish.  We appreciate your efforts in helping us learn more about walleye population numbers, travel patterns and habits in Lake Powell.
Bass, stripers, bluegill and crappie have not changed their habits much from the April Fish Reports due to the cold windy weather recently experienced.  Stripers are still being caught on bait in the main channel. Locations remain the same in the southern lake and Moki wall close to the mouth of Moki Canyon is added to the hotspot list at midlake.
Healthy stripers will start looking for a spawning sites and switch over to their nocturnal spawning habits.  Expect stripers to be super aggressive before dawn and lethargic during the day.  This is the time for fly anglers to fish sinking lines and clouser minnows to catch large female stripers in deep water.
Bass have pulled off their nest sites in the cooler water but they will now return to spawn again as the water warms this week. Crappie will follow their lead. I did see annual weeds going under rising lake water on the last trip which means bass and crappie hatched in the next two weeks will have some cover to help them survive.
It is time to go fishing. Each species is reacting positively to the warming water and will be vulnerable to angling techniques in the days ahead.

Lake Powell Fish Report – May 1, 2017

Lake Elevation: 3604

Water Temperature: 57-62 F

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

ericpetersonOur walleye tagging trip was challenged by cool windy weather. The water in lower Good Hope Bay was murky but fishable.  The visibility was about 3 feet which is fine for walleye but may inhibit bass and stripers from finding our baits.  Bass catch was slow, with stripers uncommon as we used bottom bouncing techniques to target walleye that are abundant in the northern lake.  Water temperature ranged from 57-62 during the day which proved to be a bit cool for these walleye.  

The best walleye trips last year were at the water temperature range from 65-80 degrees.  However, we had a large group of anglers and managed to tag almost 200 walleye from Seven Mile Canyon to Red Canyon. Now that our tagging trip is done the water temperature is going to climb into the 60s which will turn on the walleye lakewide.  May is the magic month and the best time to catch a tagged fish from Wahweap to Good Hope Bay.  Here are some helpful hints.
Walleye were found most often on flat benches that averaged 20-25 feet deep. Sometimes there was a bench or flat extending from a steep cliff wall. Trolling close to the wall and over the bench will put the night crawler right along the ledge where fish are holding.  Other productive habitats included an open water ridge where the shallow peak was near 20-25 feet.  Surrounding water was much deeper often falling to 70-100 feet.  Walleye liked to park on top of the ridge and wait for food. Trolling a bottom bouncer along the ridge top was very effective. The most common technique was to just fish near shore where the underwater ledges were near 20 feet.  The lakewide message is to know the depth and fish on flat surfaces near the 20 foot mark. 

bbouncerThe best technique during our trip was to make bottom contact with a bottom bouncer rig that weighed 1-3 ounces. Heavy rigs worked on the cliff wall bench where the weight would make a distinct thump as it contacted bottom. Each time the weight came off the bottom it would make another distinct jolt with bottom contact. This worked when fishing almost straight down (jigging) on a shallow small bench where the rig would not be as effective on the deep water side of the bench.  

Lighter bottom bouncer rigs could be slow trolled over large shallow flats where the night crawler was displayed over a large flat area until contact was made with a hungry walleye. Whole night crawlers impaled on a 2 or 3 hook harness seemed to be the most successful presentation in colder water.  That may change as the water warms and walleye get more aggressive. 

Other techniques that will work better in the coming warm days include trolling a walleye lure (Banana shaped crankbaits) over rocky main channel points that are 12-20 feet deep. Target the 12 foot depth so the lure hits bottom on the top of the point and then swims into open water where a waiting walleye often bites. When a walleye is caught, retrace your steps and then troll over the ridge again or cast worm harnesses or a bass grub adorned with a piece of worm to catch more fish.  Walleye tend to live in groups.  Catching one fish by any method is a sign to return to the capture site and work that area extensively to catch more fish in their gathering spot.

 You must register for the contest at  http://j.mp/lp-contest  before qualifying for a prize by capturing a tagged fish. When a tagged fish is caught send a picture of the tagged fish, the tag number and a fish report to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it   I will then award you with a prize for catching a tagged fish.  We appreciate your efforts in helping us learn more about walleye population numbers, travel patterns and habits in Lake Powell. 

Bass, stripers, bluegill and crappie have not changed their habits much from the April Fish Reports due to the cold windy weather recently experienced.  Stripers are still being caught on bait in the main channel. Locations remain the same in the southern lake and Moki wall close to the mouth of Moki Canyon is added to the hotspot list at midlake. 
Healthy stripers will start looking for a spawning sites and switch over to their nocturnal spawning habits.  Expect stripers to be super aggressive before dawn and lethargic during the day.  

This is the time for fly anglers to fish sinking lines and clouser minnows to catch large female stripers in deep water.

Bass have pulled off their nest sites in the cooler water but they will now return to spawn again as the water warms this week. Crappie will follow their lead. I did see annual weeds going under rising lake water on the last trip which means bass and crappie hatched in the next two weeks will have some cover to help them survive. 

It is time to go fishing. Each species is reacting positively to the warming water and will be vulnerable to angling techniques in the days ahead.

 

April 19, 2017 - Bass spawning; Stripers Watching

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Lake Powell Fish Report – April 19, 2017
Lake Elevation: 3600
Water Temperature: 59-64F
By: Wayne Gustaveson http://www.wayneswords.com
Water temperatures are now up into the spawning zone. Largemouth bass, smallmouth bass and crappie are on beds now. This is the first spawn and we can expect the nest guardians to spawn perhaps 2-3 more times before mid May.  Inflow continues to increase the lake level which is now officially above 3600 MSL.  Expect 40 more feet of elevation increase. Make sure to check the boat tie lines each morning if camping on the lake.  Weather is clear with no rain expected for two weeks but there will be some wind in the evenings and overnight.
Now for the angling roundup:  Fishing is pretty darn good!
Stripers are on fire at the dam and many other locations in the southern lake. Most anglers coming into the Wahweap Fish Cleaning station have 20 and sometimes many more fish to clean. Anglers are spreading out along the canyon walls and finding many new “striper honey holes”.  Most of the recent reports are coming from Buoy 3 (south wall where the lake turns left just before Antelope Canyon); Power Plant Intake (look for chain link fence on top of the south cliff wall just beyond Antelope Point Marina); Buoy 9 on south wall; East wall before arriving at Navajo Canyon.
My guess is that you can find stripers all along the main channel by searching for rocky outcroppings that offer shallower substrate than the steep perpendicular cliff walls. Just chum the chosen spot with anchovies followed by bait on hooks to excite the school.  If nothing happens within 15 minutes just move to the next likely spot on the canyon wall.
If bait fishing is not your choice then head uplake to the southern shore canyons between Labyrinth and West Canyon.  We have found willing stripers suspended in each canyon and willing to hit trolled and cast Rattletraps, Lucky Craft Pointers, Flicker Shad and other small jerk baits.  These fish are suspended and very easy to see on the graph.  Virtually all of the fish graphed today were stripers.  The difficult part is that these fish are holding in their current locations and feeding on plankton while waiting for shad to spawn. They will swim up to taste a shallow running lure but will miss a couple of times before hooking up. We caught our normal 30 fish this morning using this trolling technique.
Here is the best news flash:  Buoy 25 is loaded with fish that are just waiting for someone to bring some bait.   We caught them trolling regularly but we could see hundreds of stripers swimming in shallow water looking right back at us.  The water is crystal clear and the visual experience is awesome. These fish are located in the Mile Marker 25 Cove and not along the steep wall closer to Face Canyon. Look for the longest cove on the south wall for best fishing success.
Those seeking bass and crappie are still finding great success.  The techniques are the same as reported last week (See report for April 11, 2017 on Wayneswords.com).  Look for shallow rocky structure where green water clarity is 5-10 feet.  Green water is better than crystal clear or muddy brown. Find the good spots by going toward the back of the canyon and watching the structure and water clarity.  Bass grubs, senkos, dropshot shad-shaped worms, chatter baits, spinner baits are all working. We started catching smallmouth bass today on our trolled lures while fishing for stripers.  Bass are getting much more aggressive and reacting much earlier in the day with water temperature hitting 60 by about 9 AM.
Next week we are going to be working between Bullfrog and Good Hope Bay. We will tag another 500 walleye for the 2017 Walleye Contest. The best time to catch these fish will be during the month of May. The contest started last year on July 1st which is past the best walleye fishing period.  Expect the numbers of tagged walleye that are recaptured to soar in May. The best spot will be between Bullfrog and Good Hope Bay. It might be a worth a May fishing trip to catch many different species at Lake Powell and maybe even win a prize for catching a tagged walleye.
I am very excited about the potential fishing success over the next six weeks.  I recommend you take advantage of this opportunity to enjoy great fishing success and the beauty of Lake Powell.

