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September 29, 2015 - Blood Moon Reaction

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Lake Powell Fish Report – September 29, 2015
Lake Elevation: 3606
Water Temperature 74-76 F
By: Wayne Gustaveson   http://www.wayneswords.com
Super Blood Moon
There was no better place to be than Lake Powell to watch the bright full moon this week and the eclipse.  The timing was perfect as the moon came up at dusk with a huge presence over the high sandstone cliffs.  I hope you got to see it.
However, striped bass were not impressed.  I cannot explain why some full moons coincide with really difficult fishing success while others happen to make fishing success better.  The result of this buildup to blood moon was to chase striped bass from the surface to the bottom.  That was not all bad as anglers in the Bullfrog area, that knew where to look, were able to spoon up stripers from 80 feet deep.  The hotspots were at the Mouth of Moki Canyon and along the east cliff wall between Lost Eden and Lake Canyon.  Anchovy bait and chum were best at Moki Canyon while jigging spoons were the ticket along the downstream wall.
Stripers in the Wahweap area also went deep but finding them was more difficult in the southern lake.  If a school of stripers was seen on the graph it was possible to drop a spoon right in the middle of the group and catch a few fish before they moved on. These schools did not hold in one spot or return to a specific location making finding them doubly difficult.  The few stripers caught in the southern lake had no shad in their stomachs.  It appears that full moon brought feeding and surface boils to a screeching halt.
Surface activity in the northern lake was absent. We found that out in a long round trip from Red Canyon to Trachyte and back during evening prime time.  It was beautiful trip with the calm water unmarked by any stripers splashing on the surface. Trolling and spooning was good but boils were missing in action.
For now, it is all about smallmouth bass. Moon effect may have slowed the bass action on the day of the blood moon, but catching is still wide open. Surface lures cast to brushy shorelines were hammered. Drop shot rigs were readily consumed.  Plastic grubs were chased and inhaled with regularity. Trolled crankbaits were chased down.  Bass fishing was really good in September and will continue to excite young and old anglers alike.  In fact this would be a great time for a grandson to go bass fishing with his grandfather. They could both catch fish.
My prediction is that darker nights and cooler temperatures over the next two weeks will rejuvenate the surface action and  make striper fishing as good as it was two weeks ago.  Shad were found in large schools in the backs of the canyons and in open water of the channel.  The next major movement will be for stripers to regain their appetites and move into the canyons and coves where shad have found safe refuge for the last few weeks.
A large striper weighing 19 pounds 4 ounces was caught trolling on leaded line at an undisclosed lake location.

Lake Powell Fish Report – September 29, 2015

Lake Elevation: 3606

Water Temperature 74-76 F

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

Super Blood Moon

 There was no better place to be than Lake Powell to watch the bright full moon this week and the eclipse.  The timing was perfect as the moon came up at dusk with a huge presence over the high sandstone cliffs.  I hope you got to see it.  
However, striped bass were not impressed.  I cannot explain why some full moons coincide with really difficult fishing success while others happen to make fishing success better.  The result of this buildup to blood moon was to chase striped bass from the surface to the bottom.  That was not all bad as anglers in the Bullfrog area, that knew where to look, were able to spoon up stripers from 80 feet deep.  The hotspots were at the Mouth of Moki Canyon and along the east cliff wall between Lost Eden and Lake Canyon.  Anchovy bait and chum were best at Moki Canyon while jigging spoons were the ticket along the downstream wall.

 
sher1Stripers in the Wahweap area also went deep but finding them was more difficult in the southern lake.  If a school of stripers was seen on the graph it was possible to drop a spoon right in the middle of the group and catch a few fish before they moved on. These schools did not hold in one spot or return to a specific location making finding them doubly difficult.  The few stripers caught in the southern lake had no shad in their stomachs.  It appears that full moon brought feeding and surface boils to a screeching halt.   


Surface activity in the northern lake was absent. We found that out in a long round trip from Red Canyon to Trachyte and back during evening prime time.  It was beautiful trip with the calm water unmarked by any stripers splashing on the surface. Trolling and spooning was good but boils were missing in action. 


For now, it is all about smallmouth bass. Moon effect may have slowed the bass action on the day of the blood moon, but catching is still wide open. Surface lures cast to brushy shorelines were hammered. Drop shot rigs were readily consumed.  Plastic grubs were chased and inhaled with regularity. Trolled crankbaits were chased down.  Bass fishing was really good in September and will continue to excite young and old anglers alike.  In fact this would be a great time for a grandson to go bass fishing with his grandfather. They could both catch fish. 


My prediction is that darker nights and cooler temperatures over the next two weeks will rejuvenate the surface action and  make striper fishing as good as it was two weeks ago.  Shad were found in large schools in the backs of the canyons and in open water of the channel.  The next major movement will be for stripers to regain their appetites and move into the canyons and coves where shad have found safe refuge for the last few weeks. 


A large striper weighing 19 pounds 4 ounces was caught trolling on leaded line at an undisclosed lake location.

