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March 28, 2018 - Clear water fishing improves

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Lake Powell Fish Report –March 28, 2018
Lake Elevation:  3612.74
Water temperature:  50 -56
By: Wayne Gustaveson   http://www.wayneswords.com
Many are wondering if stripers have moved into the main channel and are readily responding to anchovy bait.  Reports have been few, so I made the early morning trek to the dam to get a first hand report. It was cold and breezy and the boat near the buoy line had been there for an hour without success. It was reported that they caught 5 fish yesterday.  When stripers are abundant the average catch is 20 fish or more per boat.  So far this spring, numbers of stripers caught in the main channel have been few.  Further investigation took me to Buoy 3, Power Plant intake, and Buoy 9 with similar negative results.  Bait fishing gets better as the water warms but there are more stripers in the backs of canyons.  Best reports have been coming from Navajo, Gunsight, Last Chance and Rock Creek.
There was a major discover with travel further uplake.  Last week the hot spots were in colored water in the backs of canyons and the bite improved with warming.  This week the water temperature was still 50 degrees in the morning but it warmed quickly to 56 in the afternoon.  Fish response was surprising as stripers could be caught in crystal clear water trolling and spooning.  Trolling along the shoreline from Face Canyon to Gregory Butte and from West Canyon to Dove Canyon produced a great catch of 2-3 pound stripers.
If trolling, avoid the steep cliff walls with deep water near shore. Instead look for rocky points and humps and troll along the breaking edge where depth quickly changes from visible rock to deep water. Surprisingly, the water visibility was over 25 feet.  I saw fish on the graph at 25 feet and looked over the side of the boat and saw the actual fish.  Of course, they could see me as well so the visit was short.  The positive result of clear water is that stripers holding at 40-50 feet could see our trolled lures trolled at 12 feet and come up quickly to investigate.  The Buoy 25 cove is like a nature observatory where stripers can be seen swimming at depth on some days.
While trolling, watch the graph for striper schools holding on the bottom or swimming suspended under the boat. If the school is suspended just keep trolling because the deep fish are likely to come up and hit the shallow trolled lures. If the school is resting on the bottom (30-50 feet) then toss out a floating marker or hit the waypoint on the graph so you can return to the resting school and try spoons dropped right into the school. Both of these techniques worked well on this trip.
Fishing success has increased significantly this week.  Warming is still the trigger to watch.  Expect water temperature to rise this week so it is important to note early morning temperature as you leave the dock and then expect fishing success to improve as the water warms 3 degrees or more.
Fishing for bass is improving as well. On this trip a white grub tossed into clear water of a dry wash stream channel framed between two high cliff walls resulted in the catch of a 2.5 pound smallmouth bass and some smaller bass.  Bass are becoming more active and will be hiding in brushy cover for largemouth and rocky cover for smallmouth.  Bass were not caught trolling but were more likely to respond to plastic baits fished on bottom near rocky points and brush.  It is necessary to throw long casts in clear water while short casts can be effective in murky water in the backs of canyons.
Expect bass to come shallow and start fanning nests next week if the weather continues to warm. If it stays cold then nest building will be postponed a week or two.  Historically bass spawning begins the 3rd week of April but nest building starts as early as the first week of April.
Walleye have not turned on yet as they need another week or two to complete the spawning process. Expect walleye fishing to improve dramatically mid April.  Bluegill and catfish will spawn in May and June.
Spring is here.  It’s time for anglers to come and enjoy great fishing and beat the summer crowds.

Lake Powell Fish Report –March 28, 2018

Lake Elevation:  3612.74

Water temperature:  50-56

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

jishsmith

 

 

 

Josh Smith with Warm Creek striper.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Many are wondering if stripers have moved into the main channel and are readily responding to anchovy bait.  Reports have been few, so I made the early morning trek to the dam to get a first hand report. It was cold and breezy and the boat near the buoy line had been there for an hour without success. It was reported that they caught 5 fish yesterday.  When stripers are abundant the average catch is 20 fish or more per boat.  So far this spring, numbers of stripers caught in the main channel have been few.  Further investigation took me to Buoy 3, Power Plant intake, and Buoy 9 with similar negative results.  Bait fishing gets better as the water warms but there are more stripers in the backs of canyons.  Best reports have been coming from Navajo, Gunsight, Last Chance and Rock Creek. 

 

 

buoy25




Buoy 25 Cove

 

 

 

 

 

 

There was a major discover with travel further uplake.  Last week the hot spots were in colored water in the backs of canyons and the bite improved with warming.  This week the water temperature was still 50 degrees in the morning but it warmed quickly to 56 in the afternoon.  Fish response was surprising as stripers could be caught in crystal clear water trolling and spooning.  Trolling along the shoreline from Face Canyon to Gregory Butte and from West Canyon to Dove Canyon produced a great catch of 2-3 pound stripers.  

If trolling, avoid the steep cliff walls with deep water near shore. Instead look for rocky points and humps and troll along the breaking edge where depth quickly changes from visible rock to deep water. Surprisingly, the water visibility was over 25 feet.  I saw stripers on the graph at 25 feet and looked over the side of the boat and saw the actual fish.  Of course, they could see me as well so the visit was short.  The positive result of clear water is that stripers holding at 40-50 feet could see our trolled lures trolled at 12 feet and come up quickly to investigate.  The Buoy 25 cove is like a nature observatory where stripers can be seen swimming at depth on some days. 

While trolling, watch the graph for striper schools holding on the bottom or swimming suspended under the boat. If the school is suspended just keep trolling because the deep fish are likely to come up and hit the shallow trolled lures. If the school is resting on the bottom (30-50 feet) then toss out a floating marker or hit the waypoint on the graph so you can return to the resting school and try spoons dropped right into the school. Both of these techniques worked well on this trip.  

 

graphshad

 

 

 

Suspended shad schools 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fishing success has increased significantly this week.  Warming is still the trigger to watch.  Expect water temperature to rise this week so it is important to note early morning temperature as you leave the dock and then expect fishing success to improve as the water warms 3 degrees or more. 

Fishing for bass is improving as well. On this trip a white grub tossed into clear water of a dry wash stream channel framed between two high cliff walls resulted in the catch of a 2.5 pound smallmouth bass and some smaller bass.  Bass are becoming more active and will be hiding in brushy cover for largemouth and rocky cover for smallmouth.  Bass were not caught trolling but were more likely to respond to plastic baits fished on bottom near rocky points and brush.  It is necessary to throw long casts in clear water while short casts can be effective in murky water in the backs of canyons.  

Expect bass to come shallow and start fanning nests next week if the weather continues to warm. If it stays cold then nest building will be postponed a week or two.  Historically bass spawning begins the 3rd week of April but nest building starts as early as the first week of April. 

Walleye have not turned on yet as they need another week or two to complete the spawning process. Expect walleye fishing to improve dramatically mid April.  Bluegill and catfish will spawn in May and June.    

Spring is here.  It’s time for anglers to come and enjoy great fishing and beat the summer crowds.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 28 March 2018 10:06
 

