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Fishing Report


May 18, 2011 - Mixed bag

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Lake Powell Fish Report - May 18, 2011
Lake Elevation: 3616            
Water Temperature 59 - 68 F
By: Wayne Gustaveson  

brianbarsnessLake level is rising 2 feet per week now but that will soon grow to 4-5 feet per week.  Runoff is coming at high levels and will continue to run strong from now though July. Expect to see the lake rise to the highest level in this decade by mid summer. The Castle Rock Cut is now open to all boats. This short cut on the southern end saves boaters headed uplake much time and gas.

Anglers are having great success over the length of the lake. At Wahweap the fish cleaning station looks like a rock concert each afternoon with anglers standing in line to process hundreds of striped bass. These hungry fish are caught on cut anchovy bait and scented plastic lures fished in the main channel from the dam to many locations upstream. Some of the most consistent spots are Buoy 1, Buoy 3, Power plant intake, Navajo Canyon (points protruding into channel), Gunsight, Last Chance Rock Creek, Forbidding Canyon (first canyon on the left).

dennisThe million dollar fish contest is in full swing as 15 tagged stripers continue to swim waiting to be captured and turned in for prizes.  The first tagged fish was captured on May 16 in the main channel near Buoy 3.

Walleye are garnering much attention. These fish are hard to catch most of the time but are vulnerable in May due to warming water and low forage conditions. Trolling black and white Wally diver crank baits is very effective in 8-15 feet of colored water near the back of the canyon or on wind washed banks and coves.

bassman9Largemouth spawning is complete but large bass still frequent the brush piles. It helps that the rising lake is covering much more brush allowing more largemouth habitat to get wet.  Look for largemouth in any thick brush pile. Use weedless lures that can be retrieved in brush for best results.

Smallmouth are very active now with fish of all sizes found along rocky points, ledges and terraces. Plastic tubes and grubs are preferred baits fished along the bottom in 3 to 30 feet of water.  

Crappie are in the thickest brush found in the backs of the canyons. Pull the boat into the thicket and drop a crappie jig straight down through the limbs to contact hungry crappie just completing the spawning act.  

ryancrappieThe beauty of fishing in May is the ability to use one lure, such as a plastic grub or tube, and catch largemouth, smallmouth, crappie, walleye, stripers, sunfish and catfish along one shoreline expanse. Fishing is at its spring peak. Shad are now spawning which will provide more food for the myriad of predators that now swim in the largest reservoir in the West. If fishing is on the list of things to do this year, now would be a good time to make that excursion to Lake Powell.
Last Updated on Tuesday, 17 May 2011 07:33
 

May 12, 2011 - There is still time!

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Lake Powell Fish Report - May 12, 2011
Lake Elevation: 3613            
Water Temperature 57 - 64 F
By: Wayne Gustaveson  

scottmcconnellFishing at Lake Powell coincides with the weather report.  Warm and sunny days grouped together bring fantastic fishing results. Cold and blustery days make catching fish a bit more work.  Yesterday was a perfect example of spring weather on the lake. A cold wind breeze blew all night lowering the water temperature back to 57 degrees after it valiantly struggled to get into the 60s the day before.  At dawn it was calm, then every hour or two after the weather alternated between dead calm and thunderstorm whitecaps. The good news is that when the 3 day calm warm weather hit last week, fishing success was off the charts.  The better news is that it will be clam and hot this weekend. Fishing will be likewise.

smstringThe biggest news all spring has been the relentless striper bite in the southern lake. Bait anglers have filled coolers and live wells full of stripers on a daily basis.  There appears to be no let up in the number of fish to be caught. Anglers have done best at Buoy 3 which is the main channel corner just downstream from the mouth of Antelope Canyon.   Unfortunately boat traffic makes the steep walled area very rough and uncomfortable after the tour boats start their daily trips. By next week all boats will be going through Castle Rock cut as the lake is now rising rapidly. Then Buoy 3 will be calm and fish will still be biting.

