Our goal here is to save shad by encouraging harvest of striped bass and walleye. If we do that then all fisheries benefit from the effort.
Keep the reports coming. I send out high resolution pictures to the media with my weekly fish reports. If you have a good photo and would like it to be displayed in newspapers and magazines then send it to me. Be aware that your photo may be used in other locations.
October 27, ,2016 - Rincon
Fished the Rincon area, including slick rock and iceberg canyons. Bass were down deep still approx 30ft. Fishing the bottom slow with single tail grubs, paddle tail grubs, and Rapalas with fair success. The best bass fishing was from 5pm to dark. Stripers were missing in action, brought 3 in between 6 fishermen over 3 days.
October 27, 2016 - Good Hope Bay
Went down the 6&7 of Oct and stayed in GHB. We fished ticaboo with probably our greatest success. I think we did best throwing a bomber model A and did ok with jigs. We typically don't fish much for stripers but got into a great school at 50 ft with Flo green and silver kastmasters in the back of warm springs canyon. Only managed 2 walleye 1 big crappie too many smallies to count and a decent number of largemouth. I wish I could figure the walleye out better I included a pic of my brother's monster smallie. Can't wait to get back down!
October 23, 2016 - Shallow stripers in Warm Creek
Fresh back from 3 days of catching and wanted to share what we observed. A buddy and I caught all the Stripers we cared too- in the BACK of Warm Creek bay on Thursday. Thousands of Striper are schooled up near numerous schools of bait-we could have caught hundreds if we chose too...aided by the use of anchovies perhaps...then, it would have been all over. We preferred to target the most active Stripers by casting and trolling lures...we trolled, watched the graph, and hooked up frequently with willing fish. We targeted shallower water areas of the bay where my Bombers crankbaits run to 12-14' deep at 3.2 mph.
We left the vast majority of schooled fish unmolested as we observed numerous bait and predatory fish stacked in water deeper than we cared to fish. All of our harvested Striper came in from 30' of water or less. We avoided trolling the deeper diving lures-which I assume would have worked equally as well. So much fun to be had in the shallows-more than once Striper in the 3lb. range could be seen smashing the lure next too the boat on the retrieve...those fish are fast and you need to be ready! I had a Striper or two whack my lure at the end of the retrieve just before I lifted the lure out of the water...now that is exciting!
Each of the side canyons off of the back of Warm Creek held fish too. Size of fish varied significantly (lure size fish up to 5#). The larger fish should be heavier and seemed less energetic-still reasonably healthy but not skinny...at least not yet. We culled a few large fish but kept numerous in the preferred table fare sizes.
The sweet spot for us were the juvenile through 3lb. fish which were numerous and feisty. We don't target while angling but to use a term my friend Tim has posted more than once...we found the "Mother Lode". Tim "Striperholic" has had great success targeting Striper in Warm Creek over the last few weeks so I figured I'd go check out what all the excitement was about. We enjoyed the health and fight of the fish caught.
We left the schools actively hitting crankbait's in Silver and White. Striper than we could handle with Additionally, we did well with SMB and LMB too, but all of those were caught in and in and around Wahweap Marina.
October 22, 2016 - Southern smallmouth bass
Fall smallmouth bass fishing on Lake Powell can be a study in contrasts. At times most of the fish are found 20 feet deep and deeper, at times they are mostly 15 feet and shallower and at times they are all over the place - and all that can change depending on where you are fishing. That was the case this past Wednesday and Thursday for longtime fishing partner Dale Marenda and me. On Wednesday we fished the double islands just through the Castle Rock Cut and the reefs and ledges at the mouth of Warm Creek. We found equal numbers of bass above 15 feet and at 20 feet and below. Unlike my last trip we found many fish on the sides of offshore reefs. We found a few fish in the backs of coves, but most of them were either on offshore reefs or long points that went well out into the lake.
Thursday we motored up to Last Chance Bay and found a different scenario. We took a few fish in deeper water, but a vast majority of our fish came from very shallow water in the far back ends of coves, mostly in little cuts with trenches going into them from the main cove. We looked At Wayne’s fishing report and tried fishing some rockslides off vertical walls, but that was not overly successful. We took a few fish there, but the back of the coves were much better. I was battling a smallmouth in one little cut and 30 to 40 bass were chasing it. We estimated we saw more than 50 bass in one little cut about the size of a large living room. Most were smallmouths, but a few largemouths were swimming with them. They were easy to see in relatively clear water.