March 21, 2018 - Afternoon Warming

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Lake Powell Fish Report –March 21, 2018
Lake Elevation:  3613.6
Water temperature:  50 - 54
By: Wayne Gustaveson   http://www.wayneswords.com
Water temperature today (49.6F) was essentially the same as found last week.  Therefore, it seemed the results of our weekly trip would be similar to last week while fishing in the back of a major canyon with cloudy water to find active cooperative fish. The choices heading upstream from Wahweap included, Warm Creek, Navajo, Gunsight, Last Chance, West Canyon, and Rock Creek.  All have been moderately productive recently.
The first stop was in deep water (90 feet) where a few fish traces were seen holding tight to the bottom. Spoons were deployed and one was bumped but no fish were caught, so we moved on.  Few fish were seen on the graph at bottom depth of 50-80 feet.  We then moved to the back of the canyon trolling the shoreline rocky points with Lucky Craft XD pointers in chartreuse shad and ghost colors.  Catching was slow until we crossed one rocky point where the water depth changed quickly from 40 to 25 feet.  A striper school was graphed on top of the shallow ridge with two quick hookups as our lures crossed the ridge.  The school followed the two hooked fish so spoons were dropped and more fish were caught. After that fishing was again slow as the school left the ridge and did not return. For the rest of the morning a few random stripers were caught trolling with the most productive bottom depth being 20-30 feet. After lunch 2 anglers had 15 stripers in the ice chest. Two more side canyons were trolled after lunch without success except for one random walleye caught trolling. It seemed we might as well return to Wahweap.
We returned to the first spot to tell some friends that we were returning to Wahweap. They looked at us like we were crazy. We took the hint and tried fishing the back of the canyon once more with completely different results. Stripers hit trolled lures with aggression. If the school was on the bottom, spoons were whacked with passion. When one fish was reeled in the whole school followed and more fish could be caught by casting lures in any direction.  After each fish was landed we just glanced at the graph to see where the school was holding and at what depth before choosing which lure to use next.  In the next hour our catch increased to 40 stripers.
What was the difference?  Water temperature increased from 50 in the morning to 53 in the afternoon. Warming caused a complete change in attitude from the same fish.  Temperature increase to 53 is the first hurdle but a larger increase to 57 and above is the key to catching warm water fish in the springtime.
Back at the fish cleaning station the walleye was examined and found to be prespawn. The walleye spawn is not yet over so do not expect walleye catching to pick up until mid April.
Other anglers at the cleaning station reported good afternoon fishing in Navajo and Warm Creek where stripers were caught trolling in murky water at the back of the canyon.  I was glad to hear that smallmouth bass were caught in good numbers on Yamamoto creature baits in clear water coves in Navajo. There was also a second hand report that bait fishermen had caught stripers at the dam over the weekend.
In summary, fishing results improve dramatically as the water temperature increases each day. Catching is usually better in the afternoon than morning or mid day. Water warms first on the surface so fish tend to go shallower when seeking warmth and feeding opportunities.   Expect fish movement as the day progresses.  Expect better results by fishing in the backs of canyons in greenish gray colored water rather than in clear, deep water of main channel and bays. The fish caught had empty stomachs except for smaller stripers that were eating plankton in open water.  Fish that we caught remembered what shad looked like as they ate our lures.  Bait fishing is probably working well but was not tried on this trip.

Lake Powell Fish Report –March 21, 2018

Lake Elevation:  3613.6

Water temperature:  50 - 54

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

wgwaeps

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Water temperature today (49.6F) was essentially the same as found last week.  Therefore, it seemed the results of our weekly trip would be similar to last week while fishing in the back of a major canyon with cloudy water to find active cooperative fish. The choices heading upstream from Wahweap included, Warm Creek, Navajo, Gunsight, Last Chance, West Canyon, and Rock Creek.  All have been moderately productive recently.  

greengrayh20





Green Gray colored water

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The first stop was in deep water (90 feet) where a few fish traces were seen holding tight to the bottom. Spoons were deployed and one was bumped but no fish were caught, so we moved on.  Few fish were seen on the graph at bottom depth of 50-80 feet.  We then moved to the back of the canyon trolling the shoreline rocky points with Lucky Craft XD pointers in chartreuse shad and ghost colors.  Catching was slow until we crossed one rocky point where the water depth changed quickly from 40 to 25 feet.  A striper school was graphed on top of the shallow ridge with two quick hookups as our lures crossed the ridge.  The school followed the two hooked fish so spoons were dropped and more fish were caught. After that fishing was again slow as the school left the ridge and did not return. For the rest of the morning a few random stripers were caught trolling with the most productive bottom depth being 20-30 feet. After lunch 2 anglers had 15 stripers in the ice chest. Two more side canyons were trolled after lunch without success except for one random walleye caught trolling. It seemed we might as well return to Wahweap.

We returned to the first spot to tell some friends that we were returning to Wahweap. They looked at us like we were crazy. We took the hint and tried fishing the back of the canyon once more with completely different results. Stripers hit trolled lures with aggression. If the school was on the bottom, spoons were whacked with passion. When one fish was reeled in the whole school followed and more fish could be caught by casting lures in any direction.  After each fish was landed we just glanced at the graph to see where the school was holding and at what depth before choosing which lure to use next.  In the next hour our catch increased to 40 stripers. 

graphpm 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What was the difference?  Water temperature increased from 50 in the morning to 53 in the afternoon. Warming caused a complete change in attitude from the same fish.  Temperature increase to 53 is the first hurdle but a larger increase to 57 and above is the key to catching warm water fish in the springtime.  

Back at the fish cleaning station the walleye was examined and found to be prespawn. The walleye spawn is not yet over so do not expect walleye catching to pick up until mid April. 

Other anglers at the cleaning station reported good afternoon fishing in Navajo and Warm Creek where stripers were caught trolling in murky water at the back of the canyon.  I was glad to hear that smallmouth bass were caught in good numbers on Yamamoto creature baits in clear water coves in Navajo.

There was also a second hand report that bait fishermen had caught stripers at the dam over the weekend.   

In summary, fishing results improve dramatically as the water temperature increases each day. Catching is usually better in the afternoon than morning or mid day. Water warms first on the surface so fish tend to go shallower when seeking warmth and feeding opportunities.   Expect fish movement as the day progresses.  Expect better results by fishing in the backs of canyons in greenish gray colored water rather than in clear, deep water of main channel and bays. The fish caught had empty stomachs except for smaller stripers that were eating plankton in open water.  Fish that we caught remembered what shad looked like as they ate our lures.  Bait fishing is probably working well but was not tried on this trip.

stgwaecooler

Last Updated on Wednesday, 21 March 2018 11:00
 

March 13, 2018 - Warming Begins

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Lake Powell Fish Report –March 13, 2018
Lake Elevation:  3614.63
Water temperature:  50-55
By: Wayne Gustaveson   http://www.wayneswords.com
Warming is slowly happening but there is a long way to go. Today the early morning water temperature finally registered at 50 F.  Temperatures have consistently been below 50 for first two weeks of March. However, on warm, calm March afternoons, water temperature may rise to 55 degrees in isolated spots which can quickly be erased with the slightest light breeze. The end result is that warm water fish are still hunkered down waiting for the 60-70 degree water they crave.
Fishing is slow in cold water but still worth it.  The bass tournament held at Bullfrog over the weekend is a good example.  Bass fishing was slow but after many casts and covering much shoreline the end results were terrific.  Bass anglers really like to catch big largemouth bass and they did. The winning weight for the team with the heaviest 10 fish in the 2-day event was 38 pounds (3.8 pounds average per fish). Individually, largemouth bass weighing 4, 5 and 6 pounds were caught.  Bass anglers pounded the shoreline and found bass on the main outside points more often than in the very backs of the coves. Colored water was better than clear water. Best baits were Yamamoto Senkos and single and double tail plastic baits fished slowly along the bottom and near brushy cover.
Stripers are acting a bit confused with warming water as well.  Schools have been in deep water resting on the bottom in 60 to 100 feet most of the winter. These deep fish were catchable on spoons but recently the schools have moved to new, unknown locations.  Some stripers have recently been found in 15-40 feet in the backs of canyons with significant water color. Shallow stripers can be caught sporadically while trolling and casting lures that dive from 7-20 feet. My best lure is the LC Pointer XD 78 in chartreuse shad color that dives 10-12 feet. Others have been successful with Norman deep divers (20 feet) in chartreuse color.  Like bass anglers, striper chasers have to cover a lot of water to catch a few fish.
While trolling we have seen many striper groups (not schools) normally resting on the breaking edge where depth quickly drops from 15 to 30 or 40 feet.  We caught stripers most consistently after retracing our trolling route back to where the first fish was caught.  The next fish often hit right where the first fish was caught near a ledge, boulder or depth change. Trolling in the back of the canyon in a circular pattern was better than trolling in a straight line in open water.  We stopped on many striper groups and dropped spoons which were ignored.
The message here is to try many different options at the beginning of the day. Eliminate those techniques that are not working and concentrate on those that catch stripers.  We graph, troll, cast and spoon in each spot trying to find the best technique for the day and then concentrate on the one that works. It is best to have different 3 rods rigged with spoons, plastic grubs and crankbaits so the terminal tackle does not have to be retied at each new cove or bay. There are many striper schools that have not been located so they may be found somewhere between the deep water where they spent the winter and the backs of canyon where more shad can be found. Please report new striper information and I will continue to report the results of my fishing events.  As of now, no reports have been received about stripers being caught on bait in the main channel.  All reported striper activity is in the backs of canyons in colored water. That may change but for now look for stripers in the canyons. The best news is that the vast majority of stripers are fat and healthy.  Those fish normally stay in the canyons while thin fish head for the channel. Fat healthy fish are harder to find and catch but are a great prize when found.
Some walleye have begun to spawn now with slight warming but the main spawning event is still to come. Expect walleye to be caught in larger numbers beginning in April. That catch will peak in May.
Largemouth bass are catchable with consistent effort on main canyon points. Smallmouth bass are still mostly dormant with a short flurry of activity on a warm afternoon when water temperature exceeds 57 degrees. Catfish and bluegill are waiting for warmer water before joining in on the fun.

