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Fishing Report

Water temperature:

55 - 61 F

March 15, 2017



March 22, 2017 - Choose you Species

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Lake Powell Fish Report – March 15, 2017
Lake Elevation: 3594
Water Temperature: 58-63 F
By: Wayne Gustaveson http://www.wayneswords.com
Lake Powell is rising. It has come up 6 inches since last week.  Spring runoff has begun a bit early due to warm days in March. That may change as another storm front is now on the way. Early runoff is a double edged sword for fishing success from Trachyte to Good Hope Bay. This week, reports indicated good steady fishing success for smallmouth bass, walleye, stripers and largemouth. Catching was steady for those using bass jigs along the shoreline and trolling with wally divers and shad raps at 2.5 to 3 mph in open water.
Early runoff will “muddy the water” and have some impact on fishing success in the northern lake. Right now the mudline is in the vicinity of White Canyon/Trachyte.  The muddy water could move quickly downstream depending on the strength of the Colorado River inflow. Anyone headed to the northern lake this weekend will find good fishable water and good success in catching a wide range of species.
In the southern lake bait fishing was working better for stripers than most other methods.  Most anglers were finding success at the dam.  One reported suggested cutting an anchovy in half and hooking it on a 1/4 oz. leadhead. “Then cast the bait out about 50 to 60 feet into deep water and let it just drift down on its own arc controlled by the length of line out. By the time it gets to about 40 to 50 feet deep you'll get a good bite.” The Wahweap fish cleaning station was busy every day with many fishing crews bringing in 20-30 fish to fillet.
My weekly trip was less productive than the previous trip.  This time we went to Last Chance to see if the schools there were cooperating. We found only a few striper aggregations that would respond to our trolled lures, but when we did we often doubled by tossing out a lure behind the hooked fish as it was reeled in.
We tried Buoy 25 cove on the return trip and found the shallow visible stripers still holding there but they were less aggressive than they were a week ago. Striper count there was only 12 fish with a total of 24 stripers filleted at the cleaning station.
We should have focused on Warm Creek where the best reports were coming from.  Large schools of stripers were in the back of the canyon past the floating restroom where bottom depth quickly changes from 60 to 40 feet. These fish were willing to hit diving lures attached to downriggers set at 40 feet. Graph a school and then drop a lure deeply to catch lots of fish.
Right now you can choose which species of fish you wish to catch by using the technique best suited for that species.  Bass are in the backs of canyons and on rock slides in the main channel and main canyons anxious to find plastic grubs.  Crappie are hiding in certain spots with overhanging rocks or a submerged weed pile.  They like small plastic or hair jigs. Stripers can be caught trolling, casting, and bait fishing.  Walleye are feeding at first light in the morning. They really like night crawlers near the bottom. A slow retrieve works best for them. Whichever species is your favorite, they can be caught now, lakewide, through the end of May.
It’s time to go fishing at Lake Powell.

Lake Powell Fish Report – March 22, 2017

Lake Elevation: 3594

Water Temperature: 58-63 F

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

Lake Powell is rising. It has come up 6 inches since last week.  Spring runoff has begun a bit early due to warm days in March. That may change as another storm front is now on the way. Early runoff is a double edged sword for fishing success from Trachyte to Good Hope Bay. This week, reports indicated good steady fishing success for smallmouth bass, walleye, stripers and largemouth. Catching was steady for those using bass jigs along the shoreline and trolling autdavemcquittywith wally divers and shad raps at 2.5 to 3 mph in open water.

Early runoff will “muddy the water” and have some impact on fishing success in the northern lake. Right now the mudline is in the vicinity of White Canyon/Trachyte.  The muddy water could move quickly downstream depending on the strength of the Colorado River inflow. Anyone headed to the northern lake this weekend will find good fishable water and good success in catching a wide range of species.  

In the southern lake bait fishing was working better for stripers than most other methods.  Most anglers were finding success at the dam.  One reported suggested cutting an anchovy in half and hooking it on a 1/4 oz. leadhead. “Then cast the bait out about 50 to 60 feet into deep water and let it just drift down on its own arc controlled by the length of line out. By the time it gets to about 40 to 50 feet deep you'll get a good bite.” The Wahweap fish cleaning station was busy every day with many fishing crews bringing in 20-30 fish to fillet. 

