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Fishing Report

Water temperature:

57-59 F

December 1, 2016



November 18, 2016 - Annual Gill Netting Report

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2016 Gill Net Sampling Report
Every November the UDWR sends me out to sample Lake Powell fish with gill nets.  Our purpose is to understand how fish numbers have changed over time.  If we do this survey every year, using the same nets, same locations and same time of year, we are confident that dramatic changes in fish numbers can be determined. While handling and recording our catch we can see if physical condition of the various fish species has changed.  We sacrifice fish to determine what they have been eating, and if there are parasites or other anomalies that have developed over time. Sometimes over a thousand fish are handled in highly productive areas, but usually 300 to 500 fish of all sizes are captured during the two day netting event at four different locations.
Over the years we have learned that some species are not good candidates for gill net sampling. Largemouth bass, black crappie, bluegill, and green sunfish are prone to hold up in aquatic vegetation. These species do not often move at night when the nets are hard to see and most of the fish are caught.  Therefore, these species are caught in low numbers lakewide. We cannot say that there are low numbers of bass or crappie based on gill net sampling results. All of the sampling techniques used at Lake Powell must be combined to make that statement accurate. Fortunately, bass numbers look strong going into 2017.
Some species tend to move constantly.  Striped bass and gizzard shad are sampled most often in gill nets because they cruise the shoreline at night. Number of fish netted is indicative of relative abundance at each netting area.  Smallmouth bass are active along the shoreline but are not cruisers.  Numbers of smallmouth caught at each netting site are often very similar because they are caught based on feeding and moving behavior which is the same at each netting site. Channel catfish, yellow bullheads, and native fish still residing in Lake Powell are caught in low numbers because of their moving behavior.
When netting results are discussed, fish numbers caught per gill net sampling site is more likely to accurately portray relative abundance of striped bass and gizzard shad.   We found that Good Hope Bay once again had high numbers of both species.  The Good Hope Bay station represents the productive inflowing water that is high in nutrients and plankton which allows more shad to grow and attracts predatory fish. Striped bass and gizzard shad are consistently found in greatest abundance at Good Hope Bay.  That was true again in 2016.
The San Juan station in Neskahi Bay is another productive area which has high numbers of shad and stripers. These numbers are not as high as found at Good Hope Bay but are indicative of high population strength for many species. Smallmouth bass are also well represented.
The Rincon has very clear water during November making the nets less productive as many fish can see and evade the nets.  From our netting results it seems that the Rincon would be a very poor fishing area. That was the case while we were sampling in November but that changes dramatically in the spring when smallmouth are found in abundance.
The last netting station is in Wahweap Bay.  The area near the dam is surprising because there are many more fish species found in abundance than expected. Nets are set from Wahweap main launch ramp to the back of Lone Rock Bay. Water color and productivity increases in the shallower water near Lone Rock.  Surprisingly, Wahweap was in second place lakewide in striped bass numbers. Unfortunately, most of the stripers caught were in poor condition or of small size. Striped bass fishing results this fall have not been worthy of a second place prize for lakewide fishing. Sometimes sampling does not directly relate to sport fishing results.
The surprising statistic is walleye numbers.  The three stations downstream from Good Hope returned results of essentially the same numbers of walleye caught. That seems similar to smallmouth being caught in the same numbers due to behavior of the fish around nets.  Walleye are not an easy fish to catch in gill nets, but the numbers in Good Hope are six times greater than found at any other location.  This anomaly is proven to be true by other sampling results and specifically by angler catch.  The northern lake has a much larger population of walleye than the rest of the lake combined.
Other factors shown by our netting is that there are two different striped bass populations. Those long, thin stripers that are easy to catch on bait are found lake wide. Many are located in areas where shad numbers are high.  The thin stripers are obviously not feeding on the shad resource even when in close proximity. My guess is that these malnourished stripers no longer have the speed to feed on shad. Most of the adults in poor condition will not survive the winter. It seems more humane to me to euthanize these thin fish when caught, instead of allowing them to starve over a long period of time.
Adult stripers in good condition outnumber thin fish caught in nets.  Smaller stripers are in good shape and ready to take over as the dominant predator next spring as soon as shad spawn and food is abundant.
Smallmouth bass are abundant and the population will increase in size and length in the spring when shad spawn in April and May.
Crappie and largemouth bass are being treated to abundant cover right now as aquatic weed beds have grown up in the back of many canyons and coves.  While brushy cover is now abundant these two populations depend on brushy cover in the springtime so that newly hatched young bass and crappie are able to avoid predation by hiding in thick woody cover as terrestrial vegetation is covered by rising lake water.  If the lake comes up fast before the spawn is over, bass and crappie numbers will increase in future years.  If the runoff is slow and small then these two species will continue to be low in number in the near future.
In summary, Lake Powell fish are in good shape.  They will be much happier in the spring if threadfin shad are able to spawn in huge numbers.  That only seems to happen every third year. Threadfin shad had an off year in 2016 and are not scheduled to spawn well until 2018.   It would be great if the threadfin spawn happened sooner than expected.  Fortunately, gizzard shad adults are now here in big numbers and they do spawn every spring. There will be a shad spawn and all of our game fish will thrive during April and May due to presence of adult gizzard shad.
Striped bass numbers will be reduced over winter.   The reason stripers are so plentiful is that reproductive success is near 90%.  There are plenty of healthy adult stripers to spawn.  The success of this species is dependent on the shad food supply being strong enough to support the millions of mouths ready to feed.
Smallmouth bass numbers are well represented by smaller fish. The key to the smallmouth population growing in size and length is dependent on the shad spawn. If smallmouth bass have enough shad to eat in the springtime, all ages of bass will grow in length.
Walleye are strong in number in the northern lake.  Mark the dates from April 15th to June 15th on your fishing calendar for a walleye trip. Sign up for the tagged walleye contest before you go so you can win a prize when one of the many walleye caught turns out to be a tagged fish.
Lake Powell fish are in good health and strong numbers. My prediction is that fishing in 2017 will mimic that found in 2016.  Bass will spawn in April with the best fishing found before the lake begins to rise. There will be good bait fishing for stripers in the spring before the shad spawn. After the spawn, striper slurps will start followed by boils if shad numbers are high enough. It looks like 2017 will be another great year for high fishing success at Lake Powell.  I can’t wait!
Wayne Gustaveson