Lake Powell Fish Report –March 13, 2018

Lake Elevation:  3614.63

Water temperature:  50-55

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

mardiwhitniMardi, Whitni and Brett Hepworth

 

 

Warming is slowly happening but there is a long way to go. Today the early morning water temperature finally registered at 50 F.  Temperatures have consistently been below 50 for first two weeks of March. However, on warm, calm March afternoons, water temperature may rise to 55 degrees in isolated spots which can quickly be erased with the slightest light breeze. The end result is that warm water fish are still hunkered down waiting for the 60-70 degree water they crave. Fishing is slow in cold water but still worth it. 

The bass tournament held at Bullfrog over the weekend is a good example.  Bass fishing was slow but after many casts and covering much shoreline the end results were terrific.  Bass anglers really like to catch big largemouth bass and they did. The winning weight for the team with the heaviest 10 fish in the 2-day event was 38 pounds (3.8 pounds average per fish). Individually, largemouth bass weighing 4, 5 and 6 pounds were caught.  Bass anglers pounded the shoreline and found bass on the main outside points more often than in the very backs of the coves. Colored water was better than clear water. Best baits were Yamamoto Senkos and single and double tail plastic baits fished slowly along the bottom and near brushy cover. 

xdpointer_edited-1   

XD Pointer Chartruese Shad

 

Stripers are acting a bit confused with warming water as well.  Schools have been in deep water resting on the bottom in 60 to 100 feet most of the winter. These deep fish were catchable on spoons but recently the schools have moved to new, unknown locations.  Some stripers have recently been found in 15-40 feet in the backs of canyons with significant water color. Shallow stripers can be caught sporadically while trolling and casting lures that dive from 7-20 feet. My best lure is the LC Pointer XD 78 in chartreuse shad color that dives 10-12 feet. Others have been successful with Norman deep divers (20 feet) in chartreuse color. 

normandd22

Like bass anglers, striper chasers have to cover a lot of water to catch a few fish. While trolling we have seen many striper groups (not schools) normally resting on the breaking edge where depth quickly drops from 15 to 30 or 40 feet.  We caught stripers most consistently after retracing our trolling route back to where the first fish was caught.  The next fish often hit right where the first fish was caught near a ledge, boulder or depth change. Trolling in the back of the canyon in a circular pattern was better than trolling in a straight line in open water.  We stopped on many striper groups and dropped spoons which were ignored.  

                                                                                                                                                                                                                 

The message here is to try many different options at the beginning of the day. Eliminate those techniques that are not working and concentrate on those that catch stripers.  We graph, troll, cast and spoon in each spot trying to find the best technique for the day and then concentrate on the one that works. It is best to have different 3 rods rigged with spoons, plastic grubs and crankbaits so the terminal tackle does not have to be retied at each new cove or bay. There are many striper schools that have not been located so they may be found somewhere between the deep water where they spent the winter and the backs of canyon where more shad can be found. Please report new striper information and I will continue to report the results of my fishing events. As of now, no reports have been received about stripers being caught on bait in the main channel.  All reported striper activity is in the backs of canyons in colored water. That may change but for now look for stripers in the canyons. The best news is that the vast majority of stripers are fat and healthy.  Those fish normally stay in the canyons while thin fish head for the channel. Fat healthy fish are harder to find and catch but are a great prize when found.   

Some walleye have begun to spawn now with slight warming but the main spawning event is still to come. Expect walleye to be caught in larger numbers beginning in April. That catch will peak in May. 

Largemouth bass are catchable with consistent effort on main canyon points. Smallmouth bass are still mostly dormant with a short flurry of activity on a warm afternoon when water temperature exceeds 57 degrees. Catfish and bluegill are waiting for warmer water before joining in on the fun.

 

March 7, 2018 - Welcome Back!

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Lake Powell Fish Report –March 7, 2018
Lake Elevation:  3615
Water temperature:  47-52
By: Wayne Gustaveson   http://www.wayneswords.com
Welcome back to the weekly fish reports from Lake Powell. 2017 was a banner year with high water levels that covered shoreline vegetation and provided extensive habitat for both predators and prey fish. Young fish survived in big numbers and these fat healthy fish will awake and become active as soon as Lake Powell water temperature rises above the 54-57 range.  “Warm water” fish residing in Lake Powell really do like warmer water better than the 47-50 F water they are now enduring. Here is what is happening with fish in the cold conditions.
Walleye begin spawning in March, which actually makes them harder to catch because they focus on spawning instead of eating.  After the spawn is over in April walleye start to feed regularly and often.
Striped bass have been resting on the bottom in deep water but with warming they will get more active and pursue shad wherever they can find them from the 100 foot depths to the shallow shoreline. Expect lots more movement by stripers with warming water in March.
Largemouth bass get very active in March with the first hint of warming (53 F). Their cousins, smallmouth bass don’t really get active until the water temperature exceeds 57 but they will not have to wait long for that comfort zone.
Catfish, bluegill, and crappie wait until April before starting their spring feeding ritual.
As this report is written the weather forecast shows a quick warming period coming this weekend. That means most fish will respond to warming weather in a certain fashion.  Clear blue water is beautiful but does not retain the warmth of the sun as well as colored water. The first positive fish response will be in the backs of canyons where water is cloudy or murky.  Just watch the water color while heading to the back of the canyon. Do not start fishing until the clear water gives way to murky and visibility decreases to less than 5 feet.  If you can see the bottom at 20-25 feet you are in the wrong spot.
Striped bass have been the most active fish over the winter and that will continue through March. Travel to the back of any major canyon. When water color change is seen, start graphing the bottom at 100 feet or less looking for 2-3 fish traces to show.  This winter most fish seen in deep water on the graph have been stripers. Drop spoons as quickly and close as possible to the fish traces seen. Jig the spoons up about 18 inches and let them fall back to the bottom to imitate shad and entice stripers to bite. You may get lucky and catch fish on the first drop.  If not, move on to the second best technique which is trolling.
After stripers quit resting on the bottom they head to the back of the canyon looking for food.  They are seen on the graph as individuals or small groups of 5-10 fish. Note the depth and then deploy trolling lures that run close to the holding depth.  Most flat line trolling lures are only effect down to 25 feet. If fish traces are deeper, then downriggers are a better option.  If fish traces are shallower than 20 feet then casting to the shoreline may be better than trolling.
Largemouth and smallmouth bass reside in brush or rocky structure.  A good plan is to target stripers in the cool March morning and then switch to bass as water temperature rises 2 degrees or more.  Rising water temperature triggers bass activity. If water temperature is 52 at dawn and then rises to 54, bass respond.   If morning water temperature is 57 and then rises to 60, bass behave in a similar fashion. Warming is the trigger.
Look for bass by checking water temperature. Sometimes similar coves on one side of the lake may be 2-3 degrees cooler than similar coves on the other side.  Target the warmer coves. A large sandstone boulder facing the morning sun might warm the water near the rock and attract bass into the cove.
This report purposely covers general patterns rather than specific locations.  We have found during the winter that a good trip to one canyon is followed by a mediocre result on the return trip. Time of day has been important but randomly swings between morning and afternoon. Now as temperature is warming fishing results will become more predictable and dependable.  The first hour of daylight is another trigger but warming is the better indicator in March.  Afternoons and evenings are best in March.
It is my prediction that bait fishing for stripers along main channel walls (Dam, Buoy 3, Moki Wall etc.) will not be as successful as it most years. Physical condition of striped bass is exceptional now due to the strong shad crop produced in 2017.  Fat healthy stripers tend to stay in the backs of canyons rather than moving to the main channel walls looking for forage.  You may try fishing bait in an old hotspot but if it does not produce then move to the back of a nearby canyon and try trolling, spooning, and casting for a better result.
When your trip is completed please share your fishing experience with us on Wayneswords.com.  That way we can give each other hints on fishing success at this huge lake. If you share your results it helps the next person to fish in your spot.  Then when you return in a month or two you can have the same advantage by reading a fish report on where you should try as you return.

