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Lake Powell News

Apr
15
2014
0

Lake Powell Fishing Report by Wayne Gustaveson 4-15-14

Lake Elevation: 3574

Water Temperature 54-62 F

Lake Powell water level increased a fraction of
an inch this week.  It wasn’t much but it is a step in the right
direction.  Combine that with warming temperatures and increasing day
length and the ingredients are in place for good fishing.  Now the final
ingredient is to plan your trip when weather is warm and calm. Try to avoid a
cold front with wind if possible.  Warming water may even overpower the
full moon effect which will be encountered this week. (If I had to choose between
this week and next I would go later due to full moon).

All of the sport fish species are starting to move up in the water column
seeking to find the warm surface layers.  Smallmouth bass finally found a
few days when the morning water temperature was above 57 degrees which is their
trigger for increased activity. Bass action is not strong yet but more fish
were caught this week than last and many more will be caught the last two weeks
of April.  Plastic grubs and tubes on jigheads worked slowly along the
bottom are effective now along with drop shot rigs and shad shaped worms.
For those that like to fish faster, try a spinnerbait worked methodically along
the shoreline with a fast retrieve so all the likely habitat is tested.
Square bill crankbaits are also a good choice for covering a shoreline in a
hurry.

Walleye fishing will get better each week from now until the end of May. Fish
muddy water in the afternoons with a plastic grub tipped with a live night
crawler.  Walleye have a distinctive bite that duplicates the feel of a
rubber band.  Walleye grab the tail of a plastic grub and then pull on it
slightly before letting go allowing the grub to shoot forward.  When this
happens immediately drop the lure to the bottom instead of reeling in. The
walleye will come over and take another look.  It usually takes two or
three pickups before a walleye is hooked. If the walleye tastes the live worm
it is much more likely to be caught.

Stripers are the most active fish right now. Schools are running from the main
channel walls to the backs of the canyons. Main channel fish are located in
very deep water that is closely associated with a shallow shelf. At the dam the
best fishing spots are found where a shelf extends out 20-30 feet from the
cliff wall. At this lake level there is a nice shelf under the chain link fence
that sticks out on the west side of the forebay about 100 yards from the
barricade.

In Navajo, Labyrinth, and the Buoy 25 cove striper schools hover at the
breaking edge of the 30 foot shelf where they can quickly descend to deep water
when danger threatens.  Anchovy chum will keep the school around long
enough to catch quite a few or possible draw them back up once they have moved
to deep water.  I find that schools repeatedly return to the same spots.
If they quit give them a rest and then come back later for a rerun.

The other option is to head to the back of the canyon and troll and cast in
murky water where bottom depth varies between 15-45 feet.  Troll lures
with a white background marked with a chartreuse stripe.  This color
combination has been deadly so far this spring.  Shad raps, X-raps, and
Norman Little Ns are flat-line trolling very well.  As the day warms
stripers move shallower and can be caught right up against the shallow flats
now seen in the back of many canyons.  Shad have moved on to the flats and
stripers wait for them to swim back into deeper water. Look for grebes to mark
shad schools. Stripers can’t resist chartreuse and white jerk baits that swim
out of shallow water into their feeding zone.  Most of the stripers are
eating plankton but they all signed a pledge at birth that they would eat any
forage fish that invaded their personal space. Put a lure in front of their
face and they will definitely bite the fish first and look for more plankton
later.

This report is heavy on southern lake experience but midlake and north lake
fish will respond in a similar manner.  These techniques will work just as
well in the San Juan, Escalante and Good Hope Bay.

Apr
08
2014
0

Lake Powell Fishing Report by Wayne Gustaveson 4-8-14

Lake Powell Fishing Report
Lake Elevation: 3574
Water Temperature 52-60 F

Lake level remains fairly constant with a slight drop to 3574 MSL.  We hope spring runoff holds off for another 3 weeks as the Castle Rock Cut deepening project will continue until the last week of April.  The best news is that the Cut will be deepened down to 3575 MSL meaning that the lake only has to come up 5 feet or so from the present level to allow boats to take the shortcut. That will save much time, fuel and aggravation with rough water in the main channel detour.  My guess is the cut will be passable before Memorial Day.

