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April 1, 2020 - Fishing Success Improves

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wayne gustaveson

Staff member
April 1, 2020
Lake Elevation 3600
Water Temperature 53-57

We live in difficult times now with the Covid-19 virus impacting way too many lives. San Juan County, UT is closed to non-resident vehicle traffic and camping which impacts those visiting the Eastern shore of lower Lake Powell. Know before you go. Launch ramps are open on the lake but other facilities are closed.

Fishing success is improving. Early morning water temperature finally went up a degree to 53 F. The weather forecast for the coming week shows higher daily temperatures. That means water temperature and fishing success for all species will improve as the early morning temperature climbs to the magic 57 F mark.

Our fishing results were positive as we went uplake mainly targeting stripers. We started in the back of the canyon trolling Storm Deep Thundersticks, Blue Bandits, and Scatter Rap tail dancers. It did not seem that one lure was any better than the others as they all caught fish. Trolling location was more important, instead of what lure worked best. We found stripers holding off certain rocky points, on rocky humps and stickups, and near rocky shorelines. Troll until a fish is hooked, remember that spot and return to it, to catch more fish.

My real purpose for trolling is to watch the graph and find a striper school. On this day we found two locations harboring striper schools. We trolled over those spots, hooked fish while trolling, and then dropped spoons to catch more. At the end of the day we had 40 stripers in the ice chest. We caught 20 stripers during 3 hours of trolling and the other 20 stripers spooning for only half an hour.

The biggest change was that the average size of stripers declined from 22 inches down to 12-14 inches. These smaller fish are excellent table fare, but we did miss the big, husky fish caught in February and March. These smaller stripers had plankton instead of shad in the stomachs, which means that the bigger fish have moved on looking for shad, while smaller stripers are eating plankton near shore. Most of the fish caught were at a depth of 20 feet. We caught five smallmouth bass while trolling as well.

Bass fishing is improving lakewide. In the northern lake, smallmouth bass are biting regularly on Ned rigs, small swimbaits, jerk baits and jigs. Shad colors worked best. Target the shoreline and toss these baits into 10-15 foot depths near rocky structure, brush, or other fishy habitat. Just like trolling, remember where each fish was caught and then target similar habitat in the next cove or canyon.

Reports from Bullfrog indicate the same trolling techniques described above worked well for catching stripers and some smallmouth bass. Find the lure that works, then target hotspots where stripers and bass respond. Catch fish, and then return to the same area later in the day to catch more. Pound the shoreline in 15 feet of water for smallmouth and fish brushy coves for largemouth.

Be safe and Healthy – Wayne


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