 

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September 22, 2015 - Best Fishing of the Year

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Lake Powell Fish Report – September 16, 2015
Lake Elevation: 3606
Water Temperature 74-76 F
By: Wayne Gustaveson   http://www.wayneswords.com
The fall sports season has begun with college and professional football kicking off.  Not to be outdone husky professional size striped bass in Lake Powell are lining up to compete against the smaller but more numerous underdog shad population.  Shad are huddling in the backs of the canyons hoping to come up with a playbook that will allow them to survive another day.  Stripers are on the open water side of the scrimmage line waiting for the shad to venture out in the open where they become fair game.
Right now the shad play is to keep crowding further back into the canyons and coves. Stripers have been boiling in the channels and bays but are running out of open water shad which limits the amount of boils seen each day.  While the two groups are slightly separated the best plan is to look for stripers huddling on the bottom in 40-80 feet of water. When  a striper school is seen on the graph, drop a spoon, swimbait or white hair jig into the aggressive mass of fish. Hook one fish and the rest will follow trying to see what the first fish was eating. Watch the graph to see these following fish while landing the first one.
Water temperature is dropping which allows bigger stripers to spend more time feeding on the surface.  The Super Bowl happens when water temperature is 65-70F and big stripers can go all the way to the back of the canyons.  There will be a resurgence of boils soon that will continue well into October.
Striper action is occurring lakewide now.  The game plan is to be on site before the sun hits the water in the morning.  As light intensity increases a few small stripers and some gizzard shad will hit the surface.  Go to the splash spots and troll the area while graphing. When a large school is seen on the bottom, stop and drop spoons and swimbaits to the waiting fish.  Repeat this fishing pattern in the last hour of daylight at night.  Graphing then spooning for striper schools works in the day time as well but stripers are much more active in the early morning and late evening.
There are some husky large and smallmouth bass holding in the backs of canyons right where the shad schools are hiding out.  Topwater lures and spinner baits retrieved over and through the weeds along brushy shorelines at first light will be smacked by very large bass.  Be there very early to find the larger fish.
During the day smallmouth bass from tiny to 2-pounds are going crazy along the entire length of rocky shoreline. Troll, cast or spoon near fast falling rocky structure to interact with an incredible number of smallmouth bass. Many bass anglers are now reporting 100 fish days over the length of the lake.
This report makes it sound like fishing/catching is super at Lake Powell right now.  Results from my recent weekly trip were 30 stripers spooned off the bottom in Warm Creek, along with a dozen smallmouth bass and one largemouth bass caught incidentally by trolling, spooning and casting, along with 2 large catfish hooked on spoons.  All of these fish were caught from 6:30 – 9 AM. Other incidentally occurring fish that will add to the variety are walleye and bluegill.
Fall fishing is at the peak for the year and total fishing success is perhaps the best seen in this decade.  It would be wise to take advantage of this fishing opportunity that may not be matched in the years to come.

Lake Powell Fish Report – September 16, 2015

Lake Elevation: 3606

Water Temperature 74-76 F

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


trihn5The fall sports season has begun with college and professional football kicking off.  Not to be outdone husky professional size striped bass in Lake Powell are lining up to compete against the smaller but more numerous underdog shad population.  Shad are huddling in the backs of the canyons hoping to come up with a playbook that will allow them to survive another day.  Stripers are on the open water side of the scrimmage line waiting for the shad to venture out in the open where they become fair game.


Right now the shad play is to keep crowding further back into the canyons and coves. Stripers have been boiling in the channels and bays but are running out of open water shad which limits the amount of boils seen each day.  While the two groups are slightly separated the best plan is to look for stripers huddling on the bottom in 40-80 feet of water. When  a striper school is seen on the graph, drop a spoon, swimbait or white hair jig into the aggressive mass of fish. Hook one fish and the rest will follow trying to see what the first fish was eating. Watch the graph to see these following fish while landing the first one.

 
Water temperature is dropping which allows bigger stripers to spend more time feeding on the surface.  The Super Bowl happens when water temperature is 65-70F and big stripers can go all the way to the back of the canyons.  There will be a resurgence of boils soon that will continue well into October.

 
trihn1Striper action is occurring lakewide now.  The game plan is to be on site before the sun hits the water in the morning.  As light intensity increases a few small stripers and some gizzard shad will hit the surface.  Go to the splash spots and troll the area while graphing. When a large school is seen on the bottom, stop and drop spoons and swimbaits to the waiting fish.  Repeat this fishing pattern in the last hour of daylight at night.  Graphing then spooning for striper schools works in the day time as well but stripers are much more active in the early morning and late evening. 


There are some husky large and smallmouth bass holding in the backs of canyons right where the shad schools are hiding out.  Topwater lures and spinner baits retrieved over and through the weeds along brushy shorelines at first light will be smacked by very large bass.  Be there very early to find the larger fish. 


During the day smallmouth bass from tiny to 2-pounds are going crazy along the entire length of rocky shoreline. Troll, cast or spoon near fast falling rocky structure to interact with an incredible number of smallmouth bass. Many bass anglers are now reporting 100 fish days over the length of the lake.      

trihn2This report makes it sound like fishing/catching is super at Lake Powell right now.  Results from my recent weekly trip were 30 stripers spooned off the bottom in Warm Creek, along with a dozen smallmouth bass and one largemouth bass caught incidentally by trolling, spooning and casting, along with 2 large catfish hooked on spoons.  All of these fish were caught from 6:30 – 9 AM. Other incidentally occurring fish that will add to the variety are walleye and bluegill.   

Fall fishing is at the peak for the year and total fishing success is perhaps the best seen in this decade.  It would be wise to take advantage of this fishing opportunity that may not be matched in the years to come.

 

September 16, 2015 - Prime Time begins

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Lake Powell Fish Report – September 16, 2015

Lake Elevation: 3607

Water Temperature 76-79 F

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

 

shuntsep1Windy, wet weather along with the transition to the Fall season has changed fishing patterns slightly.  Excellent fishing success is still achieved each day by pursuing striped bass in the early morning and then switching targets to smallmouth which can be caught in big numbers all day long. A few walleye are now being caught while trolling and casting for other species.

 Striped bass boils are past their peak.  The massive 100+ fish boils encountered two weeks ago have been replaced by a few individual splashes marking the spot where striper schools are holding.  Striper school location is still consistent with the ‘good spots’ still producing large numbers of fish for anglers using the right techniques.  The pattern is to travel quickly at first light until a few surfacing stripers are seen. Cast surface lures to catch a few juvenile fish.  After that it is time to go to work by trolling deep and spooning.