2016 Gill Net Sampling Report

Every November the UDWR sends me out to sample Lake Powell fish with gill nets.  Our purpose is to understand how fish numbers have changed over time.  If we do this survey every year, using the same nets, same locations and same time of year, we are confident that dramatic changes in fish numbers can be determined. While handling and recording our catch we can see if physical condition of the various fish species has changed.  We sacrifice fish to determine what they have been eating, and if there are parasites or other anomalies that have developed over time. Sometimes over a thousand fish are handled in highly productive areas, but usually 300 to 500 fish of all sizes are captured during the two day netting event at four different locations.

Over the years we have learned that some species are not good candidates for gill net sampling. Largemouth bass, black crappie, bluegill, and green sunfish are prone to hold up in aquatic vegetation. These species do not often move at night when the nets are hard to see and most of the fish are caught.  Therefore, these species are caught in low numbers lakewide. We cannot say that there are low numbers of bass or crappie based on gill net sampling results. All of the sampling techniques used at Lake Powell must be combined to make that statement accurate. Fortunately, bass numbers look strong going into 2017. 

Some species tend to move constantly.  Striped bass and gizzard shad are sampled most often in gill nets because they cruise the shoreline at night. Number of fish netted is indicative of relative abundance at each netting area.  Smallmouth bass are active along the shoreline but are not cruisers.  Numbers of smallmouth caught at each netting site are often very similar because they are caught based on feeding and moving behavior which is the same at each netting site. Channel catfish, yellow bullheads, and native fish still residing in Lake Powell are caught in low numbers because of their moving behavior.

When netting results are discussed, fish numbers caught per gill net sampling site is more likely to accurately portray relative abundance of striped bass and gizzard shad.   We found that Good Hope Bay once again had high numbers of both species.  The Good Hope Bay station represents the productive inflowing water that is high in nutrients and plankton which allows more shad to grow and attracts predatory fish. Striped bass and gizzard shad are consistently found in greatest abundance at Good Hope Bay.  That was true again in 2016.

The San Juan station in Neskahi Bay is another productive area which has high numbers of shad and stripers. These numbers are not as high as found at Good Hope Bay but are indicative of high population strength for many species. Smallmouth bass are also well represented.

The Rincon has very clear water during November making the nets less productive as many fish can see and evade the nets.  From our netting results it seems that the Rincon would be a very poor fishing area. That was the case while we were sampling in November but that changes dramatically in the spring when smallmouth are found in abundance.

