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Fishing Report

March 2, 2011

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Lake Powell Fish Report - March 2, 2011
Lake Elevation: 3614    
Water Temperature 46 - 48 F
By: Wayne Gustaveson  

wgatworkFishing results this winter have been surprisingly good.  My normal winter activity is to sit by the fire but this year each weekly fishing trip has provided incentive to go out again next week. With gloves, goggles, and insulated clothing the trips have been bearable while traveling and exciting when fishing.

Striped bass have provided most of the action.  Schools of 3-pound adults and 15-inch juveniles are normally found in the backs of most major canyons where a perennial stream or dry wash allows runoff to enter. Canyons that end in a steep cliff may not hold as many schools as those with a brush-ringed flood plain. Plankton-eating juveniles are suspended in the upper 25 feet while adults are near bottom.

chrispLook for adult striper schools where bottom depth is 40-80 feet.  A fish locating graph certainly helps find a mound of stripers on the usually flat bottom devoid of much else besides a readily recognizable fish school.  My fish locating technique is to troll while watching the graph for a school.  A floating marker is tossed overboard where the school is seen. If fish don't rise to the trolled bait then we return and drop spoons to the bottom. Sometimes a school responds to one fish rising to the spoon as they all try to get involved in the action. Other times the spoon is ignored by all. Lethargic schools can usually be excited by chumming with cut bait. Impressive catches of stripers have been achieved using both methods.

wayneandlmbmcuThese fishing methods will continue to produce in March.  Cold water sometimes keeps fish dormant. My normal success rate for 5 trips ranges from one being fantastic to one where no fish are caught. That leaves 3 trips where success is satisfying. Expect fishing conditions to improve in March as water temperature starts to rise.  This spring expect bait fishing near the dam and along steep canyon walls to be more successful than in previous years.  But right now schools are still found in the backs of canyons.  Look there first.

glowrocksMarch is the best month to catch a trophy largemouth bass. These 4-7 pound bass have spent the winter in submerged brush ringing the sandy shoreline. They move up and down depending on weather conditions but essentially bass will be in brush and seldom deeper than 20 feet.  Use weedless fishing tackle that can be fished slowly within, around and through tree branches. The tried and true standard bait remains pork rind on a weedless jig head with brush guard.  The modern improvement to that technique is replacing pork with plastic trailers that are big and bulky to allow slow descent as the bait crawls over a limb and falls back to the bottom.  One new bait showing early success this spring is a Yamamoto Flappin Hog.

Walleye spawn during March and limit food intake making them hard to catch. Smallmouth bass don't respond well until water temperature climbs above 55F. Crappie, sunfish and catfish are relatively dormant.   Target stripers and largemouth during March for the best chance of good fishing success over the length of Lake Powell.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 08 March 2011 09:51

February 24, 2011

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This week's fishing report trip has been long anticipated. We finally went uplake to see if the same patterns that have been working all winter in Wahweap Bay could be repeated in more remote canyons.  We ran 25 minutes uplake and slowed in the back of a long major canyon. It felt good to get off plane and decrease the wind chill factor to zero.

We then started trolling and graphing.  We saw only scattered fish in the 25 foot depth zone. Trolling the white rattletrap only targeted fish in the upper 15 feet but it was effective for some last week.  We caught one small juvenile striped bass on the trap where bottom depth was 35 feet and missed one at 40. A white Poes minnow that dives to 10 feet caught one 2-pound striper at a depth of 45 feet. But it was obvious that trolling was not going to very successful.

As we hit the 50 foot depth range we saw a couple of fish that could have been stripers and then we saw a small school of perhaps 6-8 fish that were definitely stripers. We stopped, reeled in the trolling lures and dropped spoons behind the boat where the small school of stripers should be. All winter it has been tough to stop the boat, retrace the path and find the school a second time.  This time we didn't try to get right over the school but just cast back to where they should have been.


Last Updated on Tuesday, 01 March 2011 20:12

February 16, 2011

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cookieoverOur weekly  fishing report trip started out just like the last one.  We looked for schools on the graph near Lone Rock in Wahweap Bay without success.  Each time we stopped over a suspect  school the graph would show a bubble plume or a blank void.  We could not get anything going. We covered most of Lone Rock bay without finding any fish willing to bite. My only action was a 12-inch striper that hit my jiggling spoon at 50 feet while I was stopped talking with Chris Parish.  He reported catching a few stripers shallow by trolling pointers in 25 feet of water near the back of the canyon.  It wasn't hot but he caught more than we did.

Last Updated on Thursday, 17 February 2011 14:49

February 11, 2011

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wayne with two fat stripers caught spooning

Today's fishing adventure started off with great expectations. Lucas, the Quagga tech at the top of the ramp, told us a 12-pound striper was caught yesterday near the wakeless zone in front of Wahweap Main ramp. So we started looking there but found only a blank screen on the graph.

We then went to Warm Creek because we hadn't fished that in a couple of weeks and thought the fish would welcome our arrival. But two hours of graphing, stopping and spooning was not rewarded at all. We cut our losses and headed to Lone Rock where most fish have been caught recently.

The southwest corner was fishless. So we started graphing again.  The third hour passed with no fish. Then half way between Lone Rock and the shoreline of Lone Rock canyon we graphed a school. Our activity level was intense. We spooned, chummed, dropped anchor and succeeded in catching two stripers before all that activity drove the school away.  The screen went blank again. Fishing bait was not productive which was very surprising.

