test.wayneswords.com

  • Increase font size
  • Default font size
  • Decrease font size
Home Fishing Report
Fishing Report


March 8, 2017 - Largemouth Bass Take Off!

E-mail Print PDF
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

E-mail Print PDF
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.

 

February 23, 2017 - You Won't Believe This?

E-mail Print PDF
Lake Powell Fish Report – February 23, 2017
Lake Elevation: 3594
Water Temperature: 40-54 F
By: Wayne Gustaveson http://www.wayneswords.com
February has been an excellent month for great fishing results in the southern lake. We have found great spooning results in early February with a fish count of 75 stripers.  Then later in the month we caught 38 stripers while trolling and casting. Spoons did not work on that trip.  When we headed uplake to see how conditions had changed this week we were prepared to give the stripers any presentation they wanted.  The fish did not disappoint us, in fact, we were amazed at what happened.
Following reports from the previous day we went to the back of the canyon and started spooning when a few shad or striper traces were seen on the graph.  Our spoon were ignored by the stripers seen on the graph.  We went looking for cooperative fish by trolling while watching the graph.  In short order 12-14 inch (plankton eating) stripers were caught randomly on Lucky Craft XD78 pointers in ghost and chartreuse shad colors.  There was no real pattern or many fish seen on the bottom but the small (best eating size) fish were caught regularly.  After 1.5 hours we had 10 fish in the cooler and we moved on.
Another boat was found in the distance so we pulled up close to get a fish report. They were hovering over a striper school trying to spoon them up so we joined in.  In short order the school responded and we hooked 2-3 pound stripers regularly.  Action was quick and intense while the school was active.  Occasionally we saw a single threadfin shad come to the surface and swim quickly away to avoid predation. The striper school was actively attacking a shad ball and we were lucky enough to be there for the action. After 15 minutes the deep schools moved on and catching on spoons quit but not before we placed another 15 large stripers in the cooler.
The other boat left to search for the striper school but those shad swimming along the surface made me pick up the spinning rod and toss Pointers to shallow chasing stripers. There were a few stripers near the surface and an occasional catch was made with a long cast and a stop and go retrieve.  We even did the “figure 8 musky retrieve” with the lure near the boat and caught a few trailing stripers within 5 feet of the boat. That was awesome to see them attack the lure within plain sight.
While all this was going I heard random splashes in the distance and thought gizzard shad must be jumping in the water that had warmed to 56 degrees in the back of the canyon. Another big splash sounded behind me and my focus switched from stripers swimming under the boat to the shoreline.  I looked up in time to see a pod of shad jump out of the water followed by a 3-pound striper within 2 feet of the shoreline. I could not believe my eyes. I had just witnessed a striper ‘boil’ in February. Unbelievable!  Later, I added up the events and realized that the school of shad the stripers were chasing below the boat, went shallow with the striper school close behind. We moved 20 yards closer to shore and cast the same lures to the bank. Stripers hit the lures on every cast and hooked up half the time.  We were in the perfect spot with the right lures and caught lots of fish.  I could not stand it any longer and put on a top water lure. I really wanted to catch a topwater fish in February. After 20 casts I knew it was not going to happen so I changed back and caught more stragglers on shallow running crankbaits.  The action slowed and we were “reely” tired from reeling in so many fish in a short time.   The weather forecast was for wind to blow in the afternoon and we were completely satisfied with an amazing fishing day, so we headed in. We filleted 55 stripers at the cleaning station.
Data for this report was collected on the last sunny, warm day before a cold winter storm arrived.  It was the lull before the storm. Wait for the wind to stop blowing and temperature to rise again before trying to duplicate the events reported here.
Fishing at Lake Powell is incredible.

Lake Powell Fish Report – February 23, 2017

Lake Elevation: 3594

Water Temperature: 49-54 F

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

 

February has been an excellent month for great fishing results in the southern lake. We have found great spooning results in early February with a fish count of 75 stripers.  Then later in the month we caught 38 stripers while trolling and casting. Spoons did not work on that trip.  When we headed uplake to see how conditions had changed this week we were prepared to give the stripers any presentation they wanted.  The fish did not disappoint us, in fact, we were amazed at what happened.

Following reports from the previous day we went to the back of the canyon and started spooning when a few shad or striper traces were seen on the graph.  Our spoon were ignored by the stripers seen on the graph.  We went looking for cooperative fish by trolling while watching the graph.  In short order 12-14 inch (plankton eating) stripers were caught randomly on Lucky Craft XD78 pointers in ghost and chartreuse shad colors.  There was no real pattern or many fish seen on the bottom but the small (best eating size) fish were caught regularly.  After 1.5 hours we had 10 fish in the cooler and we moved on. 

Another boat was found in the distance so we pulled up close to get a fish report. They were hovering over a striper school trying to spoon them up so we joined in.  In short order the school responded and we hooked 2-3 pound stripers regularly.  Action was quick and intense while the school was active.  Occasionally we saw a single threadfin shad come to the surface and swim quickly away to avoid predation. The striper school was actively attacking a shad ball and we were lucky enough to be there for the action. After 15 minutes the deep schools moved on and catching on spoons quit but not before we placed another 15 large stripers in the cooler. 

The other boat left to search for the striper school but those shad swimming along the surface made me pick up the spinning rod and toss Pointers to shallow chasing stripers. There were a few stripers near the surface and an occasional catch was made with a long cast and a stop and go retrieve.  We even did the “figure 8 musky retrieve” with the lure near the boat and caught a few trailing stripers within 5 feet of the boat. That was awesome to see them attack the lure within plain sight. 

While all this was going I heard random splashes in the distance and thought gizzard shad must be jumping in the water that had warmed to 56 degrees in the back of the canyon. Another big splash sounded behind me and my focus switched from stripers swimming under the boat to the shoreline.  I looked up in time to see a pod of shad jump out of the water followed by a 3-pound striper within 2 feet of the shoreline. I could not believe my eyes. I had just witnessed a striper ‘boil’ in February. Unbelievable!  Later, I added up the events and realized that the school of shad the stripers were chasing below the boat, went shallow with the striper school close behind. We moved 20 yards closer to shore and cast the same lures to the bank. Stripers hit the lures on every cast and hooked up half the time.  We were in the perfect spot with the right lures and caught lots of fish.  I could not stand it any longer and put on a top water lure. I really wanted to catch a topwater fish in February. After 20 casts I knew it was not going to happen so I changed back and caught more stragglers on shallow running crankbaits.  The action slowed and we were “reely” tired from reeling in so many fish in a short time.   The weather forecast was for wind to blow in the afternoon and we were completely satisfied with an amazing fishing day, so we headed in. We filleted 55 stripers at the cleaning station.

