Lake Powell report
Information compiled by Wayne Gustaveson, www.wayneswords.com
Lake Powell is infested with quagga mussels. Protect other Utah waters by cleaning and draining the water from your boat before leaving Lake Powell. Your boat must be dried for 18 days before launching in another water. If you plan to launch soonet, a professional decontamination is required. Locate a decontamination station and learn about quagga mussels.
Lake elevation: 3614.82 feet
Water temperatures: 78–80°F
August's striper boils continue to excite anglers across the length of Lake Powell. If you're looking for a boil, there are some subtle nuances that will assist you find them.
The full moon has an impact on fishing. For instance, the full moon on August 18 delayed striper boils in Good Hope Bay until 6 p.m., but fishing was great once they started. The next two evenings, The boils started at 4 p.m. and provided tremendously exciting striper fishing until dark. The boiling stripers varied from small, 12-inch fish to mid-range, 14- to 18-inch fish. There were a few fish in the 22- to 24-inch range too. During the day, stripers were in deep water. Angler were catching them by trolling along the shady steep shorelines. On August 21, stripers began boiling at noon and continued until dark.
Bright nights had the same impact in the southern lake. There were scattered boils from Padre to Rainbow in the evening but the surface was calm during the day. That changed on the cloudy morning of August 23. The overcast skies provided stripers with their desired visibility and led to strange surface feeding activity in the West Canyon. On our weekly sampling trip, we noticed many single fish hitting the surface in a deep box canyon. They were not aggressively chasing surface lures and I thought they might have been gizzard shad. Then we put on heavy spoons that allowed us to throw long casts. When the spoon hit within the splash ring, we were able to catch stripers with a quick, shallow retrieve. We caught 20 stripers before the fish quit at 8 a.m.
We caught an occasional smallmouth bass or striper while trolling, but this fishing was not as exciting as the single fish boils in the early morning hours. We were surprised to troll up an adult bluegill on a rocky point at the mouth of West Canyon. I carry nightcrawlers in hopes of catching a walleye. I put a small, split-shot sinker on in front of a small, #8 hook and dropped a nightcrawler onto the 15 foot flat where the bluegill was caught. I was proud to catch three more bluegill on three casts. I am studying panfish to determine how their diet may change in the presence of quagga mussels. Some of the mussels have been found in sunfish stomachs, but they are only a small portion of stomach contents.
A bass fishermen reported a good pattern that will work lake wide. In the spring, we look for the warmest water available to target largemouth bass. Right now, in the heat of summer, targeting the coolest water works well. These spots include long points that fall into the deep main channel. The warm surface layer prevents bass from occupying the shallow water in the backs of coves. Fish hold deep in their comfort zone, then rise quickly to feed before retreating back to the depths. Search for bass on main channel points and use crankbaits and rattletraps to target the quick-moving fish. Fish the deep water with plastic grubs on 1/4-ounce jig heads.
Bait fishing is still good for stripers along steep canyon walls, but as the water cools both bass and stripers will have more freedom to move throughout the water column. Expect trolling and casting to improve as the water temperature drops into the low 70s.
We have confirmed a late shad spawn, so bass and striper surface fishing will continue into September. Shad will be small, so surface feeding will be more like slurps than boils.