 The good spots are Padre Bay, Last Chance, Rock Creek, Dangling Rope Bay, Oak Canyon, mouth of San Juan, main channel from San Juan to Escalante, and the upper lake from Bullfrog to Trachyte. You will be able to find stripers and bass almost anywhere in the lake during September as water temperature declines toward the magic 60-65 degree mark which will be the peak for fall fishing.

shuntsep3Adult stripers are now holding at about 40 feet.  Downrigger trolling at 40 feet is producing huge catches of 3-5 pound stripers. Troll where the small fish were seen surfacing for best results or locate the schools on the graph to make sure you are in the right spot.

My favorite technique is to troll while graphing.  Mark the spot where a school of stripers is seen holding on the bottom. Reel in the trolling lures and return to the marker.  Drop spoons into the school and start catching fish at a rate that may be faster than possible for boiling fish. The best thing about boils is being able to see the fish hit the surface lures.  The same excitement can be generated with spoons while watching the graph.  It is possible to see the lure descending into the school, and to see stripers chase after the spoon as it is speed reeled out of the school with fish in pursuit.

Striper spooning technique in the fall is to drop the spoon to the bottom and jig it up and down a few times in the school to get them started feeding.  If they are reluctant to hit the spoon, reel the spoon quickly for 15 feet and then stop it.  This pause excites trailing stripers who will then hit the lure as it starts to move quickly away once more.  Spooning is the best striper fishing technique right now.

shuntsep4Smallmouth bass fishing is fantastic. They are holding on primary points where a land mass extends out into the bay.  Cast to the shallow point and gradually work the plastic bait or lure down into deeper water until a bass find it. Most lures will work but the best recent success has come on the standard single or double tail plastic grubs fish along the bottom at 15-25 feet.   White may be the best color when shad are in the area but bass will not pass up a crayfish so green pumpkin color is also very productive.

Late September and early October are the best times to fish at Lake Powell.  The crowds have gone home, water and air temperature are delightful and fish are more than willing to bite.  The golden time for fishing and relaxing is here. Do not miss the opportunity to be at Lake Powell at its peak.

 

September 8, 2015 - Boils moving South

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Lake Powell Fish Report – September 8, 2015
Lake Elevation: 3608
Water Temperature 78-81 F
By: Wayne Gustaveson   http://www.wayneswords.com
Stripers are changing habits again with long absent boils occurring in the southern lake. For the past week early morning and late evening boils are blowing up in the main channel from Antelope Point Marina to Padre Bay.  Morning boils last from first light to 7:30 AM (MST) or even 8 AM if a morning cloud in the east blocks the sun and delays the start time. If the evening is calm another boil event occurs from 6 PM until dark.
My take is that stripers are chasing threadfin shad up and down the main channel.  More accurately, threadfin shad are moving throughout the channel trying to avoid stripers. Shad school during the daylight hours using the “ball of shad” for protection. Each shad uses the shad next to him as a shield and hopes that he lives to see another day.  At night shad no longer school but swim independently. Then when the sun rises in the morning shad schools reform and stripers attack once more. It seems that the open water shad schools move at night or mid day to avoid predation from relentless striper schools. Eventually shad schools move to a new location and resident stripers take up the boiling pursuit where the other stripers left off.
Striper boil epicenters have moved from the San Juan all the way downlake to the current location in the last month.  These same boil location changes have happened uplake with boils at Good Hope one week and the Rincon the next.  The great news is that boils are continuing into September over the length of the lake.  Boils have been reported in the last week in the main river channel leading to Padre Bay, San Juan (Cha Canyon), Last Chance Bay, Escalante, and Good Hope Bay.  Boils are better on calm mornings.
The current striper population is in excellent physical condition and will continue to thrive into the winter with enough shad remaining to allow them to feed during winter and continue to grow next spring. If these conditions prevail large stripers will delight many anglers in 2016.
It is hard for me to fish for bass when stripers are actively boiling but bass are benefitting from the same positive forage conditions and growing bigger and stronger as well. The best technique to catch a big largemouth in the fall is to find a striper boil near shore.  As soon as stripers leave the surface, cast top water lures to any brush shelters along the shoreline to tangle with a dandy largemouth bass.
I am excited about the current state of the fishery.  The fall fishing will be epic from now until November.  If you have not yet experienced a fall boil, the chances are excellent of successfully accomplishing that bucket list event.  You just have to correctly guess where the boil will be tomorrow morning.

Lake Powell Fish Report – September 8, 2015

Lake Elevation: 3608

Water Temperature 78-81 F

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


travissanderssmallStripers are changing habits again with long absent boils occurring in the southern lake. For the past week early morning and late evening boils are blowing up in the main channel from Antelope Point Marina to Padre Bay.  Morning boils last from first light to 7:30 AM (MST) or even 8 AM if a morning cloud in the east blocks the sun and delays the start time. If the evening is calm another boil event occurs from 6 PM until dark. 


My take is that stripers are chasing threadfin shad up and down the main channel.  More accurately, threadfin shad are moving throughout the channel trying to avoid stripers. Shad school during the daylight hours using the “ball of shad” for protection. Each shad uses the shad next to him as a shield and hopes that he lives to see another day.  At night shad no longer school but swim independently. Then when the sun rises in the morning shad schools reform and stripers attack once more. It seems that the open water shad schools move at night or mid day to avoid predation from relentless striper schools. Eventually shad schools move to a new location and resident stripers take up the boiling pursuit where the other stripers left off. 