The one similarity between the two days was morning fishing was relatively slow. Our best action occurred after 12:30 p.m.both days. In fact, the action was so good late Thursday afternoon that we hated to leave, but the ride back to Wahweap from Last Chance in my boat takes nearly an hour and we wanted to get back before it got too late. The other consistency both days was the bass wanted a slow presentation. They absolutely would not chase a lure. It was necessary to put a lure right in front of them and leave it there. Drop shot fishing with Yamamoto Shad Shaped Worms was productive, but I’m sure other slow finesse presentations with a variety of soft plastic baits would work. Most of the fish we caught had been feeding on crayfish which leads me to believe single tail, double tail and Hula Grubs fished on light jig heads would be very successful.
On this trip I really believe using a fluorocarbon leader was critical to success. Dale was really struggling Thursday until he switched from a monofilament leader to fluorocarbon. Almost immediately he started getting many more strikes and catching more fish. While there are days where I think you could tie a jig to an anchor rope and catch bass at Powell, I also believe there are many days where using at least a fluorocarbon leader makes a huge difference. I use either fluorocarbon line or a fluorocarbon leader for all presentations except for topwater. At least I know when I leave the ramp I have eliminated line visibility as a possible problem, and this means I fish with greater confidence. I can’t stress the importance in using fluorocarbon line on Lake Powell. I know it’s contributed to my fishing success.
Our fish count on Wednesday was 26 smallmouths and one largemouth. We had several really nice smallies over sixteen inches with most of the others being cookie cutter 11 to 13-inchers which are found in abundance in the lake right now.Thursday we caught 36 smallmouths and four largemouths mostly in that 11 to 13-inch size with a few bigger. As in my past trips, these fish fought extremely hard for their size. All were in good shape indicating they are getting plenty of forage. They all produced nice plump fillets and are excellent eating.
I’ll be back up again next week with longtime friend and fishing partner John Conrad. Hopefully we will continue to find fall fishing success.
October 11, 2016 -Stripers in Rock Creek
Kim and Joe from Espanola here. We and our dogs had a GREAT trip to Lake Powell October 5-8. We camped near the back of Dry Rock Creek and fished the back of Dry Rock Creek and Rock Creek. We caught all the stripers we cared to fillet over our three day trip and came back with our cooler crammed with fish.
We caught most of them in about 70-90 feet of water. Stripers seemed to be holding around 60 feet to the bottom and were very willing to take our lures (picture below). We had better luck at the back of Rock Creek. We saw no boils and tried trolling (that middle lure usually brings them in), but only caught smallmouth this time.
Last trip this year, can't wait for the next year.
October 11, 2016 - Bass in southern lake
Smallmouth bass fishing remained outstanding the lower end of the lake last week. When I was up in late September I predicted the fishing would be at least as good if not better when I returned two weeks later, and that was definitely the case. There are many smallmouth up in shallow water right now, and they are hungry. As long as we don’t have a major early Pacific storm, I see this pattern holding up at least until the end of the month.
My partner on this trip once again was long-time friend John Conrad. John fished with me two weeks prior and was looking forward to another shot at those smallies, and anything else that might find the end of our lines. Wednesday’s (Oct. 5) fishing was a bit slow which I believe was due to post-front conditions. Still, fishing a rocky bay in the main channel, the mouth of Warm Creek and the double islands just beyond the Castle Rock Cut we managed 35 smallmouths, one largemouth, five stripers and four bluegills with three of those bluegill being very nice. Thursday morning we woke up to a plumbing leak at my Greenehaven mobile home which necessitated a visit from the plumber. That delayed our launching the boat until around 2 p.m. Still, in just a little over two hours of fishing, we took 15 smallmouths and one striper. We were fishing the ledges just above where Wahweap Bay meets the main channel. Friday, with the plumbing all fixed and nice weather predicted, we ran to my favorite fishing hole - Last Chance Bay. We fished three coves there taking 53 smallmouths, three largemouths, one striper and three more big bluegills - 60 total fish - making our three-day total 103 smallmouths, four largemouths, seven stripers and seven bluegills, a total of 121 fish of all species. I believe if we’d have gotten a full day on Thursday we would have conservatively added 30 to 40 to that total.
