October 4, 2017 - Recovering from cold weather

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wayne gustaveson

Staff member
Lake Powell Fish Report – October 4, 2017

Lake Elevation: 3628

Water Temperature: 68-73 F

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

Shad schools on left and some stripers on right:

Fishing success has been well below Lake Powell standards lately due to cold weather, wind, and dropping water temperatures. Weather is now stabilizing with calm mornings and breezy afternoons. Hopefully the 80 degree temperatures forecast for today and tomorrow will stabilize the water temperature and bring bass, shad and stripers back to the surface.

Shad schools are hiding in shallow brushy water close to shore. Stripers are looking for shad in shallow water so it is more likely to see boils blow up near shore instead of the open bay. That makes it harder to find surface activity over the 2000 miles of shoreline instead of the 150 miles of main channel water.

The most consistent method for finding stripers recently has been graphing and spooning. There are lots of shad balls showing up on the graph in the backs of canyons and in open water layered at about 50 feet. These tight packed fish schools are not stripers. A striper school usually shows a bit of separation between individual fish.

In Neskahi Canyon this week, stripers were found as individual fish were marked as a group of 10 fish or less. A spoon dropped right into the striper squad resulted in a hookup of one or as many as four fish before the group moved on. The highlight of the trip was a very large group of stripers that showed up as widespread individual fish that were very aggressively chasing shad and spoons. Many stripers were caught by anglers in 3-6 boats working over the schools at the mouth of Piute Canyon. Hundreds of stripers were caught on September 28-30. I am not sure if the huge school is still there as we left the fish still biting on Saturday.

Active stripers on graph:

Good Hope Bay to Hite has been slow due to weather but I expect stripers there to boil and attack spoons as the weather improves. Launching is still possible at the Primitive Hite ramp. That makes for a short run to find active stripers.

Good fishing was also reported from Bullfrog at Stanton Creek. Shore fishing was best during windy weather and the desire for stripers to chase shad hiding close to shore. Fishing will also improve mid lake as the weather stabilizes.

Smallmouth bass are the most dependable target species right now. They have also been impacted by cold weather. Seek after them just as you would in the springtime. Wait until water starts to warm mid day and then switch to smallmouth fishing techniques. Plastic grubs and shad shaped worms fished on the breaking edge of a rapid drop off work very well. High lake level still hides some brush and rock piles in slick rock canyons. Dropping plastic baits down to these typical bass sanctuaries results in quick bites from some very nice sized bass. Topwater lures fished during early morning and late evening hours were bass magnets. I have had some of my best bass memories recently as large bass have attacked my surface lures in the backs of canyons in the southern lake where the water was calm and placid. The big bass jumped well out of the water and then tried to grab the lure on the way down. This experience is actually more memorable if the bass does not get hooked. Surface fishing is fun!

I am sure fishing success will be better during the next two weeks than it was the last windy week of September. Water temperature is still hovering around 70 degrees which is a very favorable fishing temperature. Stripers and smallmouth bass are the best choices now but walleye, catfish, and sunfish are also available in the right place at the right time.
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