Other locations in the lower lake are just as good.  Chum a shallow ledge on the edge of the cliff channel with cut up anchovies and return in an hour to catch stripers. That works from the dam to Rainbow Bridge.  Stripers are congregated in the back of canyon where water depth shallows from 60 to 45 feet. Bait fishing in the ends of canyon is hot as well. Use some bait and fish will come.

chasbigbassFor those that prefer other fish and methods will not be disappointed. Walleye fishing is hitting its peak in the northern lake between Bullfrog and Good Hope Bay. Big largemouth bass exceeding 7 pounds continue to be caught each week. Smallmouth are coming alive on every rocky point lakewide. Crappie fishing improves each time the water warms to the mid 60s. This weekend will be another chance to have the best fishing trip of a lifetime. It may be as good or better than last weekend and that was as good as it gets.

Some breaking news about the NEW Million Dollar Fish Contest: Cabelas is sponsoring a nationwide fishing contest where tagged fish are released in many different lakes across the country. The lucky angler who catches one of the tagged fish from May 14th to July 14th will win a prize with the largest prize potential of $2 Million.  Fifteen of those tags are attached to striped bass in Lake Powell.  You must register to be eligible to win.  Find more information online at www.cabelas.com/fishformillions.
 

May 4, 2011 - It's Time!

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Lake Powell Fish Report - May 4, 2011
Lake Elevation: 3612            
Water Temperature 55 - 62 F
By: Wayne Gustaveson 

wipernobAll the variables are now falling into place.  The best spring fishing of the year will happen in the next 10 days. Water temperature will now rise as warmer days without wind are in the forecast. Bass that have tried to spawn but were thwarted by cooling will be able to complete the task in earnest. Stripers kept at bay by cool temperatures will break loose in the middle portion of the lake where bait fishing action has been slower. Lake Powell is warming, rising and fishing success will follow suit.  The only caution is to react quickly.  Runoff that has been slow to come will now flow downstream in gushes. Rapidly rising water will make shoreline fishing more difficult within the coming weeks.  So come now. It's time.

stbpicJust returned from Good Hope Bay and am happy to report that although the water is stained from Castle Butte to Bullfrog fishing has not been negatively impacted. Water discoloration begins at Bullfrog and gets progressively darker (greenish-brown) from Bullfrog to Good Hope.   At Castle Butte water color changes to brown and then turns to muddy color further upstream.  There was no floating debris on the water at Good Hope. The main channel from Bullfrog to Wahweap is crystal clear.

wiperinjectWe targeted stripers at Good Hope Bay looking for ripe fish to be parents of hybrid striped bass or wipers. Sterile hybrid wiper populations exist at Willard Bay and New Castle Reservoir from UDWR hatchery efforts.  Wipers may now be created in Utah as disease concerns with out-of-state procurement places that program in jeopardy. This was our first attempt to create wipers using Utah fish exclusively.

spermsyringeRipe stripers were collected by trolling deep diving crankbaits that ran 20-25 feet deep along the talus slopes and rocky points in Good Hope Bay. Fishing was slow but steady for 2-5 pound fish in prespawn condition.  We found no pattern or feeding schools but rather small groups of isolated individual fish.  Pre-spawning stripers were not tightly schooled as feeding stripers would be. They still responded to bait in close proximity to their mouth but they were more interested in spawning than feeding.

Once captured fish were injected to hurry the maturation process and then held overnight.  The next day striper sperm was collected to take to Utah Lake where eggs from white bass could be fertilized to create the new hybrid fish.  

wipernetMy best fishing pattern was discovered by accident. While trolling toward the back of a canyon the channel curved around a rock island. There was just enough room to troll in a semi circle around the island.  While halfway around the island my line tangled around the rod tip as the rod was pumped to give the lure more action.  I paused to clear the tangle and when the boat moved forward again a ripe female striper was caught.  Then we turned around and retraced our path complete with a pause next to the island.  Another ripe female was caught right after the pause. We duplicated this effort 15 times.  Casting and spooning to the same locations produced no fish. Trolling was the only thing that worked. Guess we will call that trolling technique the "jerk-bait" pattern.

Stripers are still being caught in big numbers near Wahweap by anglers chumming and bait fishing along the canyon walls. Some fish have been caught on bait near Moki Wall out of Bullfrog.  Expect stripers to be caught there in big numbers next week.

escalanteBass and crappie fishing will be hot in the next 10 days as water temperature increases to 65 degrees.  Look for beds as long as visibility allows. Rapidly rising water will reduce visibility and sight-fishing success soon.   Crappie will be in the thickest brush available in the backs of the canyons where bottom depth is 10-15 feet. Stained water is usually better for crappie than clear water.  Walleye fishing will improve and peak toward the end of May. 

