Information compiled by Wayne Gustaveson, www.wayneswords.com
Attention: 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: 3,628 feet
Water temperatures: 68–73°F
Fishing success has been well below Lake Powell standards lately, because of the cold weather, wind and dropping water temperatures. The weather is stabilizing and there have been calm mornings and breezy afternoons. Hopefully the 80 degree temperatures forecast for this week will stabilize the water temperature and bring bass, shad and stripers back to the surface.
Shad schools are hiding in shallow brushy water close to shore. Stripers are looking for shad in shallow water, you're more likely to see boils blow up near shore, instead of the open bay. That makes it harder to find surface activity since there are over 2,000 miles of shoreline and only 150 miles of main channel water.
The most consistent method for finding stripers has been graphing and spooning. There are lots of shad balls showing up on the graph in the backs of canyons and in open water layered at about 50 feet. These tight packed fish schools are not stripers. A striper school usually shows a bit of separation between individual fish.
In Neskahi Canyon this week, we found individual stripers that marked a group of 10 fish or less. A spoon dropped right into the striper squad resulted in a catching as many as four fish before the group moved on. The highlight of the trip was a very large group of stripers that showed up as widespread individual fish that were very aggressively chasing shad and spoons. Anglers are catching many of the stripers in 3-6 boats working over the schools at the mouth of Piute Canyon. Anglers caught hundreds of stripers from September 28 to 30. I am not sure if the huge school is still there, but the fish were still biting on Saturday, September 30.
Fishing from Good Hope Bay to Hite has been slow because of weather, but I expect the stripers there will boil and attack spoons as the weather improves. You can still launch at the Primitive Hite ramp, which makes for a short run to find active stripers.
Good fishing was also reported from Bullfrog at Stanton Creek. Shore fishing was best during windy weather, since the desire for stripers is to chase shad hiding close to shore. Fishing will also improve mid-lake as the weather stabilizes.
Smallmouth bass are the most dependable species to target right now. They have also been impacted by cold weather, so you'll need to seek after them like you would in the spring. Wait until water starts to warm at mid-day, and then switch to smallmouth fishing techniques. Fishing plastic grubs and shad-shaped worms on the breaking edge of a rapid drop off should work very well. The high lake level still hides some brush and rock piles in slick rock canyons. Dropping plastic baits down to these typical bass sanctuaries results in quick bites from some very nice-sized bass. Fishing topwater lures during the early morning and late evening hours were bass magnets. I have had some of my best bass memories recently as large bass have attacked my surface lures in the backs of canyons in the southern lake where the water was calm and placid. The big bass jumped well out of the water and then tried to grab the lure on the way down. This experience is actually more memorable if you don't hook the bass. Surface fishing is fun!
I am sure fishing success will be better during the next two weeks than it was the last windy week of September. The water temperature is still hovering around 70 degrees, which is a very favorable fishing temperature. Stripers and smallmouth bass are the best choices now, but walleye, catfish and sunfish are also available if you're in the right place, at the right time.(10-06-17)