Lake Powell Fish Report – April 19, 2017

Lake Elevation: 3600

Water Temperature: 59-64F

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

bassonbedWater temperatures are now up into the spawning zone. Largemouth bass, smallmouth bass and crappie are on beds now. This is the first spawn and we can expect the nest guardians to spawn perhaps 2-3 more times before mid May.  Inflow continues to increase the lake level which is now officially above 3600 MSL.  Expect 40 more feet of elevation increase. Make sure to check the boat tie lines each morning if camping on the lake.  Weather is clear with no rain expected for two weeks but there will be some wind in the evenings and overnight.      

Now for the angling roundup:  Fishing is pretty darn good! 

Stripers are on fire at the dam and many other locations in the southern lake. Most anglers coming into the Wahweap Fish Cleaning station have 20 and sometimes many more fish to clean. Anglers are spreading out along the canyon walls and finding many new “striper honey holes”.  Most of the recent reports are coming from Buoy 3 (south wall where the lake turns left just before Antelope Canyon); Power Plant Intake (look for chain link fence on top of the south cliff wall just beyond Antelope Point Marina); Buoy 9 on south wall; East wall before arriving at Navajo Canyon.

My guess is that you can find stripers all along the main channel by searching for rocky outcroppings that offer shallower substrate than the steep perpendicular cliff walls. Just chum the chosen spot with anchovies followed by bait on hooks to excite the school.  If nothing happens within 15 minutes just move to the next likely spot on the canyon wall. 

doepkestbIf bait fishing is not your choice then head uplake to the southern shore canyons between Labyrinth and West Canyon.  We have found willing stripers suspended in each canyon and willing to hit trolled and cast Rattletraps, Lucky Craft Pointers, Flicker Shad and other small jerk baits.  These fish are suspended and very easy to see on the graph.  Virtually all of the fish graphed today were stripers.  The difficult part is that these fish are holding in their current locations and feeding on plankton while waiting for shad to spawn. They will swim up to taste a shallow running lure but will miss a couple of times before hooking up. We caught our normal 30 fish this morning using this trolling technique.

Here is the best news flash:  Buoy 25 is loaded with fish that are just waiting for someone to bring some bait.   We caught them trolling regularly but we could see hundreds of stripers swimming in shallow water looking right back at us.  The water is crystal clear and the visual experience is awesome. These fish are located in the Mile Marker 25 Cove and not along the steep wall closer to Face Canyon. Look for the longest cove on the south wall for best fishing success.

Those seeking bass and crappie are still finding great success.  The techniques are the same as reported last week (See report for April 11, 2017 ).  Look for shallow rocky structure where green water clarity is 5-10 feet.  Green water is better than crystal clear or muddy brown. Find the good spots by going toward the back of the canyon and watching the structure and water clarity.  Bass grubs, senkos, dropshot shad-shaped worms, chatter baits, spinner baits are all working. We started catching smallmouth bass today on our trolled lures while fishing for stripers.  Bass are getting much more aggressive and reacting much earlier in the day with water temperature hitting 60 by about 9 AM.

stevestevewaeNext week we are going to be working between Bullfrog and Good Hope Bay. We will tag another 500 walleye for the 2017 Walleye Contest. The best time to catch these fish will be during the month of May. The contest started last year on July 1st which is past the best walleye fishing period.  Expect the numbers of tagged walleye that are recaptured to soar in May. The best spot will be between Bullfrog and Good Hope Bay. It might be a worth a May fishing trip to catch many different species at Lake Powell and maybe even win a prize for catching a tagged walleye.  

I am very excited about the potential fishing success over the next six weeks.  I recommend you take advantage of this opportunity to enjoy great fishing success and the beauty of Lake Powell.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 19 April 2017 14:33
 

April 11, 2017 - Bass Fishing is Hot.

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Lake Powell Fish Report – April 11, 2017
Lake Elevation: 3598
Water Temperature: 53-57F
By: Wayne Gustaveson http://www.wayneswords.com
Spring warming was delayed a bit with air temperature a bit cooler than predicted last week. With runoff roaring down the Colorado River, Lake Powell is rising rapidly and will soon
Top 3600 MSL.  Most bass and crappie have not spawned yet due to the cool weather.  That is great news for the future bass fishery.  Both bass and crappie need brushy cover for newly hatched young fish to survive in big numbers. A later spawn and higher lake level will increase bass and crappie survival for future years.
Bass will spawn for sure during the next two weeks. Sight fishing for bass on beds will be limited due to rising water but water clarity at mid lake is still quite clear making bass nests visible.  Just remember that once a nest site is chosen, male bass will try to use that same nest site for the next 6 weeks as bass spawn numerous times from late April to May 15th. The nest gets deeper and less visible each day.
With that said, bass fishing reports over the weekend were excellent despite windy weather. Winning weight at the Yamamoto Bass Tournament at Bullfrog over the weekend was over 30 pounds for 10 bass. Fishing was best in warmer water with finesse baits like Senkos fished slowly along rocky structure from 10-25 feet.
Reports from the Escalante to the San Juan were great with willing bass and crappie found on main canyon rocky structure where water clarity was 5-10 feet deep. Fishing depth was 10-25 feet. The most productive lures were Yamamoto shad shaped worms fished on a drop shot rig.
The San Juan has turned on and may be the best destination this week. The best report came from the main channel of the San Juan (clear water) where over 200 bass were caught on Friday April 7th.  Morning fishing is not as good as that found in the afternoon as water warms from the 50s to the 60s.
Striper fishing continues to shine near Glen Canyon Dam from boats and shore. Those walking down to the lake from the Chains parking lot are catching as many fish as they can carry up the hill. Schools move in and out so as one spot slows another heats up.  It is a trough choice to decide to move to follow the school or to wait in a good spot until the school returns.
The clear water striper cohorts are still hanging out in the back of clear water canyons and can be caught on small lures that are trolled or cast or small spoons dropped down to the magic depth of 20-35 feet.  Good striper fishing reports continue to come from Navajo Canyon, Warm Creek, Labyrinth, Face, Padre, Last Chance and Rock Creek. I would feel confident in catching stripers and bass in any of the canyons between Rock Creek and the Escalante.  I think the pattern is quite solid.  I would look for water between 30 and 70 feet deep and start trolling and graphing to find fish.  Small stripers are in shallow water eating plankton but will hit a small pointer or flicker shad. Larger striper are also eating plankton and holding at 30-35 feet. They will swim up to attack a small lure on the surface.  Once that big school is found, drop small spoons (less than 2 inches) with a feather tied to the hook into the school. Retrieve it slowly and irregularly through the school for a quick bite.  Fly guys with sinking line would have a ball with these schools now seen holding in many canyons.
Walleye are still hit and miss but will respond better in late April and then be the best fish to chase in May.
So many fish – So little Time!