Data for this report was collected on the last sunny, warm day before a cold winter storm arrived.  It was the lull before the storm. Wait for the wind to stop blowing and temperature to rise again before trying to duplicate the events reported here. 

Fishing at Lake Powell is incredible.

 

February 16, 2017 - Conditions Change each week

E-mail Print PDF
We returned to our fishing spot one week later to find conditions completely different than the week before.  This is not unusual and the reason that fishing reports are put out on a weekly basis.  Conditions change, fish react and anglers must do the same.
Last week stripers were deep and spoons were the best option to catch fish on the bottom at 60 feet.  This time there were no fish found in deep water so went looking toward the back of the canyon to see where the schools had moved.
We trolled while graphing in case there were shallow plankton eating fish high in the water column where they may not be seen on the graph.  The first striper was caught before any marks were seen on the graph. As that fish was played the marks on the graph increased. Another striper was caught while casting behind the troll caught fish.  The only technique that did not work was dropping the spoon to the bottom when deep fish were seen under the boat.
After this first fish encounter our plan changed to trolling and casting.  We found lots of shad schools along a 200 yard stretch of shoreline in 20-35 feet of water. Each pass resulted in another striper and sometimes a second fish was caught while casting the same Lucky Craft pointer XD 78 in ghost color. Good fishing continued from 9-11 AM.  We hit a few more spots on the way back without catching more fish.
We filleted 25 stripers at the fish cleaning station and talked with other anglers that had been fishing.  Stripers were caught in Warm Creek, Navajo, Last Chance and Rock Creek. I caught my first smallmouth bass of the year while casting for stripers.
One walleye was caught on a spoon in Last Chance.  This is the time of year to catch big walleye as they are in prespawn mode. Large females are feeding on crayfish and shad. The spawn occurs as water temperature climbs above 53-55 degrees which is usually during the month of March.  Male walleye are totally focused on spawning and do not feed much in these conditions. The best time to catch walleye is from April 15 - June 15th and the best location is from Bullfrog upstream. Don’t forget the tagged walleye contest which is still happening and will be in full swing during the peak fishing season this year.  Register on line on the main Wayneswords page before fishing for walleye.

graphnoneWe returned to our fishing spot one week later to find conditions completely different than the week before.  This is not unusual and the reason that fishing reports are put out on a weekly basis.  Conditions change, fish react and anglers must do the same. 

No Marks on Graph

Last week stripers were deep and spoons were the best option to catch fish on the bottom at 60 feet.  This time there were no fish found in deep water so went looking toward the back of the canyon to see where the schools had moved.

We trolled while graphing in case there were shallow plankton eating fish high in the water column where they may not be seen on the graph.  The first striper was caught before any marks were seen on the graph. As that fish was played the marks on the graph increased. Another striper was caught while casting behind the troll caught fish.  The only technique that did not work was dropping the spoon to the bottom when deep fish were seen under the boat.  

graphschoolAfter this first fish encounter our plan changed to trolling and casting.  We found lots of shad schools along a 200 yard stretch of shoreline in 20-35 feet of water. Each pass resulted in another striper and sometimes a second fish was caught while casting the same Lucky Craft pointer XD 78 in ghost color. Good fishing continued from 9-11 AM.  We hit a few more spots on the way back without catching more fish.

Shad school seen with one striper.

We filleted 25 stripers at the fish cleaning station and talked with other anglers that had been fishing.  Stripers were caught in Warm Creek, Navajo, Last Chance and Rock Creek. I caught my first smallmouth bass of the year while casting for stripers.  

graphshad

 

Lots of shad with a few striper fish marks = resulted in good trolling

 

 

One walleye was caught on a spoon in Last Chance.  This is the time of year to catch big walleye as they are in prespawn mode. Large females are feeding on crayfish and shad. The spawn occurs as water temperature climbs above 53-55 degrees which is usually during the month of March.  Male walleye are totally focused on spawning and do not feed much in these conditions. The best time to catch walleye is from April 15 - June 15th and the best location is from Bullfrog upstream. Don’t forget the tagged walleye contest which is still happening and will be in full swing during the peak fishing season this year.  Register on line on the main Wayneswords page before fishing for walleye.

Last Updated on Thursday, 16 February 2017 12:01
 

February 9, 2017 - Early Spring Striper Techniques

E-mail Print PDF
I made my first trip on Lake Powell since before my vacation and after the weather moderated.  It seems all the little fish were lined up in a row making this a grand start for the 2017 striper fishing year. There have been good/interesting reports about striper fishing in the southern lake including Warm Creek, Navajo, Last Chance and Rock Creek.  If you go, here are the techniques that work when stripers are in the mood.
We motored to the back of the canyon and started graphing where water depth was 70 feet. Stripers are easier to find now in the backs of canyons because the depth changes quickly and various strata can be examined in short order.  It helps that I have had much experience in all canyons in the southern lake so I know where the fish were found last time.  That usually saves me time in finding fish but sometimes my past experience prevents me from finding fish in new locations.
This time a few fish marks were seen on the graph near the spot where many we caught on the last trip in January.  Spoons were deployed and two fish were hooked but the big school did not show up.  We graphed shallower and then deeper before finding a nice sized school in 68 feet of water. It sometimes takes a while to find fish but this time of year it seems that all the traces seen on the graph in open water are stripers or shad.   Hint:  Just keep graphing in the back of the canyon until fish traces appear and then deploy spoons right into the middle of the school.
This time the striper school exploded into activity and many fish were caught over the next 2 hours. We located the school about 9 AM and they followed the boat and our spoons until 10:45 AM on a calm day.  These deep fish are usually within 10 feet of the bottom. They will rise following a hooked fish on the way to the surface. We saw one hooked fish that was followed by another striper all the way to surface.  The friendly companion was close enough to touch the hooked fish and concentrated on the spoon in the other fish’s mouth.  We flipped a spoon right by the follower and he took the spoon but did not hook up. I really wish I had the GoPro in hand instead of the fishing rod while that event was transpiring.
It was a nice warm day and water temperature rose to 52 degrees. When the deep school lost interest we still had a small top layer of cooler space available so we went to the back of the canyon looking for shallow fish. We trolled LC XD 78 pointers while graphing and soon hooked a small striper on the ghost color lure. The depth was 25 feet but this fish was hooked as the lure went over a shallow (12 ft) ridge.  Stripers really like drop-offs as hiding points.  We cast lures back to the ridge and hooked 3 other fish in the same spot.  When we had about 3 unproductive casts we trolled again, hooked up, and cast again to get 3-5 more fish on each trolling stop.  The cooler space was soon gone and when one fish was put in, two jumped out.  That is the definition of a full cooler so at noon we headed back to the marina.
On the way out we passed another mile long canyon and I headed in just to see if the same action was going in most of the deep water canyon arms. We got to the back (80 Feet) and started trolling. That did not last long as a striper quickly hit the trolled lure. Then they hit the lures cast to followers. Then a school moved right under the boat and gobbled spoons.  We had no room to keep any more fish so we left them wondering where the spoons went?
Back at the cleaning station we counted 75 stripers of which all but 5 were healthy and provided great fillets. What a great day in clear calm weather.
I spent more time here on technique instead of location because I know that this pattern is repeatable lakewide.  Find your own secret canyon, repeat these techniques and return as possible as you can.
It’s going to be a great year for spring striper fishing in the backs of canyons with shad. Find a good weather day and come find your honey hole.

