Good Hope - North

Discussion in 'Lake Powell Fishing' started by Wet1, Feb 28, 2017.

  1. Wet1

    Wet1 Member

    Just returned from my first trip of the year to Powell. The weather was not ideal but when your not retired yet you sometimes have to go when you can. We loaded up camp on the boat and left Bull Frog about noon on Thursday. Temp was Ccccccccold with the 15 - 20 mph wind. Once we made it past Ice Berg and the canyon narrowed up the waves laid down quite a bit and made for better running. We set up camp in our normal spot on the south side of Red Canyon.

    Fishing was pretty slow and we really had to work for them. I attributed this to the major cold front we were dealing with. Not sure exactly on the temps but we had 4 cups of the 10 cup water reservoir in the coffee maker frozen one morning so I'm guessing it was mid 20s that night. We fished 2 days and ended up with 8 walleye, 12 stripers, 1 crappie, and 1 large mouth. I'm sure we could have caught alot more stripers but we were really focused on trying to find some crappie and walleye. All fish were caught on jigs in 12 to 35 foot of water.

    Shocker of the trip was the discovery of the major mussel infestation on the north end of the lake. We had never seen any mussels on the upper end of the lake but from Good Hope all the way to Tracheyte every hard surface under water of covered with tiny little mussels. They mostly seem to be about the same size, not much bigger than a pencil lead. It's almost like the kind of dispersal you would expect from an algea bloom. Anywhere the water was clear enough to see the bottom you would see them on every rock. And everywhere above water line you will see them. It' is scary how fast this happened. I had thought this would be a slow progression over the course of years but it does not look like that will be the case. Question I have for Wayne. Is there any concern that with the mussels being filter feeders that they will compete with the shad for plankton and cause the shad to crash? Over 3 days of looking at this infestation where we hadn't noticed any last year I couldn't help but think that with the bottom of the lake paved with these things they could impact the plankton.

    When we got back to Bull Frog on Sunday I searched all around in the shallow water while waiting for my buddy to bring the boat trailer down and didn't see any. Looks like they definitely came down the Colorado river on the north end. Wayne, if you haven't been up there this year to see it I highly recommend you go take a look.

    Attached Files:

  2. Dungee Fishing

    Dungee Fishing Well-Known Member

    Thanks for the report. Heading down on the tenth. Did you happen to take any pictures of the mussels? And yes, them competing with Shad is a HUGE concern. Fishing wise it's the biggest concern.
  3. Wet1

    Wet1 Member

    Didn't take any pics of them. They are everywhere though.
  4. bobco

    bobco Well-Known Member

    good to see ya still at it Todd, 8 walleyes for you guys is scary! we are looking to try this weekend, weather looking better. Had another report of North shore line black line of mussels on everything, looks like they made it north quickly.
    Bill Sampson likes this.
  5. Wet1

    Wet1 Member

    You know it was just a really tough bite. Had to resort to jig and a crawler with a stinger and still had to really feed them to get them stuck. I really think it was the unstable pressure that made it tough. Never saw anyone else the whole trip. Most people must have had more sense than us an after seeing the forecast knew it wouldn't be good. Had a couple snow squalls on the lake on Friday.

    The fact that everything up north is covered with them and we didn't see much at all at Bull Frog makes me think they came down the river. We'll probably never know though.

    Be back down the second week of March and hopefully do a better job of filling up the cooler with some fillets. I always keep my eye out for you when I'm down there.
    Bill Sampson likes this.
  6. Ryan

    Ryan Well-Known Member

    Thanks for the report.

    We spent a week in GHB in September, and I don't remember seeing the quagga then. We did see them all over Moki the same trip though. Either way, it is disappointing that they moved that fast.
    Bill Sampson likes this.
  7. Dungee Fishing

    Dungee Fishing Well-Known Member

    Yeah we didn't see any in November, that would be really quick! Scary, we need a miracle.
    Bill Sampson likes this.
  8. wayne gustaveson

    wayne gustaveson Administrator Staff Member

    You are very perceptive. My biggest concern since before mussels made into the lake was that they would: Deplete the plankton, reduce the shad population and then deplete the striped bass. Luckily that process is taking much longer than expected and the fishery is still thriving. I will let you know when that changes. Lake Havasu has had mussels 6 years longer than Lake Powell and their fish populations are still thriving. Lake Mead and Mohave are OK but not great. We have at least 5 more years of great fishing and hopefully twice that long.

    Mussels did not come down the CR but they are good at hiding under shade of rocks and not always easy to see. Rather they readily hitch hiked on boat hulls from infested areas to the northern lake. The boat trip from Bullfrog to Good Hope is less than 2 hours. Once they dropped off the boat hull they reproduced at such a rapid rate that it is unimaginable. I found the mussel migration in the northern lake last fall and declared the entire lake infested at that time. It makes me sick to think about it.
  9. Dorado

    Dorado Well-Known Member


    Any thoughts on how the dramatic fluctuations in depth will impact the mussels in LP?
  10. Bill Sampson

    Bill Sampson Well-Known Member

    Thanks for the report, and the pictures.
  11. wayne gustaveson

    wayne gustaveson Administrator Staff Member

    If I understand your question correctly, Lake Powell's great depth may be a benefit to mussels. They are known to exist in the Great Lakes at depths greater than 400 feet. However food (plankton) is less abundant at that depth. So those factors may cancel each other out.

    Depth means cool water is available. Warm water exceeding 85 degrees will kill mussels. The warm water is confined to the upper water layer and does not get as warm as that found in Lake Havasu (88). That favors mussel growth and survival over fish.

    Lake fluctuation obviously kills mussels when lake level declines, which it does annually. Mussel reproduction is so prolific that dead mussels in the fluctuation zone are replaced each year as the water rises.

    If we were sports forecasters analyzing mussels verses fish in Lake Powell, mussels would have to be favored. It would take a great upset to see fish come out as winners in the long run. I would be happy with a tie! Having threadfin shad and stripers exist beyond 2025 would be a great victory for the fish community.
  12. mattdaddy

    mattdaddy Member

    I love that area you're camped in and that sunrise pic! Now I've got even a worse case of the gotta get to Powell soon! Thanks for the post.
  13. Wet1

    Wet1 Member

    Thanks for the response Wayne. I guess I should follow my father's advice that he used to give me all the time when I was younger and found a great hunting area or fishing lake. "You better enjoy it all you can now because nothing good ever lasts." Good excuse to use with my wife for more trips down this year and next.
  14. Dungee Fishing

    Dungee Fishing Well-Known Member

    Wow, how depressing is this!? My son would only be 12, I hope that he can experience the fullness of the fishery for longer than that.... Where's Herb Brooks, Jim Craig and Mike Eruzione when you need them!
    Bill Sampson likes this.
  15. bobco

    bobco Well-Known Member

    sad but well said WET1, experienced that at lakes in Colorado, Blue Mesa was on the way to top lake Trout lake reveling flaming gorge in Quality fish, no long death fleet from CPW killing spring and Fall. Rifle Gap awesome productive lake, CPW death fleet launching this spring to kill spawning walleye and bass, so yes enjoy it while it is there because it can be gone quickly! sounds like Tomorrow will be good time to get to Lake LOL.
  16. Dorado

    Dorado Well-Known Member

    I guess I had hoped that the fluctuation in water level would reduce the mussel abundance simply because they will be constantly needing to colonize the ideal depths nearer to the surface that have a higher abundance of zooplankton....maybe just wishful thinking :(
    Bill Sampson likes this.