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June 2, 2015 - Slurps begin!

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Lake Powell Fish Report – June 2, 2015
Lake Elevation: 3597.6
Water Temperature 70 - 75 F
By: Wayne Gustaveson   http://www.wayneswords.com
Slurps!
The fishing report trip this week got off to a weird start.  We wanted to get out early to counter the sometimes negative effect of full moon on fish behavior.  The moon was bright when we launched at Wahweap and headed straight for Castle Rock to look for fly-eating stripers. My trolled fly went unpunished but my partner’s Lucky Craft Bevy Shad was eaten by a striper.  That was the exact opposite response found using the same techniques at the same spot last week.  We tried one more pass and this time the Bevy was eaten by a walleye.
Walleye fishing is best in low light of early morning.  Walleye catch uplake is greater and more prolonged in the murky water near the mouth of Red Canyon. Some anglers report catching more than 30 walleye a day, fast trolling with Mann’s Red Craw deep divers. Other anglers are dragging night crawlers along the bottom and catching many walleye.  No matter what technique is used, walleye fishing is much better in the northern lake.
Since flies were not working we headed uplake through the Castle Rock Cut. As we idled through the Cut I put out my Helsinki Shad colored Shad Rap and caught the biggest striper of the day.  Later we found that the big fish had two large threadfin shad in the stomach. Shad are using the Cut for migration or hiding spots from lake predators. I don’t recommend trolling there unless there is no other boat traffic. It should work fine to troll there between 4 and 5 AM.
The next stop was Buoy 25 and 25B where stripers had been caught trolling last week. It seems moon effect and/or warming water were in play as fishing was not as productive along the slick rock points and reefs as it was just a few days ago. We did catch a few stripers trolling along the shade line in deep water.  But fishing was too slow so we went uplake.
The next stop was the mouth of West Canyon.  We tried fly trolling without success. We did catch smallmouth when near a shallow reef or when we ventured too close to the shore. After giving up on flies we looked for a new pattern.  There was an open water reef that was similar to the reef in Wahweap Bay that had been hot last week.  We trolled Bevy Shad lures along the reef edge.  The secret was to find the narrow 25 foot depth zone on the breaking edge of the reef. If we kept the boat and lures over that depth zone, stripers would find our lures.  That worked well as we caught stripers and bass on consecutive passes.
That would have been a fitting way to end the day but we got an added bonus.  As we were playing a troll caught fish, yearling stripers began boiling around the boat. We added another 6 fish to the cooler by casting small Hyper Stripers and Lucky Craft Pointers to the hungry stripers.  The boil came up 4 times before they stayed down and we headed for home.
As we passed through Padre Bay we tried the spot where fly fishing had been so good the week before.  Again flies did not work.  We did graph a huge striper school on the same shallow bench where they were previously caught. One ripe male was caught at 35 feet on a spoon but most of our offerings were ignored. My guess is that these fish have not yet completed spawning and they are still in the night activity mode. The warmer water may be keeping them deeper and preventing fly trolling from working as well as it did previously.
That is the excitement of fishing at Lake Powell. There is always a different technique or location that may turn a mundane outing into a successful fishing trip.

Lake Powell Fish Report – June 2, 2015

Lake Elevation: 3597.6

Water Temperature 70 - 75 F

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

Slurps!

The fishing report trip this week got off to a weird start.  We wanted to get out early to counter the sometimes negative effect of full moon on fish behavior.  The moon was bright when we launched at Wahweap and headed straight for Castle Rock to look for fly-eating stripers. My trolled fly went unpunished but my partner’s Lucky Craft Bevy Shad was eaten by a striper.  That was the exact opposite response found using the same techniques at the same spot last week.  We tried one more pass and this time the Bevy was eaten by a walleye.

waessWalleye fishing is best in low light of early morning.  Walleye catch uplake is greater and more prolonged in the murky water near the mouth of Red Canyon. Some anglers report catching more than 30 walleye a day, fast trolling with Mann’s Red Craw deep divers. Other anglers are dragging night crawlers slowly along the bottom and catching many walleye.  No matter what technique is used, walleye fishing is much better in the northern lake. 

Since flies were not working we headed uplake through the Castle Rock Cut. As we idled through the Cut I put out my Helsinki Shad colored Shad Rap and caught the biggest striper of the day.  Later we found that the big fish had two large (6 inch) threadfin shad in the stomach. Shad are using the Cut for migration or hiding spots from lake predators. I don’t recommend trolling there unless there is no other boat traffic. It should work fine to troll there between 4 and 5 AM. 

The next stop was Buoy 25 and 25B where stripers had been caught trolling last week. It seems moon effect and/or warming water were in play as fishing was not as productive along the slick rock points and reefs as it was just a few days ago. We did catch a few stripers trolling along the shade line in deep water.  But fishing was too slow so we went uplake.  

The next stop was the mouth of West Canyon.  We tried fly trolling without success. We did catch smallmouth when near a shallow reef or when we ventured too close to the shore. After giving up on flies we looked for a new pattern.  There was an open water reef that was similar to the reef in Wahweap Bay that had been hot last week.  We trolled Bevy Shad lures along the reef edge.  The secret was to find the narrow 25 foot depth zone on the breaking edge of the reef. If we kept the boat and lures over that depth zone, stripers would find our lures.  That worked well as we caught many stripers and bass on consecutive passes. 

slurps622cThat would have been a fitting way to end the day but we got an added bonus.  As we were playing a troll caught fish, yearling stripers began boiling around the boat. We added another 6 fish to the cooler by casting small Hyper Stripers and Lucky Craft Pointers to the hungry stripers.  The boil came up 4 times before they stayed down and we headed for home. 

As we passed through Padre Bay we tried the spot where fly fishing had been so good the week before.  Again flies did not work.  We did graph a huge striper school on the same shallow bench where they were previously caught. One ripe male was caught at 35 feet on a spoon but most of our offerings were ignored. My guess is that these fish have not yet completed spawning and they are still in the night activity mode. The warmer water may be keeping them deeper and preventing fly trolling from working as well as it did previously.

That is the excitement of fishing at Lake Powell. There is always a different technique or location that may turn a mundane outing into a successful fishing trip.

 