I made my first trip on Lake Powell since before my vacation and after the weather moderated.  It seems all the little fish were lined up in a row making this a grand start for the 2017 striper fishing year. There have been good/interesting reports about striper fishing in the southern lake including Warm Creek, Navajo, Last Chance and Rock Creek.  If you go, here are the techniques that work when stripers are in the mood. 

We motored to the back of the canyon and started graphing where water depth was 70 feet. Stripers are easier to find now in the backs of canyons because the depth changes quickly and various strata can be examined in short order.  It helps that I have had much experience in all canyons in the southern lake so I know where the fish were found last time. That usually saves me time in finding fish but sometimes my past experience prevents me from finding fish in new locations.  

This time a few fish marks were seen on the graph near the spot where many were caught on the last trip in January.  Spoons were deployed and two fish were hooked but the big school did not show up.  We graphed shallower and then deeper before finding a nice sized school in 68 feet of water. It sometimes takes a while to find fish but this time of year it seems that all the traces seen on the graph in open water are stripers or shad. 

 Hint:  Just keep graphing in the back of the canyon until fish traces appear and then deploy spoons right into the middle of the school.  

 This time the striper school exploded into activity and many fish were caught over the next 2 hours. We located the school about 9 AM and they followed the boat and our spoons until 10:45 AM on a calm day.  These deep fish are usually within 10 feet of the bottom. They will rise following a hooked fish on the way to the surface. We saw one hooked fish that was followed by another striper all the way to surface.  The friendly companion was close enough to touch the hooked fish and concentrated on the spoon in the other fish’s mouth.  We flipped a spoon right by the follower and he took the spoon but did not hook up. I really wish I had the GoPro in hand instead of the fishing rod while that event was transpiring. 

It was a nice warm day and water temperature rose to 52 degrees. When the deep school lost interest we still had a small top layer of cooler space available so we went to the back of the canyon looking for shallow fish. We trolled Lucky Craft XD 78 pointers while graphing and soon hooked a small striper on the ghost color lure. The depth was 25 feet but this fish was hooked as the lure went over a shallow (12 ft) ridge.  Stripers really like drop-offs as hiding points.  We cast lures back to the ridge and hooked 3 other fish in the same spot.  When we had about 3 unproductive casts we trolled again, hooked up, and cast again to get 3-5 more fish on each trolling stop.  The cooler space was soon gone and when one fish was put in, two jumped out.  That is the definition of a full cooler so at noon we headed back to the marina.

On the way out we passed another mile long canyon and I headed in just to see if the same action was going in most of the deep water canyon arms. We got to the back (80 Feet) and started trolling. That did not last long as a striper quickly hit the trolled lure. Then others hit the lures cast to followers. Then a school moved right under the boat (40 feet) and gobbled spoons.  We had no room to keep any more fish so we left them wondering where the spoons went?

Back at the cleaning station we counted 75 stripers of which all but 5 were healthy and provided great fillets. What a great day in clear calm weather. 

I spent more time here on technique instead of location because I know that this pattern is repeatable lakewide.  Find your own secret canyon, repeat these techniques and return as possible as you can.  It’s going to be a great year for spring striper fishing in the backs of canyons with shad. Find a good weather day and come find your own honey hole.

P.S. I had a run of great luck while jigging the spoon off the bottom.  The fish were thick and close to the bottom.  I let the spoon rest on bottom for a quick pause and then jerked it up one foot.  Twice in a row I snagged a striper in the tail and hauled it in the boat. I have done this before, but this is the first time I did it on 2 consecutive casts. 

