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Home Fishing Report
Fishing Report

Water temperature:

50-54 F

February 10, 2015



February 19, 2015 - Rock Creek and Padre Canyon

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Lake Powell Fishing Report

February 19, 2015

Lake Elevation: 3592

Water Temperature: 50-53 F

 

It has been my experience that fishing success is much better in low light conditions.  Therefore we launched as soon the first dim light appeared in the eastern horizon. It took an hour to travel from Wahweap to Rock Creek but we made it before the sun hit the water.
We began trolling our standard Shad Raps (SR8) and ghost colored Lucky Craft XD 100 with immediate success.  Well the Lucky Craft worked well and the Shad Frap did too when we switched from black and silver to Helsinki Shad color.  Fish are fussy for unknown reasons which I can’t explain.  I just change colors and let them decide on the color of the day.
Fishing was steady at the 18-25 foot range in the back of the canyon. We caught a striper every 8 minutes or so for the first two hours.  We were only able to catch one striper on a spoon as these fish were randomly scattered.  Trolling worked best in the low light of early morning but when the sun came out enough to warm us up fishing success declined.
At that point we retreated to shallow turbid water and tried for other fish species.  Our plastic grubs fished in 10-15 feet of water near submerged brush piles produced one smallmouth one striper and my personal best 20 inch largemouth bass that was between 5 and 6 pounds.
But fishing was slow so we checked out a few more spots.  No fish were caught nor schools graphed in Dry Rock Creek probably because we there in full sun light.
We ran up lake as far as Grotto Canyon to check on quagga mussel advance.  Mussels were easy to find. Lake Powell is infested from Wahweap to Dangling Rope.  We did not have means to go further so will save that for another day.
On the way back to Wahweap we stopped in Padre Canyon and trolled toward the back.  We passed over a big school at bottom depth of 35 feet.  Three fish were caught trolling but only one on spoons as the fish hightailed away from our tempting lures. The only spoon caught fish came on a small spoon.  We will have to try smaller spoons on these reluctant fish next trip.
All fish are fat, in great condition and willing to eat even at the currently low temperature of 50-53 degrees. It looks like spring fishing will be awesome.

It has been my experience that winter fishing success is much better in low light conditions.  Therefore we launched as soon as the first dim light appeared in the eastern horizon. It took an hour to travel from Wahweap to Rock Creek but we made it before the sun hit the water.

We began trolling our standard Shad Raps (SR8) and ghost colored Lucky Craft XD 100 with immediate success.  Well, the Lucky Craft worked well and the Shad Rap did too when we switched from black and silver to Helsinki Shad color.  Fish are fussy for unknown reasons which I can’t explain.  I just change colors and let them decide on the color of the day. 

waynegbigbasssmallCatching was steady at the 18-25 foot bottom depth range in the back of the canyon. We caught stripers from 2.5 to 4 pounds  every 8 minutes or so for the first two hours.  We were only able to catch one striper on a spoon as these fish were randomly scattered with no large schools detected.  Trolling worked best in the low light of early morning but when the sun came out enough to warm us up fishing success declined. 

At that point we retreated to shallow, turbid water and tried for other fish species.  Our plastic grubs fished in 10-15 feet of water near submerged brush piles produced two smallmouth, one striper, and my personal best 20-inch largemouth bass that was between 5 and 6 pounds. We put him back to protect the cove until we return again. 

But fishing was slow later in the day  so we checked out a few more spots.  No fish were caught nor schools graphed in Dry Rock Creek probably because we there in full sun light. 

We ran up lake as far as Grotto Canyon to check on quagga mussel advance.  Mussels were easy to find. Lake Powell is infested with mussels from the main channel to the backs of all canyons from Wahweap to Dangling Rope and beyond.  We did not have means to go further so will save that for another day.   

On the way back to Wahweap we stopped in Padre Canyon and trolled toward the back.  We passed over a big striper school at bottom depth of 35 feet.  Three fish were caught trolling but only one on spoons as the fish hightailed away from our tempting lures. The only spoon caught fish came on a small spoon (2 inches).  We will have to try smaller spoons on these reluctant fish next trip. 

At the cleaning station we found all fish to be fat, in great condition but their stomachs were empty which makes them challenging to catch.  

But, It looks like spring fishing will be awesome as soon as the water warms to the upper 50s. 