May 26, 2015 - Transition and Striper Spawn

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Lake Powell Fish Report – May 19, 2015
Lake Elevation: 3595
Water Temperature 63 - 70 F
By: Wayne Gustaveson   http://www.wayneswords.com
Lake Powell is rising.  The weather forecast is for rapid warming.  Fish behavior is changing as a result of the changing conditions.  Here is how to keep up with the new reality in the fish world at Lake Powell.
Runoff is now busting downstream allowing the lake water level to increase each day.  All that water makes the upper lake muddy, reduces visibility, and points anglers downstream when leaving Bullfrog/Halls.  There is still good fishing upstream but it is the backs of canyons rather than the muddy main channel.  Those launching at Wahweap/Antelope Point find clear water but must move the boat each morning to accommodate the rising water.
Increasing temperatures will have a much larger impact on fishing success. Bass fishing has been the stalwart all spring with smallmouth bass leading the way. Great smallmouth fishing will continue but with rising water and temperature the target species will be found in deeper water.   Small bass will still be found on shore but mature bass will be found more consistently in water 20-30 feet deep.
Walleye are in transition from feeding all day long, to feeding early morning and late evening and into the night.  There is still an option to find fishing success in the daytime but it will likely be in muddy coves or windswept shorelines where visibility is less and walleye have an advantage over prey species.
Catfish and bluegill will be found much more often in these conditions and will be easy to catch near camp.
Striped bass are finally near spawning.  Female stripers are only ripe for one hour each year.  The hormones don’t flow until the spawning trigger arrives.  In the lake that trigger is rapid warming and rising water. The sign to look for is a rapid increase in surface water temperature.  The morning temperature today was 64F. If the lake surface increased to 74 degrees by this afternoon that would be enough to start the spawning process. But that won’t happen today.  Expect a one-day 10 degree rise in temperature within the next 10 days.    When that happens here are the clues to find a spawning school of stripers.
Ripe male stripers are schooled in virtually every bay and are much more interested in spawning than eating.  Locate them by trolling flies along the surface through the plankton schools where they are biding their time. They will eat a large zooplankter (white streamer fly) while foraging on the microscopic critters that are the foundation of the food web. Many stripers can be caught using the fly trolling technique.  Once the school location is known return to that spot at sundown on a day when the temperature has risen dramatically.
Stripers spawn on the surface at night.  A spawning school will behave much like slurping fish with lots of rolling and splashing making them a bit easier to find in low light. The males in the school will weigh from 2.5 pound to the larger fish which will exceed 10 pounds. The females in the school will start at 4 pounds and top out over 30 pounds.   These stripers are incredibly aggressive.  I suggest using a single hook which will make it easier to unhook these beasts quickly after dark.  I have successfully used a half to one ounce bucktail jig to catch spawning fish on every cast in coves that are 15-30 feet deep.
This is an unusual year where most of the stripers in the southern lake and 75% of the stripers in the mid to northern lake are in spawning condition.  The best way to find a spawning school is to troll the bucktail jig across lake points at sunset.  There will also be some boil-like activity close to shore that is still visible as the sun sets and the night darkens. This is the best chance we have had in this century to find and interact with a spawning school of a striped bass. I testify that is really worth it and an unforgettable experience.  It will happen within the next 10 days.
Be extremely alert for any signs of surface activity at dusk and be prepared to catch a ton of fish if lucky enough to be in the right spot.

Lake Powell Fish Report – May 19, 2015

Lake Elevation: 3595

Water Temperature 63 - 70 F

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

Lake Powell is rising.  The weather forecast is for rapid warming.  Fish behavior is changing as a result of the changing conditions.  Here is how to keep up with the new reality in the fish world at Lake Powell.

dscf0108Runoff is now busting downstream allowing the lake water level to increase each day.  All that water makes the upper lake muddy, reduces visibility, and points anglers downstream when leaving Bullfrog/Halls.  There is still good fishing upstream but it is the backs of canyons rather than the muddy main channel.  Those launching at Wahweap/Antelope Point find clear water but must move the boat each morning to accommodate the rising water.

Increasing temperatures will have a much larger impact on fishing success. Bass fishing has been the stalwart all spring with smallmouth bass leading the way. Great smallmouth fishing will continue but with rising water and temperature the target species will be found in deeper water.   Small bass will still be found on shore but mature bass will be found more consistently in water 20-30 feet deep.  

Walleye are in transition from feeding all day long, to feeding early morning and late evening and into the night.  There is still an option to find fishing success in the daytime but it will likely be in muddy coves or windswept shorelines where visibility is less and walleye have an advantage over prey species. 

Catfish and bluegill will be found much more often in these conditions and will be easy to catch near camp. 

Striped bass are finally near spawning.  Female stripers are only ripe for one hour each year.  The hormones don’t flow until the spawning trigger arrives.  In the lake that trigger is rapid warming and rising water. The sign to look for is a rapid increase in surface water temperature.  The morning temperature today was 64 F. If the lake surface increased to 74 F degrees by this afternoon that would be enough to start the spawning process. But that won’t happen today.  Expect a one-day 10 degree rise in temperature within the next 10 days.    When that happens, here are the clues to find a spawning school of stripers.

carlos909 565Ripe male stripers are schooled in virtually every bay and are much more interested in spawning than eating.  Locate them by trolling flies along the surface through the plankton schools where they are biding their time. They will eat a large zooplankter (white streamer fly) while foraging on the microscopic critters that are the foundation of the food web. Many stripers can be caught using the fly trolling technique.  Once the school location is known return to that spot at sundown on a day when the temperature has risen dramatically. 

Stripers spawn on the surface at night.  A spawning school will behave much like slurping fish with lots of rolling and splashing making them a bit easier to find in low light. The males in the school will weigh from 2.5 pound to the larger fish which will exceed 10 pounds. The females in the school will start at 4 pounds and top out over 30 pounds.  

These stripers are incredibly aggressive.  I suggest using a single hook which will make it easier to unhook these beasts quickly after dark.  I have successfully used a half to one ounce bucktail jig to catch spawning fish on every cast in coves that are 15-30 feet deep.   

This is an unusual year where most of the stripers in the southern lake and 75% of the stripers in the mid to northern lake are in spawning condition.  The best way to find a spawning school is to troll the bucktail jig across lake points at sunset. There will also be some boil-like activity close to shore that is still visible as the sun sets and the night darkens.

This is the best chance we have had in this century to find and interact with a spawning school of a striped bass. I testify that is really worth it and an unforgettable experience.  It will happen within the next 10 days. Be extremely alert for any signs of surface activity at dusk and be prepared to catch a ton of fish if lucky enough to be in the right spot.

P.S.  Better bring a headlamp.wghalfstb

 

May 19, 2015 - Lost Stripers Found!

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Lake Powell Fish Report – May 19, 2015
Lake Elevation: 3592
Water Temperature 64 - 70 F
By: Wayne Gustaveson   http://www.wayneswords.com
LOST STRIPERS ARE FOUND!
Striper fishing has been difficult in May since most are accustomed to fishing with bait for big schools of fish in deep water of the main channel. But not this year.  Stripers are in great shape and in spawning condition.  In April schools of stripers were found in the backs of canyons eating shad hiding in shallow water.  But not now.
It is now apparent that these schools of prespawn fish have moved out of murky water in the backs of canyons into open bays often near the canyon mouth and main channel. Prespawn schools are holding in spawning coves next to deep water waiting for water to warm enough for spawning to occur. With no shad in spawning coves stripers have only plankton to eat while waiting….  Plankton move just enough to group up in shallow open water.  Stripers cruise along just under the surface until a plankton congregation is encountered and eat a few microscopic tidbits as they wait….  In these conditions shad imitating crankbaits are ignored except at low light morning and evenings. This is why striper fishing has been tough in May.
Now enter Dave Sellers, an expert striper fly fishermen from California.  He discovered that these schools were often near the surface and could be caught on flies by long casts expertly retrieved.  That did not help me much since I have not used a fly rod since I was a teenager. But he did give me one technique that I could successfully perform and it worked for a fish collection that was needed this week.  Here are Dave’s words (which I edited for this report) that I used to catch stripers.
“We headed back to Padre Bay to the cliff walls on the east shore and located a big school under the boat. We went fishless for about an hour. Rob handed me the controller to his boat troller and he laid out for some shut eye on the leaning seat on his Ranger Bay Boat while dragging a fly behind the boat. Happy accident!! it wasn't 100 feet before the rod was just about jerked out of his hand. I cast out and gave it a long count. Nothing. Then, I resumed trolling looking for schools. Rob did not have his line in water any longer as he was staring at the graph with me. Another 15 minutes and we decided to get on the main motor and slowly head across the mouth of the cove looking for fish on finder. I dragged my fly line out this time and cruising at tuna trolling speed, a hook up occurred inside of 30 seconds. The two clueless fly casters finally got a clue. The fish were not on the graph because they were on the surface. After getting my fish in, we shut the motor down and started casting. Every cast again. This time many of the takes were within the first two pulls, and once again, bone jarring. The fish, as expected, would pile under the boat with the caught fish. But this time, it was not a problem. For every school we dragged in from our casts, there were more out around us. It was yet another evening of abundance.”
I found ripe male stripers using Dave’s description of the habitat and then trolled a clouser minnow on my spinning rod with 7-pound fluorocarbon line along the surface at 4 mph and hooked up within 5 minutes.  Then we circled around that location continuing to catch shallow stripers on flies. We got one triple while trolling 3 flies and we even caught one fly casting when stopped over a school that we drug under the boat.
For the next week – maybe two, it is possible to find mature adult stripers by trolling flies along the surface.  This magnificent but incredibly unusual year continues while fishing Lake Powell.
Bass and walleye are still being caught in big numbers while working the shoreline with green plastic baits and square bill crankbaits.  The walleye bite in the northern lake is monumental. Add a live night crawler to target these toothy and tasty game fish.
Come enjoy fishing at Lake Powell. There is something for everyone to enjoy right now.