tailspoon

Last Updated on Thursday, 09 February 2017 09:51
 

December 14, 2016 - Last Chance Report

E-mail Print PDF
lcfrwg
Relatively warm, mild temperatures allowed us to brave the open water boat ride to the back of Last Chance. We were trying to duplicate Rob McCain’s fish reports from last week indicating a large school of stripers in 50 foot deep water between the last two canyons before the water ends. Full moon had me nervous that the boat ride may be the best part of the trip but we went anyway.
We started at the last canyon mouth on the left hand side and trolled toward the back of Last Chance while graphing for stripers schools.  We found no schools on the graph and caught no fish trolling.  We retraced our steps to the mouth of the left hand canyon and trolled across the bay headed directly toward the last canyon on the right hand side.
We should have done that first because we trolled up a small striper within a hundred yards.  I watched the graph as the small fish was reeled in and saw a few marks appear on the bottom.  I dropped a spoon, jigged it twice and hooked a 3 pound striper.  While that fish was reeled in the graph lit up like a neon sign with LED lights.  Stripers came from far and near to see what that commotion was that made their lateral line tingle with excitement as the vibration of a feeding fish was felt by all.
Calm seas allowed us to hover over the school for the next hour. We filled the large cooler half full of fish on the first drift.  The school was visible on the graph the whole time. With that many fish below us I expected to catch over 100 fish but they were a bit shy. Back at the fish cleaning station we found very few shad in the stomachs so their reluctance was a result of a lack of shad schools or at least separation from shad at the present time.
It was hard to complain as we put over 30 fish in the cooler in the first hour.  I just have great memories of previous spooning events where fish in this situation would hit every time the spoon came in view.  This school had to be coaxed by holding the spoon still, or letting it rest on the bottom, quickly speed reeling, and then drop to the bottom again. We worked our spoons quickly and caught a large number of fish in a short time.
Next I wanted to know if there were stripers in the back of the right hand fork which is one our favorite spring time striper spots. We trolled the shoreline without success until we reached the 25 foot depth in the back of the canyon.  We were trolling Lucky Craft XD pointers and Bevy Shad in Chartreuse shad colors. I switched to the Ghost color and immediately started to hook stripers.  I find that when shad are plentiful the chartreuse shad color is best but when shad are scarce the ghost color works best.
We spooned when the school came under the boat and caught stripers trolling spooning and casting in the back where water depth was 18-25 feet.  We had a great day with warm mild weather and a large body count.  We filleted 55 fish back at the fish cleaning station.
A few of the stripers caught in shallower water were thin while all of the deep fish caught on spoons were fat and healthy.  That is a common pattern now as slower adults tend to roam into shallower water looking for food while the next size smaller fish are fat and healthy. They can survive on plankton in open water while waiting for shad to spawn next spring.
Relatively warm, mild temperatures allowed us to brave the open water boat ride to the back of Last Chance. We were trying to duplicate Rob McCain’s fish reports from last week indicating a large school of stripers in 50 foot deep water between the last two canyons before the water ends. Full moon had me nervous that the boat ride may be the best part of the trip but we went anyway.  
lcfrlure1We started at the last canyon mouth on the left hand side and trolled toward the back of Last Chance while graphing for stripers schools.  We found no schools on the graph and caught no fish trolling.  We retraced our steps to the mouth of the left hand canyon and trolled across the bay headed directly toward the last canyon on the right hand side.  We should have done that first because we trolled up a small striper within a hundred yards.  I watched the graph as the small fish was reeled in and saw a few marks appear on the bottom.  I dropped a spoon, jigged it twice and hooked a 3 pound striper.  While that fish was reeled in the graph lit up like a neon sign with LED lights.  Stripers came from far and near to see what that commotion was that made their lateral line tingle with excitement as the vibration of a feeding fish was felt by all. 
                                                                                Chartreuse Shad XD 100 Pointer
                                                                                 1.5 ounce spoon
Calm seas allowed us to hover over the school for the next hour. We filled the large cooler half full of fish on the first drift.  The school was visible on the graph the whole time. With that many fish below us I expected to catch over 100 fish but they were a bit shy. Back at the fish cleaning station we found very few shad in the stomachs so their reluctance was a result of a lack of shad schools or at least separation from shad at the present time.  It was hard to complain as we put over 30 fish in the cooler in the first hour.  I just have hgih expectations and great memories of previous spooning events where fish in this situation would hit every time the spoon came in view.  This school had to be coaxed by holding the spoon still, or letting it rest on the bottom, quickly speed reeling, and then drop to the bottom again. We worked our spoons quickly and caught a large number of fish in a short time. 
lcfrglureNext I wanted to know if there were stripers in the back of the right hand fork which is one our favorite spring time striper spots. We trolled the shoreline without success until we reached the 25 foot depth in the back of the canyon.  We were trolling Lucky Craft XD pointers and Bevy Shad in Chartreuse shad colors. I switched to the Ghost color and immediately started to hook stripers.  I find that when shad are plentiful the chartreuse shad color is best but when shad are scarce the ghost color works best. We spooned when the school came under the boat and caught stripers trolling spooning and casting in the back where water depth was 18-25 feet.  
We had a great day with warm mild weather and a large body count.  We filleted 55 fish back at the fish cleaning station. A few of the stripers caught in shallower water were thin, while all of the deep fish caught on spoons were fat and healthy.  That is a common pattern now as slower adults tend to roam into shallower water looking for food while the next size smaller fish are fat and healthy. They can survive on plankton in open water while waiting for shad to spawn next spring.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 14 December 2016 08:21
 

November 18, 2016 - Annual Gill Netting Report

E-mail Print PDF
2016 Gill Net Sampling Report
Every November the UDWR sends me out to sample Lake Powell fish with gill nets.  Our purpose is to understand how fish numbers have changed over time.  If we do this survey every year, using the same nets, same locations and same time of year, we are confident that dramatic changes in fish numbers can be determined. While handling and recording our catch we can see if physical condition of the various fish species has changed.  We sacrifice fish to determine what they have been eating, and if there are parasites or other anomalies that have developed over time. Sometimes over a thousand fish are handled in highly productive areas, but usually 300 to 500 fish of all sizes are captured during the two day netting event at four different locations.
Over the years we have learned that some species are not good candidates for gill net sampling. Largemouth bass, black crappie, bluegill, and green sunfish are prone to hold up in aquatic vegetation. These species do not often move at night when the nets are hard to see and most of the fish are caught.  Therefore, these species are caught in low numbers lakewide. We cannot say that there are low numbers of bass or crappie based on gill net sampling results. All of the sampling techniques used at Lake Powell must be combined to make that statement accurate. Fortunately, bass numbers look strong going into 2017.
Some species tend to move constantly.  Striped bass and gizzard shad are sampled most often in gill nets because they cruise the shoreline at night. Number of fish netted is indicative of relative abundance at each netting area.  Smallmouth bass are active along the shoreline but are not cruisers.  Numbers of smallmouth caught at each netting site are often very similar because they are caught based on feeding and moving behavior which is the same at each netting site. Channel catfish, yellow bullheads, and native fish still residing in Lake Powell are caught in low numbers because of their moving behavior.
When netting results are discussed, fish numbers caught per gill net sampling site is more likely to accurately portray relative abundance of striped bass and gizzard shad.   We found that Good Hope Bay once again had high numbers of both species.  The Good Hope Bay station represents the productive inflowing water that is high in nutrients and plankton which allows more shad to grow and attracts predatory fish. Striped bass and gizzard shad are consistently found in greatest abundance at Good Hope Bay.  That was true again in 2016.
The San Juan station in Neskahi Bay is another productive area which has high numbers of shad and stripers. These numbers are not as high as found at Good Hope Bay but are indicative of high population strength for many species. Smallmouth bass are also well represented.
The Rincon has very clear water during November making the nets less productive as many fish can see and evade the nets.  From our netting results it seems that the Rincon would be a very poor fishing area. That was the case while we were sampling in November but that changes dramatically in the spring when smallmouth are found in abundance.
The last netting station is in Wahweap Bay.  The area near the dam is surprising because there are many more fish species found in abundance than expected. Nets are set from Wahweap main launch ramp to the back of Lone Rock Bay. Water color and productivity increases in the shallower water near Lone Rock.  Surprisingly, Wahweap was in second place lakewide in striped bass numbers. Unfortunately, most of the stripers caught were in poor condition or of small size. Striped bass fishing results this fall have not been worthy of a second place prize for lakewide fishing. Sometimes sampling does not directly relate to sport fishing results.
The surprising statistic is walleye numbers.  The three stations downstream from Good Hope returned results of essentially the same numbers of walleye caught. That seems similar to smallmouth being caught in the same numbers due to behavior of the fish around nets.  Walleye are not an easy fish to catch in gill nets, but the numbers in Good Hope are six times greater than found at any other location.  This anomaly is proven to be true by other sampling results and specifically by angler catch.  The northern lake has a much larger population of walleye than the rest of the lake combined.
Other factors shown by our netting is that there are two different striped bass populations. Those long, thin stripers that are easy to catch on bait are found lake wide. Many are located in areas where shad numbers are high.  The thin stripers are obviously not feeding on the shad resource even when in close proximity. My guess is that these malnourished stripers no longer have the speed to feed on shad. Most of the adults in poor condition will not survive the winter. It seems more humane to me to euthanize these thin fish when caught, instead of allowing them to starve over a long period of time.
Adult stripers in good condition outnumber thin fish caught in nets.  Smaller stripers are in good shape and ready to take over as the dominant predator next spring as soon as shad spawn and food is abundant.
Smallmouth bass are abundant and the population will increase in size and length in the spring when shad spawn in April and May.
Crappie and largemouth bass are being treated to abundant cover right now as aquatic weed beds have grown up in the back of many canyons and coves.  While brushy cover is now abundant these two populations depend on brushy cover in the springtime so that newly hatched young bass and crappie are able to avoid predation by hiding in thick woody cover as terrestrial vegetation is covered by rising lake water.  If the lake comes up fast before the spawn is over, bass and crappie numbers will increase in future years.  If the runoff is slow and small then these two species will continue to be low in number in the near future.
In summary, Lake Powell fish are in good shape.  They will be much happier in the spring if threadfin shad are able to spawn in huge numbers.  That only seems to happen every third year. Threadfin shad had an off year in 2016 and are not scheduled to spawn well until 2018.   It would be great if the threadfin spawn happened sooner than expected.  Fortunately, gizzard shad adults are now here in big numbers and they do spawn every spring. There will be a shad spawn and all of our game fish will thrive during April and May due to presence of adult gizzard shad.
Striped bass numbers will be reduced over winter.   The reason stripers are so plentiful is that reproductive success is near 90%.  There are plenty of healthy adult stripers to spawn.  The success of this species is dependent on the shad food supply being strong enough to support the millions of mouths ready to feed.
Smallmouth bass numbers are well represented by smaller fish. The key to the smallmouth population growing in size and length is dependent on the shad spawn. If smallmouth bass have enough shad to eat in the springtime, all ages of bass will grow in length.
Walleye are strong in number in the northern lake.  Mark the dates from April 15th to June 15th on your fishing calendar for a walleye trip. Sign up for the tagged walleye contest before you go so you can win a prize when one of the many walleye caught turns out to be a tagged fish.
Lake Powell fish are in good health and strong numbers. My prediction is that fishing in 2017 will mimic that found in 2016.  Bass will spawn in April with the best fishing found before the lake begins to rise. There will be good bait fishing for stripers in the spring before the shad spawn. After the spawn, striper slurps will start followed by boils if shad numbers are high enough. It looks like 2017 will be another great year for high fishing success at Lake Powell.  I can’t wait!
Wayne Gustaveson