Use bottom bouncers with a night crawler harness slow trolled along flat sandy bottom to specifically target walleye.  Or use plastic grubs and cast to muddy wind washed coves to get walleye and bass. You can now use your favorite fishing technique to catch your favorite fish.  The action starts this weekend as the weather and fishing gets much hotter.

 

April 27, 2011

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Lake Powell Fish Report - April 27, 2011
Lake Elevation: 3611            
Water Temperature 55 - 60 F
By: Wayne Gustaveson  

                                                      Mark Gustaveson and Cooper Sparks
markcoopTypical April weather has everyone confused.  The only constant is change.  Balmy delightful mornings are often followed by windy afternoons.  Despite the uncertainty, early morning water temperature now exceeds 55 degrees.  That allows warming to reach the magical 60 degree range by afternoon. Warmwater fish respond to warming with renewed activity and vigor. Spiking temperatures trigger hormone release, forcing bass and crappie into spawning mode. Subsequent cooling pulls bass back out of the shallows as they sulk in deeper water near spawning flats waiting for the next warm period. These bass can still be caught by fishing slightly deeper water adjacent to spawning flats.

 

 

 

 

 

markbassSpawning is in full gear in some lake locations. Fishing success was hot last weekend on the San Juan but then faltered with the recent cold front. The next warming trend will bring that same fishing success to most of Lake Powell. Find water temperature exceeding 65 degrees and fishing should be super.  Look in the backs of canyons for best success this week. Murky colored water heats up faster than clear water and provides comfortable habitat in unsettled times.  Bass are stacked up in these comfort zones so keep searching until the hot spot is located.  

It may be best to avoid the Hite area as inflow has now increased to over 59,000 acre feet per day.  Cold inflowing water reduces temperature, water clarity and deposits debris in the lake making navigation difficult.  Fishing in the backs of canyons without the influence of river current is a better plan when fishing near Hite.  The mud line, where inflowing sediment settles out of main channel flow, is found near Castle Butte in Good Hope Bay and near Spencers Camp on the San Juan.

 

 

 

 

thomcatgCathy from Sandy, UT

Striper fishing is still red hot in the southern lake as hungry fish prowl along steep canyon walls from Navajo Canyon to Glen Canyon Dam. Most anglers are catching 30 plus fish per trip while fishing anchovy bait over shallow ledges protruding from steep cliffs along the edge of the main channel. Stripers return to spots where the school found     food in the form of chummed bait on a previous trip.  Take lots of bait and chum often to excite a school of stripers into activity under your boat. Chum a spot and return to fish it later in the day. The reward is a memorable fishing trip.  Catch and keep as many stripers as possible.  Stripers in the channel are excess fish that should be harvested to help balance populations of predator and prey fish as new generations of each are produced this spring.  

markcrappieStriper fishing will improve in the Bullfrog/Halls area with the next warming trend. Anglers coming this weekend will have improved catches of stripers along the canyon walls from Moki to Halls Creek to compliment fish now caught trolling in the backs on the canyons. Expect to catch fish on bait at the mouth of Lake Canyon, Hansen Creek, and Knowles.

Crappie fishing will peak in the next two weeks.

Last Updated on Friday, 29 April 2011 15:15
 

April 20, 2011

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Lake Powell Fish Report - April 20, 2011
Lake Elevation: 3610            
Water Temperature 53 - 58 F
By: Wayne Gustaveson  

dtribbleboysSpawning tension continues as bass and crappie are ready to spawn but temperature is just not warm enough. Days are warm but a persistent afternoon breeze mixes the warm surface layers which delays spawning.  Water temperature this morning was 53.7 at Wahweap.  In years when warming is late, spawning occurs in isolated locations in each cove as temperature exceeds 60 F in the afternoon. There are places on Lake Powell where bass spawning has begun but over the majority of the lake it is still a waiting game.