Lake Powell Fish Report – April 11, 2017

Lake Elevation: 3598

Water Temperature: 53-57F

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

Spring warming was delayed a bit with air temperature a bit cooler than predicted last week. With runoff roaring down the Colorado River, Lake Powell is rising rapidly and will soon top 3600 MSL.  Most bass and crappie have not spawned yet due to cool weather.  That is great news for the future bass fishery.  Both bass and crappie need brushy cover for newly hatched young fish to survive in big numbers. A later spawn and higher lake level will increase bass and crappie survival for future years.

lbermanlmbBass will spawn for sure during the next two weeks. Sight fishing for bass on beds will be limited due to rising water but water clarity at mid lake is still quite clear making bass nests visible.  Just remember that once a nest site is chosen, male bass will try to use that same nest site for the next 6 weeks as bass spawn numerous times from late April to May 15th. The nest gets deeper and less visible each day.

With that said, bass fishing reports over the weekend were excellent despite windy weather. Winning weight at the Yamamoto Bass Tournament at Bullfrog over the weekend was over 30 pounds for 10 bass. Fishing was best in warmer water with finesse baits like Senkos fished slowly along rocky structure from 10-25 feet.                                                                         Luke Berman with his largest bass ever

Reports from the Escalante to the San Juan were great with willing bass and crappie found on main canyon rocky structure where water clarity was 5-10 feet deep. Best fishing depth was 10-25 feet. The most productive lures were Yamamoto shad shaped worms fished on a drop shot rig. 

The San Juan has turned on and may be the best destination this week. The best report came from the main channel of the San Juan (clear water) where over 200 bass were caught by three anglers on Friday April 7th.  Morning fishing is not as good as that found in the afternoon as water warms from the 50s to the 60s. 

Striper fishing continues to shine near Glen Canyon Dam from boats and shore. Those walking down to the lake from the Chains parking lot are catching as many fish as they can carry up the hill. Schools move in and out so as one spot slows another heats up.  It is a tough choice to decide to move the boat and follow the school or to wait in a good spot until the school returns. Both seem to work equally well.

andrewThe clear water striper cohorts are still hanging out in the back of clear water canyons and can be caught on small lures that are trolled or cast or small spoons dropped down to the magic depth of 20-35 feet.  Good striper fishing reports continue to come from Navajo Canyon, Warm Creek, Labyrinth, Face, Padre, Last Chance and Rock Creek. I would feel confident in catching stripers and bass in any of the canyons between Rock Creek and the Escalante.  I think the pattern is quite solid.  I would look for water between 30 and 70 feet deep and start trolling and graphing to find fish.  Small stripers are in shallow water eating plankton but will hit a small pointer or flicker shad. Larger striper are also eating plankton and holding at 30-35 feet. They will swim up to attack a small lure on the surface.  Once that big school is found, drop small spoons (less than 2 inches) with a feather tied to the hook into the school. Retrieve it slowly and irregularly through the school for a quick bite.  Fly guys with sinking line would have a ball with these schools now seen holding in many canyons. 

Walleye are still hit and miss but will respond better in late April and then be the best fish to chase in May. 

So many fish – So little Time!

 

April 5, 2017 - Warming Begins Again

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Lake Powell Fish Report – April 5, 2017
Lake Elevation: 3596.86
Water Temperature: 53-57F
By: Wayne Gustaveson http://www.wayneswords.com
Spring warming restarts this week.  The best spring fishing happens as water temperature surpasses the 64 degree mark for the first time.  Temperature this morning was 53 degrees so there is a long way to go.  The weather forecast is for calm weather during the next two weeks with a bit of wind on the weekends. Lake Powell surface temperature will climb to the 57-60 degree mark by the weekend and maintain that level and higher into the next week. Here is what to expect with warming:
Largemouth bass and crappie are getting ready to spawn. As the water temperature rises this week male bass will move into shallow water and begin excavating nests in rocky areas where water depth is 3-5 feet.  In clear water those nest sites will be visible so anglers will be able to see nests and cast to aggressive male bass. It is unusual to have the lake level rising this early in the season but the lake is coming up at least one foot per week. That means nests that are selected this week will be progressively deeper each week making sight fishing more difficult.  The best sight fishing events will happen in the next two weeks and then by the last week of April the rising lake will muddy the water and that event will conclude. Smallmouth bass will spawn near the end of the month but that will be when the rising lake allows sand and sediment to slough off the shore line ending visual fishing.
This warming is the trigger that walleye have been waiting for. They have completed their spawning effort and with warming will focus on finding food. Since shad and other warm water fish have not yet spawned that food will be limited making walleye work all day to find a meal. Hungry fish are easier to catch. Walleye will be an easy target From April 15 to May 30.  The secret to catching them is to keep the bait near the bottom and tip your plastic lure or worm harness with live night crawlers. Remember that the tagged walleye contest is still happening. Catch a tagged fish and win a prize if you are a registered contestant. Find more information here:
Striped bass are separated into 4 separate cohorts:
The first group consists of adult schooling fish that are looking for forage in deep water. Competition is intense in the group and forage is limited in the spring making it difficult to maintain a healthy body.  These schools stay in cold water where less energy is used while searching for food. These schools are easy targets for bait fishermen that drop bait down 30-60 feet. The catch of stripers at the dam and in the main channel continues to delight many who catch 20 or more stripers every trip to the dam or other deep water congregational spots
Group 2 contains immature fish and male stripers preparing to spawn for the first time that are holding in shallow open water. These fish are maintaining their body weight by consuming plankton while swimming with their mouths open all day long. Schools are visible in clear water or readily visible on the graph.  Most suspended schooling fish seen now are striped bass. They are catchable with small shallow running lures or even flies that can be trolled or dropped to the depths on fast sinking fly line.
Group 3 are mature adults that have found shad all winter long and live in the backs of major murky water canyons where they can be trolled or spooned when a school is graphed. They move often following forage but are normally in the same general area on each trip.
Group 4 are individual fish that are too slow to compete within a school so they have ventured out on their own. These differ from Group 1 in that they head to shallow water to find any food available.  These fish are often encountered by bass anglers working the shallow shoreline. These skinny fish should be euthanized when caught to allow only the healthy bass and stripers to eat limited available forage. These fish will not survive the summer temperatures so they should be eliminated now to prevent them from suffering.
Lake Powell is an amazing fishery with so many different fish to choose from. The best month of spring for catching a wide variety of fish is upon us and will continue through May 2017.  It is time to plan that Lake Powell fishing trip and have another great adventure.