2016 Gill Net Sampling Report

Every November the UDWR sends me out to sample Lake Powell fish with gill nets.  Our purpose is to understand how fish numbers have changed over time.  If we do this survey every year, using the same nets, same locations and same time of year, we are confident that dramatic changes in fish numbers can be determined. While handling and recording our catch we can see if physical condition of the various fish species has changed.  We sacrifice fish to determine what they have been eating, and if there are parasites or other anomalies that have developed over time. Sometimes over a thousand fish are handled in highly productive areas, but usually 300 to 500 fish of all sizes are captured during the two day netting event at four different locations.

Over the years we have learned that some species are not good candidates for gill net sampling. Largemouth bass, black crappie, bluegill, and green sunfish are prone to hold up in aquatic vegetation. These species do not often move at night when the nets are hard to see and most of the fish are caught.  Therefore, these species are caught in low numbers lakewide. We cannot say that there are low numbers of bass or crappie based on gill net sampling results. All of the sampling techniques used at Lake Powell must be combined to make that statement accurate. Fortunately, bass numbers look strong going into 2017. 

Some species tend to move constantly.  Striped bass and gizzard shad are sampled most often in gill nets because they cruise the shoreline at night. Number of fish netted is indicative of relative abundance at each netting area.  Smallmouth bass are active along the shoreline but are not cruisers.  Numbers of smallmouth caught at each netting site are often very similar because they are caught based on feeding and moving behavior which is the same at each netting site. Channel catfish, yellow bullheads, and native fish still residing in Lake Powell are caught in low numbers because of their moving behavior.

When netting results are discussed, fish numbers caught per gill net sampling site is more likely to accurately portray relative abundance of striped bass and gizzard shad.   We found that Good Hope Bay once again had high numbers of both species.  The Good Hope Bay station represents the productive inflowing water that is high in nutrients and plankton which allows more shad to grow and attracts predatory fish. Striped bass and gizzard shad are consistently found in greatest abundance at Good Hope Bay.  That was true again in 2016.

The San Juan station in Neskahi Bay is another productive area which has high numbers of shad and stripers. These numbers are not as high as found at Good Hope Bay but are indicative of high population strength for many species. Smallmouth bass are also well represented.

The Rincon has very clear water during November making the nets less productive as many fish can see and evade the nets.  From our netting results it seems that the Rincon would be a very poor fishing area. That was the case while we were sampling in November but that changes dramatically in the spring when smallmouth are found in abundance.

The last netting station is in Wahweap Bay.  The area near the dam is surprising because there are many more fish species found in abundance than expected. Nets are set from Wahweap main launch ramp to the back of Lone Rock Bay. Water color and productivity increases in the shallower water near Lone Rock.  Surprisingly, Wahweap was in second place lakewide in striped bass numbers. Unfortunately, most of the stripers caught were in poor condition or of small size. Striped bass fishing results this fall have not been worthy of a second place prize for lakewide fishing. Sometimes sampling does not directly relate to sport fishing results. 

The surprising statistic is walleye numbers.  The three stations downstream from Good Hope returned results of essentially the same numbers of walleye caught. That seems similar to smallmouth being caught in the same numbers due to behavior of the fish around nets.  Walleye are not an easy fish to catch in gill nets, but the numbers in Good Hope are six times greater than found at any other location.  This anomaly is proven to be true by other sampling results and specifically by angler catch.  The northern lake has a much larger population of walleye than the rest of the lake combined. 