My weekly trip was less productive than the previous trip.  This time we went to Last Chance to see if the schools there were cooperating. We found only a few striper aggregations that would respond to our trolled lures, but when we did we often doubled by tossing out a lure behind the hooked fish as it was reeled in.

bm102414We tried Buoy 25 cove on the return trip and found the shallow visible stripers still holding there but they were less aggressive than they were a week ago. Striper count there was only 12 fish with a total of 24 stripers filleted at the cleaning station.  

We should have focused on Warm Creek where the best reports were coming from.  Large schools of stripers were in the back of the canyon past the floating restroom where bottom depth quickly changes from 60 to 40 feet. These fish were willing to hit diving lures attached to downriggers set at 40 feet. Graph a school and then drop a lure deeply to catch lots of fish. 

Right now you can choose which species of fish you wish to catch by using the technique best suited for that species. Bass are in the backs of canyons and on rock slides in the main channel and main canyons anxious to find plastic grubs. Crappie are hiding in certain spots with overhanging rocks or a submerged weed pile.  They like small plastic or hair jigs. Stripers can be caught trolling, casting, and bait fishing.  Walleye are feeding at first light in the morning. They really like night crawlers near the bottom. A slow retrieve works best for them. Whichever species is your favorite, they can be caught now, lakewide, through the end of May.

westreflectIt’s time to go fishing at Lake Powell.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 22 March 2017 09:46
 

March 15, 2017 - Jerk Bait Stripers

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Lake Powell Fish Report – March 15, 2017
Lake Elevation: 3593
Water Temperature: 55-61 F
By: Wayne Gustaveson http://www.wayneswords.com
Spring weather has been warm and wonderful. Surface water temperature this morning has risen to 55 degrees which is 6 degrees warmer than last week.   That is impressive and the various fish species are reacting in their own way.  Here is a rundown by species and location.
Smallmouth Bass:  Warming has allowed smallmouth to move shallower. They come up because warm water is only on the surface.   It will take a while before the thin warmer water layer will expand enough for full participation by smallmouth. Right now they are more likely to react to lures in the 60 degree afternoon water than in the 55 degree morning. As the lake wide temperature continues to increase, bass will be more responsive throughout the day.  Right now take advantage of other more active species in the morning and then switch over to smallmouth later in the day.
Largemouth Bass:  Largemouth respond well all day long but there are not as many largemouth as smallmouth making fish success steady but not super productive. You have to search for largemouth.  They can be very shallow and visible in clear water.  They can be near a bush, which are few and far between, or in big uneven rocky structure. A rocky cove is more likely to produce largemouth than a large main channel rockslide.
Effective bass lures this week included soft plastics in brown, chartreuse, green pumpkin, watermelon, shad or white.  Casting a grub to shore structure or drop-shotting under the boat both worked well. Bass tournament anglers this week caught some nice largemouth in the 6-pound range.
Walleye: are spawning but they will respond to bait and lures at dawn and dusk each day.  Females are the most likely fish to catch.  Walleye are a good target while waiting for smallmouth to wake up. Cast to the 10-15 foot strata in the backs of coves or canyons. Use conventional bass tackle but attach a small piece of night crawler to the hook then slow down the retrieve and maintain bottom contact. Use the same advice if trolling or casting a bottom bouncer with a worm harness and night crawler.
Crappie: These fish are getting more active and a few have been caught but they are very limited in the lake. Reproduction has been hampered by lack of brushy cover during spawning season so numbers are down. A few crappie have been found in Navajo Canyon and Last Chance but if looking for a serious crappie trip then go to the San Juan, Escalante or Good Hope Bay.  One angler interviewed at the cleaning station yesterday said he caught crappie when he changed out his small crappie jigs to a 3-inch plastic worm. Crappie could apparently find the bigger worm in cloudy water or the fish they feed on were of larger size.
Stripers: We traveled from Wahweap to Dungeon Canyon looking for stripers yesterday. We tried trolling and casting in Dungeon, Dry Rock, Main Rock Creek, Dove, Padre Canyon and Gunsight. Results were similar at each location. Only 1 or two stripers were caught in the backs of each canyon.  It is obvious that warming has changed striper dynamics and they are on the move.  We left the backs of canyons and started looking in clear water.  Surprisingly, we were successful in visually finding schools of stripers in Labyrinth, Face, and Buoy 25.  Fish were skittish and ran from us so spooning and casting did not work.
Finally we found success with a long range trolling technique.  We went to the back of the canyon and cast out a small (3 inch) shallow running crankbait (Lucky Craft pointer 65, ghost color).  With the bail open we then trolled slowly out crossing over the visible school. When almost out of line (100+ yards) on the spinning reel the bail was closed and a pause and retrieve jerk bait technique was employed. When the small lure passed over the school with the boat well out of range the fish responded well and ate the small lures.
As expected, at the fish cleaning station with the normal 30 stripers, we found these fish to be fat and healthy with stomachs containing plankton.  Healthy stripers are on the move and are able to subsist on plankton until the new shad crop is produced in May and June.
There are still striper schools in the backs of canyons where shad are available. These fish can be caught on spoons, casting and trolling. They will likely stay in the backs canyons and wait for shad to spawn.  Other stripers that are not yet mature (14-18 inches) can survive on plankton and they will be found widely scattered throughout the lake.
Mature stripers that are not finding shad will move to the deep water in the main channel. These fish have shown up at Glen Canyon Dam this week.  Catches of 30 fish in 4 hours of fishing have been reported.
This spring will be a delight for all anglers. From now to the end of May there will be fish available to suit your preferred fishing techniques and locations.  Bait fishermen can find stripers in the channel.  Trollers and casters can find many species of fish in the backs of canyons. Bass anglers will find their targets along the rocky shoreline. As an added bonus the lake will rise to levels not seen for many years.   It’s a great year to be at Lake Powell.

