Fish Report - Water Temperature @ 52 F - Grebes

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wayne gustaveson

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Water temperature dropped to 52 today with cold weather in Page. That is just about normal for this time of year. It may drop down to 48 F if the cold weather continues for the rest of December. Regardless, 48-52 on the surface does not have any impact on the striper population. They are in DEEP water.

We fished Warm Creek on Tuesday. On the way back to the main arm I noticed my school of over 100 grebes out in deep water. In my last report, I said to watch for grebes to find stripers and shad. So we stopped, saw a line of fish on the bottom and dropped spoons. It took a long time for our 1.5 ounce spoons to get to the bottom in 130 feet of water. (If I had it to do over again, I would have used a bigger 2 ounce or larger spoon). I felt a bit lost with my spoon on the bottom and the fish school separated from the bottom by 10, 20 or 40 feet. I let the spoon hit bottom to get my bearings and then speed reeled up to different depths and then jigged the spoon again. After about 15-20 minutes of spooning I caught fat striper just as I paused speed reeling. It was another fat 3 pound fish. After 15 more minutes my fishing partner caught a nice 4 pound fish. Our third partner tried anchovies but I am not sure the chum ever reached bottom at that depth and no fish took interest in his bait on the bottom.

This fishing was too slow so we went to the back of the canyon where small stripers were active last week. We trolled in 20-40 foot without any sign of fish on the graph. Then we went to 70 feet and saw a few shad schools but no obvious stripers. No luck trolling or spooning. The next stop was back at the grebe congregation. I caught one more 3-pound fish on a deep spoon. Fishing was slow.

We will try again after Christmas and report when stripers become active again. I guess I should feel better knowing the stripers I caught were in the deepest water I have ever fished in Lake Powell. My previous deepest catch was at 100 feet.
 
Thanks for the update! Are stripers capable of decompressing their swim bladder from that deep? I've never seen one have troubles from the 40'-60' range when caught, but I've never fished them at 100'.
 
Thanks for the update! Are stripers capable of decompressing their swim bladder from that deep? I've never seen one have troubles from the 40'-60' range when caught, but I've never fished them at 100'.
Yes some could definitely have air bladder problems. If you play the fish slowly and then quickly unhook it, it has a 50% chance of swimming back down to depth. If you want to release all fish, then there is a way to accomplish this. Bring a plastic milk crate with a 40-foot rope tied to the bottom. Place the fish back in the water. Place the crate over the fish and then let the 10-pound crate sink down to 40 feet. At 33-feet the fish is one atmosphere deep and will recover its swimming potential as the air bladder compresses. Pull the crate back up and its ready for the next fish. This is the best way to deal with air bladder problems in fish of all species that are caught in deep water.
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Yes some could definitely have air bladder problems. If you play the fish slowly and then quickly unhook it, it has a 50% chance of swimming back down to depth. If you want to release all fish, then there is a way to accomplish this. Bring a plastic milk crate with a 40-foot rope tied to the bottom. Place the fish back in the water. Place the crate over the fish and then let the 10-pound crate sink down to 40 feet. At 33-feet the fish is one atmosphere deep and will recover its swimming potential as the air bladder compresses. Pull the crate back up and its ready for the next fish. This is the best way to deal with air bladder problems in fish of all species that are caught in deep water.
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Thanks for the update! Are stripers capable of decompressing their swim bladder from that deep? I've never seen one have troubles from the 40'-60' range when caught, but I've never fished them at 100'.
 
Wish I would have had one of those when I fished the gorge in the 90’s, I always wondered how many would make it after being brought up from the deep and then sent back.
 
I mainly fish in the saltwater in the Puget Sound or in the Pacific Ocean in the great state of Washington. The law mandates that we all have a fish release tool/fish descending device. The majority of the bottom fish I catch come from deeper water and almost all of the fish have their air bladder popping out of their mouth. Popping the air bladder puts them at extreme risk for infection and death. Throwing them back into the water means they just float on the surface and die. Sending them back down with the descender device gives them a high probability of survival. I actually have one pole in my boat that is dedicated to sending them back down. I use a real basic descending device but have my dedicated pole set up with colored line that changes every ten feet so I can track how deep they are to release them in about the same depth as where I caught them. The process takes a few minutes, but it is worth it to be compliant and protect some of the more fragile populations.
 
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