Another factor shown by our netting is that there are two different striped bass populations. Those long, thin stripers that are easy to catch on bait are found lake wide. Many are located in areas where shad numbers are high.  The thin stripers are obviously not feeding on the shad resource even when in close proximity. My guess is that these malnourished stripers no longer have the speed to feed on shad. Most of the adults in poor condition will not survive the winter. It seems more humane to me to euthanize these thin fish when caught, instead of allowing them to starve over a long period of time. Adult stripers in good condition outnumber thin fish caught in nets.  

Smaller stripers are in good shape and ready to take over as the dominant predator next spring as soon as shad spawn and food is abundant.  Smallmouth bass are abundant and the population will increase in size and length in the spring when shad spawn in April and May.   

Crappie and largemouth bass are being treated to abundant cover right now as aquatic weed beds have grown up in the back of many canyons and coves.  While brushy cover is now abundant these two populations depend on brushy cover in the springtime so that newly hatched young bass and crappie are able to avoid predation by hiding in thick woody cover as terrestrial vegetation is covered by rising lake water.  If the lake comes up fast before the spawn is over, bass and crappie numbers will increase in future years.  If the runoff is slow and small then these two species will continue to be low in number in the near future. 

In summary, Lake Powell fish are in good shape.  They will be much happier in the spring if threadfin shad are able to spawn in huge numbers.  That only seems to happen every third year. Threadfin shad had an off year in 2016 and are not scheduled to spawn well until 2018.   It would be great if the threadfin spawn happened sooner than expected.  Fortunately, gizzard shad adults are now here in big numbers and they do spawn every spring. There will be a shad spawn and all of our game fish will thrive during April and May due to presence of adult gizzard shad. Striped bass numbers will be reduced over winter.   The reason stripers are so plentiful is that reproductive success is near 90%.  There are plenty of healthy adult stripers to spawn.  The success of this species is dependent on the shad food supply being strong enough to support the millions of mouths ready to feed.  

Smallmouth bass numbers are well represented by smaller fish. The key to the smallmouth population growing in size and length is dependent on the shad spawn. If smallmouth bass have enough shad to eat in the springtime, all ages of bass will grow in length. 

Walleye are strong in number in the northern lake.  Mark the dates from April 15th to June 15th on your fishing calendar for a walleye trip. Sign up for the tagged walleye contest before you go so you can win a prize when one of the many walleye caught turns out to be a tagged fish. 

Lake Powell fish are in good health and strong numbers. My prediction is that fishing in 2017 will mimic that found in 2016.  Bass will spawn in April with the best fishing found before the lake begins to rise. There will be good bait fishing for stripers in the spring before the shad spawn. After the spawn, striper slurps will start followed by boils if shad numbers are high enough. It looks like 2017 will be another great year for high fishing success at Lake Powell.  I can’t wait! 

Wayne Gustaveson

 

October 25, 2016 - Last report 2016

E-mail Print PDF
Lake Powell Fish Report – October 25, 2016
Lake Elevation: 3609.82
Water Temperature: 65 – 68 F
By: Wayne Gustaveson http://www.wayneswords.com
Lake Powell fish are now in prime time.  Water temperature is in the mid 60’s which means that all fish can basically go anywhere they want to.  During summer there is a separation of large and small stripers because big fish need cooler temperatures.  Those barriers are now removed.
Consider fishing patterns now to be just like fishing in late April and early May. The big difference is that spawning is not a factor. It is all about food and structure. The favorite meal now and always will be threadfin shad. Find threadfin and fishing success is assured. The hook is that threadfin numbers are not as high as seen in 2014 and 2015.   All sport fish are searching for shad.
One sure fishing technique is to throw topwater lures in shallow water each morning and evening.  You will consistently catch stripers and bass by pounding the shoreline in low light periods.  The surface action may not last long after the sun hits the water but the information gathered during prime time will give you insight into where fish are holding. All fish are really on the move right now as they search for shad. If bass and stripers hit surface lures in the back of brushy coves at first light, the next step is to target brushy coves in the later hours using diving shad-imitating crankbaits like a bomber deep flat A, rattletrap or a swim bait like a Yamamoto D-Shad.
If bass and stripers hit surface lures on primary points next to deepwater, then target the bench areas where water drops off quickly from 10 feet, down to 20, 40 or 60 feet.
Shad are on the move trying to avoid predators. Earlier this month there have been many examples of a hot spot blowing up at Padre  Canyon, Kane Wash, Bullfrog Bay, or Good Hope only to quiet down in a few days as shad move out trying to find safe haven.   Shad leave and stripers trail in hot pursuit. Bass tend to stay closer to home but will move from the back of the cove to the edge of deep water
Fishing results have been spotty recently because of fish movement.  They also seem to feed for a short time where activity is intense only to quiet down after a short period. If a hot spot is located one day, keep track of the time and place and try to repeat that performance at the same time and place the next day.
The deep layer of fish between 60-80 feet is still there. These fish are down below the oxygen depletion layer that will soon be gone. For now it is possible to troll a downrigger in very deep water (60-80 feet) or drop spoons down when striper schools are seen on the graph.  The huge line of fish seen at 60 feet and below is mostly gizzard shad, but when shad are present, stripers may be close.  Don’t spend a lot of time fishing in deep water where no fish traces are seen. Instead, focus on the spot where many fish traces are seen on the graph.
The key to identifying shad and stripers is to stop the boat directly over a large concentration of fish at 60 feet.  If those fish then form a long horizontal line as they move under the boat it is most likely that they are gizzard shad.  If they have some separation between individual fish and are stacked in a hump, it is likely that these fish are stripers. Drop a spoon immediately into the school to quickly catch a lot of stripers in a short time.
This will be the last regular fish report for 2016.  We will be netting fish for our annual UDWR survey during the first two weeks of November.  The sample sites are Good Hope Bay, Rincon, San Juan (Piute Canyon), and Wahweap Bay. We compare fish numbers among years to find out how adult fish of all species are faring this year compared to other years dating back as far as 1982. I will report that information midwinter on www.wayneswords.com.
Thanks for reading my reports and using the information to harvest fish that are in high numbers (striped bass, walleye, and smallmouth bass) while protecting those fish that are in low numbers (largemouth bass and crappie). We are a good team that makes fishing at Lake Powell better due to our efforts.  I can’t wait until next year!

Lake Powell Fish Report – October 25, 2016

Lake Elevation: 3609.82

Water Temperature: 65 – 68 F

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

bevysmb1Lake Powell fish are now in prime time.  Water temperature is in the mid 60’s which means that all fish can basically go anywhere they want to.  During summer there is a separation of large and small stripers because big fish need cooler temperatures.  Those barriers are now removed.  

