North to Trachyte October 19-23

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Stuart Hepworth

Active Member
After sleeping in the parking lot Friday evening and getting covered with dew, we quickly loaded the boat and headed north not knowing what we would find because of recent heavy rains. Worried about the mud line and concerned with how the mud would affect fishing, we decided on camping either in Blue Notch or Red Canyon and ultimately settled in Red Canyon. So, we set up our camp and hung our damp bags and pillows in the tent before venturing out in search of stripers. But, after trolling for a fair amount of time in Red Canyon, Blue Notch, 4-mile and 2-mile canyons, we only had a couple smallmouth to show for it. The search, then, continued north.

As we arrived at the mudline near the mouth of Trachyte, I had the first real sharp hit that signaled stripers (we had hardly graphed any up to this point too). But, naively, we continued into Trachyte to no avail. Knowing that I had the one real sharp hit, we returned to where the area where I had missed the fish and soon hooked up and found more. Spooning over a drop-off from about 15-25 feet produced a number of other stripers, but the fish seemed more uncooperative than normal despite a large school under the boat. So, we continued trolling and found more stripers along the mudline along where the Colorado was dumping mud and debris into the lake. The water temperature along the mudline was around 61 to 63 degrees but quickly dropped to about 58 within the mud. Fish seemed to be hanging out in areas where they were near the mud but around depths that quickly dropped from 10-25 feet. Crankbaits and rattle traps worked well trolling if they ran around 10-12 feet deep. And, for the rest of our trip, trolling consistently produced stripers with a few walleye and even a couple of crappie mixed in.

Though conditions varied drastically from light breezes to wind and rain throughout Monday, this was our best day finding boils and probably fishing overall. I think the cloud cover really helped. Though we had seen some boils prior to Monday, they all were a long ways off and ended as quickly as they were spotted and we only managed a few fish from them. Interestingly, though, on both Saturday and Sunday stripers could be found feeding on the surface in the mud and debris of the river as it emptied into the lake. I would not call this feeding a boil, but they were definitely on the surface and shad could be seen scattering as stripers were chasing them. We found fishing for these muddy water fish, though, tough. We would spend considerable time casting to feeding fish and watched numerous fish spook away from the boat with only a handful being caught. Two other boats fished in the mud for these fish with similar or slightly better success but I don't know what they were using. We cast everything we had at them and seemed to do best with a square bill crankbait and a purple jointed flicker shad; topwater plugs would get chases and hook-ups at times but were successful only occasionally. Fish boiling over the clear water were much more aggressive and easy to catch. I don't know why.

Interestingly, the fish feeding in the mud didn't return and we didn't witness the same action on Monday with the overcast skies. It seemed that the fish in the mud were most active in the middle of the day when the sun was out and the water was calm. So, on Monday, after a short venture into Scorup looking for crappie, we returned to Trachyte and the mudline and began trolling. Like the other days, we found fish in the same areas using the same techniques--trolling cranks that dove to around 10-12 feet. Success seemed somewhat varied but my purple flicker shad and my brother's purple rattletrap seemed to be consistently successful as was my father's black backed jointed rapala. We spent a lot of time trolling looking for good schools of fish and when we had triples on the line, we would often stop and drop spoons. Spooning would often produce fish quickly but did not last long. Our best spooning action was directly after a small boil erupted and went down before the rains poured in.

In all, we averaged about 20 stripers each a day (or 80 total per day) and ended up with about a half dozen walleye, two crappie, a catfish (caught spooning), a carp (the biggest fish of the trip caught on a crappie jig in Scorup), a couple smallmouth and a couple largemouth. Once again, Lake Powell was a success and our fall deer hunt could not have been spent a better way!

I will let PBH either post his own report or pics and videos....
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Here are a few pics from our trip:

View towards Trachyte

South of Trachyte



Camp pics






Rain video:

I'll work on another video with some more action. I'll also try to post a video of the muddy water mixing with the green water -- that was really interesting.
Very nice, 20 fish per day, per person sounds pretty good! When we were up there about a month ago, the stripers from up near Trachyte were in the best condition compared to the rest of the lake....
We have made our fall trip a tradition and try to get as far north as possible because the stripers are in better condition near Trachyte. Sometimes, the fishing is tougher and sometimes you have to work harder to consistently get into fish, but the reward is greater in our opinion. This year, fishing was really consistent and better than most probably because of the cooler weather and water temps as well as what seemed like fewer shad. The trade-off, though, was that the stripers were skinnier than in past years in my opinion.
I have never fished LP in the fall, so I don't have anything to compare it too. But we were a bit surprised at the condition of the stripers we caught. While none were not the "razorbacks" that you sometimes catch in the spring, quite a few were less than plump. My guess is there is going to be a big die-off of stripers this winter, as these fish in less than ideal condition struggle to make it through the winter and prepare to spawn next spring...
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