Striper boil epicenters have moved from the San Juan all the way downlake to the current location in the last month. These same boil location changes have happened uplake with boils at Good Hope one week and the Rincon the next. The great news is that boils are continuing into September over the length of the lake.  Boils have been reported in the last week in the main river channel leading to Padre Bay, San Juan (Cha Canyon), Last Chance Bay, Escalante, and Good Hope Bay.  Boils are better on calm mornings.

 
The current striper population is in excellent physical condition and will continue to thrive into the winter with enough shad remaining to allow them to feed during winter and continue to grow next spring. If these conditions prevail large stripers will delight many anglers in 2016.


dominguezsunsetIt is hard for me to fish for bass when stripers are actively boiling but bass are benefitting from the same positive forage conditions and growing bigger and stronger as well. The best technique to catch a big largemouth in the fall is to find a striper boil near shore.  As soon as stripers leave the surface, cast top water lures to any brush shelters along the shoreline to tangle with a dandy largemouth bass.


I am excited about the current state of the fishery.  The fall fishing will be epic from now until November.  If you have not yet experienced a fall boil, the chances are excellent of successfully accomplishing that bucket list event.  You just have to correctly guess where the boil will be tomorrow morning.

 

September 1, 2015 - Boils are Best!

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Lake Powell Fish Report – September 1, 2015

Lake Elevation: 3609

Water Temperature 79 - 82 F

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

 

The number of striper boils in the southern lake is increasing each day.  This morning boils were seen at Buoy 1, Buoy 3, Buoy 9, mouth of Navajo, Padre Bay (Padre Butte and east wall), mouth of Last Chance and mouth of Rock Creek.  I am sure there were more but after working these schools I needed a rest!

 

There are some established rules to follow.

 

superspookBoils start at 6 AM and continue until 7:30 AM. After that boils are seen randomly throughout the day with no schedule, time or place.  Evenings boils start up at 6 PM and continue until dark at the same location and with the same aggression seen in the morning.

 

Surface lures may be the best bait to start with when approaching a new boil.  You will know it is the right lure if stripers attack the lure as soon as it hits the water.  After a short time boiling fish tend to chase shad in opposite directions as the surface action widens.  When a surface lure is chased but missed a few times it may be time to change to a shallow running lure like a rattletrap or flat rap or Kastmaster.  Finally when the school goes down, drop a spoon to the bottom where they were last seen. Speed reel the lure up to catch a few more.  When they quit hitting spoons move on to find the next boil and repeat the lure sequence.  Fishing is intense from 6 – 7:30 AM.

 

unknownFinally, stripers caught this morning were stuffed with 3-inch threadfin shad.  We need some more anglers out there catching and keeping stripers so the shad population will last longer.  They are being decimated at a high rate now.

 

At midlake stripers have quit boiling but can be caught readily by graphing the 20-40 foot contour and dropping spoons to any stripers schools seen.  This technique worked great this week in the back of Bullfrog Bay.

 

In the northern lake boils continue from Good Hope Bay to Trachyte Canyon.  The morning and evening time periods are best here as well.

 

Bass are caught near shore as the striper boils go down.  Big largemouth and lots of smallmouth bass are following shad schools and become energized as stripers push shad toward shore.

 

The boils season now happening is the best boil action we have seen for a very long time.   If you like to fish topwater there is no better place than at Lake Powell in September 2015.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 01 September 2015 14:09
 

August 25, 2015 - Spoons are Best!

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Lake Powell Fish Report – August 21, 2015
Lake Elevation: 3610
Water Temperature 80-85 F
By: Wayne Gustaveson   http://www.wayneswords.com
Stripers are changing their schedule and location.  As soon as we get them figured out they do something else.  The big boils on the San Juan last week turned into little boils over the weekend.  San Juan is still a good place to go but the successful fishing technique is different.
Let me explain by sharing our experience from this morning.  Reports of boils uplake took us to Rock Creek early this morning.  We looked in the main channel between Rock Creek and Dungeon Canyon well before the sun came up. When no surfacing fish were seen on top we began a large circular path around the mouth of Rock Creek.  We soon saw tiny but numerous splashes against a canyon wall. These fish would swirl on our surface lures but not hookup.  When I finally caught one, we discovered that these fish were yearlings happily chasing shad but our full size surface lures were too big for them to consume.
The choice then was to downsize our lures to catch the little surface feeders or to fish deeper water looking for larger fish.  Jigging spoons, bucktail jigs and Kastmasters were deployed and immediately 2-4 pound stripers were being hoisted into the boat.  Catching continued for the next hour with big fish hitting our deep spoons anywhere from 20 to 60 feet deep.  We just followed the little surface feeders and fished under the surface action to catch some really nice fish in a very short time. We ended up with 36 stripers caught in one hour.
Let me explain what’s happening right now.  The water surface temperature has climbed back into the 80s with the recent hot weather.  Larger stripers cannot stay in water warmer than 80 degrees for more than a minute or two. If they exert lots of energy in the warm surface water they build up lactic acid in their muscles and cramp up, or worse, die from the exertion.   These big stripers watch the yearling stripers feed on top and follow them hoping that a wounded shad sinks or an escapee runs into deeper water.
Right now the small stripers mark the location of the larger fish.  The big fish are easy prey to a lure resembling a dying or wounded shad. The very best lure is a heavy slab spoon that sinks quickly to deep cool water where big fish are waiting. A heavy white bucktail jig or a heavy Kastmaster spoon work well also.  Find the school of big fish on the graph.   Drop the spoon to the bottom if they are deep or stop the lure at mid depth if the school is suspended. Perhaps the easiest technique is to drop the spoon to the bottom, jig it up twice and then speed reel it back to the surface. I stop the spoon and jig it once or twice before speed reeling again. Stop it at 20 foot intervals to convince the following stripers to eat the fleeing shad (spoon) as it starts to swim once more.
Spooning under surface feeding yearlings works lake wide. Spooning is the best technique now even if boils are not seen.  Graph the bottom contour looking for big striper schools. When a school is seen, mark the spot and drop spoons into the school. Best time is early morning. Second best time is evening.
New boil spots are being reported.  Buoy One, Mouth of Navajo Canyon, Rock Creek, San Juan, Escalante, Good Hope Bay and beyond are still experiencing boils.  Most of these are from small fish so look for large fish in deeper water. Over the rest of the lake, locate striper schools on the graph and then spoon to catch many fish.  This is working in Last Chance, Moki Canyon and 100 other spots.
Finally there were big stripers caught on bait down by the dam at the buoy line this morning. Fishing is picking up but the weather is changing from hot to rainy.  It will be interesting to see what changes are in store for Lake Powell fishermen in the coming week.   I will track the changes and report next week.