Lake Powell Fish Report – April 5, 2017

Lake Elevation: 3596.86

Water Temperature: 53-57F

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


Spring warming restarts this week.  The best spring fishing happens as water temperature surpasses the 64 degree mark for the first time.  Temperature this morning was 53 degrees so there is a long way to go.  The weather forecast is for calm weather during the next two weeks with a bit of wind on the weekends. Lake Powell surface temperature will climb to the 57-60 degree mark by the weekend and maintain that level and higher into the next week. Here is what to expect with warming: 

bbjorksbLargemouth bass and crappie are getting ready to spawn. As the water temperature rises this week male bass will move into shallow water and begin excavating nests in rocky areas where water depth is 3-5 feet.  In clear water those nest sites will be visible so anglers will be able to see nests and cast to aggressive male bass. It is unusual to have the lake level rising this early in the season but the lake is coming up at least one foot per week. That means nests that are selected this week will be progressively deeper each week making sight fishing more difficult.  The best sight fishing events will happen in the next two weeks and then by the last week of April the rising lake will muddy the water and that event will conclude. Smallmouth bass will spawn near the end of the month but that will be when the rising lake allows sand and sediment to slough off the shore line ending visual fishing.  

wgwae4of7This warming is the trigger that walleye have been waiting for. They have completed their spawning effort and with warming will focus on finding food. Since shad and other warm water fish have not yet spawned that food will be limited making walleye work all day to find a meal. Hungry fish are easier to catch. Walleye will be an easy target From April 15 to May 30.  The secret to catching them is to keep the bait near the bottom and tip your plastic lure or worm harness with live night crawlers. Remember that the tagged walleye contest is still happening. Catch a tagged fish and win a prize if you are a registered contestant. Find more information here:  
http://wayneswords.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=category&id=97&Itemid=102

Striped bass are separated into 4 separate cohorts: 

The first group consists of adult schooling fish that are looking for forage in deep water. Competition is intense in the group and forage is limited in the spring making it difficult to maintain a healthy body.  These schools stay in cold water where less energy is used while searching for food. These schools are easy targets for bait fishermen that drop bait down 30-60 feet. The catch of stripers at the dam and in the main channel continues to delight many who catch 20 or more stripers every trip to the dam or other deep water congregational spots.

austinkstb14_edited-1Group 2 contains immature fish and male stripers preparing to spawn for the first time that are holding in shallow open water. These fish are maintaining their body weight by consuming plankton while swimming with their mouths open all day long. Schools are visible in clear water or readily visible on the graph.  Most suspended schooling fish seen now are striped bass. They are catchable with small shallow running lures or even flies that can be trolled or dropped to the depths on fast sinking fly line.

Group 3 are mature adults that have found shad all winter long and live in the backs of major murky water canyons where they can be trolled or spooned when a school is graphed. They move often following forage but are normally in the same general area on each trip. 

Group 4 are individual fish that are too slow to compete within a school so they have ventured out on their own. These differ from Group 1 in that they head to shallow water to find any food available.  These fish are often encountered by bass anglers working the shallow shoreline. These skinny fish should be euthanized when caught to allow only the healthy bass and stripers to eat limited available forage. These fish will not survive the upcoming summer temperatures so they should be eliminated now to prevent them from suffering.

Lake Powell is an amazing fishery with so many different fish to choose from. The best month of spring for catching a wide variety of fish is upon us and will continue through May 2017.  It is time to plan that Lake Powell fishing trip and have another great adventure.

 

March 29, 2017 - Waiting for Warming

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Lake Powell Fish Report – March 29, 2017
Lake Elevation: 3595
Water Temperature: 52-56F
By: Wayne Gustaveson http://www.wayneswords.com
Lake Powell is rising. It has come up one foot since last week.  Spring runoff has begun way early and should continue unabated during April and May. That is exciting as it may get the lake level up to the brush line in time to allow bass and crappie youngsters to find cover shortly after they hatch out.  That has not happened for a very long time and will be very beneficial for restocking the lakes sport fish and forage fish supply for the next generation.
Cool blustery weather has kept the lake water temperature down in the low 50s and slowed down fish activity.   Fishing results slowed down after a very warm week but did not stop the fish from biting. Here is a recap from San Juan, Escalante, Bullfrog and the northern lake.
Water clarity at mid lake is crystal clear. Fish were easy to see in water as deep as 25 feet. Unfortunately, that makes it easy for fish to see boats and anglers making them shy away before they can be caught. The key to catching all species of fish in clear water is to fish in the afternoon as the water warms up and throw very long casts so the fish are not as flighty. Warming water makes fish more active but they can still see the boat.  The only guaranteed method in this clear water world is to head to the back of the canyon where visibility decreases, water temperature rises and fish are much more likely to hit your lure offerings.
The backs of canyons in the Escalante and San Juan provided decent fishing but not much better than that found in Bullfrog Bay where striper trolling was working at the rate of about one fish caught every 10 minutes. I suggest waiting until the next warming period before making a long run to the San Juan or Escalante.
No matter where you are on the lake, the most effective technique this week was to cast double or single tail plastic grubs to the bank in slightly colored water. Work the bait slowly along the bottom in 15-30 feet of water to find smallmouth bass, crappie, stripers and largemouth bass. Add a piece of night crawler to target walleye.  In all cases, look for the edge of drop-offs and focus on habitat where fish hold before moving to a new spot. The drop off is an excellent place to drop a lure or plastic bait.
Stripers in the southern lake have been going crazy down at the dam. Average catch was about 50 fish for each boat checked this week. Bait used was typically anchovies but those using striper meat as chum and bait also had great success. Many are fishing right at the barricade but some are finding willing fish further away from the barricade along the west wall. Fishing pressure has not been heavy this week due to cooler weather so all have been able to find a good fishing spot. I have received no recent reports of fishing success further uplake, but I think that if the good spots are all taken at the dam then fishing on the left turn just upstream from Buoy 3 would be a good choice. Then the standard spots at the Power Plant intake, Navajo Canyon points, and other spots along the main channel will provide good catching results as well.
Pick a spot where a broken rock point or ledge is found along the steep cliff wall. Cut up 3-5 anchovies and chum the area.  Then cast out a chunk of anchovy and cast it out 30-60 feet from the boat and let it settle slowly back toward the boat.  When it is hanging straight down under the boat slowly reel it back in and repeat the process.  If no fish are caught in 15 minutes try another spot.   You should be able to find your own school after trying 3 or 4 spots.
The weather will warm dramatically in April.  Watch the weather reports and plan a trip as soon as the air temperature warms into the high 60s and low 70s. The next warming period will ignite super fishing in all Lake Powell species.  They are ready and willing and just waiting for warming before incredible spring fishing starts again.

Lake Powell Fish Report – March 29, 2017

Lake Elevation: 3595.40 MSL

Water Temperature: 52-56F

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


lmbmtnpullLake Powell is rising. It has come up one foot since last week.  Spring runoff has begun way early and should continue unabated during April and May. That is exciting as it may get the lake level up to the brush line in time to allow bass and crappie youngsters to find cover shortly after they hatch out.  That has not happened for a very long time and will be very beneficial for restocking the lakes sport fish and forage fish supply for the next generation.   
Cool blustery weather has kept the lake water temperature down in the low 50s and slowed down fish activity.   Fishing results slowed down after a very warm week but did not stop the fish from biting. Here is a recap from San Juan, Escalante, Bullfrog and the northern lake. 

Water clarity at mid lake is crystal clear. Fish were easy to see in water as deep as 25 feet. Unfortunately, that makes it easy for fish to see boats and anglers making them shy away before they can be caught. The key to catching all species of fish in clear water is to fish in the afternoon as the water warms up and throw very long casts so the fish are not as flighty. Warming water makes fish more active but they can still see the boat.  The only guaranteed method in this clear water world is to head to the back of the canyon where visibility decreases, water temperature rises and fish are much more likely to hit your lure offerings. 

mtnpullwae

 

The backs of canyons in the Escalante and San Juan provided decent fishing but not much better than that found in Bullfrog Bay where striper trolling was working at the rate of about one fish caught every 10 minutes. I suggest waiting until the next warming period before making a long run to the San Juan or Escalante. 

