September 18, 2019

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wayne gustaveson

Staff member
Lake Powell Fish Report –
September 18, 2019
Lake Elevation: 3616
Water temperature: 75-78 F
By: Wayne Gustaveson or

Surface water temperature is dropping with cooler weather and an occasional gust of wind to mix the water layers. The Fall cooling event will finally release adult stripers that have been holding in deep water because they cannot survive swimming in 80 degree water for more than a few minutes. They can come up quickly to eat shad but then have to drop back down to 30 feet or more to cool off. Yearling stripers have been eating and grinning as they do just fine in warm water. That physiological change occurs in 2-3 year old fish as they mature and get ready to spawn. In the coming days the yearling stripers will have to give way for the big stripers that come up and boil on the shad pods swimming all over the surface of Lake Powell. I predict that we are about two weeks away from serious striper boils lakewide.

Currently, striper boils are absent because there are so many shad pods that a few stripers can eat all the shad they need to fill their bellies by focusing on a small shad pod. They do not need to surround the school and trap it against the surface in the form of a true “boil”. The robust physical condition of the entire striper population is unprecedented. Skinny stripers are now absent. We will just have to watch and see what happens next in this very unusual year of the “Threadfin Shad comeback”. Fishing success for stripers will improve as the water continues to cool down.

The report for this week is to continue to look for three stripers chasing two shad on the surface. Cast surface lures precisely to the surface disturbance, followed by spoons in deep water when a school sneaks under the boat and makes the graph light up. React quickly by laying down the rod with a surface lure attached and quickly picking up the next rod with a jigging spoon. Drop the spoon to the depth of the striper school, jig it up and down, to catch more fish. Those that react quickly to changing conditions will catch the most fish. Have 3 rods rigged and ready to go with surface lures, spoons and trolling lures to entertain while waiting for the real action to start.

Smallmouth bass fishing has rebounded as the “normal” rocky habitat from 10-25 feet is now producing great numbers of bass. Bass are eating standard plastic baits fished slowly along the bottom. Many smallmouth bass still swim with the stripers and perform “green boils” in open water. Do not be surprised to see surface boil activity caused by adult smallmouth bass feeding on the abundant shad pods swimming all over Lake Powell.

The most dependable time to catch fish is from dawn to 10 AM. Boils are entirely random after the morning feeding period ends. Boils occur randomly any time of the day but are not predictable. Just keep a rod ready to cast if a boil comes up. Trolling is the most successful technique after boils subside.

If you would like to catch a “big fish”, try bait fishing on a sandy beach with hot dog rounds, worms or anchovies. Catfish are husky in this year of abundant forage. Fishing success is now improving on the shores of Lake Powell.

Aaron Galer with a big smallmouth bass caught in Warm Creek on a surface lure.

Here is a hot news item that just came in. There was a huge striper boil in the main channel near the mouth of Friendship Cove. The fish stayed up for 90 minutes. Top water lures worked well for small stripers and the bigger fish that weighed up to 3.5 pounds. WG
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