Lake Powell report for May 5 & 6, 2016 (Afternoon water temps over 66 degrees!)
I got a late start Tue morning since I planned on fishing up the San Juan this day and wanted to kill a little time to stop in for gas at Dangling Rope Marina on the way and it didn’t open until 8 so I made a stop near MM 36 on my way as this area was so good last year. The first fish for the season was a smallie pushing 3 lbs on a crawdad colored crank.
After another 5 fish in this area and then fuel and I was up fishing in the Neskahi Bay area at 9:15, targeting bass. Total for the day was 121 fish, mostly smallmouth with a fair amount of largemouth coming from congregated areas along with one striper and one crappie, both of the latter on a 5” Senko.
There was no question that the LM preferred the Lucky Craft Pointer bait (as pictured) above all other baits, tied to 12 lb fluorocarbon. Sometimes just toss and wind and other times as a jerk bait. There were several baits working well for the smallies including the Yamamoto dbl tail grub w/ 1/8 oz head, drop shot ¼ oz weight with Berkley chartreuse 4” Gulp minnow, the Pointer crank/jerk bait mentioned above, and a ½ oz spoon, but no bait was better than a 5” green Senko. (see fish/bait pics) They would eat that Senko UP! My landing rate was probably only 70% and I suspect that I could have improved this by switching from a drop shot hook rigged wacky style to a small weightless jig hook exposed, of which I did not have any with me.
I saw few fish on beds up here but there were fish in the very backs of many coves in gentle sloping flat sand bottoms with no rock, in 1-2’. This water was a little off colored and they could have actually been bedding fish. The ‘typical’ areas that I would fish in the summer/fall, outside rock piles/points, were not as good as shorelines right up tight in a foot or two of water. Interestingly enough, southern coves had many fish in the very back and with NE coves, the fish were much more point oriented but still very shallow. The 5-15’ range held hardly had any fish up here for me. I fished until 6pm and headed back to Wahweap.
[As many times as I have been up in this Neskahi area, I wasn’t aware of a shallow clump of rock out in the boat lane of this big cove and I’m sure glad someone marked it with a boat bumper!]
Wednesday I got an even later start and decided to stay relatively close to the southern areas that had done quite well last Fall and see if I could locate a few spots of concentrated fish for my Boy Scouts trip at the end of this month and I can’t say that I was all that successful. 29 fish was all that I caught from 8:30 till 4. That’s somewhat pitiful compared to Tue but it did tell me several things I wanted to know. A lot of time this day was spent targeting stripers including some time spooning but mostly trolling and I did no bait fishing.
I started in Goodman and then Kane coves and had smaller smallmouth to show for my time there by casting to the rocky shoreline with a grub, than by trolling. There were a few stripers trolled up in each cove, all of them while in 25-30’ of water. In one cove I used the extra deep pointer running about 15’ max and in the other cove I used an extra large crank with a BB in the bill and I could bounce the bottom at 22’. Both of these were run on 15 lb fluorocarbon line at about 3 mph and both were equally well at catching stripers (2 each) but the Pointer did catch several more bass than the deeper running lure did.
I left this area and then poked around MM 25 with no success and went into the Friendship Cove entrance where I caught a few on the shallow pointer before heading over to MM 36 and working my way into Dungeon Canyon. There were fish in here all right, some back in behind the ‘haystacks’ in shallow water spawning and I spent a couple of hours catching 4-5 bedding fish and dropshotting a few in addition to hooking onto a carp that looked like it had been attacked by the dreaded tiger muskie?? It was still swimming but I’m not sure how. I then fired up the Verado to do some trolling down that shoreline from the corner to Dungeon. Mostly smallies were caught doing this with one striper until I went in the very back and that Gulp minnow produced two 3 lb stripers in a foot of water.
Recap: This first trip of the season was much better than last years first one, even the second day down south. The stripers appear to still be in the same areas as they were but I may have needed to cut up some anchovies but I suspect in 2 months or so they will be willing to hit a spoon or TW better in these south areas. The San Juan was on fire but I was a little disappointed I couldn’t catch some bigger bass there.
When I was at Dangling Rope Marina I had some folks ask me what kind of mileage I got with my Mercury Verado outboard, the same question many bass boat people ask and I would say based on experience and after running the lake for these 2 days inc up to the start of the Great Bend in the San Juan and points between and running it hard occasionally (It still hit 76.5 mph up there Wed and used 50 gal for the 2 days). I suspect that overall it is better on fuel than my 2010 Merc 250 XS and it certainly performs much better at Powell’s elevation. If running over 4800 rpm it may be slightly worse but better otherwise. It is also great to have the throttle option of hand or foot and essentially cruise control for the long runs common to Lake Powell.
With the increased trolling success at Powell I also find the ‘troll feature’ to be quite handy where I can dial in the trolling speed to what produces the most success. When it gets warmer, all the fish like it a little faster and I’ve found that I can increase rpm’s/mph up a few tenths to be more attractive to the stripers, with 3.3 mph being about ideal for them and a little slower for the bass. I’m going to need to invest in a selfie stick apparently with ongoing no show situations as these are poor pics to say the least.
Sam Sherwood – Mesa, AZ