Consider fishing patterns now to be just like fishing in late April and early May. The big difference is that spawning is not a factor. It is all about food and structure. The favorite meal now and always will be threadfin shad. Find threadfin and fishing success is assured. The hook is that threadfin numbers are not as high as seen in 2014 and 2015.   All sport fish are searching for shad.  

One sure fishing technique is to throw topwater lures in shallow water each morning and evening.  You will consistently catch stripers and bass by pounding the shoreline in low light periods.  The surface action may not last long after the sun hits the water but the information gathered during prime time will give you insight into where fish are holding. All fish are really on the move right now as they search for shad. If bass and stripers hit surface lures in the back of brushy coves at first light, the next step is to target brushy coves in the later hours using diving shad-imitating crankbaits like a bomber deep flat A, rattletrap or a swim bait like a Yamamoto D-Shad.    

johnsuzieIf bass and stripers hit surface lures on primary points next to deepwater, then target the bench areas where water drops off quickly from 10 feet, down to 20, 40 or 60 feet. 

Shad are on the move trying to avoid predators. Earlier this month there have been many examples of a hot spot blowing up at Padre  Canyon, Kane Wash, Bullfrog Bay, or Good Hope only to quiet down in a few days as shad move out trying to find safe haven.   Shad leave and stripers trail in hot pursuit. Bass tend to stay closer to home but will move from the back of the cove to the edge of deep water. 

Fishing results have been spotty recently because of fish movement.  They also seem to feed for a short time where activity is intense only to quiet down after a short period. If a hot spot is located one day, keep track of the time and place and try to repeat that performance at the same time and place the next day. 

The deep layer of fish between 60-80 feet is still there. These fish are down below the oxygen depletion layer that will soon be gone. For now it is possible to troll a downrigger in very deep water (60-80 feet) or drop spoons down when striper schools are seen on the graph.  The huge line of fish seen at 60 feet and below is mostly gizzard shad, but when shad are present, stripers may be close.  Don’t spend a lot of time fishing in deep water where no fish traces are seen. Instead, focus on the spot where many fish traces are seen on the graph.  

graphgw3The key to identifying shad and stripers is to stop the boat directly over a large concentration of fish at 60 feet.  If those fish then form a long horizontal line as they move under the boat it is most likely that they are gizzard shad.  If they have some separation between individual fish and are stacked in a hump, it is likely that these fish are stripers. Drop a spoon immediately into the school to quickly catch a lot of stripers in a short time.  

This will be the last regular fish report for 2016.  We will be gill netting fish for our annual UDWR survey during the first two weeks of November.  The sample sites are Good Hope Bay, Rincon, San Juan (Piute Canyon), and Wahweap Bay. We compare fish numbers among years to find out how adult fish of all species are faring this year compared to other years dating back as far as 1982. I will report that information midwinter on www.wayneswords.com.                                            Striper School on Graph

Thanks for reading my reports and using the information to harvest fish that are in high numbers (striped bass, walleye, and smallmouth bass) while protecting those fish that are in low numbers (largemouth bass and crappie). We are a good team that makebzgshad fishing at Lake Powell better due to our efforts.  I can’t wait until next year!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Gizzard Shad - Bill Zeglin

Last Updated on Tuesday, 25 October 2016 09:32
 

October 19, 2016 - Transition mode -

E-mail Print PDF
Lake Powell Fish Report – October 19, 2016
Lake Elevation: 3610.2
Water Temperature: 69 – 72 F
By: Wayne Gustaveson http://www.wayneswords.com
Lake Powell fish are in transition mode with day length getting shorter while air temperature is cooling. Water temperature and lake elevation have stayed stable during the past 3 weeks.  Elevation is 3610 and temperature holding at 70 degrees.  The main change is fish location.  Bass are moving up on shore, stripers are on the move and shad are split between hiding in the backs of canyons while some are going deep in open water.  My best advice is to keep an open mind and an eye on the graph. The best fishing may be found in an unsuspected location that is not normally a good fishing spot.
Last week it was suggested that bass were moving up on shore in the upper 15 feet of water.  A report from the Salt Lake City Bass Masters confirmed their anglers found large and smallmouth bass by tossing dark-colored jigs near big rock reefs in 15-20 feet of water from Good Hope to Halls Creek. Winning weight for 10 fish in 2 days was 25 pounds with big fish 4 pounds -14 ounces.
I found similar results in the southern lake by targeting small isolated rock slides sticking out on otherwise high cliff walls. It is almost too easy to look down the main channel or canyon and see a small (less than 30 yards wide) white rock slide. Drop shotting a shad shaped worm worked great but success was equal with a smoke or black colored single tail grub.  Larger bass were found on rock slides while open water reefs were populated with yearling bass.
Another tagged walleye was caught, this time in Halls Creek near the gravel island in the middle of the bay.  Bryan Stanton reported catching a surprising number of walleye and smallmouth bass in Halls on Oct 16th.  His prize was a $50 gift certificate from Sportsman’s Warehouse.
Stripers are where you find them. Deep schools were reported in the back of Rock Creek from 60-90 feet. They were caught on silver spoons, both plain and hammered varieties. These fish were still below the oxygen depletion zone.
There are shallower striper schools roaming and looking for shad. This week it seemed that my graph showed no fish traces for extended periods of time and then would light up with fish traces in isolated locations.  Surprisingly, one of the best spots was near Lone Rock in Wahweap Bay. This spot has not been great all year and then the fish suddenly appear.  We will see how long they stay before moving on.
Other good locations were in Labyrinth Canyon about 3 turns in from the main channel.  Padre Canyon and Kane Creek were much less productive this week than last. Trolling near Neskahi Canyon in the San Juan was another bright spot for big stripers. There are still stripers roaming in the shallow water on the Great Bend.
My best advice is to pay attention to the events occurring at your lake location. Try trolling shallow in the backs of canyons and coves.  Then move out deeper and try spoons at 60 – 90 feet where fish traces are found layered in the deep water. If stripers are not found then try for bass in the shallows near rock slides.  Walleye can be targeted by adding a bit of night crawler to a bass jig or spoon and slowing down the presentation.
Lake Powell weather is still great with warm days and cool nights.  Fish are active and angling success will peak in the next two weeks as water temperature hits the mid 60s.

tomtuthillconner

Lake Powell Fish Report – October 19, 2016

Lake Elevation: 3610.2

Water Temperature: 69 – 72 F

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

Lake Powell fish are in transition mode with day length getting shorter while air temperature is cooling. Water temperature and lake elevation have stayed stable during the past 3 weeks.  Elevation is 3610 and temperature holding at 70 degrees.  The main change is fish location.  Bass are moving up on shore, stripers are on the move and shad are split between hiding in the backs of canyons while some are going deep in open water.  My best advice is to keep an open mind and an eye on the graph. The best fishing may be found in an unsuspected location that is not normally a good fishing spot.