Lake Powell Fish Report – March 15, 2017

Lake Elevation: 3593

Water Temperature: 55-61 F

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

Spring weather has been warm and wonderful. Surface water temperature this morning has risen to 55 degrees which is 6 degrees warmer than last week.   That is impressive and the various fish species are reacting in their own way.  Here is a rundown by species and location.

Smallmouth Bass:  Warming has allowed smallmouth to move shallower. They come up because warm water is only on the surface.   It will take a while before the thin warmer water layer will expand enough for full participation by smallmouth. Right now they are more likely to react to lures in the 60 degree afternoon water than in the 55 degree morning. As the lake wide temperature continues to increase, bass will be more responsive throughout the day.  Right now take advantage of other more active species in the morning and then switch over to smallmouth later in the day. 
 

Largemouth Bass:  Largemouth respond well all day long but there are not as many largemouth as smallmouth making fish success steady but not super productive. You have to search for largemouth.  They can be very shallow and visible in clear water.  They can be near a bush, which are few and far between, or in big uneven rocky structure. A rocky cove is more likely to produce largemouth than a large main channel rockslide.

Effective bass lures this week included soft plastics in brown, chartreuse, green pumpkin, watermelon, shad or white. Casting a grub to shore structure or drop-shotting under the boat both worked well. Bass tournament anglers this week caught some nice largemouth in the 6-pound range. 

Walleye: are spawning but they will respond to bait and lures at dawn and dusk each day.  Females are the most likely fish to catch.  Walleye are a good target while waiting for smallmouth to wake up. Cast to the 10-15 foot strata in the backs of coves or canyons. Use conventional bass tackle but attach a small piece of night crawler to the hook then slow down the retrieve and maintain bottom contact. Use the same advice if trolling or casting a bottom bouncer with a worm harness and night crawler. 

Crappie: These fish are getting more active and a few have been caught but they are very limited in the lake. Reproduction has been hampered by lack of brushy cover during spawning season so numbers are down. A few crappie have been found in Navajo Canyon and Last Chance but if looking for a serious crappie trip then go to the San Juan, Escalante or Good Hope Bay.  One angler interviewed at the cleaning station yesterday said he caught crappie when he changed out his small crappie jigs to a 3-inch plastic worm. Crappie could apparently find the bigger worm in cloudy water or the fish they feed on were of larger size. 

jerkbaitcynStripers: We traveled from Wahweap to Dungeon Canyon looking for stripers yesterday. We tried trolling and casting in Dungeon, Dry Rock, Main Rock Creek, Dove, Padre Canyon and Gunsight. Results were similar at each location. Only 1 or two stripers were caught in the backs of each canyon.  It is obvious that warming has changed striper dynamics and they are on the move.  We left the backs of canyons and started looking in clear water.  Surprisingly, we were successful in visually finding schools of stripers in Labyrinth, Face, and Buoy 25.  Fish were skittish and ran from us so spooning and casting did not work. 

