Lake Powell report
Information compiled by Wayne Gustaveson, www.wayneswords.com
Attention: Quagga mussels have been detected at Lake Powell. 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 you can launch in another water. If you plan to launch sooner than that, a professional decontamination is required. Learn more about these destructive mussels.
Lake elevation: 3,616 feet
Water temperatures: 76–82°F
The lake level continues to rise, which is modifying the shoreline. A rapidly changing shoreline is not so good for bass fishing but excellent for striper fishing.
The young bass that were so eager to hit lures along the shoreline two weeks ago are now a bit harder to find. You can find really good bass fishing — especially for larger fish — by dropshotting or using plastic grubs on a leadhead jig. The secret is to get the bait down to the old shoreline, focusing on areas where bass were holding before the lake began its rapid rise. For smallmouth bass, the correct depth is 15 to 25 feet deep. Largemouth bass are loving the brush just covered by rising water. Look for largemouth in the middle of a bush in about five feet of water. Bass fishing is still good, but it is best early and late in the day.
Slurping stripers have been extremely dependable all week. Anglers are seeing tight little slurping pods every morning, starting in Warm Creek (when heading out of Wahweap) or near Buoy 9 (when leaving Antelope Point). Slurps continue through the narrows into all of Padre Bay, Last Chance and up the main channel. Most slurp activity occurs from 6:30 to 9:30 a.m.
Approach the slurp quickly but stop one long cast away from the action. Cast ahead — or to the far side of the school — and bring the lure back through the feeding fish. The best lures this week include small surface lures, small jerk baits, swim baits, rattletraps and jigs. The size of slurping fish is increasing as some older fish have joined the young ones. Aggression levels are also increasing as school numbers climb and result in more competition.
I prefer surface fishing, but you can certainly catch more and bigger stripers while hovering over a huge school of adults in deeper water. Bait hotspots this week included Warm Creek Wall (Buoy 12), Labyrinth Wall (Buoy 18), Navajo Canyon points and the final deep pocket in the muddy water at the back of the canyon. Bait fishing is good at the end of most long canyons (for example, Last Chance and Rock Creek). Expect the same patterns to occur in the mid and northern lake.
Stripers that are not quick enough to keep up with the school fish are still found along the shore and will hit topwater lures. When one fish is hooked, play him slowly and cast lures out toward the hooked fish to catch the followers.
Walleye fishing is becoming more consistent, and you can typically find them in 12 to 20 feet of stained water in the backs of most canyons. There are areas where driftwood and debris are thick, which makes trolling almost impossible. Find small open areas without debris and troll right against the cliff wall to target walleye. Cast grubs tipped with nightcrawlers to select walleye over bass. Worm harnesses pulled behind a bottom bouncer or just cast and retrieved along the bottom in 15 feet of water work well now in the colored rising water.
Bluegill, green sunfish and catfish round out the fish species that are very active and willing to bite lures and baits for anglers of all ages.
The days are hot, but so is the fishing if you're in the right place at the right time. The right place is Lake Powell, and the right time is just as soon as you can get here.