Lake Powell Fish Report –March 7, 2018

Lake Elevation:  3615

Water temperature:  47-52

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

fatstbwg

Welcome back to the weekly fish reports from Lake Powell. 2017 was a banner year with high water levels that covered shoreline vegetation and provided extensive habitat for both predators and prey fish. Young fish survived in big numbers and these fat healthy fish will awake and become active as soon as Lake Powell water temperature rises above the 54-57 range.  “Warm water” fish residing in Lake Powell really do like warmer water better than the 47-50 F water they are now enduring. Here is what is happening with fish in the cold conditions.

Walleye begin spawning in March, which actually makes them harder to catch because they focus on spawning instead of eating.  After the spawn is over in April walleye start to feed regularly and often. 

Striped bass have been resting on the bottom in deep water but with warming they will get more active and pursue shad wherever they can find them from the 100 foot depths to the shallow shoreline. Expect lots more movement by stripers with warming water in March. 

Largemouth bass get very active in March with the first hint of warming (53 F). Their cousins, smallmouth bass don’t really get active until the water temperature exceeds 57 but they will not have to wait long for that comfort zone.   

Catfish, bluegill, and crappie wait until April before starting their spring feeding ritual. 

As this report is written the weather forecast shows a quick warming period coming this weekend. That means most fish will respond to warming weather in a certain fashion.  Clear blue water is beautiful but does not retain the warmth of the sun as well as colored water. The first positive fish response will be in the backs of canyons where water is cloudy or murky.  Just watch the water color while heading to the back of the canyon. Do not start fishing until the clear water gives way to murky and visibility decreases to less than 5 feet.  If you can see the bottom at 20-25 feet you are in the wrong spot. 

Striped bass have been the most active fish over the winter and that will continue through March. Travel to the back of any major canyon. When water color change is seen, start graphing the bottom at 100 feet or less looking for 2-3 fish traces to show.  This winter most fish seen in deep water on the graph have been stripers. Drop spoons as quickly and close as possible to the fish traces seen. Jig the spoons up about 18 inches and let them fall back to the bottom to imitate shad and entice stripers to bite. You may get lucky and catch fish on the first drop.  If not, move on to the second best technique which is trolling. 

After stripers quit resting on the bottom they head to the back of the canyon looking for food.  They are seen on the graph as individuals or small groups of 5-10 fish. Note the depth and then deploy trolling lures that run close to the holding depth.  Most flat line trolling lures are only effect down to 25 feet. If fish traces are deeper, then downriggers are a better option.  If fish traces are shallower than 20 feet then casting to the shoreline may be better than trolling.       

Largemouth and smallmouth bass reside in brush or rocky structure.  A good plan is to target stripers in the cool March morning and then switch to bass as water temperature rises 2 degrees or more.  Rising water temperature triggers bass activity. If water temperature is 52 at dawn and then rises to 54, bass respond.   If morning water temperature is 57 and then rises to 60, bass behave in a similar fashion. Warming is the trigger. 

Look for bass by checking water temperature. Sometimes similar coves on one side of the lake may be 2-3 degrees cooler than similar coves on the other side.  Target the warmer coves. A large sandstone boulder facing the morning sun might warm the water near the rock and attract bass into the cove.

This report purposely covers general patterns rather than specific locations.  We have found during the winter that a good trip to one canyon is followed by a mediocre result on the return trip. Time of day has been important but randomly swings between morning and afternoon. Now as temperature is warming fishing results will become more predictable and dependable.  The first hour of daylight is another trigger but warming is the better indicator in March.  Afternoons and evenings are best in March.  

It is my prediction that bait fishing for stripers along main channel walls (Dam, Buoy 3, Moki Wall etc.) will not be as successful as it most years. Physical condition of striped bass is exceptional now due to the strong shad crop produced in 2017.  Fat healthy stripers tend to stay in the backs of canyons rather than moving to the main channel walls looking for forage.  You may try fishing bait in an old hotspot but if it does not produce then move to the back of a nearby canyon and try trolling, spooning, and casting for a better result. 

When your trip is completed please share your fishing experience with us on Wayneswords.com.  That way we can give each other hints on fishing success at this huge lake. If you share your results it helps the next person to fish in your spot.  Then when you return in a month or two you can have the same advantage by reading a fish report on where you should try as you return.

 

Dana Andrus - with 7 pound winter caught striper.

danaandrus

Last Updated on Wednesday, 07 March 2018 08:52
 

February 6, 2018 - Warming and moving

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Lake Powell Fish Report – February 6, 2018
Lake Elevation: 3618
Water Temperature:  50-53 F
By: Wayne Gustaveson http://www.wayneswords.com
Warm weather makes it seem like Spring is upon us. Yesterday the water temperature was 50F when we started and over 53 degrees on the return trip. Surprisingly stripers responded unexpectedly to that warming.
I was so proud of the last report showing graph pictures of the complete feeding cycle from resting fish to super actively feeding fish resulting in a quick catch of stripers in Gunsight Canyon.   We headed out armed with that great information, headed to the same canyon, used the same techniques and – Struck Out!  Fishing is such fun because it is challenging.
We searched the deep bottom structure with the graph looking for the deep resting schools from 50-100 feet.  We saw one small bunch of fish and dropped spoons, catching one yearling striper, but that was the total catch. After trying the 3rd canyon in Padre Bay we made the choice between going back in or headed further uplake.   I am glad we made the choice to try Rock Creek.
We began by searching the same deep structure in the back of the canyon only to find stripers missing in action.  With that information we switched back to search mode which is to troll deep diving lures while watching the graph for a school to mark. If a school is seen, a floating marker is thrown overboard while we troll over the school to see if they will hit the trolled lures. If not, we go back to the floating marker and drop spoons on the resting school. Results were slim as we trolled the deep water until we passed over a shallow hump at 25 feet and hooked a nice striper. As that fish was retrieved and landed we saw a few more fish follow it to the boat. The spoons were deployed and the striper school was happy to feed on our shad-imitating spoons.   When the school left us we trolled Lucky Craft pointers in the 25 foot deep water, hooked a fish and then caught many more on spoons as the school followed the hooked fish under the boat. With 36 fish in the cooler we made the hour long run back to Wahweap.
At the fish cleaning station we found a few stripers had shad in the stomachs along with crayfish and plankton.  Then it was obvious that the change in catch rate over the last month was all about shad.  When shad were common we could catch 60 fish in 2 hours in deep water. As shad became scarce in deepwater the schools kept looking but not finding food.  Stripers are not as willing to hit spoons when they are eating plankton or crayfish. Bait works better in hard times. These schools then began searching shallow water as the temperature warmed and found that shad were again in shallow brushy water.
The moral of the story is to use all of your lures and expertise when searching for stripers in the winter.  They can be shallow, deep, or somewhere in between, but will be where the shad are.  Those locations can change quickly as striper schools move from deep to shallow water and back, in their relentless pursuit of shad who are moving to find a safe haven.
It was gratifying to find the answer to why stripers were not in deep water at the first stop.  My only regret was not trying to troll in shallow water at Gunsight. It is possible that we could have filled the cooler in the back of the first canyon instead of making the long run uplake.
That’s fishing!  In Lake Powell, striper fishing is more like hunting with a great reward when a cooperative school is located.  Oh, and the scenery is quite nice as well.