The last netting station is in Wahweap Bay.  The area near the dam is surprising because there are many more fish species found in abundance than expected. Nets are set from Wahweap main launch ramp to the back of Lone Rock Bay. Water color and productivity increases in the shallower water near Lone Rock.  Surprisingly, Wahweap was in second place lakewide in striped bass numbers. Unfortunately, most of the stripers caught were in poor condition or of small size. Striped bass fishing results this fall have not been worthy of a second place prize for lakewide fishing. Sometimes sampling does not directly relate to sport fishing results. 

The surprising statistic is walleye numbers.  The three stations downstream from Good Hope returned results of essentially the same numbers of walleye caught. That seems similar to smallmouth being caught in the same numbers due to behavior of the fish around nets.  Walleye are not an easy fish to catch in gill nets, but the numbers in Good Hope are six times greater than found at any other location.  This anomaly is proven to be true by other sampling results and specifically by angler catch.  The northern lake has a much larger population of walleye than the rest of the lake combined. 

Another factor shown by our netting is that there are two different striped bass populations. Those long, thin stripers that are easy to catch on bait are found lake wide. Many are located in areas where shad numbers are high.  The thin stripers are obviously not feeding on the shad resource even when in close proximity. My guess is that these malnourished stripers no longer have the speed to feed on shad. Most of the adults in poor condition will not survive the winter. It seems more humane to me to euthanize these thin fish when caught, instead of allowing them to starve over a long period of time. Adult stripers in good condition outnumber thin fish caught in nets.  

Smaller stripers are in good shape and ready to take over as the dominant predator next spring as soon as shad spawn and food is abundant.  Smallmouth bass are abundant and the population will increase in size and length in the spring when shad spawn in April and May.   

Crappie and largemouth bass are being treated to abundant cover right now as aquatic weed beds have grown up in the back of many canyons and coves.  While brushy cover is now abundant these two populations depend on brushy cover in the springtime so that newly hatched young bass and crappie are able to avoid predation by hiding in thick woody cover as terrestrial vegetation is covered by rising lake water.  If the lake comes up fast before the spawn is over, bass and crappie numbers will increase in future years.  If the runoff is slow and small then these two species will continue to be low in number in the near future. 

In summary, Lake Powell fish are in good shape.  They will be much happier in the spring if threadfin shad are able to spawn in huge numbers.  That only seems to happen every third year. Threadfin shad had an off year in 2016 and are not scheduled to spawn well until 2018.   It would be great if the threadfin spawn happened sooner than expected.  Fortunately, gizzard shad adults are now here in big numbers and they do spawn every spring. There will be a shad spawn and all of our game fish will thrive during April and May due to presence of adult gizzard shad. Striped bass numbers will be reduced over winter.   The reason stripers are so plentiful is that reproductive success is near 90%.  There are plenty of healthy adult stripers to spawn.  The success of this species is dependent on the shad food supply being strong enough to support the millions of mouths ready to feed.  

Smallmouth bass numbers are well represented by smaller fish. The key to the smallmouth population growing in size and length is dependent on the shad spawn. If smallmouth bass have enough shad to eat in the springtime, all ages of bass will grow in length. 

Walleye are strong in number in the northern lake.  Mark the dates from April 15th to June 15th on your fishing calendar for a walleye trip. Sign up for the tagged walleye contest before you go so you can win a prize when one of the many walleye caught turns out to be a tagged fish. 

Lake Powell fish are in good health and strong numbers. My prediction is that fishing in 2017 will mimic that found in 2016.  Bass will spawn in April with the best fishing found before the lake begins to rise. There will be good bait fishing for stripers in the spring before the shad spawn. After the spawn, striper slurps will start followed by boils if shad numbers are high enough. It looks like 2017 will be another great year for high fishing success at Lake Powell.  I can’t wait! 

