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: 3,609.82 feet
Water temperatures: 65-68°F
Consider fishing patterns now to be just like fishing in late April and early May. The big difference is that spawning is not a factor. It is all about food and structure. The favorite meal now and always will be threadfin shad. Find threadfin and fishing success is assured. The hook is that threadfin numbers are not as high as seen in 2014 and 2015. All sport fish are searching for shad.
One sure fishing technique is to throw topwater lures in shallow water each morning and evening. You will consistently catch stripers and bass by pounding the shoreline in low light periods. The surface action may not last long after the sun hits the water but the information gathered during prime time will give you insight into where fish are holding. All fish are really on the move right now as they search for shad. If bass and stripers hit surface lures in the back of brushy coves at first light, the next step is to target brushy coves in the later hours using diving shad-imitating crankbaits like a bomber deep flat A, rattletrap or a swim bait like a Yamamoto D-Shad.
If bass and stripers hit surface lures on primary points next to deepwater, then target the bench areas where water drops off quickly from 10 feet, down to 20, 40 or 60 feet.
Shad are on the move trying to avoid predators. Earlier this month there have been many examples of a hot spot blowing up at Padre Canyon, Kane Wash, Bullfrog Bay, or Good Hope only to quiet down in a few days as shad move out trying to find safe haven. Shad leave and stripers trail in hot pursuit. Bass tend to stay closer to home but will move from the back of the cove to the edge of deep water.
Fishing results have been spotty recently because of fish movement. They also seem to feed for a short time where activity is intense only to quiet down after a short period. If a hot spot is located one day, keep track of the time and place and try to repeat that performance at the same time and place the next day.
The deep layer of fish between 60-80 feet is still there. These fish are down below the oxygen depletion layer that will soon be gone. For now it is possible to troll a downrigger in very deep water (60-80 feet) or drop spoons down when striper schools are seen on the graph. The huge line of fish seen at 60 feet and below is mostly gizzard shad, but when shad are present, stripers may be close. Don’t spend a lot of time fishing in deep water where no fish traces are seen.
Instead, focus on the spot where many fish traces are seen on the graph.
The key to identifying shad and stripers is to stop the boat directly over a large concentration of fish at 60 feet. If those fish then form a long horizontal line as they move under the boat it is most likely that they are gizzard shad. If they have some separation between individual fish and are stacked in a hump, it is likely that these fish are stripers. Drop a spoon immediately into the school to quickly catch a lot of stripers in a short time.
This will be the last regular fish report for 2016. We will be netting fish for our annual UDWR survey during the first two weeks of November. The sample sites are Good Hope Bay, Rincon, San Juan (Piute Canyon), and Wahweap Bay. We compare fish numbers among years to find out how adult fish of all species are faring this year compared to other years dating back as far as 1982. I will report that information midwinter on wayneswords.com.
Thanks for reading my reports and using the information to harvest fish that are in high numbers (striped bass, walleye and smallmouth bass) while protecting those fish that are in low numbers (largemouth bass and crappie). We are a good team that makes fishing at Lake Powell better due to our efforts. I can’t wait until next year!