December 1, 2017 - Seems like October

Not open for further replies.

wayne gustaveson

Staff member
Lake Powell Fish Report – December 1, 2017

Lake Elevation: 3625.29

Water Temperature: 57-60 F

By: Wayne Gustaveson

Warm calm weather continues into December with no freezing air temperatures yet over Lake Powell. Water temperature did hit 60 degrees again yesterday in the warmest part of the afternoon. It was 57-58 degrees yesterday morning. This means that Lake Powell fish still think it is autumn rather than winter and are responding accordingly. Largemouth bass and crappie are still in submerged trees in 12-25 feet of water. Smallmouth bass are holding on rocky points but only respond to anglers as the water warms during mid day and afternoon. Smallmouth bass are near their shut down temperature of 54 degrees.


Striped bass and threadfin shad are still battling it out in the upper 30 feet of water. Yesterday we were in Last Chance hoping for another close encounter with striper schools. We started in the back of the canyon looking for striper schools in 10-15 feet of brushy water without success. Then we moved deeper searching the 20-30 foot strata. We first trolled along the edge of the canyon without success. Next we started spooning in 25 feet of water after seeing 2 fish traces on the graph. The two fish moved quickly away as our spoons hit the bottom.

We continued drifting and spooning without success until I looked ahead of the boat and saw what I thought was a morbid gizzard shad circling on the surface. Then two more riffles appeared and we were amazed to realize that we had stripers hitting the surface within casting range. There was no time to change to surface lures so we cast our spoons to surface feeding stripers. The mini boil went down but stripers wasted no time in eating our shad imitations. We started piling fish in the iced cooler immediately. We drifted away from the school after 15 frantic minutes of catching fish and counted 15 stripers in the cooler.

Next we went back to the spot where we had seen the quick little boil and drifted again until a few more fish came into view. We dropped spoons and caught 10 more stripers before we parted ways. We found the school one more time, caught 10 more and ended up with 35 stripers.

The secret now to catching stripers is to search the 15-30 depth strata in the back of the canyon where shad or bluegill are providing food for hungry stripers. Last week these striper schools were shallow eating bluegill. Yesterday they were a bit deeper and were eating threadfin shad.


There is a subtle difference in identifying fish on the graph now as compared to other years. Normally big striper schools are seen and quickly identified. Now the screen is usually blank with only an occasional fish or two showing up. I suggest dropping spoons when a single fish is seen. Those single fish are often stripers. Also, I think that most stripers are really tight to the bottom and not visible on the graph. The new normal is to hook one striper on spoons and then watch as the graph lights up with a whole school of fish coming over to investigate the hooked fish. Remember that feeding behavior in one striper triggers a feeding response in the entire school of fish.

When the water temperature drops to normal winter temperatures, threadfin shad will have to leave the shallows and go to deeper water. Stripers will follow, form large schools and be easier to see and identify. Right now stripers and shad are shallow and acting like it is October instead of December. I am good with that!

Not open for further replies.