As mentioned at the top, we found most of the smallmouth in shallow water - 15 feet and less. We caught a few between 20 and 35 feet, mostly along a wall that I knew had some submerged ledges, but those fish were exceptions. There were so many fish in shallower water that it really didn’t pay to fish all that deep. As in our trip two weeks prior, we caught nearly all our fish off shore-related structure such as ledges and points. We had little success on offshore reefs. The best presentation was as slow as possible. Despite catching large numbers of fish, they did not seem overly aggressive. We had to put our baits right in front of the fish and leave them there. We had about an equal number of hits on the initial drop and while slowly dragging across the structure. As is our usual case, we caught nearly everything on drop shot rigs, however any slow soft plastic bait presentation such as jigs and tubes would have worked. I used a Yamamoto Shad Shaped Worm in the 901 color - watermelon and white laminate. John’s bait of choice was a Berkley Gulp minnow in a natural shad color. I don’t think the lure was all that important as any smaller soft plastic would have worked. We saw virtually no surface activity. I tried throwing topwater several times with nary a strike. Most of the fish we filleted had been feeding on crayfish which would explain the lack of surface activity. I did clean a couple that had shad in their stomachs, and I had one nine-inch bass spit out a bluegill that was much bigger than I would have thought a bass of that size could swallow. Most of the stripers we caught were small school fish that passed under our boat.
Just like the last trip we did not catch any really big smallmouth. Our biggest ones were around 16 inches and we caught quite a few of those. We also caught a lot between 13 and 15 inches and hordes of the 11 to 12-inch “eaters” which we enjoyed for dinner three nights. I don’t know what has happened to Lake Powell smallmouth over the past three years as they have on average fought much harder than in previous years. In fact, they have fought harder for their size than any smallmouths I have caught anywhere - and I have been privileged to fish some great smallmouth water in Arkansas, Missouri, Ontario and Maine. Most of these fish jump completely out of the water, sometimes multiple times. They dig deep and strip off line. They never give up. That’s what makes the smallmouth bass such a great gamefish and why I have pursued them so much over my fishing life. I consider them the perfect gamefish.
The biggest surprise of the trip were the bluegills. We have never caught bluegills of this size on Lake Powell. They reminded me of the monster bluegills that were in Lake Pleasant right after it filled behind the new dam in 1993 and 1994. They were the dark, copper-bellied bulls which are fun to catch and excellent eating. Every bluegill we caught was taken straight down at 25 to 35 feet. There is no doubt that if we’d replaced our larger bass hooks with smaller panfish type hooks and had used live worms instead of our soft plastic lures we would have taken quite a few of these fish. I learned from fishing Lake Pleasant and elsewhere that big bluegills spend most of their time in deep water, and fishing a smaller drop shot setup with live worms or crickets would take a lot of them.
The problem is I have a hard time bluegill fishing when the smallmouth fishing is so good, and smallmouth fishing is very good on Lake Powell right now. And it’s not necessary to travel many miles up lake to find good fishing. There is a lot of good fishing in Wahweap Bay and just beyond. It’s a great time to give it a try.
October 3, 2016 - San Juan Boils
Hi Wayne, Jason Reden here. I , along with 11 others were on my aunt & uncles houseboat, "Kapa Lua", from Sept 16th - 23rd. My cousin Brent, good friends Steve and Pete and I did most of the fishing through the week. We left Antelope Pt. Saturday morn and traveled all day straight to the San Juan where we always camp way up between the the two big bays. We've always done well there but it was a full moon that week and we all thought that would hinder fishing. Not so! It was on Fire ! Brent and I set out early Sunday morning and headed up river toward the last huge bay scouting for striper boils. Water was flat as glass and excellent for spotting crashing fish. We saw our first tell tale sign in the back of big bay as the stripers had shad pinned in a large cove and were crashing like tuna. It was on ! We were throwing 1oz. Krocodiles over the boils and hooking nice 2-4lb. Healthy fish. We stayed on them for a good hour until they left the cove.
We then headed back toward the channel ( right below the big arch hole that people hike to ) where we saw a few boils. We cut the motor and threw on them. Bang! It was on, and like no other time we had ever seen. We're from San Diego and the only way I can describe it, is Tuna Boil. This huge school of stripers did not leave, and Brent and I caught 2 -5lb. Fish for two hours straight! We quit keeping count, but we had to have boated 50+ fish. We shook our heads as we left the feeding school to go get others in on the action. Steve, Pete and Brent did go back and caught more. I stayed at camp and had fun with the smallmouth on 2lb. Line. Good stuff... a very small spoon is all you need.