Lake Powell Fish Report – February 6, 2018

Lake Elevation: 3618

Water Temperature:  50-53 F

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

Warm weather makes it seem like Spring is upon us. Yesterday the water temperature was 50F when we started and over 53 degrees on the return trip. Air temperature was in the mid 60s.  Surprisingly stripers responded unexpectedly to that warming. 

I was so proud of the last report showing graph pictures of the complete feeding cycle from resting fish to super actively feeding fish resulting in a quick catch of stripers in Gunsight Canyon.   We headed out armed with that great information, headed to the same canyon, used the same techniques and – Struck Out!  Fishing is such fun because it is challenging.

We searched the deep bottom structure with the graph looking for the deep resting schools from 50-100 feet.  We saw one small bunch of fish and dropped our home made spoons, catching one yearling striper, but that was the total catch. After trying the 3rd canyon in Padre Bay we made the choice between going back in or headed further uplake.   I am glad we made the choice to try Rock Creek. 

nobspoon1We began by searching the same deep structure in the back of the canyon only to find stripers missing in action.  With that information we switched back to search mode which is to troll deep diving lures while watching the graph for a school to mark. If a school is seen, a floating marker is thrown overboard while we troll over the school to see if they will hit the trolled lures. If not, we go back to the floating marker and drop spoons on the resting school. Results were slim as we trolled the deep water until we passed over a shallow hump at 25 feet and hooked a nice striper. As that fish was retrieved and landed we saw a few more fish follow it to the boat. The spoons were deployed and the striper school was happy to feed on our shad-imitating spoons.   When the school left us we trolled Lucky Craft pointers in the 25 foot deep water, hooked a fish and then caught many more on spoons as the school followed the hooked fish under the boat. With 36 fish in the cooler we made the hour long run back to Wahweap.

At the fish cleaning station we found a few stripers had shad in the stomachs along with crayfish and plankton.  Then it was obvious that the change in catch rate over the last month was all about shad.  When shad were common we could catch 60 fish in 2 hours in deep water. As shad became scarce in deepwater the striper schools kept looking but not finding food.  Stripers are not as willing to hit spoons when they are eating plankton or crayfish. Bait works better in hard times. These schools then began searching shallow water as the temperature warmed and found that shad were again in shallow brushy water.

The moral of the story is to use all of your lures and expertise when searching for stripers in the winter.  They can be shallow, deep, or somewhere in between, but will be where the shad are.  Those locations can change quickly as striper schools move from deep to shallow water and back, in their relentless pursuit of shad who are moving to find a safe haven.  

It was gratifying to find the answer to why stripers were not in deep water at the first stop.  My only regret was not trying to troll in shallow water at Gunsight. It is possible that we could have filled the cooler in the back of the first canyon instead of making the long run uplake. 

That’s fishing!  In Lake Powell, striper fishing is more like hunting with a great reward when a cooperative school is located.  Oh, and the scenery is quite nice as well.

fr26

Last Updated on Tuesday, 06 February 2018 09:54
 

January 25, 2018 - How to find striper schools on your graph

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Lake Powell Fish Report – January 25, 2017
Lake Elevation: 3620
Water Temperature:  50-53 F
By: Wayne Gustaveson http://www.wayneswords.com
The last report indicated a change in striper behavior with striper schools in Wahweap and Warm Creek still searching for shad but not finding them.  This week we chose to go uplake further to see if similar conditions existed. The early morning trip to Padre Bay was chilly but we made it without frostbite.   Cooperative schools of stripers were found at 75 to 90 feet in Gunsight, Padre and Kane Canyons. They responded well to spoons dropped right in the middle of striper pods. Previous reports detailed how to catch fish from schools. This report will be aimed at finding schools which is the most critical element of fishing success in winter months.
Stripers are now resting on the lake bottom in deep water toward the back of the canyon.  They prefer to be in deep water and are often at the breaking edge where the depth quickly changes from shallow to deep water.  To clarify, they are either standing on the edge of a cliff looking down or they are on the bottom at the base of a cliff.  Schools are most often seen where depth quickly changes from 40 to 75 feet or deeper.
Resting schools look like this:
On my graph it shows a little bump on the bottom with some red color instead of just the yellow bottom line.  Usually there are one or two fish traces just above the bottom bump.  Stop the boat immediately and drop spoons on the insignificant looking bottom feature. If the spoon hits right in the middle of the school, chances or getting the fish to wake up and get excited increases dramatically.  If you are 20-30 yards past the school it is much harder to get them going. These fish are dreaming about shad so a spoon that dances up and down 2 feet off the bottom is really hard to resist.  Hook one fish and the rest will follow.
This graph picture shows traditional sonar on the left and scanning sonar on the right. I don’t know how they work but it seems the left pictures shows a 2D picture and the right shows 3D which makes it easier to tell fish from trees and rocks.
As stripers separate from the bottom and swim up to look at your lure they appear to be real fish instead of just a bottom bump. Individual fish traces are seen on both sides of the graph - lines on the left and dots on the right. In this mode they are ready to bite and catching begins. If fish are swimming after the lures but not biting try speed reeling up 20 feet and then drop back to the bottom. The sight of fleeing shad can get the dormant school energized.
After the first fish is hooked the school will immediately move toward and follow the first fish. The bottom bump that looked like a flat red rock, transitions into a school of a hundred stripers or more that covers most of the graph. When this happens the school will follow the spoons and stay under the boat if he boat is drifting slowly. If a breeze is blowing then the spot-lock trolling motor will keep the boat in one place and more fish will be caught before the school slips away.
Back at the fish cleaning station we found no shad in the stomachs.  Many of the smaller fish had plankton in the stomachs while the 2-3 pound stripers had a few crayfish and empty stomachs. Shad are now missing in action in the southern lake.  I really hope they have found a safe haven so there will be a few survivors to bring off a decent shad spawn in May.
On this day we were able to keep one school under the boat for almost an hour and other schools were below us for 10-15 minutes.  Two anglers caught 60 stripers in 2 hours of fishing. If my math is done correctly that is one fish every two minutes.
I really love spooning for stripers in the winter.

Lake Powell Fish Report – January 25, 2017

Lake Elevation: 3620

Water Temperature:  50-53 F

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

The last report indicated a change in striper behavior with striper schools in Wahweap and Warm Creek still searching for shad but not finding them.  This week we chose to go uplake further to see if similar conditions existed. The early morning trip to Padre Bay was chilly but we made it without frostbite.   Cooperative schools of stripers were found at 75 to 90 feet in Gunsight, Padre and Kane Canyons. They responded well to spoons dropped right in the middle of striper pods. Previous reports detailed how to catch fish from schools. This report will be aimed at finding schools which is the most critical element of fishing success in winter months.

Stripers are now resting on the lake bottom in deep water toward the back of the canyon.  They prefer to be in deep water and are often at the breaking edge where the depth quickly changes from shallow to deep water.  To clarify, they are either standing on the edge of a cliff looking down or they are on the bottom at the base of a cliff.  Schools are most often seen where depth quickly changes from 40 to 75 feet or deeper. 


Resting schools look like this:graph6._edited-1

 

 


On my graph it shows a little bump on the bottom with some red color instead of just the yellow bottom line.  Usually there are one or two fish traces just above the bottom bump.  Stop the boat immediately and drop spoons on the insignificant looking bottom feature. If the spoon hits right in the middle of the school, chances of getting the fish to wake up and get excited increases dramatically.  If you are 20-30 yards past the school it is much harder to get them going. These fish are dreaming about shad so a spoon that dances up and down 2 feet off the bottom is really hard to resist.  Hook one fish and the rest will follow. 


This graph picture shows traditional sonar on the left and scanning sonar on the right. I don’t know how they work but it seems the left pictures shows a 2D picture and the right shows 3D which makes it easier to tell fish from trees and rocks.   

graph1
As stripers separate from the bottom and swim up to look at your lure they appear to be real fish instead of just a bottom bump. Individual fish traces are seen on both sides of the graph - lines on the left and dots on the right. In this mode they are ready to bite and catching begins.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

graph3If fish are swimming after the lures but not biting try speed reeling up 20 feet and then drop back to the bottom. The sight of fleeing shad can get the dormant school energized. 