dsellerscloseup_edited-1

Lake Powell Fish Report – May 19, 2015

Lake Elevation: 3592

Water Temperature 64 - 70 F

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

                                                             LOST STRIPERS ARE FOUND!

Striper fishing has been difficult in May since most are accustomed to fishing with bait for big schools of fish in deep water of the main channel. But not this year.  Stripers are in great shape and in spawning condition.  In April schools of stripers were found in the backs of canyons eating shad hiding in shallow water.  But not now. It is now apparent that these schools of prespawn fish have moved out of murky water in the backs of canyons into open bays often near the canyon mouth and main channel. Prespawn schools are holding in spawning coves next to deep water waiting for water to warm enough for spawning to occur. With no shad in spawning coves stripers have only plankton to eat while waiting….  Plankton move just enough to group up in shallow open water.  Stripers cruise along just under the surface until a plankton congregation is encountered and eat a few microscopic tidbits as they wait….  In these conditions shad imitating crankbaits are ignored except at low light morning and evenings. This is why striper fishing has been tough in May.

pbflyspotNow enter Dave Sellers, an expert striper fly fishermen from California.  He discovered that these schools were often near the surface and could be caught on flies by long casts expertly retrieved.  That did not help me much since I have not used a fly rod since I was a teenager. But he did give me one technique that I could successfully perform and it worked for a fish collection that was needed this week.  Here are Dave’s words (which I edited for this report) that I used to catch stripers.

“We headed back to Padre Bay to the cliff walls on the east shore and located a big school under the boat. We went fishless for about an hour. Rob handed me the controller to his boat troller and he laid out for some shut eye on the leaning seat on his Ranger Bay Boat while dragging a fly behind the boat. Happy accident!! it wasn't 100 feet before the rod was just about jerked out of his hand. I cast out and gave it a long count. Nothing. Then, I resumed trolling looking for schools. Rob did not have his line in water any longer as he was staring at the graph with me. Another 15 minutes and we decided to get on the main motor and slowly head across the mouth of the cove looking for fish on finder. I dragged my fly line out this time and cruising at tuna trolling speed, a hook up occurred inside of 30 seconds. The two clueless fly casters finally got a clue. The fish were not on the graph because they were on the surface. After getting my fish in, we shut the motor down and started casting. Every cast again. This time many of the takes were within the first two pulls, and once again, bone jarring. The fish, as expected, would pile under the boat with the caught fish. But this time, it was not a problem. For every school we dragged in from our casts, there were more out around us. It was yet another evening of abundance.”

flysizeI found ripe male stripers using Dave’s description of the habitat and then trolled a clouser minnow on my spinning rod with 7-pound fluorocarbon line along the surface at 4 mph and hooked up within 5 minutes.  Then we circled around that location continuing to catch shallow stripers on flies. We got one triple while trolling 3 flies and we even caught one fly casting when stopped over a school that we drug under the boat. For the next week – maybe two, it is possible to find mature adult stripers by trolling flies along the surface.  This magnificent but incredibly unusual year continues while fishing Lake Powell. 

Bass and walleye are still being caught in big numbers while working the shoreline with green plastic baits and square bill crankbaits.  The walleye bite in the northern lake is monumental. Add a live night crawler to target these toothy and tasty game fish.   Come enjoy fishing at Lake Powell.

There is something for everyone to enjoy right now.

 

May 12, 2015 - Set Your Clock to find fish

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Lake Powell Fish Report – May 12, 2015
Lake Elevation: 3590.6
Water Temperature 62- 70 F
By: Wayne Gustaveson   http://www.wayneswords.com
Lake Powell is rising!  The inflow is double the outflow allowing the lake level to climb almost one foot in a week.  Let’s hope it continues to rise for the next month.
Fishing success continues at the fast rate for which the month of May is known.  All fish species are cooperating. You just have to know what time it is in the water so you can set your clock for your target species.
Bass fishing is an afternoon phenomenon.  Water temperature in the morning is in the low 60s.  That was just what bass wanted last month - but not now.  The sun starts to warm the water mid morning but really gets aggressive by mid afternoon. When the water temperature nears 68-70 degrees bass fishing peaks. Bass are caught lakewide.  There may have been a subtle movement from open water reefs toward fairly steep rocky shoreline.  But that will change now that water level is on the rise. It won’t take long to find out the best location.  Just cast to reefs and then to steep rock piles. Smallmouth bass will let you know where they are at any given time as they gobble up the green plastic grub or Gulp minnow.
But first check your fish watch – Afternoon = Bass.
Dawn starts the day off with another chance to catch walleye as the first fish of the day. It is best to fish in the shade before the sun hits the water. Drag a plastic grub slowly along the bottom.  In early morning expect walleye to be the narrow trough at the center of a ravine where water would run down to the lake after a rain storm.  The magic depth is 12-25 feet. Catching walleye is better if there are submerged tumbleweeds in the shallows near shore.  That gives bluegill a place to hide and walleye a fast food stop for breakfast.  Walleye will snack when the wind blows in the afternoon.  Look for them where the waves are braking along a reef or shoreline.
Fish watch – Breakfast – Walleye.
Crappie are rebels. They do not care what time of day it is. In fact their only concern is searching for a large bush to hide in. With not many bushes in the water crappie are paranoid and found in really strange places.  They can be on a shallow hump near shore or in open water where the water color is murky brown.  They are widely scattered so slow trolling to cover a lot of ground may be the best technique.  Crappie are easier to understand at night.  Put out a light in a shallow cove where crappie were found during the day.   Crappie are attracted to light after dark.
Fish watch – Light on a dark Night = crappie.
Striped bass fishing is HOT at the right time.  There are two brief periods when striper catching is easy.  The first striper feeding period occurs as the sun begins to brighten the morning sky.  Stripers then come shallow to feed after a night of chasing each other around shallow coves. The next catching period is from sunset until dark.  Stripers have been sleeping all day long waiting for dark and hoping tonight will be the time to spawn.  They try to find a little snack before be consumed by spawning mania once more.  Lucky Craft pointers retrieved in a stop and go motion near shore are just what stripers are looking for.
Fish Watch – Almost light and then again at almost dark = Stripers

Lake Powell Fish Report – May 12, 2015

Lake Elevation: 3590.6

Water Temperature 62- 70 F

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

elipricelmb_edited-1Lake Powell is rising!  The inflow is double the outflow allowing the lake level to climb almost one foot in a week.  Let’s hope it continues to rise for the next month.Fishing success continues at the fast rate for which the month of May is known.  All fish species are cooperating. You just have to know what time it is in the water so you can set your clock for your target species. 