 

Last Updated on Thursday, 19 February 2015 10:18
 

February 11. 2015 - Last Chance Stripers

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We took advantage of the calm warm weather to take a trip uplake.  It has been my experience this year that early morning fishing success is much better than results achieved after the day warms up at 10 AM or later. We launched at 7 AM because I am a pansy and don’t really like running in cold, no light conditions when air temperature is in the 40s.  In June or July we would have been on the lake an hour before the sun came up.
It takes me an hour to get to the back of Last Chance or Rock Creek. Both of these canyons have a dependable bunch of stripers so it is worth the trip. Upon arrival we deployed trolling lures and started fishing. I used the ghost Lucky Craft XD while my partner used the same lure he has used all year, the Shad Rap (SR8) in black and silver.  He just has no imagination or spirit of adventure.  (And he has been out fishing me 5:1 every trip in 2015 with his Shad Rap). I like to use 2 different lures with slightly different color and running depth so we cover all the bases in case stripers have changed their game plan.
We started trolling at a bottom depth of 55 feet but headed toward shore where a shallow point extended into the water. We had good success near this point last spring and have consistently found that stripers usually hold on the breaking edge of a reef or point where it falls into deeper water. We trolled for about 300 yards before graphing the first group of fish holding at 25 feet right where the rock structure ended and depth quickly increased to 45 feet. Our lures went right over the fish and a fat 3 pound striper selected the Shad Rap and ignored the Lucky Craft… again.
While my partner reeled that fish in I deployed the spoon but saw no followers on the graph.  Then the spoon was cast further back toward the point and another fat 3-pound striper was hooked right on the bottom.  The next spoon drop was inhaled by another fish.  Imagine my surprise when the fish turned out to be a channel cat with a yellow body!  That must be the winter catfish color.
We caught 8 stripers in the first hour of fishing using these troll and spoon techniques. In the second hour the catch dropped off to only 4 fish.  Only in Lake Powell could an angler be disappointed in catching 12 stripers with a combined weight exceeding 30 pounds.  But we missed some short hits and lost a few fish that were hooked but came off before they could be landed. These stripers were not aggressive and in a negative feeding mood.  Later at the fish cleaning station we found all stomachs empty with the exception of one small crayfish.  The fish were not feeding and we were “skilled” (lucky) to catch a few fish despite the somber mood.
This trolling, spooning and graphing technique will continually catch stripers until the water warms into the 60s. At that point stripers will think about spawning and switch to nocturnal feeding behavior.  All of the fish caught were mature which will make fishing tough when spawning behavior limits feeding activity in May and June.  All will be well in late June and July when boil season starts (if the shad have a good spawn).
When planning a spring trip expect stripers to be in the backs of canyons holding on the needs of points and over shallow humps surrounded by deeper water.  When planning a spring trip you might want to purchase a Shad Rap SR8 which is the same size and color as a yearling gizzard shad. Those that troll in the backs of canyons will catch many more stripers than those that head toward the dam and Moki Wall with anchovies. This will be one of those years when bait fishermen will be disappointed and trolling, casting and fly fishing will bring in the most stripers.
I have to go buy a Shad Rap.  See you on the lake.

We took advantage of the calm warm weather to take a trip uplake.  It has been my experience this year that early morning fishing success is much better than results achieved after the day warms up at 10 AM or later. We launched at 7 AM because I am a pansy and don’t really like running in cold, no light conditions when air temperature is in the 40s.  In June or July we would have been on the lake an hour before the sun came up. It takes me an hour to get to the back of Last Chance or Rock Creek. Both of these canyons have a dependable bunch of stripers so it is worth the trip.

spponcat2Upon arrival we deployed trolling lures and started fishing. I used the ghost Lucky Craft XD while my partner used the same lure he has used all year, the Shad Rap (SR8) in black and silver.  He just has no imagination or spirit of adventure.  (And he has been out fishing me 5:1 every trip in 2015 with his Shad Rap). I like to use 2 different lures with slightly different color and running depth so we cover more bases in case stripers have changed their game plan. 

We started trolling at a bottom depth of 55 feet but headed toward shore where a shallow point extended into the water. We had good success near this point last spring and have consistently found that stripers usually hold on the breaking edge of a reef or point where it falls into deeper water. We trolled for about 300 yards before graphing the first group of fish holding at 25 feet right where the rock structure ended and depth quickly increased to 45 feet. Our lures went right over the fish and a fat 3 pound striper selected the Shad Rap and ignored the Lucky Craft… again. 