Jerkbait Canyon

Finally we found success with a long range trolling technique.  We went to the back of the canyon and cast out a small (3 inch) shallow running crankbait (Lucky Craft pointer 65, ghost color).  With the bail open we then trolled slowly out crossing over the visible school. When almost out of line (100+ yards) on the spinning reel the bail was closed and a pause and retrieve jerk bait technique was employed. When the small lure passed over the school with the boat well out of range the fish responded well and ate the small lures. 

As expected, at the fish cleaning station with the normal 30 stripers, we found these fish to be fat and healthy with stomachs containing plankton.  Healthy stripers are on the move and are able to subsist on plankton until the new shad crop is produced in May and June.  

There are still striper schools in the backs of canyons where shad are available. These fish can be caught on spoons, casting and trolling. They will likely stay in the backs canyons and wait for shad to spawn.  Other stripers that are not yet mature (14-18 inches) can survive on plankton and they will be found widely scattered throughout the lake.  

Mature stripers that are not finding shad will move to the deep water in the main channel. These fish have shown up at Glen Canyon Dam this week.  Catches of 30 fish in 4 hours of fishing have been reported.  

This spring will be a delight for all anglers. From now to the end of May there will be fish available to suit your preferred fishing techniques and locations.  Bait fishermen can find stripers in the channel.  Trollers and casters can find many species of fish in the backs of canyons. Bass anglers will find their targets along the rocky shoreline. As an added bonus the lake will rise to levels not seen for many years.   It’s a great year to be at Lake Powell.

It is always a good idea to store harvested stripers on ice to keep them in the best shape for great eating quality.  

stbice

Last Updated on Wednesday, 15 March 2017 11:13
 

March 8, 2017 - Largemouth Bass Take Off!

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Lake Powell Fish Report – March 8, 2017
Lake Elevation: 3594
Water Temperature: 49-54 F
By: Wayne Gustaveson http://www.wayneswords.com
Walleye and Largemouth Fishing Begins
Springtime for Lake Powell fish effectively arrives today.  Air temperature at Lake Powell will climb into the 60s today and soar to the 70s later in the week.  Water temperature will rise from the high 40s to the mid 50s by the weekend. Warm water fish will take immediate notice of the warming water.
Smallmouth bass don’t really get in gear until the early morning water temperature is 57 degrees or above.  Largemouth bass are the first to respond.  With warming this week, largemouth will get more active, look for an easy meal of crayfish, sunfish or shad, and be much more interested in bass jigs. Expect the afternoon water temperature to climb to the 60’s by the weekend. I am an early morning fishermen and often reap the rewards of getting out early, but that does not really matter when pursuing largemouth bass this week.  Afternoon fishing in warming water will be better than morning fishing in cool water.
Largemouth enjoy cover. At the current low lake levels, flooded brush is hard to find. If you see a submerged tumbleweed pile, a bush with thick branches, or some other cover that may hold a bass, cast to the cover. It is wise to use a weedless lure and a slow presentation when fishing for largemouth.  When cover is completely lacking find the warmest water and fish there. If there is no brush then find large rock structure with a bit of shade where bass wait to ambush a shad or sunfish.
This is the time to catch big, heavy bass before the spawn when large females are full of eggs.  Expect to find more bass in the backs of canyons where water is green or murky.  Clear water is not as “bassy”.
Due to low water and lack of brush, largemouth bass are not as numerous as smallmouth bass. I recommend that all largemouth bass that are caught be released so they can successfully spawn and increase bass numbers lake wide.  Surprisingly, if you want to harvest a bass then the females are the ones to keep.  Males guard the nest and tend the kids.  Next month, when sight-fishing for bass, males are the bass seen guarding the nests. These little guys are the ones that must be released.  If you want to keep a bass then make sure it is a smallmouth bass. They are available in large numbers and great for a fish dinner. You can keep up to 20 smallmouth bass each day.
Walleye are more excited about warming water than largemouth bass because warming triggers walleye spawning. Reports are starting to come in from the northern lake that walleye have been captured on spoons in 60-80 feet of water. These prespawn walleye aggregations will turn their focus from feeding to spawning which occurs at night on submerged rockslides. That means walleye will be harder to catch now but they will be post-spawn hungry and ready to provide an epic fishing experience in April and May in the northern lake. Put that on your calendar.
Striped bass are still quite catchable.  The question now is when will stripers show up at the dam or other locations in the main channel and provide great fishing for all that use bait.  No reports of bait fishing success have been received yet. Fishing success is still solid for those using the troll/cast/spoon techniques that have worked all winter long.  Stripers are still finding shad in the backs of canyons and can be caught by trolling shad imitating crankbaits that run from 8-25 feet in the murky water in the backs of canyons.  My fishing success has dropped off during the last few trips.  The weekly trip tally has dropped from 75, to 55, to only 30 stripers caught yesterday. I know, no one is going to feel sorry for me bringing in 30 stripers, but it just means that conditions are changing and I have to look in other locations as stripers are on the move.
Good striper reports are coming in from murky water in the backs of Navajo Canyon, Lone Rock Canyon, Warm Creek, Padre Canyon, Last Chance, and Rock Creek.  Trolling and casting works best.  Spoons are still working periodically with the silver Kastmaster lures working better than the standard jigging spoons.
It is exciting to see spring fishing take off again.  It makes we want to go fishing at Lake Powell!

