Lake Powell Fish Report
Lake Elevation: 3618
Water Temperature: 50-53 F
By: Wayne Gustaveson http://www.wayneswords.com
Warm weather makes it seem like Spring is upon us. Yesterday the water temperature was 50F when we started and over 53 degrees on the return trip. Air temperature was in the mid 60s. Surprisingly stripers responded unexpectedly to that warming.
I was so proud of the last report showing graph pictures of the complete feeding cycle from resting fish to super actively feeding fish resulting in a quick catch of stripers in Gunsight Canyon. We headed out armed with that great information, headed to the same canyon, used the same techniques and – Struck Out! Fishing is such fun because it is challenging.
We searched the deep bottom structure with the graph looking for the deep resting schools from 50-100 feet. We saw one small bunch of fish and dropped our home made spoons, catching one yearling striper, but that was the total catch. After trying the 3rd canyon in Padre Bay we made the choice between going back in or headed further uplake. I am glad we made the choice to try Rock Creek.
We began by searching the same deep structure in the back of the canyon only to find stripers missing in action. With that information we switched back to search mode which is to troll deep diving lures while watching the graph for a school to mark. If a school is seen, a floating marker is thrown overboard while we troll over the school to see if they will hit the trolled lures. If not, we go back to the floating marker and drop spoons on the resting school. Results were slim as we trolled the deep water until we passed over a shallow hump at 25 feet and hooked a nice striper. As that fish was retrieved and landed we saw a few more fish follow it to the boat. The spoons were deployed and the striper school was happy to feed on our shad-imitating spoons. When the school left us we trolled Lucky Craft pointers in the 25 foot deep water, hooked a fish and then caught many more on spoons as the school followed the hooked fish under the boat. With 36 fish in the cooler we made the hour long run back to Wahweap.
At the fish cleaning station we found a few stripers had shad in the stomachs along with crayfish and plankton. Then it was obvious that the change in catch rate over the last month was all about shad. When shad were common we could catch 60 fish in 2 hours in deep water. As shad became scarce in deepwater the striper schools kept looking but not finding food. Stripers are not as willing to hit spoons when they are eating plankton or crayfish. Bait works better in hard times. These schools then began searching shallow water as the temperature warmed and found that shad were again in shallow brushy water.
The moral of the story is to use all of your lures and expertise when searching for stripers in the winter. They can be shallow, deep, or somewhere in between, but will be where the shad are. Those locations can change quickly as striper schools move from deep to shallow water and back, in their relentless pursuit of shad who are moving to find a safe haven.
It was gratifying to find the answer to why stripers were not in deep water at the first stop. My only regret was not trying to troll in shallow water at Gunsight. It is possible that we could have filled the cooler in the back of the first canyon instead of making the long run uplake.
That’s fishing! In Lake Powell, striper fishing is more like hunting with a great reward when a cooperative school is located. Oh, and the scenery is quite nice as well.
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