Bass fishing is an afternoon phenomenon.  Water temperature in the morning is in the low 60s.  That was just what bass wanted last month - but not now.  The sun starts to warm the water mid morning but really gets aggressive by mid afternoon. When the water temperature nears 68-70 degrees bass fishing peaks. Bass are caught lakewide.  There may have been a subtle movement from open water reefs toward fairly steep rocky shoreline.  But that will change now that water level is on the rise. It won’t take long to find out the best location.  Just cast to reefs and then to steep rock piles. Smallmouth bass will let you know where they are at any given time as they gobble up the green plastic grub or Gulp minnow.  

But first check your fish watch – Afternoon = Bass.

Dawn starts the day off with another chance to catch walleye as the first fish of the day. It is best to fish in the shade before the sun hits the water. Drag a plastic grub slowly along the bottom.  In early morning expect walleye to be the narrow trough at the center of a ravine where water would run down to the lake after a rain storm.  The magic depth is 12-25 feet. Catching walleye is better if there are submerged tumbleweeds in the shallows near shore.  That gives bluegill a place to hide and walleye a fast food stop for breakfast.  Walleye will snack when the wind blows in the afternoon.  Look for them where the waves are breaking along a reef or shoreline. 

Fish watch – Breakfast – Walleye.

sprav5bCrappie are rebels. They do not care what time of day it is. In fact their only concern is searching for a large bush to hide in. With not many bushes in the water crappie are paranoid and found in really strange places.  They can be on a shallow hump near shore or in open water where the water color is murky brown.  They are widely scattered so slow trolling to cover a lot of ground may be the best technique.  Crappie are easier to understand at night.  Put out a light in a shallow cove where crappie were found during the day.   Crappie are attracted to light after dark.  

Fish watch – Bright light on a dark Night = crappie. 

Striped bass fishing is HOT at the right time.  There are two brief periods when striper catching is easy.  The first striper feeding period occurs as the sun begins to brighten the morning sky.  Stripers then come shallow to feed after a night of chasing each other around shallow coves. The next catching period is from sunset until dark.  Stripers have been sleeping all day long waiting for dark and hoping tonight will be the time to spawn.  They try to find a little snack before being consumed by spawning mania once more.  Lucky Craft pointers retrieved in a stop and go motion near shore are just what stripers are looking for. 

Fish Watch – Almost light and then again at almost dark = Stripers

 

May 6, 2015 - May is Best Month for Fishing Success

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Lake Powell Fish Report – May 6, 2015                                                                                                                Lake Elevation: 3589.8
Water Temperature 62- 70
By: Wayne Gustaveson   http://www.wayneswords.com
Fish reports from the first weekend in May are rolling in and all agree that last weekend was the very best fishing of the year and perhaps the best seen in a very long time. All species of fish were caught along the length and breadth of the lake. Smallmouth bass were the leader by a country mile followed about equally by largemouth bass, crappie, and walleye. Stripers came in last but there were a few clues to help find them in the coming days.
Smallmouth bass were actively spawning in the mid to northern lake. They are very aggressive when the first eggs are laid but then become more docile with each passing day.  Weather is now blustery with scatter showers and cooler weather.   But water temperature remains above 62 degrees so bass will continue to guard nests and be easily caught.  Smallmouth techniques were evenly divided between square bill crankbaits cranked near shore and plastics fished along the bottom from shore to 25 feet deep.  It seems crankbaits and spinner baits were best early and late while plastics were better mid day.
Largemouth bass are randomly caught while pounding the shoreline looking for smallmouth.  It seems largemouth are done spawning but they are actively chasing sunfish and crayfish in submerged tumbleweed shelters in the backs of coves. Largemouth are caught frequently but compared to smallmouth they are outnumbered 10 to 1.
Crappie are actively spawning and have been found on nests in open water far from brush. The falling lake level with clear water makes them easy to see but they look back and see the boat so they are not always easy to catch. Small fish imitating lures are best. Try 1/16th ounce weights on 4-6 pound test when specifically targeting crappie.
Walleye are showing up more often now.  The magic depth is 15-20 feet. The best lures are plastic tubes and grubs that move slowly along the bottom.  A piece of live worm is a good enticement and draws response from crappie bass and bluegill as well.  Blue gill occupy tumbleweed piles in 10 feet of water and less.  Walleye hang at the 15 foot area and move in shallow occasionally to invite a bluegill to lunch.
Stripers are still difficult to find. The problem is romance related.  They are up all night and tend to go to sleep first thing in the morning.  I went out early today and found stripers much easier to catch at first light than at mid day. The vulnerable stripers are in open water where bottom depth is near 25 feet. These 1 and 2 year old fish are eating plankton and can be caught with small trolled lures.  Our best lure today was a ghost colored Lucky Craft Bevy Shad 75.  It runs about 8 feet deep and is small enough to excite the plankton-eating fish.
The larger mature males and females are separated from the small fish.  They hold in larger schools in deeper water.  Big schools were found at the mouth of 50-mile Canyon in the Escalante arm and in Bullfrog Bay near Buoy 94.  The 50-mile fish got away because they could be seen but not caught.  The Bullfrog fish were harvested in abundance with anchovy bait after extensive chumming and precise positioning over the stationary school.
If big striper schools are seen in deeper water, mark the spot and chum to wake them up. Once caught on bait they can be kept active with small spoons and jigs.  I caught schooled stripers today on Kastmasters and shad shaped worms.  Once active they just need something to eat.  Get it to them as quickly as possible before the boat drifts away from the school.
After the blustery week is over expect fishing to improve again as water warms.  Fishing does not have to be as good as it was last week to be incredibly exciting.

Lake Powell Fish Report – May 6, 2015                                                                                                                          

Lake Elevation: 3589.8

Water Temperature 62 - 70 F

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

ssshanelmbFish reports from the first weekend in May are rolling in and all agree that last weekend was the very best fishing of the year and perhaps the best seen in a very long time. All species of fish were caught along the length and breadth of the lake. Smallmouth bass were the leader by a country mile followed about equally by largemouth bass, crappie, and walleye. Stripers came in last but there were a few clues to help find them in the coming days.

Smallmouth bass were actively spawning in the mid to northern lake. They are very aggressive when the first eggs are laid but then become more docile with each passing day.  Weather is now blustery with scatter showers and cooler weather.  But water temperature remains above 62 degrees so bass will continue to guard nests and be easily caught.  

Smallmouth techniques were evenly divided between square bill crankbaits cranked near shore and plastics fished along the bottom from shore to 25 feet deep.  It seems crankbaits and spinner baits were best early and late while plastics were better mid day. 

Largemouth bass are randomly caught while pounding the shoreline looking for smallmouth.  It seems largemouth are done spawning but they are actively chasing sunfish and crayfish in submerged tumbleweed shelters in the backs of coves. Largemouth are caught frequently but compared to smallmouth they are outnumbered 10 to 1.  