Wayne Gustaveson

 

October 25, 2016 - Last report 2016

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Lake Powell Fish Report – October 25, 2016
Lake Elevation: 3609.82
Water Temperature: 65 – 68 F
By: Wayne Gustaveson http://www.wayneswords.com
Lake Powell fish are now in prime time.  Water temperature is in the mid 60’s which means that all fish can basically go anywhere they want to.  During summer there is a separation of large and small stripers because big fish need cooler temperatures.  Those barriers are now removed.
Consider fishing patterns now to be just like fishing in late April and early May. The big difference is that spawning is not a factor. It is all about food and structure. The favorite meal now and always will be threadfin shad. Find threadfin and fishing success is assured. The hook is that threadfin numbers are not as high as seen in 2014 and 2015.   All sport fish are searching for shad.
One sure fishing technique is to throw topwater lures in shallow water each morning and evening.  You will consistently catch stripers and bass by pounding the shoreline in low light periods.  The surface action may not last long after the sun hits the water but the information gathered during prime time will give you insight into where fish are holding. All fish are really on the move right now as they search for shad. If bass and stripers hit surface lures in the back of brushy coves at first light, the next step is to target brushy coves in the later hours using diving shad-imitating crankbaits like a bomber deep flat A, rattletrap or a swim bait like a Yamamoto D-Shad.
If bass and stripers hit surface lures on primary points next to deepwater, then target the bench areas where water drops off quickly from 10 feet, down to 20, 40 or 60 feet.
Shad are on the move trying to avoid predators. Earlier this month there have been many examples of a hot spot blowing up at Padre  Canyon, Kane Wash, Bullfrog Bay, or Good Hope only to quiet down in a few days as shad move out trying to find safe haven.   Shad leave and stripers trail in hot pursuit. Bass tend to stay closer to home but will move from the back of the cove to the edge of deep water
Fishing results have been spotty recently because of fish movement.  They also seem to feed for a short time where activity is intense only to quiet down after a short period. If a hot spot is located one day, keep track of the time and place and try to repeat that performance at the same time and place the next day.
The deep layer of fish between 60-80 feet is still there. These fish are down below the oxygen depletion layer that will soon be gone. For now it is possible to troll a downrigger in very deep water (60-80 feet) or drop spoons down when striper schools are seen on the graph.  The huge line of fish seen at 60 feet and below is mostly gizzard shad, but when shad are present, stripers may be close.  Don’t spend a lot of time fishing in deep water where no fish traces are seen. Instead, focus on the spot where many fish traces are seen on the graph.
The key to identifying shad and stripers is to stop the boat directly over a large concentration of fish at 60 feet.  If those fish then form a long horizontal line as they move under the boat it is most likely that they are gizzard shad.  If they have some separation between individual fish and are stacked in a hump, it is likely that these fish are stripers. Drop a spoon immediately into the school to quickly catch a lot of stripers in a short time.
This will be the last regular fish report for 2016.  We will be netting fish for our annual UDWR survey during the first two weeks of November.  The sample sites are Good Hope Bay, Rincon, San Juan (Piute Canyon), and Wahweap Bay. We compare fish numbers among years to find out how adult fish of all species are faring this year compared to other years dating back as far as 1982. I will report that information midwinter on www.wayneswords.com.
Thanks for reading my reports and using the information to harvest fish that are in high numbers (striped bass, walleye, and smallmouth bass) while protecting those fish that are in low numbers (largemouth bass and crappie). We are a good team that makes fishing at Lake Powell better due to our efforts.  I can’t wait until next year!

Lake Powell Fish Report – October 25, 2016

Lake Elevation: 3609.82

Water Temperature: 65 – 68 F

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

bevysmb1Lake Powell fish are now in prime time.  Water temperature is in the mid 60’s which means that all fish can basically go anywhere they want to.  During summer there is a separation of large and small stripers because big fish need cooler temperatures.  Those barriers are now removed.  

Consider fishing patterns now to be just like fishing in late April and early May. The big difference is that spawning is not a factor. It is all about food and structure. The favorite meal now and always will be threadfin shad. Find threadfin and fishing success is assured. The hook is that threadfin numbers are not as high as seen in 2014 and 2015.   All sport fish are searching for shad.  

One sure fishing technique is to throw topwater lures in shallow water each morning and evening.  You will consistently catch stripers and bass by pounding the shoreline in low light periods.  The surface action may not last long after the sun hits the water but the information gathered during prime time will give you insight into where fish are holding. All fish are really on the move right now as they search for shad. If bass and stripers hit surface lures in the back of brushy coves at first light, the next step is to target brushy coves in the later hours using diving shad-imitating crankbaits like a bomber deep flat A, rattletrap or a swim bait like a Yamamoto D-Shad.    

johnsuzieIf bass and stripers hit surface lures on primary points next to deepwater, then target the bench areas where water drops off quickly from 10 feet, down to 20, 40 or 60 feet. 