Remember that bass spawn more than once with each male protecting as many as 4 different nests of fry each spring.  The first spawn is overdue because of weather which will reduce spawning potential to only 3 nests this year. Expect bass spawning to extend well into mid May. The first spawn is the most exciting because low lake levels allow shallow nests and guarding bass to be seen with the naked eye.  After water rises rapidly, nests are deeper, banks slough in the water, clarity is reduced and sight fishing is over for the year. Bass and crappie are still caught but the visual portion of the equation is greatly reduced. Nevertheless spawning is imminent and good fishing continues for bass. It will be better as spawning begins over the length of the lake.

fcstaStriper fishing in the southern portion of the lake is still HOT as striper schools roam along cliff walls.  Large numbers of stripers have been caught by bait fishermen from the dam to Navajo Canyon. The key feature to find is a 25-40 foot deep ledge or shelf that extends into the main channel. Stripers swim over shallow ledges looking for crayfish and will respond to chum lying on the bottom.  Pre chum likely spots and return to them sometime later to catch fish as they return to look for more food. Perhaps the best spot this week has been Buoy 3 near the mouth of Antelope Canyon.  

Water temperature is essentially the same as it was in March. That means most fish are still behaving exactly as they did last month.  Patterns that worked in March are still working this week.  Largemouth bass are in shallow muddy water in the backs of canyons.  They are vulnerable to a slow methodical retrieve as lures are worked through tree limbs and allowed to rest on bottom for extended periods.  Crappie are near brush but can also be found suspended in open water. Try trolling a small jig very slowly using the trolling motor to control speed.

dalejones2A good portion of the striper population, particularly juvenile fish and trophy size individuals, still reside in the back of the canyons. Juveniles are vulnerable to fast trolling (4.5 mph or faster).  My most effective technique now is to troll fast and hook a juvenile fish. As that fish is being retrieved spoons are deployed by other anglers in the boat.  School fish trailing the hooked fish dive as they see the boat and discover the spoons at depth.  Spoons are readily taken by trailing fish. More stripers are caught on spoons than by trolling at the end of the day.  

There are many ways and many places where fish are being caught on Lake Powell.  The next 2-3 weeks will provide the best of the spring fishing.  Use your favorite technique to catch fish. It's just a matter of being here on a day when the weather cooperates.
 

April 13, 2011

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Lake Powell Fish Report - April 13, 2011
Lake Elevation: 3609   
Water Temperature 51 - 57 F
By: Wayne Gustaveson 

bassonbedThe aquatic tension in Lake Powell is reaching critical mass.  Days are getting longer.  Water temperature warms in the afternoon only to crash back to the low 50s at night.  Noticeable frowns mark the faces of impatient bass and crappie. What's the hold up?
Spawning time is overdue and bass are getting anxious.

In reality bass spawning is right on schedule. For the past 3 years spawning occurred when early morning water temperature exceeded 54 degrees. This week base temperature is still 51.8F.  In 2009 and 2010 the spawn began as base water temperature rose 8 degrees from April 14 to April 20. In 2008 spawning occurred a week earlier but then was halted by a cold front during the same critical week near April 20th.  This year warming is forecast to occur this weekend.  Expect nest building to begin now with actual spawning occurring as soon as early morning temperature spikes. The moon watchers luck out this year as spawning will occur during full moon.  That has not been the case for the past 3 years.  Spawning is dictated by water temperature and not by moon beams. 

darleenmccoyThe big bonus this year will be about the large size of spawning smallmouth bass.  With the resurgence of largemouth bass in the brush in recent years, smallmouth have been ignored.  Expect to see some very large smallmouth bass caught during the spawn.  Hopefully the current lake record of 5 pounds 6 ounces will be broken this spring.   Duration of the bass spawn will be from April 18 to May 10 with the warmest, calmest times providing the best fishing.

Striped bass are still biting well in the southern lake but they too are waiting for warming in the mid and northern lake. Hotspots include the forebay at the dam, Buoy 1 and 3 in the main channel, Antelope and Navajo Canyons.  Adult stripers are present in large numbers in the channel and also in the canyons.           Darleen McCoy

New regulations prohibit tying up to the barricades in front of the dam.  Consider a new strategy when fishing the main channel and forebay.  The current hotspot at the barricade line connecting to the west wall in front of the dam is created by consistent chumming over  time.  Fish and fishermen both come to the same place.  It is possible to create other consistent fishing spots.  The key ingredient is a ledge with a depth of 20-40 feet that extends into the main channel. Chum the shallow shelf above deep water and stripers will find food as they travel along the cliff wall searching for crayfsh. Repeat the process and fish will return. One proven method is to chum a likely spot or two in the morning and then return in the afternoon to fish at your own private striper hot spot.

kphillipsYesterday we found stripers holding on the bottom in the back of Navajo at 33 feet in dirty water. They were reluctant to bite until we discovered that dropping a piece of anchovy on a 3/8 ounce short shanked jighead would entice fish to bite.  The secret was to gently raise the bait 3 inches off bottom and then ease it back to bottom.  The bite was subtle but could be detected with a sensitive rod.  When the bait rising off bottom felt different, either lighter or heavier, a hook set was in order. Our catch immediately went from none to 'every cast' when we discovered the right technique. 