spoons

 

Lake Powell Fish Report – August 21, 2015

Lake Elevation: 3610

Water Temperature 80-85 F

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

Stripers are changing their schedule and location.  As soon as we get them figured out they do something else.  The big boils on the San Juan last week turned into little boils over the weekend.  San Juan is still a good place to go but the successful fishing technique is different.  

Let me explain by sharing our experience from this morning.  Reports of boils uplake took us to Rock Creek early this morning.  We looked in the main channel between Rock Creek and Dungeon Canyon well before the sun came up. When no surfacing fish were seen on top we began a large circular path around the mouth of Rock Creek.  We soon saw tiny but numerous splashes against a canyon wall. These fish would swirl on our surface lures but not hookup.  When I finally caught one, we discovered that these fish were yearlings happily chasing shad but our full size surface lures were too big for them to consume.   

ethanstb2The choice then was to downsize our lures to catch the little surface feeders or to fish deeper water looking for larger fish.  Jigging spoons, bucktail jigs and Kastmasters were deployed and immediately 2-4 pound stripers were being hoisted into the boat.  Catching continued for the next hour with big fish hitting our deep spoons anywhere from 20 to 60 feet deep.  We just followed the little surface feeders and fished under the surface action to catch some really nice fish in a very short time. We ended up with 36 stripers caught in one hour.

Let me explain what’s happening right now.  The water surface temperature has climbed back into the 80s with the recent hot weather.  Larger stripers cannot stay in water warmer than 80 degrees for more than a minute or two. If they exert lots of energy in the warm surface water they build up lactic acid in their muscles and cramp up, or worse, die from the exertion.   These big stripers watch the yearling stripers feed on top and follow them hoping that a wounded shad sinks or an escapee runs into deeper water.

Right now the small stripers mark the location of the larger fish.  The big fish are easy prey to a lure resembling a dying or wounded shad. The very best lure is a heavy slab spoon that sinks quickly to deep cool water where big fish are waiting. A heavy white bucktail jig or a heavy Kastmaster spoon work well also.  Find the school of big fish on the graph.   Drop the spoon to the bottom if they are deep or stop the lure at mid depth if the school is suspended. Perhaps the easiest technique is to drop the spoon to the bottom, jig it up twice and then speed reel it back to the surface. I stop the spoon and jig it once or twice before speed reeling again. Stop it at 20 foot intervals to convince the following stripers to eat the fleeing shad (spoon) as it starts to swim once more.

dallintrotterSpooning under surface feeding yearlings works lake wide. Spooning is the best technique now even if boils are not seen.  Graph the bottom contour looking for big striper schools. When a school is seen, mark the spot and drop spoons into the school. Best time is early morning. Second best time is evening. 

New boil spots are being reported.  Buoy One, Mouth of Navajo Canyon, Rock Creek, San Juan, Escalante, Good Hope Bay and beyond are still experiencing boils.  Most of these are from small fish so look for large fish in deeper water. Over the rest of the lake, locate striper schools on the graph and then spoon to catch many fish.  This is working in Last Chance, Moki Canyon and 100 other spots. 

Finally there were big stripers caught on bait down by the dam at the buoy line this morning. Fishing is picking up but the weather is changing from hot to rainy.  It will be interesting to see what changes are in store for Lake Powell fishermen in the coming week.   I will track the changes and report next week.

 

August 18, 2015 - Boils in remote locations

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Lake Powell Fish Report – August 18, 2015
Lake Elevation: 3611
Water Temperature 79-85 F
By: Wayne Gustaveson   http://www.wayneswords.com
Striper boils reported last week were visited by more happy anglers this week.  Stripers did not disappoint – if the proper rules were followed.  Stripers feed on their own schedule when in these bonus days of high shad numbers. The prime feeding time over the length of the lake was the last two hours of daylight.  Major feeding events were described by lucky anglers as “covering 20 surface acres, continuing for hours, full of big fish, and totally satisfying”.  Those that fished the big evening boils caught more big stripers than thought possible.
The best locations were Trachyte Canyon and Cha Canyon in the evening.  Other locations that were also good were the main channel from Oak Canyon to the mouth of San Juan, and Good Hope Bay from Ticaboo to the Horn and Piute Canyon to the Great Bend on the San Juan. There was a large morning boil in the main channel just upstream from the mouth of the San Juan but it did not repeat the next day.
Boils are the crown jewel of freshwater fishing but stripers could be caught during the day by trolling and much faster by graphing and spooning. Once the large schools leave the surface they are still in the same area usually hovering around the 40-foot depth range.  Hundreds of stripers swimming together at mid-depth are quite easy to find and identify on modern electronics.  Jigging spoons dropped into the large suspended schools were consistently ingested by eager stripers.
The unusual occurrence is that shad schools are more abundant in areas removed from intense boiling activity.  My guess is that these wandering schools of large stripers will work over the shad supply in Cha Canyon and Trachyte and not leave until the shad have been depleted or run away.  These stripers like their current schedule of feeding each night and randomly throughout the day.  They are getting enough to eat so they stay. When shad numbers decline, stripers will then move up or downstream to find another feeding bonanza where they will stay as long as forage is available.
As expected, bass fishing is good in these striper feeding zones. As shad flee from aggressive stripers they soon find large and smallmouth bass waiting for a meal near shore.  Bass are harder to catch in areas where shad are abundant and “the living is easy”.  Bass do not have to work hard to get a shad meal and get pretty fussy about only eating shad when they are so common.
This is one of those unusual years where striper boils will continue into October and November.  For now the best piece of knowledge is “location”.  The inflow areas (San Juan and Trachyte) will consistently provide boiling stripers but other lake areas will periodically have boils erupt in canyons like Navajo, Last Chance, Wetherill, Escalante, Rincon, Halls and so on. We can help each other by reporting striper boil locations to me at Wayneswords.com.  I will then put the information out to the public so we can join together to harvest as many stripers as possible right now.  Each striper caught this fall will save over 1000 shad during the next year.  These numbers get large in a hurry. Catch 1000 stripers and save 1 million shad.  Those that read this report can easily catch that many stripers from now through the end of October.