Monday morning Brent, Pete and I headed back to the same "Arch area" to see if possibly the stripers would show up like they did Sunday. As we got close we could see sprays of water glimmering through the sun. Bang! It was on again... fast and furious for an hour or two. Usually schools will boil fast and leave, not this one. The shad ball they were feeding on must have been enormous as they were being pushed up to the cliff and skipping onto the rocks trying to evade the onslaught. Very exciting indeed ! Again, a 1oz. Krocodile or any Hopkins type spoon will work. They cast a mile and sink quickly if needed. We catch most every fish on them including Walleye and an occasional Catfish. If stripers aren't boiling, send it down 60-100 ft. And crank up fast. This works great if you don't have a graph and are trying to get something going. Go from cliff to cliff, or even deep places you wouldn't normally fish, and drop your spoon way down. The key is to twitch and jerk the spoon as you reel ridiculously fast. Very fun...
A storm came in Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. It rained but the wind wasn't bad so Brent and Steve went up to big bay and tried graphing fish ( none of us are real savvy with the graph ) anyway, they said a big red ball showed up on graph so they dropped spoons. Bang! They got into nice 2-5lb. Healthy fish down deep. We've read some of Wayne's reports on gizzard shad, and we think that that's probably what the red ball was. Good stuff Wayne...
Thursday night the winds from hell blasted the back of our houseboat. 3-4ft. Waves crashed directly over the back rail filling both engine compartments and into the lower bedrooms of the boat. " Kapa Lua" went down... Luckily we were parked on a fairly shallow beach in Warm Water bay or things could have really gotten ugly. The boat rested on the props in about 10-12ft. Of water. Brent's 20' Regal boat was blown onto shore and tipped sideway, and filled with water. It's a loss. Steves 18' center console boat was also blown ashore but we managed to shove it back upright, and it saved the day by towing both beached wave runners and the Regal back to Antelope Pt. Friday morning. We've been through some monster storms at Powell in the past but this was the perfect storm... hitting us from directly behind, the bilges couldn't keep up with 4' crashing waves straight over the back rail. It happened in a matter of minutes. Powell is by far the best fishing, and most beautiful place I've ever been, and the storms are just part of the deal. ( I'm sure my uncle Greg would have something to say about that ). I'm sure we'll all be just a little more weary of wind direction, and where we park next trip. One thing is for sure though, the Reden's will be back next year to hammer on the stripers again !
September 30, 2016 - Kane Creek Boil
There was a huge boil that lasted for over an hour in the very back of Kane Creek (left side of Cookie Jar in Padre Bay) last Tuesday. A huge school of 3 inch shad were seen swimming in the back of the canyon. Then stripers found the shad and the battle commmenced. This boil was not repeated the next day. It is a random event but that means it can also happen again soon. Follow the huge shad school to find stripers. Some of the boiling stripers appeared to make a splash as large as a teenager jumping off a houseboat. I am going to go take a look in Padre again.
September 28, 2016 - Southern Bass
If there’s one thing I know I would not like to be, it would be a shad in Lake Powell. This fact was evidenced last Friday in Last Chance Bay. My friend John Conrad and I were fishing in a little cut in the back of a cove we have fished many times over the years. A striper school had a bunch of shad pinned against the shoreline and was thrashing into them quite vigorously. But when the stripers left there was no rest for the shad as some hungry smallmouths were waiting for the survivors. And in addition to the hordes of hungry stripers and smallmouths, shad also have run a gauntlet of largemouths, walleyes, crappies and even catfish. In short, there is no rest for a shad in Lake Powell.
Thursday morning we fished the ledges near the junction of Wahweap Bay and the main channel catching 24 more smallmouths before the wind and rain hit forcing us to run for State Line Ramp. As it turned out we could have ducked into Wahweap Marina and waited it out, but the forecast was for rain and wind from about 10:00 a.m. on and we didn’t want to take the chance of having to load the boat in driving wind and rain - a miserable experience for sure.
I did hook one pretty decent striper on a topwater lure Friday, but I lost it at the boat. I had one other topwater strike, but the stripers left that area and did not return. We did not see any other striper surface activity.
September 28, 2016 - Oak Canyon
We fished Oak Canyon on Sept 18,19, and 20th. My wife caught a few Walleye on a gray 4 inch single tail Yamamoto but none had tags. They were down at about 25 feet and seemed to prefer a slow drag across the bottom. There were large schools of shad in the water and the stripers would heard them up on the beach from time to time. Our daughter would wake us up at 5:45 am to fish boils off the back of the boat. Top water baits and jerk baits worked all day on the stripers. Small mouth bass were also biting well on the single tail grubs in gray and chartreuse colors.
Only one large mouth bass caught which we returned immediately.
The fishing trip was above average until our boat broke down with a spun engine coupler on Wednesday and we had to get a tow back to Antelope point public launch ramp. Heading back in a few weeks to try for more Walleye, hopefully one with a tag.
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