Fishing is good right now but expected to get superb as bass and crappie begin to spawn.                      Kevin Phillips Crew

Inflow to Lake Powell now equals outflow.  Lake level will not decline below the  curent level of 3609 unless unforeseen conditions occur. Castle Rock Cut could then reopen in May when runoff increases.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 13 April 2011 08:59
 

April 6, 2011 - Striper Fishing Hot in South

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Lake Powell Fish Report - April 6, 2011
Lake Elevation: 3609   
Water Temperature 51 - 57 F
By: Wayne Gustaveson 

dalejones2The report this week finds most striper fishing success in the southern end of Lake Powell. Fishing upstream from Dangling Rope Marina has not started as quickly for most with striped bass being hard to catch.  Fish that are responding well right now are largemouth bass and crappie. Brush lined coves from Good Hope Bay to Hite harbor good populations of crappie that are moving ever closer to spawning with each warm afternoon.  Crappie have responded well to 2-inch pearl or white plastic grubs in thick brush. Largemouth bass and walleye are being caught on a regular basis now with smallmouth bass fishing improving every day.

Dale Jones holds up fat striper caught at Dam while partner plays a fish in the background.

The common theme over the entire lake is that murky water in the backs of the canyons warms more quickly than clear water.  Searching for active fish visually by selecting stained water and with thermometer to find the warmest water available is the most effective search pattern. This general pattern works until base water temperature exceeds 60F. Then clear water is just as good.

My weekly fish sampling trip included a circuit of the striper spots near Wahweap. Anglers tied off to the barricade in front of the dam reported striper fishing to be outstanding beginning precisely as the first sun rays hit the water.  That flurry of action lasted about 1.5 hours before slowing down.  Those at the barricade caught over 50 fish in the initial skirmish. The next flurry of catching was at midday and lasted for 2 hours with similar numbers of fish caught.  I suspect an evening bite as well but did not document it. Never trust fish to repeat a previous pattern but download the information that recently fishing at the dam is good in streaks during first light and later at midday.

nobwimmerWe then moved on to other likely striper spots beginning with Buoy 1.  Two boats were fishing there. Later at the fish cleaning station we found that both groups collected 30 some stripers from this location. We graphed at Buoy 3 but did not see fish traces so moved on to Antelope Canyon where we caught 2 stripers in 10 minutes. I did not heed my own advice, fishing only clear water where we could actually see stripers at 25 feet before catching them.  There have been many more fish caught recently in the back of Antelope where water is stained.

Nob Wimmer with 7.5 pound striper caught spooning in the back of Navajo Canyon. (Note murky water color.)

Next stop was the Power Plant Intake. Two more fish were caught here in another 10 minute effort.  But I was anxious to fish dirty water so went quickly to Navajo Canyon. The first point past the double islands was good for 2 more stripers in 5 minutes but we didn't stay. We past the big sand dune and saw water color change from clear to off-color. Around the next corner color changed again this time to murky. We began to troll deep diving Lucky Craft pointers in ghost color at 4.5 miles per hour and immediately began hooking stripers.  As each fish was brought to the boat we would spoon the bottom for to catch trailing fish with good results. We ended up with the same number of fish at the end of the day as those that were fishing bait but I like to troll and use spoons better than bait.  There is a fishing technique to suit your individual desires working now. The bottom line is that striper fishing in the southern lake is red hot. It will get much better for stripers in the mid lake to Hite area in the near future.  Bass and crappie fishing is slightly better uplake but warming water will make fishing success superb from April 15th to May 15th weather permitting.

Advisory:  Castle Rock Cut near Wahweap is now closed due to low water. It is necessary to go through the main channel for uplake travel.  Antelope Point launch ramp is open and provides time savings for those heading uplake.  