9lbscampbellLake Powell Fish Report – August 18, 2015

Lake Elevation: 3611

Water Temperature 79-85 F

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

Striper boils reported last week were visited by more happy anglers this week.  Stripers did not disappoint – if the proper rules were followed.  Stripers feed on their own schedule when in these bonus days of high shad numbers. The prime feeding time over the length of the lake was the last two hours of daylight.  Major feeding events were described by lucky anglers as “covering 20 surface acres, continuing for hours, full of big fish, and totally satisfying”.  Those that fished the big evening boils caught more big stripers than thought possible.  The best locations were Trachyte Canyon and Cha Canyon in the evening.  Other locations that were also good were the main channel from Oak Canyon to the mouth of San Juan, and Good Hope Bay from Ticaboo to the Horn and Piute Canyon to the Great Bend on the San Juan. There was a large morning boil in the main channel just upstream from the mouth of the San Juan but it did not repeat the next day. 

Boils are the crown jewel of freshwater fishing but stripers could be caught during the day by trolling and much faster by graphing and spooning. Once the large schools leave the surface they are still in the same area usually hovering around the 40-foot depth range.  Hundreds of stripers swimming together at mid-depth are quite easy to find and identify on modern electronics.  

Jigging spoons dropped into the large suspended schools were consistently ingested by eager stripers.   The unusual occurrence is that shad schools are more abundant in areas removed from intense boiling activity.  My guess is that these wandering schools of large stripers will work over the shad supply in Cha Canyon and Trachyte and not leave until the shad have been depleted or run away.  These stripers like their current schedule of feeding each night and randomly throughout the day.  They are getting enough to eat so they stay. When shad numbers decline, stripers will then move up or downstream to find another feeding bonanza where they will stay as long as forage is available. 

2bassAs expected, bass fishing is good in these striper feeding zones. As shad flee from aggressive stripers they soon find large and smallmouth bass waiting for a meal near shore.  Bass are harder to catch in areas where shad are abundant and “the living is easy”.  Bass do not have to work hard to get a shad meal and get pretty fussy about only eating shad when they are so common.  

This is one of those unusual years where striper boils will continue into October and November.  For now the best piece of knowledge is “location”.  The inflow areas (San Juan and Trachyte) will consistently provide boiling stripers but other lake areas will periodically have boils erupt in canyons like Navajo, Last Chance, Wetherill, Escalante, Rincon, Halls and so on. We can help each other by reporting striper boil locations to me at Wayneswords.com.  I will then put the information out to the public so we can join together to harvest as many stripers as possible right now.  Each striper caught this fall will save over 1000 shad during the next year.  These numbers get large in a hurry. Catch 1000 stripers and save 1 million shad.  

Those that read this report can easily combine to catch more than 1000 stripers from now through the end of October.

 

August 11, 2015 - Boils in San Juan

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Lake Powell Fish Report – August 12, 2015
Lake Elevation: 3611
Water Temperature 76 - 78 F
By: Wayne Gustaveson   http://www.wayneswords.com
The Gold King Mine toxic water spill into the Animas River and then into the San Juan River led me to the inflow of the San Juan into Lake Powell to take baseline data of water chemistry and sediment data before the toxic water arrived at Lake Powell.  There was no obvious change in water color or chemistry so it seemed consistent that the toxic water was not yet in the headwaters.
We were also tasked with collecting a 60 fish sample for baseline data of heavy metal concentrations in Lake Powell striped bass before the toxic water arrived.  This is where it gets interesting.  On the way uplake on Monday evening we started seeing a few slurps and scattered boils in the main channel beginning at Dangling Rope and continuing to Oak and Anasazi Canyon.  Early the next morning we got an early start from our camp at the mouth of the San Juan and headed upstream to complete our mission.
The first big striper boil was on the corner leading into Cha Canyon.  The boils downstream consisted of smaller fish but the San Juan boils were composed of large, aggressive 2-4 pound fish.   We had a lot of fish to catch to meet our quota so it was nerve wracking to play the super strong stripers while their boil mates were still feeding in tight groups.  I broke off 3 topwater lures while trying to horse large fish into the boat so I could quickly unhook it and catch another one. But the boils stayed up and came back up often enough for us to put a lot of fish in the cooler.
When these boils subsided we headed uplake until we found another concentration of surface feeding stripers near the mouth of Piute Canyon.  We repeated the catching process and put another slug of big fish in the cooler.  At the end of the day 3 anglers caught 60 stripers all in boils or blind casting where boils had been.
It is interesting how the boils wax and wane in certain areas of the lake.  Strong boils reported last week in the Good Hope Bay area are now occurring less often.  Slurps in the southern lake have gone quiet.  The best spot right now is from Dangling Rope to the San Juan (as described) and to the Escalante.  But just when we think we have it figured out stripers tend to quit in one spot and start up in a new location.
The best news is that shad numbers are still strong. Small shad are most common in the main channel where most of the boiling action occurs.  That means there will be larger shad left over for September boils that will occur in coves and side canyons.  This has been an exceptional year for catching fish and it looks like it will continue into fall and winter.
Bass anglers can also take advantage of smallmouth bass boils that will happen in the same shad-rich areas where striped bass are seen breaking the surface.
It is boil time at Lake Powell. I cannot think of a more exciting place and time to go fishing. Stripers blow up on the surface and it takes a while to get the boat in casting range.  Then when a big striper comes up you know that if you can cast to within 3 feet of the splash ring that fish will hit your lure.  It is an adrenaline pumping experience.