While my partner reeled that fish in I deployed the spoon but saw no followers on the graph.  Then the spoon was cast further back toward the point and another fat 3-pound striper was hooked right on the bottom.  The next spoon drop was inhaled by another fish.  Imagine my surprise when the fish turned out to be a channel cat with a yellow body!  That must be the winter catfish color.

We caught 8 stripers in the first hour of fishing using these troll and spoon techniques. In the second hour the catch dropped off to only 4 fish.  Only in Lake Powell could anglers be disappointed in catching 12 stripers with a combined weight exceeding 30 pounds.  But we missed some short hits and lost a few fish that were hooked but came off before they could be landed. These stripers were not aggressive and in a negative feeding mood.  Later at the fish cleaning station we found all stomachs empty with the exception of one small crayfish.  The fish were not feeding and we were “skilled” (lucky) to catch a few fish despite the somber mood.   

This trolling, spooning and graphing technique will continually catch stripers until the water warms into the 60s. At that point stripers will think about spawning and switch to nocturnal feeding behavior.  All of the fish caught were mature which will make fishing tough when spawning behavior limits feeding activity in May and June.  All will be well in late June and July when boil season starts (if the shad have a good spawn).

When planning a spring trip expect stripers to be in the backs of canyons holding on the ends of long underwater points and over shallow humps surrounded by deeper water.  When planning a spring trip you might want to purchase a Shad Rap SR8 which is the same size and color as a yearling gizzard shad.

Those that troll in the backs of canyons will catch many more stripers than those that head toward the dam and Moki Wall with anchovies. This will be one of those years when bait fishermen will be disappointed and trolling, casting and fly fishing will bring in the most stripers.

I have to go buy a large Shad Rap.  See you on the lake.

shad_rap-500x500

Last Updated on Wednesday, 11 February 2015 08:23
 

December 8, 2014 - Rock Creek Striper Pattern

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We set out for Rock Creek with temperatures above freezing and very little wind.  When it gets cold this winter the Rock Creek trip may not be possible for me unless I am wrapped in an insulated bubble with a 70 degree thermal layer inside.
This trip uplake was magical as it seemed the gentle breeze was always at out back.  Fog clouds were wrapped around cliff tops with occasional sunlight spotlighting cliff walls.   It was absolutely beautiful and unique for the always dramatic scenery from Padre to Rock Creek.
As we headed toward the back of  main Rock Creek the gentle breeze lessened and flat calm conditions prevailed. The trip was already a success so we turned around and went back,  NO!  That was not going to happen since there was another plan to be completed.
In the back of the canyon there is a deep trench that runs from 50-70 feet but on the right hand side there is a bench that averages 35 feet. For the last month or longer, the magic holding depth for striper schools has been 35 feet. So we started there.
My basic technique is to troll a deep diving Thunderstick and a mid depth Shad Rap. The graph is studied while trolling and a floating marker is in hand ready to mark the location of any large striper schools that are passed over. We could just graph and then stop on a school and drop spoons, but it is also necessary to get the school activated. The best way to do that is to hook a fish which excites other schooling fish almost as much as it energizes me. As the hooked striper is reeled in, the curious school often follows to see if there is more free food close at hand.  As the troll-caught fish is lifted into the boat the striper school pauses under the boat wondering where the hooked fish went and more specifically where they might find free food.
This time the first fish hit the shad rap which allowed me to reel in my Thunderstick and quickly deploy the spoon rod. Sure enough! As soon as the first fish was hoisted in, the school appeared and my spoon was eaten on the way down to the bottom.  I played my fish until another spoon was in the water. Then I flopped my 3-pound striper on the deck by holding the spoon and the jerking it while letting the weight of the fish disengage the hooks from the lip. Luckily it worked that time and I could immediately put the spoon back in the water as my partner played his spoon caught fish.
We deployed a marker at the spot where the first fish was caught.  We worked this school over for about 10-15 minutes before they left us.  Then we picked up the fish off the deck, and put them in the cooler on ice. We had drifted about 200 yards away from the marker as the school followed us. The next step is put out the trolling lures again and search for the next school.
The trolling/spooning technique located about 5 or 6 separate schools.  The floating markers showed the most common school location to be at the breaking edge of the 35 foot terrace before it dropped into deep water.   Later in the day and further back in the canyon where depth was commonly 18 feet, we found a 50 yard long basin that was 30 feet deep.  Sure enough schools that had been holding on the shallow bench now dropped into the deep little basin.  They could still be activated with spoons and catching continued.
At midday fishing success slowed. We had a cooler full of fish from 2.5 to 4 pounds.  There were no yearling fish and only two that might have been 5 pounds.  Back at the Wahweap fish cleaning station we counted 33 stripers. What a great day for fishing in December!