Lake Powell Fish Report – March 8, 2017

Lake Elevation: 3594

Water Temperature: 49-54 F

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

Walleye and Largemouth Fishing Begins

kipbennettSpringtime for Lake Powell fish effectively arrives today.  Air temperature at Lake Powell will climb into the 60s today and soar to the 70s later in the week.  Water temperature will rise from the high 40s to the mid 50s by the weekend. Warm water fish will take immediate notice of the warming water. 

Smallmouth bass don’t really get in gear until the early morning water temperature is 57 degrees or above.  Largemouth bass are the first to respond.  With warming this week, largemouth will get more active, look for an easy meal of crayfish, sunfish or shad, and be much more interested in bass jigs. Expect the afternoon water temperature to climb to the 60’s by the weekend. I am an early morning fishermen and often reap the rewards of getting out early, but that does not really matter when pursuing largemouth or smallmouth bass this week.  Afternoon fishing in warming water will be better than morning fishing in cool water. 

matthewlmbLargemouth enjoy cover. At the current low lake levels, flooded brush is hard to find. If you see a submerged tumbleweed pile, a bush with thick branches, or some other cover that may hold a bass, cast to the cover. It is wise to use a weedless lure and a slow presentation when fishing for largemouth.  When cover is completely lacking find the warmest water and cast there. If there is no brush then find large rocky structure with a bit of shade where bass wait to ambush a shad or sunfish. 

This is the time to catch big, heavy bass before the spawn when large females are full of eggs.  Expect to find more bass in the backs of canyons where water is green or murky.  Clear water is not as “bassy”. 

Due to low water and lack of brush, largemouth bass are not as numerous as smallmouth bass. I recommend that all largemouth bass that are caught be released so they can successfully spawn and increase bass numbers lake wide. Surprisingly, if you want to harvest a bass then the females are the ones to keep.  Males guard the nest and tend the kids.  Next month, when sight-fishing for bass, males are the bass seen guarding the nests. These little guys are the ones that must be released.  If you want to keep a bass then make sure it is a smallmouth bass. They are available in large numbers and great for a fish dinner. You can keep up to 20 smallmouth bass each day.

ssww2Walleye are more excited about warming water than largemouth bass because warming triggers walleye spawning. Reports are starting to come in from the northern lake that walleye have been captured on spoons in 60-80 feet of water. These prespawn walleye aggregations will turn their focus from feeding to spawning which occurs at night on submerged rockslides. That means walleye will be harder to catch now but they will be post-spawn hungry and ready to provide an epic fishing experience in April and May in the northern lake. Put that on your calendar.