Crappie are actively spawning and have been found on nests in open water far from brush. The falling lake level with clear water makes them easy to see but they look back and see the boat so they are not always easy to catch. Small fish imitating lures are best. Try 1/16th ounce weights on 4-6 pound test when specifically targeting crappie.  

ssshane2smbWalleye are showing up more often now.  The magic depth is 15-20 feet. The best lures are plastic tubes and grubs that move slowly along the bottom.  A piece of live worm is a good enticement and draws response from crappie, bass and bluegill as well.  Bluegill occupy tumbleweed piles in 10 feet of water and less.  Walleye hang at the 15 foot area and move in shallow occasionally to invite a bluegill to lunch. 

Stripers are still difficult to find. The problem is romance related.  They are up all night and tend to go to sleep first thing in the morning.  I went out early today and found stripers much easier to catch at first light than at mid day. The vulnerable stripers are in open water where bottom depth is near 25 feet. These 1 and 2 year old fish are eating plankton and can be caught with small trolled lures.  Our best lure today was a ghost colored Lucky Craft Bevy Shad 75.  It runs about 8 feet deep and is small enough to excite the plankton-eating fish.  

The larger mature males and females are separated from the small fish.  They hold in larger schools in deeper water. Big schools were found at the mouth of 50-mile Canyon in the Escalante arm and in Bullfrog Bay near Buoy 94.  The 50-mile fish got away because they could be seen but not caught.  The Bullfrog fish were harvested in abundance with anchovy bait after extensive chumming and precise positioning over the stationary school. If big striper schools are seen in deeper water, mark the spot and chum to wake them up. Once caught on bait they can be kept active with small spoons and jigs.

 I caught schooled stripers today on Kastmasters and shad shaped worms.  Once active they just need something to eat. Feed them as quickly as possible before the boat drifts away from the school.  After the blustery week is over expect fishing to improve again as water warms.  

shuntstb15_edited-1Fishing does not have to be as good as it was last week to be incredibly exciting.

 

April 29, 2015 - May is Walleye Month

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Lake Powell Fish Report – April 29, 2015

Lake Elevation: 3590.5

Water Temperature 61 - 66 wgwae4of7F

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

 

May is walleye month.

 

Fishing at Lake Powell continues to get stronger as the water warms.  It was 61-66 F today, which is primetime for spring fishing.  Smallmouth are still king but striped bass are in the back seat now and walleye are riding shotgun.

 

Smallmouth bass are moving back on the spawning beds so bass fishing will be super this week.

 

Striped bass are thinking about spawning so they are active at night.  The best time to catch stripers is at night or early morning in pre dawn light. They tend to quit biting when the sun peaks over the ridge and hits the water.

 

Walleye always come on strong in May because they are trying to rebuild their body after the stress of spawning.  They are caught more often now because they feed all day long. Later in the summer after the other fish spawn there is plenty of forage for omnivorous walleye but in May they have to use available forage.  It takes a full day of feeding to get that feeling of fullness they desire.

 

Walleye pattern:

 

Find colored water, usually toward the back of the canyon but sometimes along the bank where wind and waves stir up the sediment.

 

The proper walleye-catching depth is 12-15 feet.  That works whether trolling, casting or dragging live worms.  Find a bench, terrace or reef surrounded by deeper water.  Work your bait along the breaking edge.  As with most animals fish really like to have a close avenue of escape handy where they can dive quickly into deep water.

 

Trolling, casting, dragging or bottom bouncing will work.  It is up to you to decide which is your preferred method.

 

walleyecaughttubeTrolling: Tie on a 12-foot medium runner and drag it at 2-2.5 mph across the reef.  Walleye are ambush feeders that will strike quickly as a trolled bait is in range.  They really like to hide in a bush and eat fish that swim in close proximity.  Therefore trolling near brush and hitting bottom occasionally is the most effective technique.

 

Bottom bouncing: Use the 12 inch long L-shaped weight with a worm harness, attractant spinners and beads to deliver the night crawler to the waiting walleye. The bouncer has a heavy weight to keep the worm near the bottom.  The worm harness spinners attract attention and the worm usually has a couple of hooks that will impale the walleye as it strikes.

 

Casting or Drifting:  Use a plastic grub, jig, tube or worm on a jig head.  They key is to keep the bait on the bottom while slowly moving along the bottom contour. It will soon become apparent when the lure hits a stick or rock and bounces off.  Then the distinctive walleye bite will feel subtlety different as the bait is mouthed and then released…then picked up and dropped again.   Walleye often bite many times before getting enough hook to be caught.  The bite feels like a lure being grabbed by a rubber band, stretched and then released.  The take home message is that when strange things happen to your lure on the bottom it is usually walleye related.

 

How important is the live worm?  When the worm is lost to a walleye bite it seems wise to put another worm on to catch the fish.  But at times the lure on bottom without a worm will work just fine.  Live worms attached to the terminal tackle are really a matter of personal preference.  If you think walleye will bite better with a worm attached then put one on.  If you think it doesn’t matter then you don’t need one.  All of the walleye caught casting today had a piece of worm attached. The one walleye caught trolling did not bite a worm.  

 

Place a half-inch chunk of live worm on the hook with the plastic grub for taste and to build your confidence.

 

Oh! and one last caution:


walleyelurewormWhen you hook the walleye do not put your hand in the fishes mouth  They have sharp teeth! 

Last Updated on Thursday, 30 April 2015 07:48
 

April 22, 2015 - Smallmouth Bass Best!

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Lake Powell Fish Report – April 22, 2015                                                                                                                Lake Elevation: 3590.5                                                                                                                                                             Water Temperature 59 - 65F
By: Wayne Gustaveson   http://www.wayneswords.com
Weather in the southwest continues to be mild. At Lake Powell nights are cool and days warm enough to make fishing and boating on the lake refreshing. The mild weather lasts until May when temperatures are turned up a notch.  That warming will bring another bass spawn and the beginning of runoff and rising lake levels.
Current conditions include excellent fishing success for smallmouth bass lakewide.  Largemouth and crappie are the next most likely fish to catch.  When May warms up walleye may take over second place, at least in the northern lake. Here is a breakdown of fishing success from last week.
Northern Lake (Trachyte to Good Hope Bay)
Fishing success moves up and down with the degrees on the thermometer. It is better in the afternoon when warm and more challenging following a cool night or windy day. Striper schools are continually moving but can be caught in large numbers when a school is located by graphing or trolling. The most recent positive report came from trolling the main channel between Castle Butte and the Horn with deep Thundersticks and Umbrella rigs adorned with 6-inch paddle tail swim baits.
Walleye were caught trolling bottom bouncers with night crawlers and casting Wally Divers across shallow flats (15 ft) near Castle Butte.  Bass fishing was best near broken rock structure on a 45 degree slope.  Bass were found from shore out as far as 20 feet.
Bullfrog to Escalante
Bass fishing is best along the shoreline. Use plastics for best success.  Single tail, double tail, senkos, shad shaped worms, and other plastic baits all work well. The secret is to use the technique that instills personal confidence rather than trying the technique that worked well for someone else. Go with your favorite lure and technique right now and fish will be caught. For best results use green colored plastic.
Crappie are showing up in the Escalante canyons with brush piles on the bottom. Stick up brush is hard to find so search for the submerged cover for best results.
Walleye will be caught in bigger numbers during May but expect to catch one or two per trip this week.
Southern Lake (Wahweap to Rainbow Bridge)
Bass lead the way but do it better in the warming afternoons.  Fish broken rock along the shore and over submerged rock piles in open water.  Plastic lures are best with green colors most preferred. Walleye are showing up but not yet in large numbers.
Stripers can be found trolling where bottom depth is 25 feet. Yesterday we were able to mark schools in the back of the Rock Creek canyons and catch stripers on each pass over the school location.  Surprisingly, the fish caught early in the day were small yearlings that were in open water eating plankton.  After the water warmed in mid morning, larger stripers were caught where the yearlings had been located. The bigger mature fish were not found. It is expected that they are off feed while waiting for spawning temperatures to arrive.  It may be difficult fishing for mature stripers during the next month. Bait fishing may produce a few stripers throughout the lake.
San Juan is perhaps the best location on the lake this week for all fish. Bass fishing is phenomenal.  Water is clear all the way around the Great Bend.   Crappie are showing up in the San Juan better than in other lake locations.
The first two weeks of May will probably be the best fishing for the spring season.  Hope you can make it!