 

 

 

 

 

 


After the first fish is hooked the school will immediately move toward and follow the first fish. The bottom bump that looked like a flat red rock, transitions into a school of a hundred stripers or more that covers most of the graph. When this happens the school will follow the spoons and stay under the boat if the boat is drifting slowly. If a breeze is blowing then the spot-lock trolling motor will keep the boat in one place and more fish will be caught before the school slips away. 

graphlots

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Back at the fish cleaning station we found no shad in the stomachs.  Many of the smaller fish had plankton in the stomachs while the 2-3 pound stripers had a few crayfish and empty stomachs. Shad are now missing in action in the southern lake.  I really hope they have found a safe haven so there will be a few survivors to bring off a decent shad spawn in May.   

 
On this day we were able to keep one school under the boat for almost an hour and other schools were below us for 10-15 minutes.  Two anglers caught 60 stripers in 2 hours of fishing. If my math is done correctly that is one fish every two minutes.

graph2


I really love spooning for stripers in the winter.  Sometimes you see a waiting school like this that wants to be active and is just waiting for a shad or spoon to drop in the middle.

Last Updated on Friday, 26 January 2018 11:42
 

January 18, 2018 - Pattern Changing

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Lake Powell Fish Report – January 18, 2017
Lake Elevation: 3621.93
Water Temperature:  50-53 F
By: Wayne Gustaveson http://www.wayneswords.com
We have been fishing close to home in the cold winter weather.  With little competition from other anglers in the winter we have found fishing to be quite good for striped bass. During the first two weeks of January we found stripers in very deep water chasing shad. Striper schools were not often seen on the graph but we could catch stripers on spoons in 75-110 feet of water when only 2-3 fish were seen.  When one fish was hooked the school size increased dramatically as the nearby fish came to see what was happening.
Early in the month, most of the stripers had shad in their stomachs.  Last week shad numbers found in stomachs declined dramatically.  On January 15th two anglers caught 47 stripers at Lone Rock on spoons.  However, the return trip on January 17th resulted in only 3 stripers.  The schools had moved on.
We then checked Warm Creek and found the same lack of stripers in the deep spots that had been so good in December and early January. We then switched tactics and tried trolling in the back of the canyon at water depth of 20-30 feet where grebes were seen diving/feeding. The result was steady catching with a 10-15 minute intervals between fish.
A few reports continue to come in from close canyons like Navajo, Gunsight, Rock Creek and Last Chance. Fishing was great a week ago but I am not sure if the same negative effect has occurred in the uplake canyons.
Stripers can be caught trolling, casting and spooning. The trick is to find active individuals or schools and quickly deploy spoons to fish in deep water or to troll and cast in the shallow water. If fish marks of any kind are seen on the graph in the backs of canyons then stripers can be caught trolling.  If fish are seen at mid depth (30-60 feet), then down rigger trolling with shad imitating lures may be the best technique.
Water temperature remains in the 50s, which is the warmest January water temperature recorded in recent memory. That allows stripers and shad to remain active with shad scrambling to get away and stripers in hot pursuit trying to find them. Random walleye and largemouth bass can be caught occasionally. Smallmouth bass are only available in the warmest part of the day as the surface water warms in the afternoon.
The very best fishing reports come from Bullfrog where night fishing under lights with bait is working very well.  Large shad schools are attracted to the light. Shad are followed by other predators and fishing is quick when stripers arrive at the shad party.
Similar fishing results should continue through February with stripers being catchable most days at a certain time, but it is not always the same time or a predictable occurrence.  In the southern lake early morning is best for spooning with trolling working mid day.
Fish health is terrific with stripers still finding shad schools.  If this continues during February and March the annual movement of stripers from the backs of canyons to the main channel may be postponed.  Bait fishing in the spring may not be productive if the striper schools are still holding in the backs of canyons and not migrating to the main channel.  Stay tuned.

Lake Powell Fish Report – January 18, 2018

Lake Elevation: 3621.93

Water Temperature:  50-53 F

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

We have been fishing close to home in the cold winter weather.  With little competition from other anglers in the winter we have found fishing to be quite good for striped bass. During the first two weeks of January we found stripers in very deep water chasing shad. Striper schools were not often seen on the graph but we could catch stripers on spoons in 75-110 feet of water when only 2-3 fish were seen.  When one fish was hooked the school size increased dramatically as the nearby fish came to see what was happening.  

Early in the month, most of the stripers had shad in their stomachs.  Last week shad numbers found in stomachs declined dramatically.  On January 15th two anglers caught 47 stripers at Lone Rock on spoons.  However, the return trip on January 17th resulted in only 3 stripers.  The schools had moved on.

We then checked Warm Creek and found the same lack of stripers in the deep spots that had been so good in December and early January. We then switched tactics and tried trolling in the back of the canyon at water depth of 20-30 feet where grebes were seen diving/feeding. The result was steady catching with a 10-15 minute intervals between fish.  

A few reports continue to come in from close canyons like Navajo, Gunsight, Rock Creek and Last Chance. Fishing was great a week ago but I am not sure if the same negative effect has occurred in the uplake canyons. 

Stripers can be caught trolling, casting and spooning. The trick is to find active individuals or schools and quickly deploy spoons to fish in deep water or to troll and cast in the shallow water. If fish marks of any kind are seen on the graph in the backs of canyons then stripers can be caught trolling.  If fish are seen at mid depth (30-60 feet), then down rigger trolling with shad imitating lures may be the best technique.   Water temperature remains in the 50s, which is the warmest January water temperature recorded in recent memory. That allows stripers and shad to remain active with shad scrambling to get away and stripers in hot pursuit trying to find them. Random walleye and largemouth bass can be caught occasionally. Smallmouth bass are only available in the warmest part of the day as the surface water warms in the afternoon.   

The very best fishing reports come from Bullfrog where night fishing under lights with bait is working very well.  Large shad schools are attracted to the light. Shad are followed by other predators and fishing is quick when stripers arrive at the shad party.  

Similar fishing results should continue through February with stripers being catchable most days at a certain time, but it is not always the same time or a predictable occurrence.  In the southern lake early morning is best for spooning with trolling working mid day.

Fish health is terrific with stripers still finding shad schools.  If this continues during February and March the annual movement of stripers from the backs of canyons to the main channel may be postponed.  Bait fishing in the spring may not be as productive if the striper schools are still holding in the backs of canyons and not migrating to the main channel. 

Stay tuned.

 

December 18, 2017 - Striper School Strategy

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Lake Powell Fish Report – December 18, 2017
Lake Elevation: 3623.92
Water Temperature:  53-56 F
By: Wayne Gustaveson http://www.wayneswords.com
The last fish report was all about a trophy striper. Here are the details for the regular sized fish. Water temperature this morning was 53.4 at the Wahweap ramp.  It is usually a half degree warmer in the main lake.  Temperature is important to threadfin shad who cannot take cold temperatures. They move to deep, stable water where a cold windy night cannot cool the water fast enough to catch them off guard and lead to their demise. Threadfin shad recently made their move and stripers followed.  Smallmouth bass have gone to dormant mode but may wake up in the late afternoon.  Largemouth bass are in the brush piles. Crappie are suspended in the 15-30 foot range usually around submerged trees or rocks. Walleye are quiet.
Striped bass are the easiest target in cold water. They follow shad into deep water and are visible on the graph as small schools instead of the 2-5 fish groups that were seen last month. When a striper is caught the school size quickly grows to large size as the school mates come over to see what the hooked fish has in its mouth.  Here is what we found last Friday and Saturday.
Striper schools were found in Warm Creek where the 30-pound striper was caught on Tuesday. They were consistently holding at 75-110 feet deep.  Unfortunately the schools were seen on the graph but the fish were not interested in our spoons. It was common to see a long thin horizontal line of fish suspended about 5-10 feet off the bottom. We could tell they were stripers because the spoons dropped to the bottom and then speed reeled through the line of fish would cause individual stripers to rise up slightly in the water column.  When lucky enough to hook a fish the rest of the school would follow toward the surface in typical striper fashion.  I found that speed reeling about 15 feet followed by jigging at mid depth would occasionally work.   In 75 feet of water I would speed reel and stop and jig at least 3 times on the way up. This was hard work but we did catch 8 fish in the morning.
Our friends fishing near us were a lot more patient. They stayed out all day and found that the striper schools finally turned on between 4-5 PM. They caught 34 fish in that magic hour.
Fish near Lone Rock were on a different schedule. Bob Reed reported catching fish all day long on spoons in deep water.  His fish were hitting well Friday morning while those in Warm Creek were snoozing.  Saturday morning was a repeat performance with stripers hitting well from dawn to 10 AM.  Then they threw the switch and no more fish were interested in spoons after 10 AM.
The lake wide report then is to find striper schools on the graph and drop spoons into the schools.  Hopefully they will hit all day long. If not, return to the schools morning, mid day or evening until the feeding schedule is discovered.  After that, catching is easy.

