June 20, 2018 - Beware of Buzzards

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wayne gustaveson

Staff member
Lake Powell Fish Report – June 20, 2018
Lake Elevation: 3611
Water temperature: 73 - 76 F
By: Wayne Gustaveson http://www.wayneswords.com or Wayneswords.net

My weekly fishing trip began in perfect fashion. We stopped at Padre Butte and trolled with great hope of catching a walleye. The lures were deployed and we trolled for 50 yards before both rods jerked and loaded hungry fish. My partner caught a smallmouth bass but my fish was a 14-inch walleye. This seemed like the perfect start to a perfect day. However, within a few minutes the wind picked up and conditions changed.
Our plan was to chase slurping stripers from Padre Bay to Rock Creek. We saw lots of stripers slurping shad near the surface but they were up quickly and usually gone before we could get in range to make a decent cast. Surprisingly, the slurp that stayed up the longest was in the main channel on the return trip where boat wakes were stirring up the water into 2 foot waves. This school of stripers stayed up long enough to make a decent cast and catch some fish. Reports from Bullfrog were identical with quick slurps and no fish caught. Striper slurps are still going strong but in calm water it is much easier to see the surface disturbance, approach quickly and make a good cast. This will continue until the rapidly growing larval shad are big enough to swim fast which causes the stripers to boil as they round up the shad school and then attack. That will happen in July and August.

As we gathered fish reports at the end of the day it was obvious that anglers using bait for stripers along the canyon walls all caught more and larger stripers than we did. Average catch for anglers using bait was 10 - 20 stripers. Good bait fishing was found in Antelope, Navajo, Labyrinth Wall, and Rock Creek. In the northern lake Moki Wall and the cove just upstream from the mouth of Moki were good bait spots. Night fishing under green lights in Bullfrog Bay is the best way to catch large numbers of stripers.


Another hot ticket in the northern lake is to chase slurps in Red Canyon and the Good Hope Bay area. There are more stripers, more shad and more fish caught there. If I had a day to fish up north, I would go to Good Hope Bay.
The best is saved for last. Smallmouth bass are the best fish to target and catch right now. They really like topwater lures at first light in the morning (lakewide). After the sun comes up, switch to plastic shad-shaped worms on a drop shot rig. Fish those rigs from 10-15 feet early and switch to 17-22 feet later in the day. The best habitat is submerged ledges, scattered boulder-sized rocks and even muddy points where crayfish gather. Smallmouth bass will hit plastic baits all day long. Bass caught this week ranged from small to 3.5 pounds. Kids fishing for this first time will be able to catch both bass and stripers by following the directions given here.

Walleye are still caught trolling and casting early and late and under muddy colored water during the day. Bluegill and green sunfish are still holding at nest sites where a few stick ups or tumbleweeds are submerged. Channel catfish are spawning and active both day and night in the backs of the canyons from 10-20 feet on a sandy bottom.

In conclusion, I suggest to those exploring the lake that canyons that have buzzards in them are not a good place to fish. In fact, I am quite sure that the two buzzards we saw in the back of Rock Creek spoiled our fishing trip. It seemed fine when they were perched on the rocks just looking at us, but when they turned their backs and spread their wings and maintained that posture the whole time that we fished in the canyon that our fishing trip was spoiled for the rest of the day. Just a word of caution: DO NOT fish near buzzards with outstretched wings.

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