Lake Powell Fish Report – April 22, 2015                                                                                                                

Lake Elevation: 3590.5

Water Temperature 59 - 65F

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

smbrecordWeather in the southwest continues to be mild. At Lake Powell nights are cool and days warm enough to make fishing and boating on the lake refreshing. The mild weather lasts until May when temperatures are turned up a notch.  That warming will bring another bass spawn and the beginning of runoff and rising lake levels.

Current conditions include excellent fishing success for smallmouth bass lakewide.  Largemouth and crappie are the next most likely fish to catch.  When May warms up walleye may take over second place, at least in the northern lake. Here is a breakdown of fishing success from last week.    

Northern Lake (Trachyte to Good Hope Bay)

Fishing success moves up and down with the degrees on the thermometer. It is better in the afternoon when warm and more challenging following a cool night or windy day. Striper schools are continually moving but can be caught in large numbers when a school is located by graphing or trolling. The most recent positive report came from trolling the main channel between Castle Butte and the Horn with deep Thundersticks and Umbrella rigs adorned with 6-inch paddle tail swim baits. 

Walleye were caught trolling bottom bouncers with night crawlers and casting Wally Divers across shallow flats (15 ft) near Castle Butte.  Bass fishing was best near broken rock structure on a 45 degree slope.  Bass were found from shore out as far as 20 feet.  

Bullfrog to Escalante 

Bass fishing is best along the shoreline. Use plastics for best success.  Single tail, double tail, senkos, shad shaped worms, and other plastic baits all work well. The secret is to use the technique that instills personal confidence rather than trying the technique that worked well for someone else. Go with your favorite lure and technique right now and fish will be caught. For best results use green colored plastic.

Crappie are showing up in the Escalante canyons with brush piles on the bottom. Stick up brush is hard to find so search for the submerged cover for best results. 

Walleye will be caught in bigger numbers during May but expect to catch one or two per trip this week. 

Southern Lake (Wahweap to Rainbow Bridge)

Bass lead the way but do it better in the warming afternoons.  Fish broken rock along the shore and over submerged rock piles in open water.  Plastic lures are best with green colors most preferred. Walleye are showing up but not yet in large numbers. 

andrewtiptonStripers can be found trolling where bottom depth is 25 feet. Yesterday we were able to mark schools in the back of the Rock Creek canyons and catch stripers on each pass over the school location.  Surprisingly, the fish caught early in the day were small yearlings that were in open water eating plankton.  After the water warmed in mid morning, larger stripers were caught where the yearlings had been located. The bigger mature fish were not found. It is expected that they are off feed while waiting for spawning temperatures to arrive.  It may be difficult fishing for mature stripers during the next month. Bait fishing may produce a few stripers throughout the lake.

San Juan is perhaps the best location on the lake this week for all fish. Bass fishing is phenomenal.  Water is clear all the way around the Great Bend.   Crappie are showing up in the San Juan better than in other lake locations.   

The first two weeks of May will probably be the best fishing for the spring season.  Hope you can make it!

Last Updated on Thursday, 23 April 2015 09:07
 

April 14, 2015 - Bass Fishing is Best

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Lake Powell Fish Report – April 14, 2015                                                                                                                Lake Elevation: 3591                                                                                                                                                              Water Temperature 56 - 62 F
By: Wayne Gustaveson   http://www.wayneswords.com
The fishing reports from the weekend were the best reports of this year by far.   Virtually all that went fishing caught fish.  Some found phenomenal fishing success.
Bass anglers led the way.  Reports of 50 bass per trip were common.  Bass were caught equally well on plastic baits fished along the bottom or with crankbaits cast to shore and retrieved in shallow water.  Afternoon fishing in warmer water was much better than morning fishing but both were worthwhile.  It is not necessary to wait until noon to catch bass as it was a month ago.
Searching the shoreline in Rock Creek and Padre Bay for bedding bass nests was not productive. There were a few nests seen and some reported but the majority of bass have not reoccupied the nests for the magical second spawn.  That means good bass fishing is still to come. The most likely spawning period is from April 19th to April 24th following the cold front moving in tomorrow.
Stripers are still being caught by trolling to find the school and casting to catch more fish.  Stripers are relatively shallow and really like to hold over shallow water humps near deep water.  Shad are hiding in shallow water while stripers are at the mouth of the cove making sure no shad try to escape from the box canyon.  Small shad lures trolled over those striper humps (10-25 feet) activate the striper school.  Trailing stripers are still being caught by casting shad imitating lures in the area where a striper was caught trolling.  However striper fishing in the southern lake is less successful than it was in March and early April. We retraced our steps used to write the last fish report and found striper numbers only half as great as were caught the previous week.  Searching in the coves near Buoy 25 produced no stripers.  My guess is that fishing pressure caused many of the sun bathing stripers to move on.  They will not go far.  I expect them to be found within a few miles of Buoy 25 in the next week.  If you find them let us know!
Further uplake striper schools were larger and acting in a more normal manner.  That means large schools of stripers can be detected on the graph while trolling.   If they are too deep for the shallow trolled lures they can be marked and then caught with spoons as the boat returns to the school. A striper school was reported to be holding at the mouth of Bullfrog Bay near Buoy 94.  These fish were eager to strike a trolled silver and blue Thunderstick Jr.  When the fish were seen under the boat they could be spooned off the bottom at a depth of 25 feet.  Stripers were being caught at the mouth of Red Canyon trolling, spooning and casting.
Walleye were showing up well in Good Hope Bay.  They could be caught trolling and jigging on shallow flats (15 feet) out in open water. Find a submerged flat and bounce a trolled lure off the bottom to excite walleye holding on the shallow terrain.
The mud line created by runoff from the Colorado River is upstream from Red Canyon. Stained water starts at Buoy 118 and increases near the mouth of Ticaboo.
A few crappie are being caught in the backs of canyons from Good Hope to Trachyte.  It is necessary to go all the way to the back of a canyon to find clearer water not impacted by silt from runoff in the main channel.  Crappie are also being reported in the San Juan and Escalante arms of the lake.
The brief cool down will delay the catch of all species midweek but the bite will warm back up again by the weekend.

Lake Powell Fish Report – April 14, 2015                                                                                                                Lake Elevation: 3591                                                                                                                                                              Water Temperature 56 - 62 F

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

dungeebass1The fishing reports from the weekend were the best reports of this year by far.   Virtually all that went fishing caught fish. Some found phenomenal fishing success.   

Bass anglers led the way.  Reports of 50 bass (45 smallmouth and 5 largemouth) per trip were common lakewide.  Bass were caught equally well on plastic baits fished along the bottom or with crankbaits cast to shore and retrieved in shallow water.  Afternoon fishing in warmer water was much better than morning fishing but both were worthwhile.  It is not necessary to wait until noon to catch bass as it was a month ago. 