Shad are on the move trying to avoid predators. Earlier this month there have been many examples of a hot spot blowing up at Padre  Canyon, Kane Wash, Bullfrog Bay, or Good Hope only to quiet down in a few days as shad move out trying to find safe haven.   Shad leave and stripers trail in hot pursuit. Bass tend to stay closer to home but will move from the back of the cove to the edge of deep water. 

Fishing results have been spotty recently because of fish movement.  They also seem to feed for a short time where activity is intense only to quiet down after a short period. If a hot spot is located one day, keep track of the time and place and try to repeat that performance at the same time and place the next day. 

The deep layer of fish between 60-80 feet is still there. These fish are down below the oxygen depletion layer that will soon be gone. For now it is possible to troll a downrigger in very deep water (60-80 feet) or drop spoons down when striper schools are seen on the graph.  The huge line of fish seen at 60 feet and below is mostly gizzard shad, but when shad are present, stripers may be close.  Don’t spend a lot of time fishing in deep water where no fish traces are seen. Instead, focus on the spot where many fish traces are seen on the graph.  

graphgw3The key to identifying shad and stripers is to stop the boat directly over a large concentration of fish at 60 feet.  If those fish then form a long horizontal line as they move under the boat it is most likely that they are gizzard shad.  If they have some separation between individual fish and are stacked in a hump, it is likely that these fish are stripers. Drop a spoon immediately into the school to quickly catch a lot of stripers in a short time.  

This will be the last regular fish report for 2016.  We will be gill netting fish for our annual UDWR survey during the first two weeks of November.  The sample sites are Good Hope Bay, Rincon, San Juan (Piute Canyon), and Wahweap Bay. We compare fish numbers among years to find out how adult fish of all species are faring this year compared to other years dating back as far as 1982. I will report that information midwinter on www.wayneswords.com.                                            Striper School on Graph

Thanks for reading my reports and using the information to harvest fish that are in high numbers (striped bass, walleye, and smallmouth bass) while protecting those fish that are in low numbers (largemouth bass and crappie). We are a good team that makebzgshad fishing at Lake Powell better due to our efforts.  I can’t wait until next year!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Gizzard Shad - Bill Zeglin

Last Updated on Tuesday, 25 October 2016 09:32
 

October 19, 2016 - Transition mode -

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Lake Powell Fish Report – October 19, 2016
Lake Elevation: 3610.2
Water Temperature: 69 – 72 F
By: Wayne Gustaveson http://www.wayneswords.com
Lake Powell fish are in transition mode with day length getting shorter while air temperature is cooling. Water temperature and lake elevation have stayed stable during the past 3 weeks.  Elevation is 3610 and temperature holding at 70 degrees.  The main change is fish location.  Bass are moving up on shore, stripers are on the move and shad are split between hiding in the backs of canyons while some are going deep in open water.  My best advice is to keep an open mind and an eye on the graph. The best fishing may be found in an unsuspected location that is not normally a good fishing spot.
Last week it was suggested that bass were moving up on shore in the upper 15 feet of water.  A report from the Salt Lake City Bass Masters confirmed their anglers found large and smallmouth bass by tossing dark-colored jigs near big rock reefs in 15-20 feet of water from Good Hope to Halls Creek. Winning weight for 10 fish in 2 days was 25 pounds with big fish 4 pounds -14 ounces.
I found similar results in the southern lake by targeting small isolated rock slides sticking out on otherwise high cliff walls. It is almost too easy to look down the main channel or canyon and see a small (less than 30 yards wide) white rock slide. Drop shotting a shad shaped worm worked great but success was equal with a smoke or black colored single tail grub.  Larger bass were found on rock slides while open water reefs were populated with yearling bass.
Another tagged walleye was caught, this time in Halls Creek near the gravel island in the middle of the bay.  Bryan Stanton reported catching a surprising number of walleye and smallmouth bass in Halls on Oct 16th.  His prize was a $50 gift certificate from Sportsman’s Warehouse.
Stripers are where you find them. Deep schools were reported in the back of Rock Creek from 60-90 feet. They were caught on silver spoons, both plain and hammered varieties. These fish were still below the oxygen depletion zone.
There are shallower striper schools roaming and looking for shad. This week it seemed that my graph showed no fish traces for extended periods of time and then would light up with fish traces in isolated locations.  Surprisingly, one of the best spots was near Lone Rock in Wahweap Bay. This spot has not been great all year and then the fish suddenly appear.  We will see how long they stay before moving on.
Other good locations were in Labyrinth Canyon about 3 turns in from the main channel.  Padre Canyon and Kane Creek were much less productive this week than last. Trolling near Neskahi Canyon in the San Juan was another bright spot for big stripers. There are still stripers roaming in the shallow water on the Great Bend.
My best advice is to pay attention to the events occurring at your lake location. Try trolling shallow in the backs of canyons and coves.  Then move out deeper and try spoons at 60 – 90 feet where fish traces are found layered in the deep water. If stripers are not found then try for bass in the shallows near rock slides.  Walleye can be targeted by adding a bit of night crawler to a bass jig or spoon and slowing down the presentation.
Lake Powell weather is still great with warm days and cool nights.  Fish are active and angling success will peak in the next two weeks as water temperature hits the mid 60s.