Lake Powell Fish Report – December 18, 2017

Lake Elevation: 3623.92

Water Temperature:  53-56 F

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

trihn5

 

The last fish report was all about a trophy striper. Here are the details for the regular sized fish. Water temperature this morning was 53.4 at the Wahweap ramp.  It is usually a half degree warmer in the main lake.  Temperature is important to threadfin shad who cannot take cold temperatures. They move to deep, stable water where a cold windy night cannot cool the water fast enough to catch them off guard and lead to their demise. Threadfin shad recently made their move and stripers followed.  Smallmouth bass have gone to dormant mode but may wake up in the late afternoon.  Largemouth bass are in the brush piles. Crappie are suspended in the 15-30 foot range usually around submerged trees or rocks. Walleye are quiet.

Striped bass are the easiest target in cold water. They follow shad into deep water and are visible on the graph as small schools instead of the 2-5 fish groups that were seen last month. When a striper is caught the school size quickly grows to large size as the school mates come over to see what the hooked fish has in its mouth.  Here is what we found last Friday and Saturday. 

Striper schools were found in Warm Creek where the 30-pound striper was caught on Tuesday. They were consistently holding at 75-110 feet deep.  Unfortunately the schools were seen on the graph but the fish were not interested in our spoons. It was common to see a long thin horizontal line of fish suspended about 5-10 feet off the bottom. We could tell they were stripers because the spoons dropped to the bottom and then speed reeled through the line of fish would cause individual stripers to rise up slightly in the water column.  When lucky enough to hook a fish the rest of the school would follow toward the surface in typical striper fashion.  I found that speed reeling about 15 feet followed by jigging at mid depth would occasionally work.   In 75 feet of water I would speed reel and stop and jig at least 3 times on the way up. This was hard work but we did catch 8 fish in the morning. 

Our friends fishing near us were a lot more patient. They stayed out all day and found that the striper schools finally turned on between 4-5 PM. They caught 34 fish in that magic hour. 

bobreed

 

Fish near Lone Rock were on a different schedule. Bob Reed reported catching fish all day long on spoons in deep water.  His fish were hitting well Friday morning while those in Warm Creek were snoozing.  Saturday morning was a repeat performance with stripers hitting well from dawn to 10 AM.  Then they threw the switch and no more fish were interested in spoons after 10 AM. 

The lake wide report then is to find striper schools on the graph and drop spoons into the schools.  Hopefully they will hit all day long. If not, return to the school sites morning, mid day or evening until the feeding schedule is discovered.  After that, catching is easy.

 

dominguezsunset

 

December 13, 2017 - Trophy caught in Warm Creek

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Lake Powell Fish Report – December 13, 2017
Lake Elevation: 3624.34
Water Temperature:  55-56 F
By: Wayne Gustaveson http://www.wayneswords.com
In the last fish report we reported stripers and shad holding in the 15-30 foot depth range but suspected that colder weather would force both species to seek deeper water where temperature was more stable. With that in mind we headed for Warm Creek to look for striper schools.  We passed the floating restroom and slowed down and started graphing.
This fall the graph has printed a mostly blank screen in deep water with an occasional layer of fish or suspended sediment at 60 feet. Since we have not caught any fish from this strange cloudy line, we ignored it when seen at 90 feet and moved on. It seems to have been the longest time since I have actually seen a striper school resting on the bottom. When that happened I got an adrenalin rush and quickly dropped spoons down to 95 feet.  It took such a long time for my ¾ ounce spoon to reach the bottom that I changed to the 2 ounce spoon which worked very well. With 4 anglers in the boat we quickly caught 6 fat stripers before they left the area. We searched some more and saw that school a few more times, but they would not hit our spoons so we moved on.
After 30 minutes of graphing we finally saw another school holding at 75 feet and caught fish on the first drop. My technician, Nob Wimmer, was having a hard time hooking fish. He got a lot of bites but they came off quickly. He usually spoons up more fish than I do on his homemade lures so it was gratifying to be in the lead this time. After missing 5-6 fish he finally hooked one and started reeling in. He said, “This is a really big fish!”  I ignored that because he says that about each fish he hooks in deep water.  I was playing a regular sized fish and spent my time concentrating on that fish. After I put my fish in the cooler I noticed that Nob had not gained any line and the fish was going deeper instead of coming to the surface.  It must be a big fish!  Then I hooked another fish and played it to the surface in short order.  While putting it in the cooler I glanced at Nob’s fish and saw that it was still pulling line and that the boat was following the fish.  I was now sure that it truly was a “Big Fish”.
Despite the excitement of having a huge striper on the line, I thought I could catch one more before netting the big one. I dropped down and caught another at mid depth as the striper school had followed the big fish off the bottom and was now seen at 20-30 feet as they watched the action.  It was easy and quick to drop again to 20 feet and catch one more before the big one came up. Nob played the big fish for 20 minutes and we landed 10 more while watching him do battle.  Stripers are a schooling fish that really get excited when one fish in the school shows feeding behavior. They often follow the hooked fish and look for something to eat. Always drop more lures in the water when a fish is being played to increase the catch.
Finally, the big one came close enough to see.  The 10-pounder I expected to see was not even close to the size of the monster fish in the water. Now I was thinking this one could be a new lake record. I grabbed the net, and hoisted the fish into the boat. The net handle bent dramatically but did not break. The fish was in the boat.
It measured 43 inches long, with a girth of 26 inches and weighed 30.35 pounds. It is very difficult to understand just how big a fish is when it is thrashing around in the net and is too large to put in a magnum sized cooler.  I was actually disappointed when we put the fish on the scale and found it was “only” 30 pounds.  I got over it quickly and took a lot of pictures to memorialize the event.
Nob later said that the big fish inhaled the spoon just after it hit bottom.  The spoon must have landed right in front of the big one, who then sucked in the spoon that was found to be lodged in the back of the throat near the last gill racker. Nob did not feel the fish until he lifted the spoon off the bottom. It was a perfect drop to the biggest fish living in Warm Creek
Congratulations to Nob Wimmer who caught the biggest fish of his life one day after his 83rd birthday.

Lake Powell Fish Report – December 13, 2017

Lake Elevation: 3624.34

Water Temperature:  55-56 F

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


noblapIn the last fish report we reported stripers and shad holding in the 15-30 foot depth range but suspected that colder weather would force both species to seek deeper water where temperature was more stable. With that in mind we headed for Warm Creek to look for striper schools.  We passed the floating restroom and slowed down and started graphing.