Last Updated on Wednesday, 06 April 2011 08:11
 

March 30. 2011

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Lake Powell Fish Report - March 30, 2011
Lake Elevation: 3611   
Water Temperature 50 - 56 F
By: Wayne Gustaveson 

Good fishing in March happens when weather warms but that is often followed by a cold spell with wind which dims fishing success. That was the case this past week as fishing success declined.  Looking forward, weather is forecast to be warm for the next few days and into the weekend. When planning springtime fishing trips it is best to look at the weather as perhaps the best indicator of fishing success. With that in mind expect great fishing this weekend at Lake Powell. 

Base water temperature slipped back near 48F in the mornings and warmed only to 55 in the warmest spots during the day.  This morning the base temperature was 50 at dawn and will increase to possible 58 in the afternoon. A few degrees of warming have a dramatic impact on fish behavior and activity.

The good news with the cold weather set back is that fish have not moved. Striped bass are still split between the back of some canyons where shad are present while stripers in forage poor areas have migrated to the main channel in the lower lake. Main channel stripers can be caught on bait near the Dam and in the forebay.  Stripers run the walls so they can be caught sporadically near Buoy 1 or at the Chains or at any spot along the walls. At all these locations a passing school will provide quick fishing followed by a lull until the school makes a return pass.  Use frozen anchovies or sardine bait cut in one inch chunks on a jig head or size 2-4 bait hook.  Chum steadily with finely cut bait. Since there is no 60 foot bottom for fish or chum to rest on near the dam it may be best to chum 2-3 pieces of bait every 10 minutes to attract attention of a passing school. When the school arrives put out more chum to keep the school under your boat as long as possible. 

Stripers remain in the backs of the canyons where shad have over wintered. Navajo, Last Chance, Rock Creek, Oak, San Juan, and Escalante have shad and will harbor stripers susceptible to trolling and spooning. From Red Canyon to Hite forage is abundant allowing great fishing success at times. Forage rich areas are prone to lulls when fish choose not to feed.  The best conditioned fish are in the backs of the canyons while the easiest fish to catch are in the channels near the dam. There have been no reports yet that stripers have been caught at Moki Wall near Bullfrog. That usually happens in April so we have something to look forward to in the mid lake area.

Largemouth bass remain in the brush where water depth is 10-20 feet.  Declining lake level has exposed much of the  thickest brush making fishing with exposed hook lures somewhat easier.  Brush is brittle so wiggling a snagged lure usually allows it to pull free. It also allowed me to catch a 3-pound largemouth yesterday on a single tail smoke-sparkle grub on a regular jig head. Tubes, grubs, spinnerbaits and bulky jig and pig baits are good largemouth fare.  Smallmouth will respond this week as well with water temperature beginning to climb.  Find 57-60 degree water in the afternoon for best smallmouth results.

 

March 23, 2011 - Stripers Now Hot!

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Lake Powell Fish Report - March 23, 2011
Lake Elevation: 3612   
Water Temperature 48 - 53 F
By: Wayne Gustaveson 

STRIPER SEASON IS OPEN!

watercolorAs the weather warmed last week striped bass moved into the shallow trees (10 feet deep) in the backs of major canyons.  We were able to troll shallow running lures on brush covered rocky points and steadily catch fish.  But then a cold front rolled through dropping water temperature from the mid 50s to 48 F.

Look for stained water for best results

On the first warm day after the front we returned to Dry Rock Creek to check fishing conditions.  We started trolling in the same pattern as last week but found it difficult to approach the previously productive shallows.  We hooked the first striper on a shallow running rattle trap where bottom depth was 45 feet.  As that fish was coming to the boat I dropped a spoon to the bottom and immediately hooked up.   From then on fishing was incredibly amazing. We caught fish on spoons as fast as we could take a striper off and return the spoon to the water. The school trailed below the slowly moving boat.  After 2.5 hours of spooning we had 84 stripers in the big cooler.  Size ranged from 12 inches to 5 pounds.  These stripers that spent the winter with shad were in good to excellent condition. Only 5 fish were thin and not filleted.

wgsize2Obviously the previously shallow stripers had moved out deeper with the colder weather. Shad had the same plan as they went deeper to avoid cooler surface temperatures. With stripers and shad in the same zone school fish were very active. At the fish cleaning station we found shad in many stomachs.  When stripers and shad commingle at depth spooning is the best technique. 