bjwiper

Lake Powell Fish Report – August 12, 2015

Lake Elevation: 3611

Water Temperature 76 - 78 F

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


The Gold King Mine toxic water spill into the Animas River and then into the San Juan River led me to the inflow of the San Juan into Lake Powell to take baseline data of water chemistry and sediment data before the toxic water arrived at Lake Powell.  There was no obvious change in water color or chemistry so it seemed consistent that the toxic water was not yet in the headwaters. We were also tasked with collecting a 60 fish sample for baseline data of heavy metal concentrations in Lake Powell striped bass before the toxic water arrived.  This is where it gets interesting.  On the way uplake on Monday evening we started seeing a few slurps and scattered boils in the main channel beginning at Dangling Rope and continuing to Oak and Anasazi Canyon.  

calgrandsonEarly the next morning we got an early start from our camp at the mouth of the San Juan and headed upstream to complete our mission. The first big striper boil was on the corner leading into Cha Canyon.  The boils downstream consisted of smaller fish but the San Juan boils were composed of large, aggressive 2-4 pound fish.   We had a lot of fish to catch to meet our quota so it was nerve wracking to play the super strong stripers while their boil mates were still feeding in tight groups.  I broke off 3 topwater lures while trying to horse large fish into the boat so I could quickly unhook it and catch another one. But the boils stayed up and came back up often enough for us to put a lot of fish in the cooler. 

When these boils subsided we headed uplake until we found another concentration of surface feeding stripers near the mouth of Piute Canyon.  We repeated the catching process and put another slug of big fish in the cooler.  At the end of the day 3 anglers caught 60 stripers all in boils or blind casting where boils had been. 

It is interesting how striper boils wax and wane in certain areas of the lake. Strong boils reported last week in the Good Hope Bay area are now occurring less often.  Slurps in the southern lake have gone quiet.  The best spot right now is from Dangling Rope to the San Juan (as described) and to the Escalante.  But just when we think we have it figured out stripers tend to quit in one spot and start up in a new location.  

The best news is that shad numbers are still strong. Small shad are most common in the main channel where most of the boiling action occurs.  That means there will be larger shad left over for September boils that will occur in coves and side canyons.  This has been an exceptional year for catching fish and it looks like it will continue into fall and winter. 

cooperpapaBass anglers can also take advantage of smallmouth bass boils that will happen in the same shad-rich areas where striped bass are seen breaking the surface. It is boil time at Lake Powell.

I cannot think of a more exciting place and time to go fishing. Stripers blow up on the surface and it takes a while to get the boat in casting range.  Then when a big striper comes up you know that if you can cast to within 3 feet of the splash ring that fish will hit your lure.  It is an adrenaline pumping experience.

 

August 4, 2015 - Full Moon and Boils

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Lake Powell Fish Report – August 4, 2015
Lake Elevation: 3612
Water Temperature 78 - 82 F
By: Wayne Gustaveson   http://www.wayneswords.com
The last fish report announced great striper boil fishing with most of the action in the middle and upper reaches of Lake Powell. Then the full moon hit which coincided with a shutdown of boiling activity in the southern lake but seemed to make boils stronger in the northern lake.  On my southern lake fishing trip today (Wahweap to Rock Creek) we failed to catch even one striper, which is a first for me this year. We trolled, cast and spooned without success.  The only technique that worked today was bait fishing in deep water.
Further north, full blown boils with big stripers continued in grand fashion. In the San Juan Arm the epicenter of boil activity was the bay in front of Cha Canyon.  These boils began early morning and then took a break before erupting again in the afternoon and evening.
Boils were seen occasionally in the main channel from the mouth of the San Juan all the way to Good Hope Bay and beyond.  Afternoon and evening boils were the under full moon conditions. The Escalante arm was consistent with many boils reported. Rincon to Buoy 88 was productive, as was the Buoy Field at Halls Crossing.
Uplake the epicenter of boiling action was the bay in front of Red Canyon in Good Hope Bay but boils were seen all the way to Trachyte.  Good Hope Bay striper boils persisted because the runoff is over which allows the water clarity to improve. Stripers can now find adult threadfin shad that had previously been hiding in muddy water. As shad schools were located, boils blew up as large stripers were able to surface and quickly forage on shad before diving back down to cool water.  After a quick rest, striper schools came right back up to the top again to eat more shad.
In the coming week expect striper boils to continue in the northern areas.  Southern stripers will be best caught on bait in deep water at 40-60 feet.
We caught lots of bass today while trolling and casting for stripers.  The little 5-12 inch bass were most active but a few one pound and better smallmouth were roaming in open water looking for small shad. We caught them near the surface when trolling shallow running crankbaits and rattletraps.
Other fish were active in shallow brushy water.  Bluegill and green sunfish were easily seen near shore and around flooded brush on reefs. They were best caught on live worms threaded on small bait hooks.  Channel catfish were very active in the evening on sandy beaches where houseboats could park.  Use live worms, shrimp, hotdog rounds or other table scraps on a size 2-4 single bait hook.  Walleye can also be caught at night in 12-15 feet of water on plastic bass grubs worked slowly along the bottom.  It helps to tip the grub with a one-inch chunk of night crawler.
Fishing is still great at Lake Powell but much more productive in the middle and northern channels and bays.