Searching the shoreline in Rock Creek and Padre Bay for bedding bass nests was not productive. There were a few nests seen and some reported but the majority of bass have not reoccupied the nests for the magical second spawn. That means good bass fishing is still to come. The most likely spawning period is from April 19th to April 24th following the cold front moving in tomorrow. 

Stripers are still being caught by trolling to find the school and casting to catch more fish.  Stripers are relatively shallow and really like to hold over shallow water humps near deep water.  Shad are hiding in shallow water while stripers are at the mouth of the cove making sure no shad try to escape from the box canyon.  Small shad lures trolled over those striper humps (10-25 feet) activate the striper school.  Trailing stripers are still being caught by casting shad imitating lures in the area where a striper was caught trolling.  However striper fishing in the southern lake is less successful than it was in March and early April. We retraced our steps used to write the last fish report and found striper numbers only half as great as were caught the previous week.  Searching in the coves near Buoy 25 produced no stripers.  My guess is that fishing pressure caused many of the sun bathing stripers to move on.  They will not go far.  I expect them to be found within a few miles of Buoy 25 in the next week.  If you find them let us know!     

Further uplake striper schools were larger and acting in a more normal manner.  That means large schools of stripers can be detected on the graph while trolling.   If they are too deep for the shallow trolled lures they can be marked and then caught with spoons as the boat returns to hover over the school. A striper school was reported to be holding at the mouth of Bullfrog Bay near Buoy 94.  These fish were eager to strike a trolled silver and blue Thunderstick Jr.  When the fish were seen under the boat they could be spooned off the bottom at a depth of 25 feet.  Stripers were being caught at the mouth of Red Canyon trolling, spooning and casting.

duboysbigwaeWalleye were showing up well in Good Hope Bay.  They could be caught trolling and jigging on shallow flats (15 feet) out in open water. Find a submerged flat and bounce a trolled lure along the bottom to excite walleye holding on the shallow terrain.  

The mud line created by runoff from the Colorado River is upstream from Red Canyon. Stained water starts at Buoy 118 and increases near the mouth of Ticaboo. 

A few crappie are being caught in the backs of canyons from Good Hope to Trachyte.  It is necessary to go all the way to the back of a canyon to find clearer water not impacted by silt from runoff in the main channel.  Crappie are also being reported in the San Juan and Escalante arms of the lake.  

The brief cool down will delay the catch of all species midweek but the bite will warm back up again by the weekend.

 

April 7, 2015 - Catching Nibblers

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Lake Powell Fish Report – April 7, 2015                                                                                                                Lake Elevation: 3590.9                                                                                                                                                              Water Temperature 56 - 62 F
By: Wayne Gustaveson   http://www.wayneswords.com
The unseasonably warm water experienced during the past week has now turned seasonably cooler.  The cold front chased bass off their nests, sent stripers deeper and slowed fishing success temporarily.  But it reality that makes this a normal April with the various changes that occur every Spring.  Now it is easy to predict what will happen next by looking at the temperature and weather forecast. Plan the fishing trip for 3-5 day warming periods and avoid cold fronts if possible.
Both large and smallmouth bass made nests and some spawning probably occurred. But as water cools bass leave the beds and wait for the next warming period when the nests can then be freshened up and more eggs laid. During a normal spring male bass will guard 4-6 different batches of eggs and fry.
Weather is predicted to warm up this weekend. Expect bass to return to shallow rocky structure when surface water temperature exceeds 62F in the morning period.  The next spawn will include many more fish than the few that made nests during the first week of April. Bass fishing success will also increase. One major change is that bass fishing success will be much better in clear water.  Bass can now be caught on virtually all rocky habitat over the length of the lake.
Walleye will get more active with the next water warm up.  The key to catching walleye is to fish low light periods in morning and evenings with slowly worked plastic baits that creep along the bottom in 12-25 feet of water. Another friend of walleye anglers is wind and wave action that ruffles the water surface and reduces visibility allowing walleye to see bait and lures more clearly through their light sensitive eyes. Walleye numbers are much higher from Bullfrog to the Colorado River inlet near Trachyte Canyon.  Runoff water makes the water murky which also enhances walleye success.
Striped bass moved from shallow warm water back to deep water with the recent cooling period. In the past few days the best success for larger stripers was found by those trolling deep diving lures in the 20-45 foot strata. Adult and juvenile stripers are divided by size.  Smaller fish are near the surface where plankton is found. Young stripers can feed on these random open water congregations of tiny microscopic animals and maintain good condition by the food obtained. But all stripers are habitually required by nature to consume any fish or lure that invades their personal space.  A shallow running lure that zips through the feeding school will be whacked. While trolling lipless vibrators recently we often feel many little ticks before hooking a striper.  My guess is that the trolled lure runs through a school of plankton eating stripers that just nibble at the lure before one finally opens its mouth enough to take the hook. When nibblers are contacted mark the spot and return to cast lures to the location for a quick catch of stripers.
It was recently reported that stripers were seen in the famous Buoy 25 coves that were so good two years ago. We investigated and found that to be true.  Many nibblers were found with respectable numbers caught while trolling LVs. The clear water makes it easy for stripers to just go deep to avoid boat traffic trolling overhead.  I have predicted that bait fishing will be slow this spring but this spot may be the perfect place to find lots of success using anchovies.  Striper numbers are large and the friendly deep water with shallow benches tend to hold stripers that come up to eat plankton and dive to avoid trouble.  It would be worthwhile to try bait at Buoy 25 just like the good old days.

 Lake Powell Fish Report – April 7, 2015                                                                                                                          Lake Elevation: 3590.9                                                                                                                                                            Water Temperature 56 - 62 F

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

wglmb09The unseasonably warm water experienced during the past week has now turned seasonably cooler.  The cold front chased bass off their nests, sent stripers deeper and slowed fishing success temporarily.  But it reality that makes this a normal April with the various changes that occur every Spring.  Now it is easy to predict what will happen next by looking at the temperature and weather forecast. Plan the fishing trip for 3-5 day warming periods and avoid cold fronts if possible.   

Both large and smallmouth bass made nests and some spawning probably occurred. But as water cools bass leave the beds and wait for the next warming period when the nests can then be freshened up and more eggs laid. During a normal spring male bass will guard 4-6 different batches of eggs and fry.   

Weather is predicted to warm up this weekend. Expect bass to return to shallow rocky structure when surface water temperature exceeds 62F in the morning period.  The next spawn will include many more fish than the few that made nests during the first week of April. Bass fishing success will also increase. One major change is that bass fishing success will be much better in clear water.  Bass can now be caught on virtually all rocky habitat over the length of the lake. 

gauneyeWalleye will get more active with the next water warm up.  The key to catching walleye is to fish low light periods in morning and evenings with slowly worked plastic baits that creep along the bottom in 12-25 feet of water. Another friend of walleye anglers is wind and wave action that ruffles the water surface and reduces visibility allowing walleye to see bait and lures more clearly through their light sensitive eyes. Walleye numbers are much higher from Bullfrog to the Colorado River inlet near Trachyte Canyon.  Runoff water makes the water murky which also enhances walleye success.

Striped bass moved from shallow warm water back to deep water with the recent cooling period. In the past few days the best success for larger stripers was found by those trolling deep diving lures in the 20-45 foot strata. Adult and juvenile stripers are divided by size.  Smaller fish are near the surface where plankton is found. Young stripers can feed on these random open water congregations of tiny microscopic animals and maintain good condition by the food obtained. But all stripers are habitually required by nature to consume any fish or lure that invades their personal space.  A shallow running lure that zips through the feeding school will be whacked.