This fall the graph has printed a mostly blank screen in deep water with an occasional layer of fish or suspended sediment at 60 feet. Since we have not caught any fish from this strange cloudy line, we ignored it when seen at 90 feet and moved on. It seems to have been the longest time since I have actually seen a striper school resting on the bottom. When that happened I got an adrenalin rush and quickly dropped spoons down to 95 feet.  It took such a long time for my ¾ ounce spoon to reach the bottom that I changed to the 2-ounce spoon which worked very well. With 4 anglers in the boat we quickly caught 6 fat stripers before they left the area. We searched some more and saw that school a few more times, but they would not hit our spoons so we moved on.

nob30smallAfter 30 minutes of graphing we finally saw another school holding at 75 feet and caught fish on the first drop. My technician, Nob Wimmer, was having a hard time hooking fish. He got a lot of bites but they came off quickly. He usually spoons up more fish than I do on his homemade lures so it was gratifying to be in the lead this time. After missing 5-6 fish he finally hooked one and started reeling in. He said, “This is a really big fish!”  I ignored that because he says that about each fish he hooks in deep water.  I was playing a regular sized fish and spent my time concentrating on that fish. After I put my fish in the cooler I noticed that Nob had not gained any line and the fish was going deeper instead of coming to the surface.  It must be a big fish!  Then I hooked another fish and played it to the surface in short order.  While putting it in the cooler I glanced at Nob’s fish and saw that it was still pulling line and that the boat was following the fish.  I was now sure that it truly was a “Big Fish”.       

spoonfaceDespite the excitement of having a huge striper on the line, I thought I could catch one more before netting the big one. I dropped down and caught another at mid depth as the striper school had followed the big fish off the bottom and was now seen at 20-30 feet as they watched the action.  It was easy and quick to drop again to 20 feet and catch one more before the big one came up. Nob played the big fish for 20 minutes and we landed 10 more while watching him do battle.  Stripers are a schooling fish that really get excited when one fish in the school shows feeding behavior. They often follow the hooked fish and look for something to eat. Always drop more lures in the water when a fish is being played to increase the catch. 

Finally, the big one came close enough to see.  The 10-pounder I expected to see was not even close to the size of the monster fish in the water. Now I was thinking this one could be a new lake record. I grabbed the net, and hoisted the fish into the boat. The net handle bent dramatically but did not break. The fish was in the boat.
It measured 43 inches long, with a girth of 26 inches and weighed 30.35 pounds. It is very difficult to understand just how big a fish is when it is thrashing around in the net and is too large to put in a magnum sized cooler.  I was actually disappointed when we put the fish on the scale and found it was “only” 30 pounds.  I got over it quickly and took a lot of pictures to memorialize the event. 

Nob later said that the big fish inhaled the spoon just after it hit bottom.  The spoon must have landed right in front of the big one, who then sucked in the spoon that was found to be lodged in the back of the throat near the last gill racker. Nob did not feel the fish until he lifted the spoon off the bottom. It was a perfect drop to the biggest fish living in Warm Creek 

Congratulations to Nob Wimmer who caught the biggest fish of his life one day after his 83rd birthday.

 

December 1, 2017 - Seems like October

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Lake Powell Fish Report – December 1, 2017
Lake Elevation: 3625,29
Water Temperature:  57-60 F
By: Wayne Gustaveson http://www.wayneswords.com
Warm calm weather continues into December with no freezing air temperatures yet over Lake Powell.  Water temperature did hit 60 degrees again yesterday in the warmest part of the afternoon. It was 57-58 degrees yesterday morning. This means that Lake Powell fish still think it is autumn rather than winter and are responding accordingly. Largemouth bass and crappie are still in submerged trees in 12-25 feet of water. Smallmouth bass are holding on rocky points but only respond to anglers as the water warms during mid day and afternoon.  Smallmouth bass are near their shut down temperature of 54 degrees.
Striped bass and threadfin shad are still battling it out in the upper 30 feet of water. Yesterday we were in Last Chance hoping for another close encounter with striper schools.  We started in the back of the canyon looking for striper schools in 10-15 of brushy water without success. Then we moved deeper searching the 20-30 foot strata.  We first trolled along the edge of the canyon without success. Next we started spooning in 25 feet of water after seeing 2 fish traces on the graph. The two fish moved quickly away as our spoons hit the bottom.
We continued drifting and spooning without success until I looked ahead of the boat and saw what I thought was a morbid gizzard shad circling on the surface. Then two more riffles appeared and we were amazed to realize that we had stripers hitting the surface within casting range.  There was no time to change to surface lures so we cast our spoons to surface feeding stripers.  The mini boil went down but stripers wasted no time in eating our shad imitations. We started piling fish in the iced cooler immediately.  We drifted away from the school after 15 frantic minutes of catching fish and counted 15 stripers in the cooler.
Next we went back to the spot where we had seen the quick little boil and drifted again until a few more fish came into view. We dropped spoons and caught 10 more stripers before we parted ways. We found the school one more time, caught 10 more and ended up with 35 stripers.
The secret now to catching stripers is to search the 15-30 depth strata in the back of the canyon where shad or bluegill are providing food for hungry stripers. Last week these striper schools were shallow eating bluegill. Yesterday they were a bit deeper and were eating threadfin shad.
There is a subtle difference in identifying fish on the graph now as compared to other years. Normally big striper schools are seen and quickly identified. Now the screen is usually blank with only an occasional fish or two showing up. I suggest dropping spoons when a single fish is seen.  Those single fish are often stripers.  Also, I think that most stripers are really tight to the bottom and not visible on the graph.  The new normal is to hook one striper on spoons and then watch as the graph lights up with a whole school of fish coming over to investigate the hooked fish.  Remember that feeding behavior in one striper triggers a feeding response in the entire school of fish.
When the water temperature drops to normal winter temperatures, threadfin shad will have to leave the shallows and go to deeper water. Stripers will follow, form large schools and be easier to see and identify. Right now stripers and shad are shallow and acting like it is October instead of December.  I am good with that.

Lake Powell Fish Report – December 1, 2017

Lake Elevation: 3625.29

Water Temperature:  57-60 F

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


Warm calm weather continues into December with no freezing air temperatures yet over Lake Powell.  Water temperature did hit 60 degrees again yesterday in the warmest part of the afternoon. It was 57-58 degrees yesterday morning. This means that Lake Powell fish still think it is autumn rather than winter and are responding accordingly. Largemouth bass and crappie are still in submerged trees in 12-25 feet of water. Smallmouth bass are holding on rocky points but only respond to anglers as the water warms during mid day and afternoon.  Smallmouth bass are near their shut down temperature of 54 degrees.

briangusStriped bass and threadfin shad are still battling it out in the upper 30 feet of water. Yesterday we were in Last Chance hoping for another close encounter with striper schools.  We started in the back of the canyon looking for striper schools in 10-15 feet of brushy water without success. Then we moved deeper searching the 20-30 foot strata.  We first trolled along the edge of the canyon without success. Next we started spooning in 25 feet of water after seeing 2 fish traces on the graph. The two fish moved quickly away as our spoons hit the bottom. 

We continued drifting and spooning without success until I looked ahead of the boat and saw what I thought was a morbid gizzard shad circling on the surface. Then two more riffles appeared and we were amazed to realize that we had stripers hitting the surface within casting range.  There was no time to change to surface lures so we cast our spoons to surface feeding stripers.  The mini boil went down but stripers wasted no time in eating our shad imitations. We started piling fish in the iced cooler immediately.  We drifted away from the school after 15 frantic minutes of catching fish and counted 15 stripers in the cooler.

Next we went back to the spot where we had seen the quick little boil and drifted again until a few more fish came into view. We dropped spoons and caught 10 more stripers before we parted ways. We found the school one more time, caught 10 more and ended up with 35 stripers.

The secret now to catching stripers is to search the 15-30 depth strata in the back of the canyon where shad or bluegill are providing food for hungry stripers. Last week these striper schools were shallow eating bluegill. Yesterday they were a bit deeper and were eating threadfin shad.   

graphshadThere is a subtle difference in identifying fish on the graph now as compared to other years. Normally big striper schools are seen and quickly identified. Now the screen is usually blank with only an occasional fish or two showing up. I suggest dropping spoons when a single fish is seen.  Those single fish are often stripers.  Also, I think that most stripers are really tight to the bottom and not visible on the graph.  The new normal is to hook one striper on spoons and then watch as the graph lights up with a whole school of fish coming over to investigate the hooked fish.  Remember that feeding behavior in one striper triggers a feeding response in the entire school of fish. 

When the water temperature drops to normal winter temperatures, threadfin shad will have to leave the shallows and go to deeper water. Stripers will follow, form large schools and be easier to see and identify. Right now stripers and shad are shallow and acting like it is October instead of December.  I am good with that.rimrockcup

 


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