We were not alone at the cleaning station.  Other anglers found stripers eager to eat bait at the barricade line in front of the dam. Catches of 20 to 50 stripers were reported today.  Looks like the striper bite is on at Lake Powell. We are now declaring the long anticipated spring striper run to be in full bloom. It will last through the month of May.

Look at the weather report and plan a spring trip as soon as possible trying to match your trip with the best weather pattern possible.

mouthLargemouth bass fishing is excellent. Smallmouth bass are just beginning to wake up. Crappie are about two weeks away from consistent action in the thick brush in the backs of the canyon. Walleye will begin to bite well around April 15th. Fishing during April this year will be memorable as many different kinds of fish can be caught in large numbers. 

In the heat of battle, a few stripers were not fully hooked but had the mouth wedged open by the spoon allowing us to get them in the boat. 
 

Last Updated on Wednesday, 23 March 2011 17:12
 

March 16, 2011

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Lake Powell Fish Report - March 16, 2011
Lake Elevation: 3612   
Water Temperature 48 - 53 F
By: Wayne Gustaveson  
 
wgrcAfter last week's philosophical report I was determined to find a successful pattern. I am happy to report that my fish cooler has scales in it again this week. The search was not easy. Included were 4 fishless hours while we tried many different locations and techniques.

We started in the back of Wahweap Bay where stripers had been regularly caught during the last month. We trolled the 25 foot bottom contour and only caught one striper.  None took our spoons or anchovy bait.  Then we tried Warm Creek Wall at Buoy 12 hoping the fish had moved to the channel.  No luck!  Water color in the main channel is crystal clear.

We moved uplake to Padre Canyon but we could not graph any schools. There were no hits on trolled lures, spoons or bait. We fished for bass in the murky water at the back of the canyon without success. So far it was a very long morning salvaged only by the beautiful calm warm weather.

recordgizzard1With time running out we made the commitment to run to Rock Creek.  Again trolling and bait fishing were fruitless.  Finally at the back of the canyon we took off our deep diving lures, replaced then with rattletraps and ventured into shallow water.  Still no action!  But then we found that increasing speed was the key. We normally troll at about 3.5 mph.  By kicking the speed up to almost 5 mph we found stripers willing and ready. 

Once the pattern was discovered we quickly put 30 stripers in the cooler before returning to Wahweap.  Schools of 12-18 inch fish with an occasionally 3-pounder were holding off secondary brushy points where depth fell from 8 to 15 feet. We trolled on the deep water side of each brushy point just far enough out so the lures would not hang up in the brush.

Trolling selects the healthiest stripers. Only the fast, powerful fish are able to catch up with a fast paced trolling lure.  Using bait in deeper water will result in a wide variety of stripers from those that are not as fat to some of the best quality fish available.  There is a wide quality range in striped bass this year depending on lake location.  If shad are available striper condition is good.  I am pleased to report that most stripers are coming out of winter in good shape despite a decline in shad numbers last summer.

Fishing for largemouth bass is excellent in the shallow brush line that rings the reservoir.  Fish in the brush for largemouth bass.  Smallmouth bass were caught for the first time this past week as water temperature climbed into the mid 50's. Bass spawning will occur as water temperature increases to the low 60's.  

flat_rapFishing this week will be great once the daily pattern is discovered. It may take a while to discover where moving fish are and what presentation they want at the moment.  Try a number of different tactics until the right combination is revealed. Then enjoy the day.

I recommend the Rapala Flat Rap (FLR-10) pictured here. Trolled Rattle traps were great to locate willing fish but the stripers soon tired of them after a few passes. But the Flat Raps were hammered each time we passed the point. They are a shallow running lure (2 feet)  which worked great for me last fall when stripers were slapping but not hitting surface lures. These lures were cranked down just enough to keep the shallow bite going when surface fishing ceased.   I never expected to use them trolling until we needed them yesterday.  They made the diffrence between catching a few fish and filling the cooler.

Yes the 3-pound gizzard shad pictured above hit my Flat Rap in only 6 feet of very muddy water at  the back of the canyon. My first big shad fought like a big trout making strong fast runs near the boat. They are quite the sport fish.    

Last Updated on Wednesday, 16 March 2011 09:29
 


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