tomtuthillconner

Lake Powell Fish Report – October 19, 2016

Lake Elevation: 3610.2

Water Temperature: 69 – 72 F

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

Lake Powell fish are in transition mode with day length getting shorter while air temperature is cooling. Water temperature and lake elevation have stayed stable during the past 3 weeks.  Elevation is 3610 and temperature holding at 70 degrees.  The main change is fish location.  Bass are moving up on shore, stripers are on the move and shad are split between hiding in the backs of canyons while some are going deep in open water.  My best advice is to keep an open mind and an eye on the graph. The best fishing may be found in an unsuspected location that is not normally a good fishing spot.

Last week it was suggested that bass were moving up on shore in the upper 15 feet of water.  A report from the Salt Lake City Bass Masters confirmed their anglers found large and smallmouth bass by tossing dark-colored jigs near big rock reefs in 15-20 feet of water from Good Hope to Halls Creek. Winning weight for 10 fish in 2 days was 25 pounds with big fish 4 pounds -14 ounces. 

I found similar results in the southern lake by targeting small isolated rock slides sticking out on otherwise high cliff walls. It is almost too easy to look down the main channel or canyon and see a small (less than 30 yards wide) white rock slide. Drop shotting a shad shaped worm worked great but success was equal with a smoke or black colored single tail grub.  Larger bass were found on rock slides while open water reefs were populated with yearling bass.

 walleyecaughttubeAnother tagged walleye was caught, this time in Halls Creek near the gravel island in the middle of the bay.  Bryan Stanton reported catching a surprising number of walleye and smallmouth bass in Halls on Oct 16th.  His prize was a $50 gift certificate from Sportsman’s Warehouse.

Stripers are where you find them. Deep schools were reported in the back of Rock Creek from 60-90 feet. They were caught on silver spoons, both plain and hammered varieties. These fish were still below the oxygen depletion zone.  There are shallower striper schools roaming and looking for shad. This week it seemed that my graph showed no fish traces for extended periods of time and then would light up with fish traces in isolated locations.  Surprisingly, one of the best spots was near Lone Rock in Wahweap Bay. This spot has not been great all year and then the fish suddenly appear.  We will see how long they stay before moving on. 

Other good locations were in Labyrinth Canyon about 3 turns in from the main channel.  Padre Canyon and Kane Creek were much less productive this week than last. Trolling near Neskahi Canyon in the San Juan was another bright spot for big stripers. There are still stripers roaming in the shallow water on the Great Bend. 

My best advice is to pay attention to the events occurring at your lake location. Try trolling shallow in the backs of canyons and coves.  Then move out deeper and try spoons at 60 – 90 feet where fish traces are found layered in the deep water. If stripers are not found then try for bass in the shallows near rock slides.  Walleye can be targeted by adding a bit of night crawler to a bass jig or spoon and slowing down the presentation.

Lake Powell weather is still great with warm days and cool nights.  Fish are active and angling success will peak in the next two weeks as water temperature hits the mid 60s.