No matter where you are on the lake, the most effective technique this week was to cast double or single tail plastic grubs to the bank in slightly colored water. Work the bait slowly along the bottom in 15-30 feet of water to find smallmouth bass, crappie, stripers and largemouth bass. Add a piece of night crawler to target walleye.  In all cases, look for the edge of drop-offs and focus on habitat where fish hold before moving to a new spot. The drop off is an excellent place to drop a lure or plastic bait.  

Stripers in the southern lake have been going crazy down at the dam. Average catch was about 50 fish for each boat checked this week. Bait used was typically anchovies but those using striper meat as chum and bait also had great success. Many are fishing right at the barricade but some are finding willing fish further away from the barricade along the west wall. Fishing pressure has not been heavy this week due to cooler weather so all have been able to find a good fishing spot. I have received no recent reports of fishing success further uplake, but I think that if the good spots are all taken at the dam then fishing on the left turn just upstream from Buoy 3 would be a good choice. Then the standard spots at the Power Plant intake, Navajo Canyon points, and other spots along the main channel will provide good catching results as well.  

Pick a spot where a broken rock point or ledge is found along the steep cliff wall. Cut up 3-5 anchovies and chum the area.  Then cast out a chunk of anchovy and cast it out 30-60 feet from the boat and let it settle slowly back toward the boat.  When it is hanging straight down under the boat slowly reel it back in and repeat the process.  If no fish are caught in 15 minutes try another spot.   You should be able to find your own school after trying 3 or 4 spots. 

The weather will warm dramatically in April.  Watch the weather reports and plan a trip as soon as the air temperature warms into the high 60s and low 70s. The next warming period will ignite super fishing in all Lake Powell species.  They are ready and willing and just waiting for warming before incredible spring fishing starts again.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 29 March 2017 09:56
 

March 22, 2017 - Choose you Species

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Lake Powell Fish Report – March 15, 2017
Lake Elevation: 3594
Water Temperature: 58-63 F
By: Wayne Gustaveson http://www.wayneswords.com
Lake Powell is rising. It has come up 6 inches since last week.  Spring runoff has begun a bit early due to warm days in March. That may change as another storm front is now on the way. Early runoff is a double edged sword for fishing success from Trachyte to Good Hope Bay. This week, reports indicated good steady fishing success for smallmouth bass, walleye, stripers and largemouth. Catching was steady for those using bass jigs along the shoreline and trolling with wally divers and shad raps at 2.5 to 3 mph in open water.
Early runoff will “muddy the water” and have some impact on fishing success in the northern lake. Right now the mudline is in the vicinity of White Canyon/Trachyte.  The muddy water could move quickly downstream depending on the strength of the Colorado River inflow. Anyone headed to the northern lake this weekend will find good fishable water and good success in catching a wide range of species.
In the southern lake bait fishing was working better for stripers than most other methods.  Most anglers were finding success at the dam.  One reported suggested cutting an anchovy in half and hooking it on a 1/4 oz. leadhead. “Then cast the bait out about 50 to 60 feet into deep water and let it just drift down on its own arc controlled by the length of line out. By the time it gets to about 40 to 50 feet deep you'll get a good bite.” The Wahweap fish cleaning station was busy every day with many fishing crews bringing in 20-30 fish to fillet.
My weekly trip was less productive than the previous trip.  This time we went to Last Chance to see if the schools there were cooperating. We found only a few striper aggregations that would respond to our trolled lures, but when we did we often doubled by tossing out a lure behind the hooked fish as it was reeled in.
We tried Buoy 25 cove on the return trip and found the shallow visible stripers still holding there but they were less aggressive than they were a week ago. Striper count there was only 12 fish with a total of 24 stripers filleted at the cleaning station.
We should have focused on Warm Creek where the best reports were coming from.  Large schools of stripers were in the back of the canyon past the floating restroom where bottom depth quickly changes from 60 to 40 feet. These fish were willing to hit diving lures attached to downriggers set at 40 feet. Graph a school and then drop a lure deeply to catch lots of fish.
Right now you can choose which species of fish you wish to catch by using the technique best suited for that species.  Bass are in the backs of canyons and on rock slides in the main channel and main canyons anxious to find plastic grubs.  Crappie are hiding in certain spots with overhanging rocks or a submerged weed pile.  They like small plastic or hair jigs. Stripers can be caught trolling, casting, and bait fishing.  Walleye are feeding at first light in the morning. They really like night crawlers near the bottom. A slow retrieve works best for them. Whichever species is your favorite, they can be caught now, lakewide, through the end of May.
It’s time to go fishing at Lake Powell.

Lake Powell Fish Report – March 22, 2017

Lake Elevation: 3594

Water Temperature: 58-63 F

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

Lake Powell is rising. It has come up 6 inches since last week.  Spring runoff has begun a bit early due to warm days in March. That may change as another storm front is now on the way. Early runoff is a double edged sword for fishing success from Trachyte to Good Hope Bay. This week, reports indicated good steady fishing success for smallmouth bass, walleye, stripers and largemouth. Catching was steady for those using bass jigs along the shoreline and trolling autdavemcquittywith wally divers and shad raps at 2.5 to 3 mph in open water.

Early runoff will “muddy the water” and have some impact on fishing success in the northern lake. Right now the mudline is in the vicinity of White Canyon/Trachyte.  The muddy water could move quickly downstream depending on the strength of the Colorado River inflow. Anyone headed to the northern lake this weekend will find good fishable water and good success in catching a wide range of species.  

In the southern lake bait fishing was working better for stripers than most other methods.  Most anglers were finding success at the dam.  One reported suggested cutting an anchovy in half and hooking it on a 1/4 oz. leadhead. “Then cast the bait out about 50 to 60 feet into deep water and let it just drift down on its own arc controlled by the length of line out. By the time it gets to about 40 to 50 feet deep you'll get a good bite.” The Wahweap fish cleaning station was busy every day with many fishing crews bringing in 20-30 fish to fillet. 

My weekly trip was less productive than the previous trip.  This time we went to Last Chance to see if the schools there were cooperating. We found only a few striper aggregations that would respond to our trolled lures, but when we did we often doubled by tossing out a lure behind the hooked fish as it was reeled in.

bm102414We tried Buoy 25 cove on the return trip and found the shallow visible stripers still holding there but they were less aggressive than they were a week ago. Striper count there was only 12 fish with a total of 24 stripers filleted at the cleaning station.  

We should have focused on Warm Creek where the best reports were coming from.  Large schools of stripers were in the back of the canyon past the floating restroom where bottom depth quickly changes from 60 to 40 feet. These fish were willing to hit diving lures attached to downriggers set at 40 feet. Graph a school and then drop a lure deeply to catch lots of fish. 