While trolling lipless vibrators recently we often feel many little ticks before hooking a striper.  My guess is that the trolled lure runs through a school of plankton eating stripers that just nibble at the lure before one finally opens its mouth enough to take the hook. When nibblers are contacted mark the spot and return to cast lures to the location for a quick catch of stripers.  

It was recently reported that stripers were seen in the famous Buoy 25 coves that were so good two years ago. We investigated and found that to be true.  Many nibblers were found with respectable numbers caught while trolling LVs. The clear water makes it easy for stripers to just go deep to avoid boat traffic trolling overhead.  I have predicted that bait fishing will be slow this spring but this spot may be the perfect place to find lots of success using anchovies.  Striper numbers are large and the friendly deep water with shallow benches tend to hold stripers that come up to eat plankton and dive to avoid trouble.  It would be worthwhile to try bait at Buoy 25 just like the good old days.

ryankimball


 

April 1, 2015 - Warm water arrives early

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Lake Powell Fish Report – April 1, 2015
Lake Elevation: 3591
Water Temperature 60 - 65 F
By: Wayne Gustaveson
April is here but bass and stripers took little notice as they have been swimming in warming water for the past two weeks.   We usually have to wait until mid April for the magic 60 degree water temperatures that kicks-off bass and crappie spawning but those temperatures are already here.  It is no joke!  Fishing success makes it seem like the end of April and early May. Here is the summary of current conditions.
Largemouth and smallmouth bass have been active in the murky water in the backs of canyons for a while but now are found on points and in coves in water color transition zones and even clear water. The best habitat is rocky structure with piles of submerged tumbleweeds in close proximity. Bass are very active and quick to bite plastic jigs and tubes, worked methodically along the bottom.  Afternoon fishing in warming water is very productive but the morning bite is improving dramatically.
Recent bass tournaments have had winning weights exceeding 20 pounds for 5 bass. Both largemouth and smallmouth bass are rotund coming out of winter in great shape. Bass fishing is great over the length of the lake.
Crappie are found in the backs of canyons near brush and weeds where water is stained. Crappie fishing is better in the northern lake than the south with the San Juan and Escalante canyons being the best spots right now.
Walleye fishing has taken off in the northern lake with Good Hope Bay being the prime location.  These great tasting fish were caught most often on open water reefs at a depth of 20-25 feet. Slow trolling with bottom bouncers and worm harnesses is a sure thing but casting night crawlers and plastic grubs to the same reefs works well also.  Walleye are being caught lakewide but the numbers are smaller in the southern lake compared to the north.
Striped bass are active but well hidden.  Adult stripers are searching for shad. Shad are hiding in very shallow water hoping that stripers will not cross long shallow flats in the back of a canyon or cove.  Stripers hold in the 25 foot zone and periodically make the trek into 2 feet of water to get a shad snack.  A good sign of fish activity is looking for grebe congregations. Grebes often rest in large groups in the middle of the bay over deep water.  Finding a cluster of grebes in the back of the canyon where water depth is less than 3 feet is very unusual.  But if a flock of grebes is found out of place there is often a school of hungry stripers targeting that same shad school.  Right now it is more likely to find a striper school on a shallow flat in the back of the canyon than it is to find stripers in the deep water of the main channel. Do not expect to catch stripers at the dam or Moki Wall using anchovy bait.    It would be very helpful if concerned anglers went the extra half mile across the mud flat in the extreme back of the canyon to rescue shad from ravenous BIG stripers.
During the daily cycle stripers will hold in deeper water where they can be trolled up with down riggers.  Then stripers will move toward the shallows looking for shad.  Stripers in search mode are vulnerable to rattletraps and LVs trolled or cast to moving schools. Finally striper schools will go shallow for a short time where they can be caught on shallow running lures, spinner baits and surface lures. One striper boil was reported in shallow water over the weekend. Stripers then retreat from the shallows and head back out to deep water where they stay for a time before repeating the foraging process. It is necessary to look in all these depths and places to find the moving school.  Smaller stripers are consistently feeding on plankton in open water and they can be caught by trolling shallow running crankbaits and casting LVs or Kastmasters spoons.
There is a lot of fishing opportunity at Lake Powell now and it should continue throughout the month of April.

Lake Powell Fish Report – April 1, 2015

Lake Elevation: 3591   

Water Temperature 60 - 65 F

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

mikelarsen3April is here but bass and stripers took little notice as they have been swimming in warming water for the past two weeks. We usually have to wait until mid April for the magic 60 degree water temperatures that kicks-off bass and crappie spawning but those temperatures are already here.  It is no joke!  Fishing success makes it seem like the end of April and early May. Here is the summary of current conditions. 

Largemouth and smallmouth bass have been active in the murky water in the backs of canyons for a while but now are found on points and in coves in water color transition zones and even clear water. The best habitat is rocky structure with piles of submerged tumbleweeds in close proximity. Bass are very active and quick to bite plastic jigs and tubes, worked methodically along the bottom.  Afternoon fishing in warming water is very productive but the morning bite is improving dramatically. 

Recent bass tournaments have had winning weights exceeding 20 pounds for 5 bass. Both largemouth and smallmouth bass are rotund coming out of winter in great shape. Bass fishing is great over the length of the lake. 

Crappie are found in the backs of canyons near brush and weeds where water is stained. Crappie fishing is better in the northern lake than the south with the San Juan and Escalante canyons being the best spots right now. 

Walleye fishing has taken off in the northern lake with Good Hope Bay being the prime location.  These great tasting fish were caught most often on open water reefs at a depth of 20-25 feet. Slow trolling with bottom bouncers and worm harnesses is a sure thing but casting night crawlers and plastic grubs to the same reefs works well also.  Walleye are being caught lakewide but the numbers are smaller in the southern lake compared to the north. Striped bass are active but well hidden.  

hotwheelAdult stripers are searching for shad. Shad are hiding in very shallow water hoping that stripers will not cross long shallow flats in the back of a canyon or cove.  Stripers hold in the 25 foot zone and periodically make the trek into 2 feet of water to get a shad snack.  A good sign of fish activity is looking for grebe congregations. Grebes often rest in large groups in the middle of the bay over deep water.  Finding a cluster of grebes in the back of the canyon where water depth is less than 3 feet is very unusual.  But if a flock of grebes is found out of place there is often a school of hungry stripers targeting that same shad school.  Right now it is more likely to find a striper school on a shallow flat in the back of the canyon than it is to find stripers in the deep water of the main channel. Do not expect to catch stripers at the dam or Moki Wall using anchovy bait.    It would be very helpful if concerned anglers went the extra half mile across the mud flat in the extreme back of the canyon to rescue shad from ravenous BIG stripers. 

During the daily cycle stripers will hold in deeper water where they can be trolled up with down riggers.  Then stripers will move toward the shallows looking for shad.  Stripers in search mode are vulnerable to rattletraps and LVs trolled or cast to moving schools. Finally striper schools will go shallow for a short time where they can be caught on shallow running lures, spinner baits and surface lures. One striper boil was reported in shallow water over the weekend. Stripers then retreat from the shallows and head back out to deep water where they stay for a time before repeating the foraging process. It is necessary to look in all these depths and places to find the moving school.  

Smaller stripers are consistently feeding on plankton in open water and they can be caught by trolling shallow running crankbaits and casting LVs or Kastmasters spoons.  

There is a lot of fishing opportunity at Lake Powell now and it should continue throughout the month of April.

9lbscampbell

 


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