Warm weather is here and fish are responding accordingly.  It is time to go fishing! Bass are moving up to feel that warm surface layer.  Fishing is not hot yet for bass but much improved over the last 3 weeks.  Remember that colored water warms faster than clear water and target the warmest water available to find willing bass.

Walleye fishing is improving for the same reasons.  Plastic bass lures (tubes and grubs) are beginning to draw interest but they work much better when tipped with a piece of live worm.  The best depth for finding walleye is 12-20 feet.  If trolling is your favorite technique then troll over long rocky points that jut out into the main channel.  Allow the lure to touch bottom a couple of times as it bounces across the point. Walleye really like lures to be close to the bottom. Slow trolling bottom bouncers with live worm or plastic worm imitations work on flat bottom structure under a wind-caused mudline in the afternoon breeze.

Stripers are the most active fish right now.  Schools of adult stripers have followed gizzard shad schools into the backs of canyons and coves. Similar reports have come from 7mile canyon, Lake Canyon, Iceberg and a few San Juan canyons.  Stripers are hitting crankbaits cast into very shallow water. Some fish are even boiling on 5-inch shad and surface lures.  White lures with a chartreuse stripe seem to mimic the gizzard shad well.

In other canyons (Gunsight, Padre, Last Chance, Rock Creek, Escalante and San Juan) fat juvenile stripers are feeding on plankton. Stripers are scattered and can best be caught trolling a shad imitating crankbait that runs 12 to 20 feet deep.   Trolling speed should be 3 mph for the best result. Mark locations where each fish is caught and return to that spot to catch more.

More stripers are hitting anchovy bait at the dam.  Catching is getting much better with 10 fish caught per hour from anglers checked this week.  Stripers caught on bait are not as healthy as those caught with reaction lure techniques.

Very deep canyons (150 feet or more) with a shallow bench along the edge are harboring a few large striper schools.  We found a huge school with fat juvenile stripers and recovering adults at Buoy 25 which was last years’ hottest striper spot in the lower lake.    We dropped spoons right on the school with quick results but fish moved back into the deep water after we caught 6 or more in 5 minutes.

Spring fishing is at its best right now.  It will only improve as the water warms into the 60s.

Apr
05
2014
0

Lake Powell Fishing Report by Bill McBurney 4/4/14

Fished yesterday at #lakepowell  here  is a short report:

Responding to anchovies the Dam but better quality of fish in the backs of Canyons and they respond better to trollers and casters.

Quality  fish will sniff/nibble anchovies but tend to move away but I suspect will get better by late April with warmer water. You will have to hunt harder for bigger and fatter fish this year due to the lowers water and stressed bait reproduction.  They can be found just takes patience and persistence.

Some canyons and main channel fish will fair better this year.  Cat fishing this year is great and producing as some are already on the feed!

Tight lines,

Capt. Bill

Apr
02
2014
0

Lake Powell Fishing Report 3-31-14 by Wayne Gustaveson

March 31, 2014
Lake Elevation: 3575
Water Temperature 51-55 F
By: Wayne Gustaveson

 

Here is a quick early report as I am going to be gone the rest of the week.

Stripers continue to be the most readily caught fish in the lake.  Some walleye, bass and crappie have been taken but not in large numbers.  Catching these other species will improve with warming but cold nights and windy afternoons are keeping the lake temperature down.  So until we have more warm calm days the most agreeable target species is striped bass.

To my surprise stripers have shown up at the dam and are hitting anchovy bait. Place an anchovy chunk on a colorful jig head (chartreuse or pink), cast it out near the barricade on the west wall and allow the bait to settle under the boat at 30-40 feet. Fishing is fast for a few minutes when the school moves through.  Fishing slows while waiting for the school to return. Chumming seems to bring the school back in range more quickly.  Fish size is the standard 15-18 inches that is seen most often this spring. A few larger stripers are taken as well but that is the exception.

