My favorite fishing trips
Lake Powell and Starvation are great to fish with friends and family.
Drew Cushing is chief of the Division's aquatics section. He works with other DWR personnel and angling groups to ensure appropriate and consistent program direction. Drew is an avid angler and hunter.
WHEN I’M NOT at work, I really enjoy getting away to fish at some of my favorite spots. There are a few places I have to visit every year, and now, they’re pretty much a tradition:
I went down to Lake Powell on April 30 this year. It’s a trip I make every spring, just before the new moon in May. It might sound odd if you don’t fish, but there is something about the few days just before a new moon that really excites the fish. Earlier in my fishing life, I wasn’t particular about when I fished. Now, after looking at the moon phases (and my fishing successes and failures), it seems like more than just a coincidence.
On this trip, I met up with several great friends at Bullfrog Marina. We boated to our favorite fishing and camping spot in Good Hope Bay. (There are many great camping spots in Good Hope Bay that get you out of the inevitable spring winds.) We fished just south of the bay in Seven Mile Canyon.
The canyon has a submerged grove of cottonwood trees that have made for some great crappie fishing over the past five years. This year was no different. We caught our limit of 12- to 15-inch crappies and cooked them up in fish tacos (see the recipe below).
The time of year, moon phase and water temperature (60–65° F) produced fish that were really active and feeding heavily to prepare for spawning. The largemouth and smallmouth bass were on spawning beds and were very fun to sight-fish for.
The striped bass were just about ready to spawn. It’s a time when many large females are caught in the backs of the larger canyons (not to mention the smaller males just out from the females). We spent one whole day fishing for striped bass in the Blue Notch area on the north end of Good Hope Bay.
All in all, we had great fishing conditions and very little wind until the last day, which I took as a sign that it was time to go home.
Here’s the recipe for the fish tacos we made with our crappie catch:
- 1 can of mexi corn
- 1 cup ranch dressing
- 1 jalapeno
- 1 bunch cilantro
- Two bags of shredded cabbage
- 1 half of a purple onion
- 1 teaspoon cumin
Seed and dice the jalapeno. Remove the leaves from the cilantro and then wash and chop. Finely dice the red onion. Mix together with all the remaining ingredients. Serve on tortillas with grilled or fried fish. (You may need more ranch and/or cumin — it is really a personal preference thing.)
Starvation has become an every-August outing for the Cushing family, and this August will be no different. This year, we will head to the reservoir near the end of the month. (Once again, the new moon timing dictates when we go.)
Walleye have a reputation for being finicky and difficult to catch, but Starvation has some of the best walleye fishing for beginning walleye anglers.
I take my wife and kids to Starvation because the fishing technique is a jig tipped with a nightcrawler. That’s as simple as it gets for any angler. We just drift on the breeze or use the electric trolling motor to work the shoreline.
Walleye are typically only active in a certain depth of water. So, if we catch one walleye in 15 feet of water, then that’s where we focus our efforts.
When your fellow anglers are impatient — like my wife and girls sometimes are — there have to be some easy-to-catch fish around. If the catch rate slows down, the family loses interest and pretty soon they are reading a book or suntanning. On a couple of trips, we just anchored in Rabbit Gulch and let the kids swim while we caught fish.
The best thing about fishing at Starvation is that it is never crowded. Most days, you’ll have maybe 5–10 boats to compete with on a 3,000-acre reservoir. The facilities are really nice as well, and that’s pretty critical when the whole family goes fishing.