 

October 13, 2016 - Lakewide Journey

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Lake Powell Fish Report – October 13, 2016
Lake Elevation: 3610.6
Water Temperature: 69 – 72 F
By: Wayne Gustaveson http://www.wayneswords.com
I had the chance to cover most of the lake this past week and found an amazing number of shad hanging out in the back of the canyons on the north end. The long canyons with tall walls seem to be harboring very happy shad that are unmolested by stripers. Smith Fork, Hansen, Forgotten, and others had a morning and evening shad party going on the surface. I was surprised to see the shad schools without any evidence of stripers waiting for dinner.  It is good to have a few sanctuaries where shad can spend the winter without the intense predation that occurs in most canyons lakewide.
We started the week with active striper boils in Kane Creek and Padre Canyons.  When we came back down the lake today and looked for more boils in these spots we found individual stripers that would hit surface lures but the school fish seemed to have moved on. They could start up again as soon as this report is posted but today they were missing in action.
We found good trolling results in Knowles.  Juvenile stripers hit consistently from the mouth of the canyon back to the cove covered with huge dead cottonwood trees. Juvenile stripers were up shallow and hit shad raps, rattletraps and X-rap lures trolled at 8-12 feet.
My wife used a PINK X- Rap with great success. I would not recommend this for any manly fishermen unless they were in the boat alone in low light and had access to the wife’s tackle bag.  I am not sure what the results might be if the word got out that some guy was using a PINK lure.  I know I refused to use one when witnesses were present.
We tried spooning for stripers in a few places but did not find great success.  The low oxygen zone reported last week is still in place making deep fish hard to find. On this trip we targeted the shallow fish above 40 feet.
Smallmouth bass fishing is improving with fish moving up to 15 feet and above.  A few fish were caught deeper but most bass were found on points and ledges. Bass tended to be on shore instead of offshore reefs. Best results were found with a slow retrieve as these bass were eating crayfish instead of chasing shad.
The weather was magnificent with warm, sunny days and cool nights.  It is still prime time at Lake Powell.

Lake Powell Fish Report – October 13, 2016

Lake Elevation: 3610.6

Water Temperature: 69 – 72 F

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

sharonhstb3I had the chance to cover most of the lake this past week and found an amazing number of shad hanging out in the back of the canyons on the north end. The long canyons with tall walls seem to be harboring very happy shad that are unmolested by stripers. Smith Fork, Hansen, Forgotten, and others had a morning and evening shad party going on the surface. I was surprised to see the shad schools without any evidence of stripers waiting for dinner.  It is good to have a few sanctuaries where shad can spend the winter without the intense predation that occurs in most canyons lakewide. 

We started the week with active striper boils in Kane Creek and Padre Canyons.  When we came back down the lake today and looked for more boils in these spots we found individual stripers that would hit surface lures but the school fish seemed to have moved on. They could start up again as soon as this report is posted but today they were missing in action.  We found good trolling results in Knowles.  Juvenile stripers hit consistently from the mouth of the canyon back to the cove covered with huge dead cottonwood trees. Juvenile stripers were up shallow and hit shad raps, rattletraps and X-rap lures trolled at 8-12 feet. 

0000000015647My wife used a PINK X- Rap with great success. I would not recommend this for any manly fishermen unless they were in the boat alone in low light and had access to the wife’s tackle bag.  I am not sure what the results might be if the word got out that some guy was using a PINK lure.  I know I refused to use one when witnesses were present.

We tried spooning for stripers in a few places but did not find great success.  The low oxygen zone reported last week is still in place making deep fish hard to find. On this trip we targeted the shallow fish above 40 feet.

Smallmouth bass fishing is improving with fish moving up to 15 feet and above.  A few fish were caught deeper but most bass were found on points and ledges. Bass tended to be on shore instead of offshore reefs. Best results were found with a slow retrieve as these bass were eating crayfish instead of chasing shad.   

The weather was magnificent with warm, sunny days and cool nights.  It is still prime time at Lake Powell.

 