Lake Powell Fish Report – August 4, 2015

Lake Elevation: 3612

Water Temperature 78 - 82 F

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


stbusy_edited-1The last fish report announced great striper boil fishing with most of the action in the middle and upper reaches of Lake Powell. Then the full moon hit which coincided with a shutdown of boiling activity in the southern lake but seemed to make boils stronger in the northern lake.  On my southern lake fishing trip today (Wahweap to Rock Creek) we failed to catch even one striper, which is a first for me this year. We trolled, cast and spooned without success.  The only technique that worked today was bait fishing in deep water.


Further north, full blown boils with big stripers continued in grand fashion. In the San Juan Arm the epicenter of boil activity was the bay in front of Cha Canyon.  These boils began early morning and then took a break before erupting again in the afternoon and evening. 


Boils were seen occasionally in the main channel from the mouth of the San Juan all the way to Good Hope Bay and beyond.  Afternoon and evening boils were more common under full moon conditions. The Escalante arm was consistent with many boils reported. Rincon to Buoy 88 was productive, as was the Buoy Field at Halls Crossing.

 
Uplake the epicenter of boiling action was the bay in front of Red Canyon in Good Hope Bay but boils were seen all the way to Trachyte.  Good Hope Bay striper boils persisted because the runoff is over which allows the water clarity to improve. Stripers can now find large schools of adult threadfin shad that had previously been hiding in muddy water. As shad schools were located, boils blew up as large stripers were able to surface and quickly forage on shad before diving back down to cool water.  After a quick rest, striper schools came right back up to the top again to eat more shad.   
In the coming week expect striper boils to continue in the northern areas.  Southern stripers will be best caught on bait in deep water at 40-60 feet. 


smyersmbWe caught lots of bass today while trolling and casting for stripers.  The little 5-12 inch bass were most active but a few one pound and better smallmouth were roaming in open water looking for small shad. We caught them near the surface when trolling shallow running crankbaits and rattletraps. 


Other fish were active in shallow brushy water.  Bluegill and green sunfish were easily seen near shore and around flooded brush on reefs. They were best caught on live worms threaded on small bait hooks.  Channel catfish were very active in the evening on sandy beaches where houseboats could park.  Use live worms, shrimp, hotdog rounds or other table scraps on a size 2-4 single bait hook.  Walleye can also be caught at night in 12-15 feet of water on plastic bass grubs worked slowly along the bottom.  It helps to tip the grub with a one-inch chunk of night crawler.

 
Fishing is still great at Lake Powell but much more productive in the middle and northern channels and bays.

 

July 28, 2015 - Stripers boiling in the Channel

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wncstbLake Powell Fish Report – July 28, 2015

Lake Elevation: 3613

Water Temperature 77 - 83 F

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

 

Summer heat has returned and the lake level is dropping.  Striped bass are still boiling and juvenile smallmouth bass are incredibly easy to catch.  This would be a great time to bring your kids to the lake and teach them how to catch bass.

Last week we found larger shad hiding out in the backs of many main channel short canyons and coves.  Small larval shad were still common in the main channel.  Smallmouth bass were near the larger shad schools and very actively pursuing small trolled or cast shad raps or plastic grubs cast to the shoreline and worked into deeper water. If a shad school was seen in the back of a cove it was almost impossible to keep the smallmouth off the hook.

Stripers were a bit inconsistent being caught like crazy one day and then missing in action the next, only to return on a different day and time. There were some hotspots that would be a great starting point if heading out looking for boils. 

The best spot this past week was the Horn just upstream from Good Hope Bay. All sizes of stripers boiled from the mouth of Red Canyon all the way up to the Horn and then beyond to Trachyte Canyon.  When one school would go down it was possible to just look for the next school - rush over to that one and catch more fish.  If cruising from Red Canyon to Trachyte, fishable boils could be seen in abundance.

The next best hotspot was the Escalante Arm from the mouth all the way back to 50 Mile Canyon and beyond. Schools were not as large here as in Red Canyon and the Horn, but they were very catchable on full size surface lures, crankbaits and spoons. There was more downtime when no boils were seen but the school would soon erupt once more and catching would begin all over again.

mthshprefelctDownstream from Bullfrog the channel from Annies Canyon to Buoy 88 was very productive. Upstream the main channel from Knowles to Good Hope Bay was consistently producing striper boils.

Do not overlook the Halls Buoy field.  Some anglers ran down to the Escalante Arm and were disappointed only to return to Halls and find boils going near the houseboats.

In summary, there are boils occurring over the length of the lake. Surface action is more likely to occur in the main channel.  The best time is still morning and evening but from Rincon to Good Hope, boils may be seen all day long. Many small shad and small stripers are working the main channel with bigger stripers joining in more often in mid to northern lake canyons and bays.

I have wondered about the San Juan and why there are no reports coming from that direction.  But as I write this report the following report just came in. 

“Many large boils in Cha Canyon area of San Juan.  Almost all boils were in the early morning.  Not much activity in the afternoons.  Lots of shad were seen in the area.”

If you like to catch stripers in boils now is the time to come give it a try.  The chances of finding boiling stripers are high.  This good surface fishing should continue through August and into September.  Looks like shad will continue to provide food for boiling stripers for the short term.  Now our job as anglers is to go out and save some shad by catching striped bass
 


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