Last week it was suggested that bass were moving up on shore in the upper 15 feet of water.  A report from the Salt Lake City Bass Masters confirmed their anglers found large and smallmouth bass by tossing dark-colored jigs near big rock reefs in 15-20 feet of water from Good Hope to Halls Creek. Winning weight for 10 fish in 2 days was 25 pounds with big fish 4 pounds -14 ounces. 

I found similar results in the southern lake by targeting small isolated rock slides sticking out on otherwise high cliff walls. It is almost too easy to look down the main channel or canyon and see a small (less than 30 yards wide) white rock slide. Drop shotting a shad shaped worm worked great but success was equal with a smoke or black colored single tail grub.  Larger bass were found on rock slides while open water reefs were populated with yearling bass.

 walleyecaughttubeAnother tagged walleye was caught, this time in Halls Creek near the gravel island in the middle of the bay.  Bryan Stanton reported catching a surprising number of walleye and smallmouth bass in Halls on Oct 16th.  His prize was a $50 gift certificate from Sportsman’s Warehouse.

Stripers are where you find them. Deep schools were reported in the back of Rock Creek from 60-90 feet. They were caught on silver spoons, both plain and hammered varieties. These fish were still below the oxygen depletion zone.  There are shallower striper schools roaming and looking for shad. This week it seemed that my graph showed no fish traces for extended periods of time and then would light up with fish traces in isolated locations.  Surprisingly, one of the best spots was near Lone Rock in Wahweap Bay. This spot has not been great all year and then the fish suddenly appear.  We will see how long they stay before moving on. 

Other good locations were in Labyrinth Canyon about 3 turns in from the main channel.  Padre Canyon and Kane Creek were much less productive this week than last. Trolling near Neskahi Canyon in the San Juan was another bright spot for big stripers. There are still stripers roaming in the shallow water on the Great Bend. 

My best advice is to pay attention to the events occurring at your lake location. Try trolling shallow in the backs of canyons and coves.  Then move out deeper and try spoons at 60 – 90 feet where fish traces are found layered in the deep water. If stripers are not found then try for bass in the shallows near rock slides.  Walleye can be targeted by adding a bit of night crawler to a bass jig or spoon and slowing down the presentation.

Lake Powell weather is still great with warm days and cool nights.  Fish are active and angling success will peak in the next two weeks as water temperature hits the mid 60s.

 

October 13, 2016 - Lakewide Journey

E-mail Print PDF
Lake Powell Fish Report – October 13, 2016
Lake Elevation: 3610.6
Water Temperature: 69 – 72 F
By: Wayne Gustaveson http://www.wayneswords.com
I had the chance to cover most of the lake this past week and found an amazing number of shad hanging out in the back of the canyons on the north end. The long canyons with tall walls seem to be harboring very happy shad that are unmolested by stripers. Smith Fork, Hansen, Forgotten, and others had a morning and evening shad party going on the surface. I was surprised to see the shad schools without any evidence of stripers waiting for dinner.  It is good to have a few sanctuaries where shad can spend the winter without the intense predation that occurs in most canyons lakewide.
We started the week with active striper boils in Kane Creek and Padre Canyons.  When we came back down the lake today and looked for more boils in these spots we found individual stripers that would hit surface lures but the school fish seemed to have moved on. They could start up again as soon as this report is posted but today they were missing in action.
We found good trolling results in Knowles.  Juvenile stripers hit consistently from the mouth of the canyon back to the cove covered with huge dead cottonwood trees. Juvenile stripers were up shallow and hit shad raps, rattletraps and X-rap lures trolled at 8-12 feet.
My wife used a PINK X- Rap with great success. I would not recommend this for any manly fishermen unless they were in the boat alone in low light and had access to the wife’s tackle bag.  I am not sure what the results might be if the word got out that some guy was using a PINK lure.  I know I refused to use one when witnesses were present.
We tried spooning for stripers in a few places but did not find great success.  The low oxygen zone reported last week is still in place making deep fish hard to find. On this trip we targeted the shallow fish above 40 feet.
Smallmouth bass fishing is improving with fish moving up to 15 feet and above.  A few fish were caught deeper but most bass were found on points and ledges. Bass tended to be on shore instead of offshore reefs. Best results were found with a slow retrieve as these bass were eating crayfish instead of chasing shad.
The weather was magnificent with warm, sunny days and cool nights.  It is still prime time at Lake Powell.

Lake Powell Fish Report – October 13, 2016

Lake Elevation: 3610.6

Water Temperature: 69 – 72 F

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

sharonhstb3I had the chance to cover most of the lake this past week and found an amazing number of shad hanging out in the back of the canyons on the north end. The long canyons with tall walls seem to be harboring very happy shad that are unmolested by stripers. Smith Fork, Hansen, Forgotten, and others had a morning and evening shad party going on the surface. I was surprised to see the shad schools without any evidence of stripers waiting for dinner.  It is good to have a few sanctuaries where shad can spend the winter without the intense predation that occurs in most canyons lakewide. 

We started the week with active striper boils in Kane Creek and Padre Canyons.  When we came back down the lake today and looked for more boils in these spots we found individual stripers that would hit surface lures but the school fish seemed to have moved on. They could start up again as soon as this report is posted but today they were missing in action.  We found good trolling results in Knowles.  Juvenile stripers hit consistently from the mouth of the canyon back to the cove covered with huge dead cottonwood trees. Juvenile stripers were up shallow and hit shad raps, rattletraps and X-rap lures trolled at 8-12 feet. 

0000000015647My wife used a PINK X- Rap with great success. I would not recommend this for any manly fishermen unless they were in the boat alone in low light and had access to the wife’s tackle bag.  I am not sure what the results might be if the word got out that some guy was using a PINK lure.  I know I refused to use one when witnesses were present.

We tried spooning for stripers in a few places but did not find great success.  The low oxygen zone reported last week is still in place making deep fish hard to find. On this trip we targeted the shallow fish above 40 feet.

Smallmouth bass fishing is improving with fish moving up to 15 feet and above.  A few fish were caught deeper but most bass were found on points and ledges. Bass tended to be on shore instead of offshore reefs. Best results were found with a slow retrieve as these bass were eating crayfish instead of chasing shad.   

The weather was magnificent with warm, sunny days and cool nights.  It is still prime time at Lake Powell.

 


Page 4 of 28