Right now you can choose which species of fish you wish to catch by using the technique best suited for that species. Bass are in the backs of canyons and on rock slides in the main channel and main canyons anxious to find plastic grubs. Crappie are hiding in certain spots with overhanging rocks or a submerged weed pile.  They like small plastic or hair jigs. Stripers can be caught trolling, casting, and bait fishing.  Walleye are feeding at first light in the morning. They really like night crawlers near the bottom. A slow retrieve works best for them. Whichever species is your favorite, they can be caught now, lakewide, through the end of May.

westreflectIt’s time to go fishing at Lake Powell.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 22 March 2017 09:46
 

March 15, 2017 - Jerk Bait Stripers

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Lake Powell Fish Report – March 15, 2017
Lake Elevation: 3593
Water Temperature: 55-61 F
By: Wayne Gustaveson http://www.wayneswords.com
Spring weather has been warm and wonderful. Surface water temperature this morning has risen to 55 degrees which is 6 degrees warmer than last week.   That is impressive and the various fish species are reacting in their own way.  Here is a rundown by species and location.
Smallmouth Bass:  Warming has allowed smallmouth to move shallower. They come up because warm water is only on the surface.   It will take a while before the thin warmer water layer will expand enough for full participation by smallmouth. Right now they are more likely to react to lures in the 60 degree afternoon water than in the 55 degree morning. As the lake wide temperature continues to increase, bass will be more responsive throughout the day.  Right now take advantage of other more active species in the morning and then switch over to smallmouth later in the day.
Largemouth Bass:  Largemouth respond well all day long but there are not as many largemouth as smallmouth making fish success steady but not super productive. You have to search for largemouth.  They can be very shallow and visible in clear water.  They can be near a bush, which are few and far between, or in big uneven rocky structure. A rocky cove is more likely to produce largemouth than a large main channel rockslide.
Effective bass lures this week included soft plastics in brown, chartreuse, green pumpkin, watermelon, shad or white.  Casting a grub to shore structure or drop-shotting under the boat both worked well. Bass tournament anglers this week caught some nice largemouth in the 6-pound range.
Walleye: are spawning but they will respond to bait and lures at dawn and dusk each day.  Females are the most likely fish to catch.  Walleye are a good target while waiting for smallmouth to wake up. Cast to the 10-15 foot strata in the backs of coves or canyons. Use conventional bass tackle but attach a small piece of night crawler to the hook then slow down the retrieve and maintain bottom contact. Use the same advice if trolling or casting a bottom bouncer with a worm harness and night crawler.
Crappie: These fish are getting more active and a few have been caught but they are very limited in the lake. Reproduction has been hampered by lack of brushy cover during spawning season so numbers are down. A few crappie have been found in Navajo Canyon and Last Chance but if looking for a serious crappie trip then go to the San Juan, Escalante or Good Hope Bay.  One angler interviewed at the cleaning station yesterday said he caught crappie when he changed out his small crappie jigs to a 3-inch plastic worm. Crappie could apparently find the bigger worm in cloudy water or the fish they feed on were of larger size.
Stripers: We traveled from Wahweap to Dungeon Canyon looking for stripers yesterday. We tried trolling and casting in Dungeon, Dry Rock, Main Rock Creek, Dove, Padre Canyon and Gunsight. Results were similar at each location. Only 1 or two stripers were caught in the backs of each canyon.  It is obvious that warming has changed striper dynamics and they are on the move.  We left the backs of canyons and started looking in clear water.  Surprisingly, we were successful in visually finding schools of stripers in Labyrinth, Face, and Buoy 25.  Fish were skittish and ran from us so spooning and casting did not work.
Finally we found success with a long range trolling technique.  We went to the back of the canyon and cast out a small (3 inch) shallow running crankbait (Lucky Craft pointer 65, ghost color).  With the bail open we then trolled slowly out crossing over the visible school. When almost out of line (100+ yards) on the spinning reel the bail was closed and a pause and retrieve jerk bait technique was employed. When the small lure passed over the school with the boat well out of range the fish responded well and ate the small lures.
As expected, at the fish cleaning station with the normal 30 stripers, we found these fish to be fat and healthy with stomachs containing plankton.  Healthy stripers are on the move and are able to subsist on plankton until the new shad crop is produced in May and June.
There are still striper schools in the backs of canyons where shad are available. These fish can be caught on spoons, casting and trolling. They will likely stay in the backs canyons and wait for shad to spawn.  Other stripers that are not yet mature (14-18 inches) can survive on plankton and they will be found widely scattered throughout the lake.
Mature stripers that are not finding shad will move to the deep water in the main channel. These fish have shown up at Glen Canyon Dam this week.  Catches of 30 fish in 4 hours of fishing have been reported.
This spring will be a delight for all anglers. From now to the end of May there will be fish available to suit your preferred fishing techniques and locations.  Bait fishermen can find stripers in the channel.  Trollers and casters can find many species of fish in the backs of canyons. Bass anglers will find their targets along the rocky shoreline. As an added bonus the lake will rise to levels not seen for many years.   It’s a great year to be at Lake Powell.

Lake Powell Fish Report – March 15, 2017

Lake Elevation: 3593

Water Temperature: 55-61 F

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

Spring weather has been warm and wonderful. Surface water temperature this morning has risen to 55 degrees which is 6 degrees warmer than last week.   That is impressive and the various fish species are reacting in their own way.  Here is a rundown by species and location.

Smallmouth Bass:  Warming has allowed smallmouth to move shallower. They come up because warm water is only on the surface.   It will take a while before the thin warmer water layer will expand enough for full participation by smallmouth. Right now they are more likely to react to lures in the 60 degree afternoon water than in the 55 degree morning. As the lake wide temperature continues to increase, bass will be more responsive throughout the day.  Right now take advantage of other more active species in the morning and then switch over to smallmouth later in the day. 
 

Largemouth Bass:  Largemouth respond well all day long but there are not as many largemouth as smallmouth making fish success steady but not super productive. You have to search for largemouth.  They can be very shallow and visible in clear water.  They can be near a bush, which are few and far between, or in big uneven rocky structure. A rocky cove is more likely to produce largemouth than a large main channel rockslide.

Effective bass lures this week included soft plastics in brown, chartreuse, green pumpkin, watermelon, shad or white. Casting a grub to shore structure or drop-shotting under the boat both worked well. Bass tournament anglers this week caught some nice largemouth in the 6-pound range. 

Walleye: are spawning but they will respond to bait and lures at dawn and dusk each day.  Females are the most likely fish to catch.  Walleye are a good target while waiting for smallmouth to wake up. Cast to the 10-15 foot strata in the backs of coves or canyons. Use conventional bass tackle but attach a small piece of night crawler to the hook then slow down the retrieve and maintain bottom contact. Use the same advice if trolling or casting a bottom bouncer with a worm harness and night crawler. 

Crappie: These fish are getting more active and a few have been caught but they are very limited in the lake. Reproduction has been hampered by lack of brushy cover during spawning season so numbers are down. A few crappie have been found in Navajo Canyon and Last Chance but if looking for a serious crappie trip then go to the San Juan, Escalante or Good Hope Bay.  One angler interviewed at the cleaning station yesterday said he caught crappie when he changed out his small crappie jigs to a 3-inch plastic worm. Crappie could apparently find the bigger worm in cloudy water or the fish they feed on were of larger size. 

jerkbaitcynStripers: We traveled from Wahweap to Dungeon Canyon looking for stripers yesterday. We tried trolling and casting in Dungeon, Dry Rock, Main Rock Creek, Dove, Padre Canyon and Gunsight. Results were similar at each location. Only 1 or two stripers were caught in the backs of each canyon.  It is obvious that warming has changed striper dynamics and they are on the move.  We left the backs of canyons and started looking in clear water.  Surprisingly, we were successful in visually finding schools of stripers in Labyrinth, Face, and Buoy 25.  Fish were skittish and ran from us so spooning and casting did not work. 

Jerkbait Canyon

Finally we found success with a long range trolling technique.  We went to the back of the canyon and cast out a small (3 inch) shallow running crankbait (Lucky Craft pointer 65, ghost color).  With the bail open we then trolled slowly out crossing over the visible school. When almost out of line (100+ yards) on the spinning reel the bail was closed and a pause and retrieve jerk bait technique was employed. When the small lure passed over the school with the boat well out of range the fish responded well and ate the small lures. 

As expected, at the fish cleaning station with the normal 30 stripers, we found these fish to be fat and healthy with stomachs containing plankton.  Healthy stripers are on the move and are able to subsist on plankton until the new shad crop is produced in May and June.  