Striped bass are still quite catchable.  The question now is when will stripers show up at the dam or other locations in the main channel and provide great fishing for all that use bait.  No reports of bait fishing success have been received yet. Fishing success is still solid for those using the troll/cast/spoon techniques that have worked all winter long.  Stripers are still finding shad in the backs of canyons and can be caught by trolling shad imitating crankbaits that run from 8-25 feet in the murky water in the backs of canyons.  My fishing success has dropped off during the last few trips.  The weekly trip tally has dropped from 75, to 55, to only 30 stripers caught yesterday. I know, no one is going to feel sorry for me bringing in 30 stripers, but it just means that conditions are changing and I have to look in other locations as stripers are on the move. 

Good striper reports are coming in from murky water in the backs of Navajo Canyon, Lone Rock Canyon, Warm Creek, Padre Canyon, Last Chance, and Rock Creek.  Trolling and casting works best.  Spoons are still working periodically with the silver Kastmaster lures working better than the standard jigging spoons. 

It is exciting to see spring fishing take off again.  It makes we want to go fishing at Lake Powell!

Last Updated on Wednesday, 08 March 2017 11:11
 

March 2, 2017 - First regular Fish report

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Lake Powell Fish Report – March 2, 2017
Lake Elevation: 3594
Water Temperature: 48-50 F
By: Wayne Gustaveson http://www.wayneswords.com
Water temperature this morning was a cold 48 degrees, but March is coming in like a peaceful little pussy cat. Weather is warming with little wind predicted for the coming week.  That means fishing success will improve with each passing day until the next storm front.  Expect rising water temperatures to reach 57 degrees in the afternoon by the end of next week. That temperature really wakes up Lake Powell fish.  Here is what to expect for each species.
Largemouth Bass:  Bass hover over, reside in, and do not like to leave cover. They like to share their bush with sunfish. Rent is extremely expensive for the individual sunfish eaten each day but the others peacefully coexist until meal time the next day. To catch largemouth, fish in, over, and around that bush.  It’s too cold for topwater so the lure must be placed in or really close to the bush, so a weedless presentation is often best. Brush is limited now at this low lake level so look for bass in large rocky structure as well. Use a slow presentation so a cold bass has time to view the bait before deciding to take a bite.
Crappie:  Like largemouth, crappie really want to live in a bush. When brush is absent crappie tend to seek a certain water depth, hover over a ledge or dropoff, or find colored water where they can eat small fish by ambushing them in low visibility water.   At the current water level, crappie will be hard to locate.  Look in the backs of canyons where water depth is 12-25 feet with green to muddy water color.  I use an eighth ounce crappie jig, either hair jig or plastic, to search for crappie in the backs of canyons.
Smallmouth Bass: These bass use rock structure for cover so it is easier to locate them with plastic grubs fished on rocky shelves, in boulder fields, or at the edge of drop-offs and other shallow water areas from 30 feet deep to the shallow shoreline. The key to springtime bass fishing is to find the warmest water available.  Often a tall rock, facing the mid day sun, will heat a cove slightly warmer than the surrounding water. Fishing in that cove will be better than a cove in the shade or without a warming rock. Use the thermometer for best fishing results.
Walleye: It is spawning season for these toothy critters.  The boys are totally focused on finding the girls so they are not caught as well during March. They really turn on in April and May. Large females are still actively eating shad and can be located in green to muddy water in the backs of canyons. If shad are present and swimming in open water, big female walleye can be caught trolling and casting. We caught a 3-pound female last week in open water while trolling for stripers with shad imitating baits.  If trolling for walleye, it is always best to fish at a water depth where the lure occasionally hits bottom.  The most effective trolling lure may be a bottom bouncer that can hit bottom at various depths.  Walleye are bottom oriented so the overall most effective technique may be to hook a piece of worm to a bass jig and slowly inch that along the bottom structure.  Troll to find the walleye aggregation then cast to catch more fish.
Striped Bass:  Stripers swim in schools, so finding the school really increases catch rate.  I troll to find a school, then cast or spoon while hovering over the school.  One striper eating a lure will encourage the rest of the school mates to join in.  After catching one striper, quickly get the lure back in the water to entice following fish.  Watch the graph to see if the school follows and appears under the boat.
The springtime question is:  Will stripers be in the backs of canyons chasing lures or in deep water of the main channel eating bait?  Right now I have found more stripers in the backs of canyons because that is where I have been looking.  My prediction is that there will be an equal number of stripers that come to the main channel looking for bait.  That prediction won’t be fully answered until April.  I promise to keep looking until that is fully defined. Stay tuned.