October 6, 2016 - Good Hope Bay and Rincon

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Lake Powell Fish Report – October 6, 2016
Lake Elevation: 3610.8
Water Temperature: 70 – 74 F
By: Wayne Gustaveson http://www.wayneswords.com
Good Hope Bay Report:
This week we sampled Good Hope Bay using electrofishing and hydroacoustic equipment.  We found young-of-year fish to be abundant with largemouth and smallmouth bass present in good numbers. Young gizzard shad were common in the backs of canyons which provided lots of forage for the older predators. Black crappie made their best showing over the entire lake in the back of Popcorn Canyon.
We also sampled Rincon with the same equipment and found young largemouth and smallmouth bass to be well represented.  We sample shallow brushy water in the backs of canyons and coves where these young fish hang out.  Usually numbers of bass caught at Good Hope Bay are twice as numerous as those found at Rincon but this year it was almost a tie.
The huge find was really anticipated as we dealt with the same conditions last year. After a long hot summer the lake is deeply stratified, meaning the warm surface area is thick and reaches down 30-40 feet. The cool area right below the thermocline from 40-60 feet had low oxygen content. Oxygen spikes upward again at 80 feet.
There have been many fish reports lately indicating stripers caught at 80 feet on bait and spoons.  Oxygen depletion is the culprit.  Stripers can live well in 70 degree water in the upper 30 feet of water but don’t like to go through the 40-60 area often.  When they get down to 80 they stay there where they can breathe better and they do not move shallower without a really good reason.  Right now there is a two tier fishery for stripers and other fish. The depletion is more pronounced in the northern lake than in the southern.
We had only a short time to fish in Good Hope Bay.  Before our “shocking” event we graphed in Popcorn Canyon and found a striper school in 30 - 45 feet just before the only island in the back of the canyon. These fish responded well to spoons and provided great action for about 15 minutes before leaving. There were an incredible number of fish graphed in shallow water behind the island but we did not catch any sport fish back there. My guess is a mixture of shad, carp and some sport fish.
The next morning we looked for this school again without success. We did find a school right at the mouth of Popcorn, dropped spoons and caught a dozen. When we looked for these schoolies again they had moved on.
That sums up the striper story. Stripers are moving and searching for shad in a high oxygen area.  It is easy to tell where the oxygen depletion begins by watching the graph and seeing a long band of fish traces at 50, 60, or 70 feet. Drop a spoon or troll down rigger crank baits just below the depth where the band of fish is found.  We also found the larger size smallmouth bass feeding right alongside the striper schoolies that were actively chasing spoons.
Fishing is good but it is challenging.  Watch the graph. Stop immediately when a striper school is seen. Drop a spoon or yo-yo a rattletrap off the bottom.  The fish caught using these methods are in great shape.

Lake Powell Fish Report – October 6, 2016

Lake Elevation: 3610.8

Water Temperature: 70 – 73 F

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

Good Hope Bay Report:

This week we sampled Good Hope Bay using electrofishing and hydroacoustic equipment.  We found young-of-year fish to be abundant with largemouth and smallmouth bass present in good numbers. Young gizzard shad were common in the backs of canyons which provided lots of forage for the older predators. Black crappie made their best showing over the entire lake in the back of Popcorn Canyon.

bbbm2We also sampled Rincon with the same equipment and found young largemouth and smallmouth bass to be well represented.  We sample shallow brushy water in the backs of canyons and coves where these young fish hang out.  Usually numbers of bass caught at Good Hope Bay are twice as numerous as those found at Rincon but this year it was almost a tie. 

The huge find was really anticipated as we dealt with the same conditions last year. After a long hot summer the lake is deeply stratified, meaning the warm surface area is thick and reaches down 30-40 feet. The cool area right below the thermocline from 40-60 feet had low oxygen content. Oxygen spikes upward again at 80 feet. 

There have been many fish reports lately indicating stripers caught at 80 feet on bait and spoons.  Oxygen depletion is the culprit.  Stripers can live well in 70 degree water in the upper 30 feet of water but don’t like to go through the 40-60 area often.  When they get down to 80 they stay there where they can breathe better and they do not move shallower without a really good reason.  Right now there is a two tier fishery for stripers and other fish. The depletion is more pronounced in the northern lake than in the southern.

We had only a short time to fish in Good Hope Bay.  Before our “shocking” event we graphed in Popcorn Canyon and found a striper school in 30 - 45 feet just before the only island in the back of the canyon. These fish responded well to spoons and provided great action for about 15 minutes before leaving. There were an incredible number of fish graphed in shallow water behind the island but we did not catch any sport fish back there. My guess is a mixture of shad, carp and some sport fish.

dobstb2The next morning we looked for this school again without success. We did find a school right at the mouth of Popcorn, dropped spoons and caught a dozen. When we looked for these schoolies again they had moved on.  

That sums up the striper story. Stripers are moving and searching for shad in a high oxygen area.  It is easy to tell where the oxygen depletion begins by watching the graph and seeing a long band of fish traces at 50, 60, or 70 feet. Drop a spoon or troll down rigger crank baits just below the depth where the band of fish is found.  We also found the larger size smallmouth bass feeding right alongside the striper schoolies that were actively chasing spoons.

Fishing is good but it is challenging.  Watch the graph. Stop immediately when a striper school is seen. Drop a spoon or yo-yo a rattletrap off the bottom.  The fish caught using these methods are in great shape.

 
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