There are still striper schools in the backs of canyons where shad are available. These fish can be caught on spoons, casting and trolling. They will likely stay in the backs canyons and wait for shad to spawn.  Other stripers that are not yet mature (14-18 inches) can survive on plankton and they will be found widely scattered throughout the lake.  

Mature stripers that are not finding shad will move to the deep water in the main channel. These fish have shown up at Glen Canyon Dam this week.  Catches of 30 fish in 4 hours of fishing have been reported.  

This spring will be a delight for all anglers. From now to the end of May there will be fish available to suit your preferred fishing techniques and locations.  Bait fishermen can find stripers in the channel.  Trollers and casters can find many species of fish in the backs of canyons. Bass anglers will find their targets along the rocky shoreline. As an added bonus the lake will rise to levels not seen for many years.   It’s a great year to be at Lake Powell.

It is always a good idea to store harvested stripers on ice to keep them in the best shape for great eating quality.  

stbice

Last Updated on Wednesday, 15 March 2017 11:13
 

March 8, 2017 - Largemouth Bass Take Off!

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Lake Powell Fish Report – March 8, 2017
Lake Elevation: 3594
Water Temperature: 49-54 F
By: Wayne Gustaveson http://www.wayneswords.com
Walleye and Largemouth Fishing Begins
Springtime for Lake Powell fish effectively arrives today.  Air temperature at Lake Powell will climb into the 60s today and soar to the 70s later in the week.  Water temperature will rise from the high 40s to the mid 50s by the weekend. Warm water fish will take immediate notice of the warming water.
Smallmouth bass don’t really get in gear until the early morning water temperature is 57 degrees or above.  Largemouth bass are the first to respond.  With warming this week, largemouth will get more active, look for an easy meal of crayfish, sunfish or shad, and be much more interested in bass jigs. Expect the afternoon water temperature to climb to the 60’s by the weekend. I am an early morning fishermen and often reap the rewards of getting out early, but that does not really matter when pursuing largemouth bass this week.  Afternoon fishing in warming water will be better than morning fishing in cool water.
Largemouth enjoy cover. At the current low lake levels, flooded brush is hard to find. If you see a submerged tumbleweed pile, a bush with thick branches, or some other cover that may hold a bass, cast to the cover. It is wise to use a weedless lure and a slow presentation when fishing for largemouth.  When cover is completely lacking find the warmest water and fish there. If there is no brush then find large rock structure with a bit of shade where bass wait to ambush a shad or sunfish.
This is the time to catch big, heavy bass before the spawn when large females are full of eggs.  Expect to find more bass in the backs of canyons where water is green or murky.  Clear water is not as “bassy”.
Due to low water and lack of brush, largemouth bass are not as numerous as smallmouth bass. I recommend that all largemouth bass that are caught be released so they can successfully spawn and increase bass numbers lake wide.  Surprisingly, if you want to harvest a bass then the females are the ones to keep.  Males guard the nest and tend the kids.  Next month, when sight-fishing for bass, males are the bass seen guarding the nests. These little guys are the ones that must be released.  If you want to keep a bass then make sure it is a smallmouth bass. They are available in large numbers and great for a fish dinner. You can keep up to 20 smallmouth bass each day.
Walleye are more excited about warming water than largemouth bass because warming triggers walleye spawning. Reports are starting to come in from the northern lake that walleye have been captured on spoons in 60-80 feet of water. These prespawn walleye aggregations will turn their focus from feeding to spawning which occurs at night on submerged rockslides. That means walleye will be harder to catch now but they will be post-spawn hungry and ready to provide an epic fishing experience in April and May in the northern lake. Put that on your calendar.
Striped bass are still quite catchable.  The question now is when will stripers show up at the dam or other locations in the main channel and provide great fishing for all that use bait.  No reports of bait fishing success have been received yet. Fishing success is still solid for those using the troll/cast/spoon techniques that have worked all winter long.  Stripers are still finding shad in the backs of canyons and can be caught by trolling shad imitating crankbaits that run from 8-25 feet in the murky water in the backs of canyons.  My fishing success has dropped off during the last few trips.  The weekly trip tally has dropped from 75, to 55, to only 30 stripers caught yesterday. I know, no one is going to feel sorry for me bringing in 30 stripers, but it just means that conditions are changing and I have to look in other locations as stripers are on the move.
Good striper reports are coming in from murky water in the backs of Navajo Canyon, Lone Rock Canyon, Warm Creek, Padre Canyon, Last Chance, and Rock Creek.  Trolling and casting works best.  Spoons are still working periodically with the silver Kastmaster lures working better than the standard jigging spoons.
It is exciting to see spring fishing take off again.  It makes we want to go fishing at Lake Powell!

Lake Powell Fish Report – March 8, 2017

Lake Elevation: 3594

Water Temperature: 49-54 F

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

Walleye and Largemouth Fishing Begins

kipbennettSpringtime for Lake Powell fish effectively arrives today.  Air temperature at Lake Powell will climb into the 60s today and soar to the 70s later in the week.  Water temperature will rise from the high 40s to the mid 50s by the weekend. Warm water fish will take immediate notice of the warming water. 

Smallmouth bass don’t really get in gear until the early morning water temperature is 57 degrees or above.  Largemouth bass are the first to respond.  With warming this week, largemouth will get more active, look for an easy meal of crayfish, sunfish or shad, and be much more interested in bass jigs. Expect the afternoon water temperature to climb to the 60’s by the weekend. I am an early morning fishermen and often reap the rewards of getting out early, but that does not really matter when pursuing largemouth or smallmouth bass this week.  Afternoon fishing in warming water will be better than morning fishing in cool water. 

matthewlmbLargemouth enjoy cover. At the current low lake levels, flooded brush is hard to find. If you see a submerged tumbleweed pile, a bush with thick branches, or some other cover that may hold a bass, cast to the cover. It is wise to use a weedless lure and a slow presentation when fishing for largemouth.  When cover is completely lacking find the warmest water and cast there. If there is no brush then find large rocky structure with a bit of shade where bass wait to ambush a shad or sunfish. 

This is the time to catch big, heavy bass before the spawn when large females are full of eggs.  Expect to find more bass in the backs of canyons where water is green or murky.  Clear water is not as “bassy”. 

Due to low water and lack of brush, largemouth bass are not as numerous as smallmouth bass. I recommend that all largemouth bass that are caught be released so they can successfully spawn and increase bass numbers lake wide. Surprisingly, if you want to harvest a bass then the females are the ones to keep.  Males guard the nest and tend the kids.  Next month, when sight-fishing for bass, males are the bass seen guarding the nests. These little guys are the ones that must be released.  If you want to keep a bass then make sure it is a smallmouth bass. They are available in large numbers and great for a fish dinner. You can keep up to 20 smallmouth bass each day.

ssww2Walleye are more excited about warming water than largemouth bass because warming triggers walleye spawning. Reports are starting to come in from the northern lake that walleye have been captured on spoons in 60-80 feet of water. These prespawn walleye aggregations will turn their focus from feeding to spawning which occurs at night on submerged rockslides. That means walleye will be harder to catch now but they will be post-spawn hungry and ready to provide an epic fishing experience in April and May in the northern lake. Put that on your calendar.