Last Updated on Monday, 28 February 2011 13:04

February 5, 2011

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wgmarkThe frigid cold weather has passed.  Lake Powell is back at normal winter air temperature which means that on a calm day with the boat next to a south facing (solar heat gathering) rock, it is very pleasant. No gloves are needed - just a coat and a cooler to hold fish.

Bottom fishing remains good to excellent for hungry adult striped bass.  They are holding near 60 feet in the back of most  canyons.  There will be some migrational movement in late February or early March but for the next 3 weeks these fish will stay where they are and bite when found.

Use the graph to locate the school. Chum early and often to activate the school and keep them going. Use a jig head with a short shank to get the 1 inch chunk of bait down quickly to the bottom. When the school rises off the bottom following a hooked school mate, a slow sinking carolina rigged bait is better.

Last Updated on Monday, 28 February 2011 11:37

January 26, 2011

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wgstbWe returned to Warm Creek to check on striper fishing status. I have been almost shutout for the last two weeks. But today was different. We left earlier and got to the back of the canyon, hovered over the 65 foot depth strata and started looking.  My shutouts had been pitched in the 45 foot deep water further back by the mouth of Crosby while 65 foot had been devoid of fish.


Last Updated on Thursday, 24 February 2011 09:17

January 21, 2011

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We returned to Warm Creek and found conditions much the same as last week. Fishing has slowed considerably under the glow of the full moon and the fast fishing of two weeks ago.  We probed into the shallow water near Haystack Rock in Cottonwood Warm Creek. A nice largemouth hit the Bevy Shad on the second cast - but it came off. We saw three stripers on separate occasions slowly following our lures back to the boat but none struck the lure.  After an hour of casting we went toward the back of main Warm Creek to see how the deep stripers were doing.

There were no boats working the 60 foot depth strata, but a cluster of boats back at 45 feet showed us where the fish were.  Ray Young invited us to come over as they caught fish after fish. We got close, dropped an anchor and put spoons into the water. Our added activity slowed down the school. We caught two fish before they quit.

The important news is that fishing is much slower but a few largemouth are still biting.  Striped bass schools are in shallower water and can be started into activity with bait and copious chumming. Spoons still work but the school tends to run unless chum is used to Marty Peterson with winter striperhold them in position. 

Water temperature is 47-49 degrees which is the normal low point of the year.  The good news is that the lake is calm making an afternoon trip on the lake an enjoyable experience. 


January 18, 2011 - Fish Report

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jason with winter largemouth bassStriper fishing success has changed dramatically since our last report. Fish holding at 60 feet impatiently waiting for the next boat of anglers to arrive have now moved into shallower water.  That would usually make them easier to find but in this case they have moved into very shallow water not normally inhabited in the winter. 

Look for striped bass at the extreme shallow end of brushy canyons and coves where sunfish and crayfish may be found hiding in the trees.  Shad are now in very short supply or at least separated from striped bass schools. In the absence of shad, stripers are searching for any food available. They have gone shallow in that quest instead of into deeper water.

The next migrational move will be toward the deep main channel. But for this week look in the backs of canyons for slowly moving 2-3 pound adult stripers.

The bonus feature of this move is that largemouth bass are holding in the same locations. Use jerk baits like a Pointer or X-rap. Toss it near shore where submerged tree branches can be seen sticking out of the water. Make sure to use a pause and go retrieve in the cold water. That gives cold fish a chance to make a decision to bite while the bait is suspended motionless near them.

Expect another change in pattern as the full moon wanes.  Hopefully stripers will return to the 60 foot winter holding spots where they are easy to locate and catch. 

Last Updated on Tuesday, 18 January 2011 08:16

January 7, 2011

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Jan 7, 2011


cooperwimmerStriped bass and a few shad are spending the winter in the backs of most canyons where bottom depth is between 45 and 70 feet. Shad are not abundant so stripers are more than eager to enjoy any shad that gets in range. These conditions are ideal for anglers to catch large numbers of stripers.


Schools are large and easy to see on the graph. My first choice is to drop spoons to the waiting fish. Spoons are good shad imitators and will often light the fire under a school.  Hook one striper and the others rise off the bottom in pursuit of the one with food in its mouth.  Stripers in search mood are very anxious to feed and will chase the next shad imitating spoon as soon as it is presented.  This week striper schools have been turning on and staying lit for hours at a time.  Catches of 100 stripers per boat have been reported in Bullfrog Bay and duplicated in Warm Creek near Wahweap. 


Last week stripers were more likely to respond to bait fishing and copious chumming.  Find the school. Broadcast finely cut bait around the boat.   Then put a one-inch chunk of bait on a hook and start catching fish. It’s wise to chum a few more pieces of bait each time a fish is caught to keep the school interested and under the boat.


There are two layers of stripers residing in the 60 foot zone of the canyon. The 2-3 pound adults are on the bottom but will come to the surface when the school is excited.  Then they retreat back to the resting zone. The second layer is made up of yearling stripers feeding on plankton at 15-25 feet. The small ones are just as glad to see a shad swim by so they will respond to spoons or bait. Expect to catch both size classes in the same area.   Put the bait near bottom to catch a large fish or stop it short at 15 feet to catch 3 small ones.   


I am surprised to see stripers as active as they are right now as the water temperature has dropped into the high 40s.  But fishing is good and mid day weather is sunny and calm.


Last Updated on Tuesday, 11 January 2011 13:56

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