We set out for Rock Creek with temperatures above freezing and very little wind.  When it gets cold this winter the Rock Creek trip may not be possible for me unless I am wrapped in an insulated bubble with a 70 degree thermal layer inside.  
This trip uplake was magical as it seemed the gentle breeze was always at out back.  Fog clouds were wrapped around cliff tops with occasional sunlight spotlighting cliff walls.   It was absolutely beautiful and unique for the always dramatic scenery from Padre to Rock Creek. 


As we headed toward the back of  main Rock Creek the gentle breeze lessened and flat calm conditions prevailed. The trip was already a success so we turned around and went back,  NO!  That was not going to happen since there was another plan to be completed. 


In the back of the canyon there is a deep trench that runs from 50-70 feet but on the right hand side there is a bench that averages 35 feet. For the last month or longer, the magic holding depth for striper schools has been 35 feet. So we started there.

 

My basic technique is to troll a deep diving Thunderstick and a mid depth Shad Rap. The graph is studied while trolling and a floating marker is in hand ready to mark the location of any large striper schools that are passed over. We could just graph and then stop on a school and drop spoons, but it is also necessary to get the school activated. The best way to do that is to hook a fish which excites other schooling fish almost as much as it energizes me. As the hooked striper is reeled in, the curious school often follows to see if there is more free food close at hand.  As the troll-caught fish is lifted into the boat the striper school pauses under the boat wondering where the hooked fish went and more specifically where they might find free food. 


This time the first fish hit the shad rap which allowed me to reel in my Thunderstick and quickly deploy the spoon rod. Sure enough! As soon as the first fish was hoisted in, the school appeared and my spoon was eaten on the way down to the bottom.  I played my fish until another spoon was in the water. Then I flopped my 3-pound striper on the deck by holding the spoon and the jerking it while letting the weight of the fish disengage the hooks from the lip. Luckily it worked that time and I could immediately put the spoon back in the water as my partner played his spoon caught fish.
We deployed a marker at the spot where the first fish was caught.  We worked this school over for about 10-15 minutes before they left us.  Then we picked up the fish off the deck, and put them in the cooler on ice. We had drifted about 200 yards away from the marker as the school followed us. The next step is put out the trolling lures again and search for the next school. 


The trolling/spooning technique located about 5 or 6 separate schools.  The floating markers showed the most common school location to be at the breaking edge of the 35 foot terrace before it dropped into deep water.   Later in the day and further back in the canyon where depth was commonly 18 feet, we found a 50 yard long basin that was 30 feet deep.  Sure enough schools that had been holding on the shallow bench now dropped into the deep little basin.  They could still be activated with spoons and catching continued. 


At midday fishing success slowed. We had a cooler full of fish from 2.5 to 4 pounds.  There were no yearling fish and only two that might have been 5 pounds.  Back at the Wahweap fish cleaning station we counted 33 stripers. What a great day for fishing in December!

 

wg10814

 