I like to seek the other striper schools which reside in the backs of most of the canyons from Wahweap to Trachyte. Trolling with lures that run approximately 12 feet deep is steady where fish traces are seen on the graph.  Usually the best spots are in murky water near the backs of canyons.  Recently stripers have reportedly been caught in Wahweap, Warm Creek, Navajo, Gunsight, Padre, Kane Creek, Last Chance, Rock Creek, Escalante, Nasja on the San Juan, Iceberg, and Red Canyon. Fishing is not fast but steady in the cool water.

Occasionally a fish hooked trolling will have followers that can be caught casting or spooning.  On our last trip there were a few occasions where all 3 anglers in the boat hooked up with stripers at the same time.  Usually only one 18 inch fish is caught at a time.   Normal catch for a 4 hour trip is 20 stripers.

Remember that a nonresident Utah fishing license allows you to fish in both UT and AZ.

Fishing will improve dramatically when water temperature nears 60 degrees.

Mar
26
2014
0

Lake Powell Fishing Report by Wayne Gustavson 3/26/14

Spring Fishing is here!

Spring Fishing is here!

Photo:  Bill McBurney reported catching an
19 pound striped bass while fly fishing in the southern lake this past week.
Striped bass are coming shallower in warming water making them easier to catch
by trolling and casting.

 

Lake Powell Fishing Report

March 26, 2014

Lake Elevation: 3575

Water Temperature 52-60 F

The weather is warming but the changes are subtle.  On calm warm days surface temperature spikes from 50 up to 60 degrees or higher.  The cold winter water is still below so warm water floats only on the surface.  Then on windy days the warm surface layer is mixed into the cold water.  That warm layer is not completely lost as it starts warming the deep layer. Each calm period will hasten the warming.  Spring warming starts all kinds of fish activity. Here is what is happening this week.

Some striped bass schools have been holding at 60-75 feet but there is now a division between adults and young. Young stripers are eating plankton that is found most readily in the upper 25 feet.  Young fish have moved shallow leaving the older fish at 30-60 feet.

Anglers can take advantage of this behavior by searching the backs of canyons where water is murky.  I know this is mentioned in every spring fishing report.  It is emphasized every time because it makes all the difference between catching and not catching fish.  Pay close attention to water color. Main channel water is clear and blue.  That water color is not conducive to catching fish in early spring.

Near the back of the canyon water color may change to green, murky or muddy.  Start fishing at the color change.  Juvenile stripers will be randomly scattered in the upper layers as they pursue plankton schools.  The best technique is to troll or cast medium depth crankbaits that run at 12 feet. When we tried this technique this week we found willing 2-pound stripers in the back of all three canyons fished in Padre Bay. Success was not quick but it was consistent.

Back at the fish cleaning station we found all stripers were mature males.  It is common to catch only male or females stripers depending on the circumstances. On this day the small warming event was enough to put a chip on the shoulder of the males, while females could care less as spawning thoughts do not occur for them until water temperature reaches 70.  Males were striking at lures that invaded their personal space while females were either absent or without aggression.  Springtime fishing is subtle.

Adult stripers are deeper and can be found in the backs of the canyons where depth changes abruptly from deep water to a 30 feet plateau or bench.   Best techniques are down rigger trolling, spooning or bait fishing.

Bass react to warming by moving up as well.  They seek warm water to recharge their batteries.  Smallmouth don’t even wake up until water temperature hits 57 degrees while largemouth get excited when temperature is 53 or better. Current temperatures mark the beginning of spring for both species. Calm afternoons are the best time to fish for bass, particularly in shallow coves with a south facing rock wall that collects as much heat from the sun as possible and transmits that warmth into the water. Again look for bass in colored water.  Murky water warms more quickly than clear water.  Bass will move to warm spots along the shore. Use the thermometer to find “hot spots”. Then look for fast falling broken rock piles to key in on bass habitat. In the absence of brush rock structure and water color will guide you to bass country.

Use the same strategy to find crappie.  They will be found in open water between the muddy and green zones in the backs of canyons. Start fishing in 12-15 feet of murky water by blind casting or very slow trolling.

