History of Striped Bass in Lake Powell

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wayne gustaveson

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Here is a technical document that I wrote a few years ago explaining the history of striped bass in Lake Powell and why the striper population behaves the way it does. This may help you understand why the population is large and why they go through some of the unique activities that occur in Lake Powell. Feel free to ask me questions as you browse through the document. Post questions and I will try to provide a clear answer.

Click on this link: http://wayneswords.com/misc-documents/gustaveson.pdf
 

Reed

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Great information. Thanks Wayne. Without those early efforts to stock The Lake, it would sure be a different fishery today. Now time to go back and catch more....
 

Outside

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Thanks for posting Wayne. I swear last Friday around the time you posted this I was half asleep fly fishing for Pike and looking across a glassy lake and recalled the story of Small Mouth Bass at Powell you shared awhile back. I told myself I should ask Wayne for the Striper story too, then I caught a fish!
 

wayne gustaveson

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Thanks for posting Wayne. I swear last Friday around the time you posted this I was half asleep fly fishing for Pike and looking across a glassy lake and recalled the story of Small Mouth Bass at Powell you shared awhile back. I told myself I should ask Wayne for the Striper story too, then I caught a fish!
Well my last striper story was catching (netting) the 30 pound striper in December. Hopefully you read that in fish reports.

One story that comes to mind that made a big impression on me was seeing a striper boil column.

I was supposed to be filming a striper boil segment for an outdoor feature for a Salt Lake TV station. It did not work out as well as the recent Adam Eakle show in September where we caught 130 boiling fish from Good Hope to White Canyon.

Twenty years earlier I met up with Reese Stein to catch boiling fish that were blowing up each day in Good Hope. Unfortunately on this day the wind was blowing hard and the fish were not able to drive shad to the surface because of the 2 foot waves on top. I drove Reese to the area where we had seen stripers boiling profusely the day before just hoping for the chance to see some fish. We drove slowly over the waves at a 45 degree angle to lessen the shock of each wave crest. As the boat crested one wave I looked down in the water and saw a school of stripers swimming in a tight circle with a school of shad trapped inside the circle. Stripers used their bodies in a team effort to keep the shad corralled within the circle. The experience lasted just long enough for the boat to drop down inside the swell and then concluded as it went up and over the next wave crest. The event was probably 5 seconds at the most. From that I think I learned how stripers can attack a shad school at depth by circling the school and driving it against a wall. Stripers boil because they can force the shad school to the top where they are trapped against the surface and cannot swim any higher. At that point stripers can quit herding and start eating. If they can park the shad school against shore and the surface they eliminate half the escape routes that shad can take when they flee. Here stripers have the advantage and can really ravage a shad school.

I really feel sorry for shad as they are attacked constantly by lake predators. Another reason to catch and keep stripers to help save some shad.

Stripers were introduced in 1974 while I was in graduate school at Utah State University. They were stocked again in 1975 before I arrived in December 1975. I can't take credit for stocking stripers in Lake Powell, but I have learned some stuff about them along the way.
 

ROSCOELAB

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But, is it not correct Wayne, that you can take credit for the most awesome small mouth catch that was not to be a lake Powell fishery?
 

wayne gustaveson

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But, is it not correct Wayne, that you can take credit for the most awesome small mouth catch that was not to be a lake Powell fishery?
Well, yes. Due to a misunderstanding and lack of direct communication with my Salt Lake Office (no phone at the hatchery in 1982) I made the assumption that I should stock a small number of smallmouth bass in the lake. I did that and the smallmouth population grew making an amazing fishery but I was also responsible for smallmouth going downstream and occupying areas where they were not wanted. Luckily they have not had a huge impact on native fish and other fisheries in Lake Mead and beyond also have good smallmouth fisheries. The end result was positive and it seemed to be the right decision.
 
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