Lake Powell Fish Report – August 24, 2016
Lake Elevation: 3614.82
Water Temperature: 77 – 80 F
By: Wayne Gustaveson http://www.wayneswords.com
August striper boils continue to excite anglers over the length of Lake Powell. There are some subtle nuances that will assist those trying to find them.
Full moon has an impact on fishing. For instance, the full moon on August 18 delayed striper boils in Good Hope Bay until 6 PM, but once they started catching was great. The next two evenings, boils started at 4PM and provided tremendously exciting striper fishing results until dark. Boiling stripers varied from small 12 inch fish, to mid range 14-18 inchers, with a few in the 22-24 inch range. During the day stripers were in deep water and could be caught trolling along the shady steep shorelines. On the 21st stripers began boiling at noon and continued until dark.
Bright nights had the same impact in the southern lake. Scattered boils were found from Padre to Rainbow in the evening but the surface was calm during the day. That changed on the cloudy morning of August 23rd. Overcast skies provided stripers the desired visibility and strange surface feeding activity was found in West Canyon. On our weekly sampling trip we noticed many single fish hitting the surface in a deep box canyon. They were not aggressively chasing surface lures and I thought they might have been gizzard shad. Then we put on heavy spoons that allowed us to throw long casts. When the spoon hit within the splash ring, stripers could be caught with a quick, shallow retrieve. Twenty stripers were caught before the fish quit at 8 AM.
We caught an occasional smallmouth bass or striper while trolling, but this fishing was not as exciting as the single fish boils in the early morning hours. We were surprised to troll up an adult bluegill on a rocky point at the mouth of West Canyon. I carry night crawlers with me in hopes of catching a walleye. I put a small split shot sinker on in front of a small #8 hook and dropped a night crawler onto the 15 foot flat where the bluegill was caught. I was proud to catch 3 more bluegill on 3 casts. I am studying panfish to determine how their diet may change in the presence of quagga mussels. Some mussels have been found in sunfish stomachs to date but they are only found as a small portion of stomach contents.
A bass fishermen reported a good pattern that will work lake wide. In the spring time we look for the warmest water available to target largemouth bass. Now, in the heat of summer, targeting the coolest water works well. These spots include long points that fall into the deep main channel. The warm surface layer prevents bass from occupying shallow water in the backs of coves. Fish hold deep in their comfort zone, then rise quickly to feed and retreat back to the depths. Search for bass on main channel points and use crankbaits and rattletraps to target the quick moving fish. Fish the deep water with plastic grubs on ¼ ounce jig heads.
Bait fishing for stripers is still good along steep canyon walls but as the water cools both bass and stripers will have more freedom to move throughout the water column. Expect trolling and casting to improve as water temperature drops into the low 70s.
We have confirmed a late spawn of shad so surface fishing for bass and stripers will continue into September. Shad will be small size so surface feeding will be more like slurps than boils.