November 26, 2014 - Rock Creek Report - Stripers

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November 26, 2014
Rock Creek –
Striper fishing is becoming more predictable as stripers and shad have arrived at the places where they will spend the winter.  The general pattern is the back of major canyons where bottom depth starts to shallow from 70 feet to 30 feet.  Shad will spend the winter suspended in schools at about 50-70 feet. Stripers will lay on the bottom at about the same depth and periodically attack the shad school.  As the water gets colder there will be less interaction between the two but stripers cannot allow a shad (lure) to pass through the resting school without some sort of reaction so fishing will continue to be productive all winter long.
At Rock Creek the current fishing pattern was demonstrated as we went to the back of the canyon looking for stripers. Shad were still in shallow water as the warm calm weather has allowed the water temperature to stay near 60F.   Shad won’t move until the temperature drops to the low 50s.  Casting Yamamoto shad shaped worms rigged on a quarter ounce jig head steadily produced stripers from 2 to 5 pounds at depths shallower than 20 feet.  Shad were hiding in the back of the canyon and stripers were guarding and periodically attacking the shallow shad schools. Fishing was best early and then decreased as the sun got higher in the morning sky.
We know that stripers were holding out deeper than 20 feet so we trolled thundersticks out into the 35-50 foot depths.  The first fish hooked was a dandy that weighed almost 5 pounds.  We took about 2 seconds to admire that fish and quickly deployed spoons into the school of stripers that followed the first one to the boat.  These fish really liked our spoons (home made walleye lure slab spoons).
The wind was calm and we drifted slowly across the bay into deeper water.  The drift took over an hour as we constantly caught school stripers from 2-4 pounds.  We put 25 fish in the cooler on the first drift but had perhaps 15 more that came unbuttoned near the boat. They must of hit just a bit short and came off easily.  We spooned up another 10 by going back to the marker where the school was first found.
Fishing success dropped off as the sun got higher in the sky.  Best success was found from dawn to 11 AM. Cool early morning fishing is better than “warm” fishing mid day.
Back at the Wahweap fish cleaning station we marveled at the incredible fillets from these fat healthy fish.
Fishing is still good at Lake Powell.  It is necessary to use the right approach and techniques but the results are very satisfying.

natem

 

November 26, 2014 - Rock Creek 

Striper fishing is becoming more predictable as stripers and shad have arrived at the places where they will spend the winter.  The general pattern is the back of major canyons where bottom depth starts to shallow from 70 feet to 30 feet.  Shad will spend the winter suspended in schools at about 50-70 feet. Stripers will lay on the bottom at about the same depth and periodically attack the shad school.  As the water gets colder there will be less interaction between the two but stripers cannot allow a shad (lure) to pass through the resting school without some sort of reaction so fishing will continue to be productive all winter long.     

At Rock Creek the current fishing pattern was demonstrated as we went to the back of the canyon looking for stripers. Shad were still in shallow water as the warm calm weather has allowed the water temperature to stay near 60F.   Shad won’t move until the water temperature drops to the low 50s.  Casting Yamamoto shad shaped worms rigged on a quarter ounce jig head steadily produced stripers from 2 to 5 pounds at depths shallower than 20 feet.  Shad were hiding in the back of the canyon and stripers were guarding and periodically attacking the shallow shad schools.

Fishing was best early and then decreased as the sun got higher in the morning sky. We know that stripers were holding out deeper than 20 feet so we trolled thundersticks out into the 35-50 foot depths.  The first fish hooked was a dandy that weighed almost 5 pounds.  We took about 2 seconds to admire that fish and quickly deployed spoons into the school of stripers that followed the first one to the boat.  

These trailing fish really liked our spoons (home made wallylure slab spoons).  The wind was calm and we drifted slowly across the bay into deeper water.  The drift took over an hour as we constantly caught school stripers from 2-4 pounds. We tried to keep one active spoon or hooked fish in the water at all times so the school would follow the boat.  It worked out that we usually had one fish on while the other fish was being unhooked and then we changed roles from the unhooker to the catcher.  Great fun!

  We put 25 fish in the cooler on the first drift but had perhaps 15 more that came unbuttoned near the boat. They must of hit just a bit short and came unhooked prematurely.  We spooned up another 10 by going back to the marker where the school was first found.  Fishing success dropped off as the sun got higher in the sky.  Best success was found from dawn to 11 AM. Cool early morning fishing results are better than “warm” fishing mid day. 

Back at the Wahweap fish cleaning station we marveled at the incredible fillets from these fat, healthy fish. Fishing is still good at Lake Powell.  It is necessary to use the right approach and techniques but the results are very satisfying.

noblmb14

Last Updated on Thursday, 27 November 2014 07:58
 

November 9, 2014 - GHB and Rincon

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Here is a quick summary of our best results in Good Hope Bay on November 4 and 5.  We trolled up a couple of stripers on deep diving thundersticks (white) in the mouth of Blue Notch. Best fishing was uplake in Trachyte where a boil occured Monday afternoon between 3-4 PM at the mouth of the canyon.  The boil repeated at the same time on Tuesday afternoon but this time in the back of the canyon. 

While at the Rincon we found good bass fishing along the northwest shoreline with grubs and tubes.  There was school of stripers in the back of Iceberg at the junction of Natural Dam cove and Iceberg canyon.  Water was 50 feet deep at the junction but the striper school was on  a 30-foot mound.   I caught a few before they ran off.

We will be on the San Juan this week. More later.

 
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