Lake Powell Fish Report – March 2, 2017

Lake Elevation: 3594

Water Temperature: 48-50 F

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

lmb12
Water temperature this morning was a cold 48 degrees, but March is coming in like a peaceful little pussy cat. Weather is warming with little wind predicted for the coming week.  That means fishing success will improve with each passing day until the next storm front.  Expect rising water temperatures to reach 57 degrees in the afternoon by the end of next week. That temperature really wakes up Lake Powell fish.  Here is what to expect for each species.

 
Largemouth Bass:  Bass hover over, reside in, and do not like to leave cover. They like to share their bush with sunfish. Rent is extremely expensive for the individual sunfish eaten each day but the others peacefully coexist until meal time the next day. To catch largemouth, fish in, over, and around that bush.  It’s too cold for topwater so the lure must be placed in or really close to the bush, so a weedless presentation is often best. Brush is limited now at this low lake level so look for bass in large rocky structure as well. Use a slow presentation so a cold bass has time to view the bait before deciding to take a bite. 


dankennedycrappie2Crappie:  Like largemouth, crappie really want to live in a bush. When brush is absent crappie tend to seek a certain water depth, hover over a ledge or dropoff, or find colored water where they can eat small fish by ambushing them in low visibility water.   At the current water level, crappie will be hard to locate.  Look in the backs of canyons where water depth is 12-25 feet with green to muddy water color.  I use an eighth ounce crappie jig, either hair jig or plastic, to search for crappie in the backs of canyons. 

Smallmouth Bass: These bass use rock structure for cover so it is easier to locate them with plastic grubs fished on rocky shelves, in boulder fields, or at the edge of drop-offs and other shallow water areas from 30 feet deep to the shallow shoreline. The key to springtime bass fishing is to find the warmest water available.  Often a tall rock, facing the mid day sun, will heat a cove slightly warmer than the surrounding water. Fishing in that cove will be better than a cove in the shade or without a warming rock. Use the thermometer for best fishing results. 

walleyecaughttubeWalleye: It is spawning season for these toothy critters.  The boys are totally focused on finding the girls so they are not caught as well during March. They really turn on in April and May. Large females are still actively eating shad and can be located in green to muddy water in the backs of canyons. If shad are present and swimming in open water, big female walleye can be caught trolling and casting. We caught a 3-pound female last week in open water while trolling for stripers with shad imitating baits.  If trolling for walleye, it is always best to fish at a water depth where the lure occasionally hits bottom.  The most effective trolling lure may be a bottom bouncer that can hit bottom at various depths.  Walleye are bottom oriented so the overall most effective technique may be to hook a piece of worm to a bass jig and slowly inch that along the bottom structure.  Troll to find the walleye aggregation then cast to catch more fish.  

Striped Bass:  Stripers swim in schools, so finding the school really increases catch rate.  I troll to find a school, then cast or spoon while hovering over the school.  One striper eating a lure will encourage the rest of the school mates to join in. After catching one striper, quickly get the lure back in the water to entice following fish.  Watch the graph to see if the school follows and appears under the boat.  The springtime question is:  Will stripers be in the backs of canyons chasing lures or in deep water of the main channel eating bait?  Right now I have found more stripers in the backs of canyons because that is where I have been looking.  My prediction is that there will be an equal number of stripers that come to the main channel looking for bait.  That prediction won’t be fully answered until April.  I promise to keep looking until that is fully defined. Stay tuned.

 

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

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

Lake Powell Fish Report – February 23, 2017

Lake Elevation: 3594

Water Temperature: 49-54 F

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

Fishing at Lake Powell is incredible.

 
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