Fishing is not yet fast but it is certainly worthwhile to be on the lake during a calm warm afternoon.

Mar
22
2014
0

LAKE POWELL FISHING REPORT 3-22-14

Lake Powell Elevation: 3575.2

 

Spring Fishing is here!

Spring Fishing is here!

CAPT. BILL MCBURNEY

19 Lb Striper

3/21/14

This fish and 8 other normal ones1 ½ to 3 lbs,  were taking the Fly in 30 ft, of water.  The big female was loaded with eggs and had a big school of males with her! She laid in the hold for 8 hrs, so I added a pound to the weigh in.  Spring Has Sprung !

SNOWPACK

Above is the current map showing we should have an excellent runoff this year!  Fishing should be fantastic

Mar
01
2014
0

Lake Powell Fishing Report March 1, 2014 by Wayne’s Word

IMG_0258

 

Photo Caption: Brett Hepworth and family from
Cedar City UT, found one nice 7-pound striper in Wahweap Bay while fishing over
the President’s Day weekend at Lake Powell. The youngest daughter Whitni caught
the biggest fish.

Lake Powell Fishing Forecast

March 5, 2014

Lake Elevation: 3575

Water Temperature 50-53 F

By: Wayne Gustaveson

Weather is warming and trees are budding in the high desert.  It’s time to
start thinking about fishing and what to expect from Lake Powell in 2014.
The lake has dipped to the lowest point since 2005 leaving brushy cover high
and dry on the shoreline. Fortunately there has been modest precipitation in
the Colorado River drainage. When runoff starts the lake should rise from the
currently level of 3575 MSL back to 3600 MSL or perhaps a bit more. Fortunately
the Castle Rock Cut is being deepened and will be accessible to uplake travel
by June 1st. Rising water will rejuvenate many of the launch ramps
that are currently closed including Antelope Point Public and Bullfrog Main
ramp.

Rising water will be good for fish. The old brush line came out of the water
and left brush high and dry when the lake dropped below 3604 MSL.  Lake
level exceeding that point will provide cover for bass, crappie and shad that
is needed for good survival of the new year class.  Unfortunately, bass
and crappie spawning occurs in late April and May when the lake will be below
the brush line. Therefore, survival of young fish that use brush for cover will
be minimal.  Smallmouth bass, walleye and striped bass will have good
production but their population density will depend on how many shad are
produced.

After two seasons of low water levels, total fish numbers are down. Largemouth
and crappie have taken the biggest deduction.  Adults remain but there
have been very few young fish recruited to the various fish populations that
anglers seek. The bright spot for shallow shoreline fishing will be smallmouth
bass.  They rely on rocky structure for protection and crayfish for
nutrition. In current brushless, low lake conditions smallmouth bass have the
advantage and will be the fish to pursue from March to June.

Smallmouth bass fishing strategy is subtle. With no obvious woody habitat to
target, look for rocky structure with a slope that drops quickly to deep water
or broken rock pile along a slick rock shore.  Perhaps the most important
key is to find murky water created by wind or wave action. Most canyons have
muddy water in the back during spring inflow.  Look for the color
transitions from clear, to green, to colored, then to
muddy.     Smallmouth bass will be found most often between
the green and murky water sections in each canyon. Then look at the rock
structure in the green/murky zone and fish on the shady side of the rock. Yes,
I said it was going to be subtle.

Walleye occupy the same habitat as smallmouth but they feed on a different
schedule. Walleye will be on the shady side of rocks in the muddy/ green zone
but they feed best just before  first light and after sunset.  They
must have signed a joint use agreement with bass that prevents both from using
the same structure at the same time.