Striped bass are still quite catchable.  The question now is when will stripers show up at the dam or other locations in the main channel and provide great fishing for all that use bait.  No reports of bait fishing success have been received yet. Fishing success is still solid for those using the troll/cast/spoon techniques that have worked all winter long.  Stripers are still finding shad in the backs of canyons and can be caught by trolling shad imitating crankbaits that run from 8-25 feet in the murky water in the backs of canyons.  My fishing success has dropped off during the last few trips.  The weekly trip tally has dropped from 75, to 55, to only 30 stripers caught yesterday. I know, no one is going to feel sorry for me bringing in 30 stripers, but it just means that conditions are changing and I have to look in other locations as stripers are on the move. 

Good striper reports are coming in from murky water in the backs of Navajo Canyon, Lone Rock Canyon, Warm Creek, Padre Canyon, Last Chance, and Rock Creek.  Trolling and casting works best.  Spoons are still working periodically with the silver Kastmaster lures working better than the standard jigging spoons. 

It is exciting to see spring fishing take off again.  It makes we want to go fishing at Lake Powell!

Last Updated on Wednesday, 08 March 2017 11:11
 

March 2, 2017 - First regular Fish report

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Lake Powell Fish Report – March 2, 2017
Lake Elevation: 3594
Water Temperature: 48-50 F
By: Wayne Gustaveson http://www.wayneswords.com
Water temperature this morning was a cold 48 degrees, but March is coming in like a peaceful little pussy cat. Weather is warming with little wind predicted for the coming week.  That means fishing success will improve with each passing day until the next storm front.  Expect rising water temperatures to reach 57 degrees in the afternoon by the end of next week. That temperature really wakes up Lake Powell fish.  Here is what to expect for each species.
Largemouth Bass:  Bass hover over, reside in, and do not like to leave cover. They like to share their bush with sunfish. Rent is extremely expensive for the individual sunfish eaten each day but the others peacefully coexist until meal time the next day. To catch largemouth, fish in, over, and around that bush.  It’s too cold for topwater so the lure must be placed in or really close to the bush, so a weedless presentation is often best. Brush is limited now at this low lake level so look for bass in large rocky structure as well. Use a slow presentation so a cold bass has time to view the bait before deciding to take a bite.
Crappie:  Like largemouth, crappie really want to live in a bush. When brush is absent crappie tend to seek a certain water depth, hover over a ledge or dropoff, or find colored water where they can eat small fish by ambushing them in low visibility water.   At the current water level, crappie will be hard to locate.  Look in the backs of canyons where water depth is 12-25 feet with green to muddy water color.  I use an eighth ounce crappie jig, either hair jig or plastic, to search for crappie in the backs of canyons.
Smallmouth Bass: These bass use rock structure for cover so it is easier to locate them with plastic grubs fished on rocky shelves, in boulder fields, or at the edge of drop-offs and other shallow water areas from 30 feet deep to the shallow shoreline. The key to springtime bass fishing is to find the warmest water available.  Often a tall rock, facing the mid day sun, will heat a cove slightly warmer than the surrounding water. Fishing in that cove will be better than a cove in the shade or without a warming rock. Use the thermometer for best fishing results.
Walleye: It is spawning season for these toothy critters.  The boys are totally focused on finding the girls so they are not caught as well during March. They really turn on in April and May. Large females are still actively eating shad and can be located in green to muddy water in the backs of canyons. If shad are present and swimming in open water, big female walleye can be caught trolling and casting. We caught a 3-pound female last week in open water while trolling for stripers with shad imitating baits.  If trolling for walleye, it is always best to fish at a water depth where the lure occasionally hits bottom.  The most effective trolling lure may be a bottom bouncer that can hit bottom at various depths.  Walleye are bottom oriented so the overall most effective technique may be to hook a piece of worm to a bass jig and slowly inch that along the bottom structure.  Troll to find the walleye aggregation then cast to catch more fish.
Striped Bass:  Stripers swim in schools, so finding the school really increases catch rate.  I troll to find a school, then cast or spoon while hovering over the school.  One striper eating a lure will encourage the rest of the school mates to join in.  After catching one striper, quickly get the lure back in the water to entice following fish.  Watch the graph to see if the school follows and appears under the boat.
The springtime question is:  Will stripers be in the backs of canyons chasing lures or in deep water of the main channel eating bait?  Right now I have found more stripers in the backs of canyons because that is where I have been looking.  My prediction is that there will be an equal number of stripers that come to the main channel looking for bait.  That prediction won’t be fully answered until April.  I promise to keep looking until that is fully defined. Stay tuned.

Lake Powell Fish Report – March 2, 2017

Lake Elevation: 3594

Water Temperature: 48-50 F

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

lmb12
Water temperature this morning was a cold 48 degrees, but March is coming in like a peaceful little pussy cat. Weather is warming with little wind predicted for the coming week.  That means fishing success will improve with each passing day until the next storm front.  Expect rising water temperatures to reach 57 degrees in the afternoon by the end of next week. That temperature really wakes up Lake Powell fish.  Here is what to expect for each species.

 
Largemouth Bass:  Bass hover over, reside in, and do not like to leave cover. They like to share their bush with sunfish. Rent is extremely expensive for the individual sunfish eaten each day but the others peacefully coexist until meal time the next day. To catch largemouth, fish in, over, and around that bush.  It’s too cold for topwater so the lure must be placed in or really close to the bush, so a weedless presentation is often best. Brush is limited now at this low lake level so look for bass in large rocky structure as well. Use a slow presentation so a cold bass has time to view the bait before deciding to take a bite. 


dankennedycrappie2Crappie:  Like largemouth, crappie really want to live in a bush. When brush is absent crappie tend to seek a certain water depth, hover over a ledge or dropoff, or find colored water where they can eat small fish by ambushing them in low visibility water.   At the current water level, crappie will be hard to locate.  Look in the backs of canyons where water depth is 12-25 feet with green to muddy water color.  I use an eighth ounce crappie jig, either hair jig or plastic, to search for crappie in the backs of canyons. 

Smallmouth Bass: These bass use rock structure for cover so it is easier to locate them with plastic grubs fished on rocky shelves, in boulder fields, or at the edge of drop-offs and other shallow water areas from 30 feet deep to the shallow shoreline. The key to springtime bass fishing is to find the warmest water available.  Often a tall rock, facing the mid day sun, will heat a cove slightly warmer than the surrounding water. Fishing in that cove will be better than a cove in the shade or without a warming rock. Use the thermometer for best fishing results. 

walleyecaughttubeWalleye: It is spawning season for these toothy critters.  The boys are totally focused on finding the girls so they are not caught as well during March. They really turn on in April and May. Large females are still actively eating shad and can be located in green to muddy water in the backs of canyons. If shad are present and swimming in open water, big female walleye can be caught trolling and casting. We caught a 3-pound female last week in open water while trolling for stripers with shad imitating baits.  If trolling for walleye, it is always best to fish at a water depth where the lure occasionally hits bottom.  The most effective trolling lure may be a bottom bouncer that can hit bottom at various depths.  Walleye are bottom oriented so the overall most effective technique may be to hook a piece of worm to a bass jig and slowly inch that along the bottom structure.  Troll to find the walleye aggregation then cast to catch more fish.  

Striped Bass:  Stripers swim in schools, so finding the school really increases catch rate.  I troll to find a school, then cast or spoon while hovering over the school.  One striper eating a lure will encourage the rest of the school mates to join in. After catching one striper, quickly get the lure back in the water to entice following fish.  Watch the graph to see if the school follows and appears under the boat.  The springtime question is:  Will stripers be in the backs of canyons chasing lures or in deep water of the main channel eating bait?  Right now I have found more stripers in the backs of canyons because that is where I have been looking.  My prediction is that there will be an equal number of stripers that come to the main channel looking for bait.  That prediction won’t be fully answered until April.  I promise to keep looking until that is fully defined. Stay tuned.

 


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