January 18, 2018 - Pattern Changing

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wayne gustaveson

Staff member
Lake Powell Fish Report – January 18, 2018

Lake Elevation: 3621.93

Water Temperature: 50-53 F

By: Wayne Gustaveson http://www.wayneswords.com

We have been fishing close to home in the cold winter weather. With little competition from other anglers in the winter we have found fishing to be quite good for striped bass. During the first two weeks of January we found stripers in very deep water chasing shad. Striper schools were not often seen on the graph but we could catch stripers on spoons in 75-110 feet of water when only 2-3 fish were seen. When one fish was hooked the school size increased dramatically as the nearby fish came to see what was happening.

Early in the month, most of the stripers had shad in their stomachs. Last week shad numbers found in stomachs declined dramatically. On January 15th two anglers caught 47 stripers at Lone Rock on spoons. However, the return trip on January 17th resulted in only 3 stripers. The schools had moved on.

We then checked Warm Creek and found the same lack of stripers in the deep spots that had been so good in December and early January. We then switched tactics and tried trolling in the back of the canyon at water depth of 20-30 feet where grebes were seen diving/feeding. The result was steady catching with a 10-15 minute intervals between fish.

A few reports continue to come in from close canyons like Navajo, Gunsight, Rock Creek and Last Chance. Fishing was great a week ago but I am not sure if the same negative effect has occurred in the uplake canyons.

Stripers can be caught trolling, casting and spooning. The trick is to find active individuals or schools and quickly deploy spoons to fish in deep water or to troll and cast in the shallow water. If fish marks of any kind are seen on the graph in the backs of canyons then stripers can be caught trolling. If fish are seen at mid depth (30-60 feet), then down rigger trolling with shad imitating lures may be the best technique. Water temperature remains in the 50s, which is the warmest January water temperature recorded in recent memory. That allows stripers and shad to remain active with shad scrambling to get away and stripers in hot pursuit trying to find them. Random walleye and largemouth bass can be caught occasionally. Smallmouth bass are only available in the warmest part of the day as the surface water warms in the afternoon.

The very best fishing reports come from Bullfrog where night fishing under lights with bait is working very well. Large shad schools are attracted to the light. Shad are followed by other predators and fishing is quick when stripers arrive at the shad party.

Similar fishing results should continue through February with stripers being catchable most days at a certain time, but it is not always the same time or a predictable occurrence. In the southern lake early morning is best for spooning with trolling working mid day.

Fish health is terrific with stripers still finding shad schools. If this continues during February and March the annual movement of stripers from the backs of canyons to the main channel may be postponed. Bait fishing in the spring may not be as productive if the striper schools are still holding in the backs of canyons and not migrating to the main channel.

Stay tuned.
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