Striped bass were literally jumping in the boat last year looking for the last
anchovy in the bait bucket. A huge population of adult stripers was trapped in
deep water looking for anything to eat. Shad were on the surface and stripers
were in deep water. Those were good memories but put that in the scrapbook and
look ahead.   Now that huge population of adults has gone on to bluer
pastures and been replaced by their young offspring.  Young, vibrant
stripers in 2014 will be able to feed on the surface and chase shad. Boils may
happen in summer but in the spring look in the backs of main canyons in the
colored water.  Troll shallow, mid range and deep runners to find fish.
When a striper is hooked trolling, drop spoons or cast lures as the fish is
played in case the following school comes under the boat.  If an inactive
school is graphed while trolling mark the spot with a floating marker and
return with jigging spoons to see if the school will cooperate.

The best trolling lures the past few years were Lucky Craft Pointers, Glass
Shad Raps, and Storm Deep Thundersticks. It is good to have an assortment of
lures but the real key point when trolling is to locate the fish holding
zone.  Stripers may hold at a spot on a shoreline where a point extends
into the lake, or over a submerged hump at 30 feet in 60 feet of water or in a
hundred other places.  The important point here is to mark the location of
each hookup and immediately return to the exact spot.  Many times stripers
can be caught at exactly the same spot while all the water in the immediate
vicinity of the ‘sweet spot’ seems fishless.

Throughout the season my fish reports will highlight these fishing subtleties
and identify hotspots as reported by anglers covering the length of the lake.
If you are lucky enough to find a super fishing spot or a subtle key to
catching fish please report it to me and I will broadcast it in the next
fishing report.  Then anglers can use your spot and pay up with their
reports as they leave the lake.  Lake Powell is so big it takes a fishing
village to understand it. We invite you all to join the village and share your
insights on Wayneswords.com

Feb
19
2014
0

Lake Powell Fishing Report 2-19-14

Lake Powell Elevation: 3576.58

Lake Powell has produced striper catches all Winter with mostly schoolies size fish. Bigger fish are ready for spawn when water temps climb another 10 degrees which will make the fish bite even better still.  If Spring continues mild, fishing WILL BE EXCELLENT for stripers.  Later March through Summer/Fall Season fly, spin, bait cast and trolling .  Our boats and Guide have you covered.

With the warmer temps we have been getting look for water temperature to jump…Get you booking in now as the Calendar is booking up.

Tight Lines,

Capt. Bill

 

 

 

Jan
29
2014
0

Lake Powell Fishing Report 1-29-14

Lake Powell Elevation: 3579.27

Great News for Lake Powell Anglers and Boaters.  Please see the link below to catch the latest news on “the Castle Rock cut”.

Weather has been unseasonably warm.  We are predicted to be 67 on Thursday 1/30/14.

Lower water this year will congregate the fish into tighter holding patterns and where excited about some of the newer opportunities that will open up for fly-fishing from rocks and shoreline up lake. We know our spin and trolling wand bait fishing will be good but fully understand the shoreline experience for others to tackle a big fish from the shore. For now the fish are holding in 39 to 20 ft of water in a lot of canyons and the window for feeding changes is different daily until water gets in the 60′s currently the water in is the mid 40′s.

Good Fishing and book early as the Tourist industry from abroad are booking hotel/motel rooms early.  Remember Stay at the Day’s Inn and receive 15% off if you are fishing with Ambassador Guides.  Coming soon to Page the owners of the Day’s Inn will be opening a Hampton Inn.

Castle Rock Cut Info: http://www.kutv.com/news/top-stories/stories/vid_9376.shtml

Tight Lines,

Capt. Bill

Jan
19
2014
0

Lake Powell Fishing Report 1-19-14

Lake Powell Elevation: 3581.07

Dear Anglers,

Stripers have continued to feed so far for the mild winter we are having.  You are not going to pinpoint the activity though on a regular basis.  Schools that bunch up are more aggressive but they will break apart sometime around a slight dip in water temperatures only to regrow again later.  Fly Fishing for Winter Schoolies with a 5-6 wt. rod will thrill you and by April the bigger fish and rods come into play.

Conventional:  Trolling a deep diver “shad runner” 12-15 ft. in the back on Canyons is going to produce great action too!

With mild temps this Winter I suspect we will have a great early Spring Fishing.  Come up before all the tourists descend upon on.

Capt. Bill

April 2014
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