September 25, 2019 - FAT Fish !

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wayne gustaveson

Staff member
Lake Powell Fish Report –
September 25, 2019
Lake Elevation: 3616
Water temperature: 71-74 F
By: Wayne Gustaveson or

Lake Powell water temperature is dropping as nighttime air temperature falls to the low 60s or even into the 50s. Stripers are responding by boiling on the surface more often in the southern and central lake. Boils are still late in the northern lake as stripers feed on shad in deep water instead of trapping them against the surface. Here is what to expect when searching for striper schools.

Lakewide, stripers are holding in the backs of canyons and coves at a depth of 40-80 feet. One good technique is to start in the back of a canyon at a depth of 20-40 feet. Search with the graph for big shad balls. They show up as a huge ball of fish while stripers appear more often as lines of fish. Stripers are usually deeper than shad. The best fishing technique is to drop 1.5 ounce jigging spoons down to the bottom just under the striper school. One striper grabbing the spoon energizes the school. It is easy to catch many stripers in a short time. Jigging by 2-3 anglers in a boat increases the striper energy level. When one fish is hooked, more fish show up under the boat. Try to stay with the school as they congregate under the boat. Spot lock electric motors hold the boat and the fish school together and increase the catch rate. This is the best technique over the length of the lake.

Catching a bunch of fish is fun, but catching them on surface lures from boils is the best. Reports of striper boils range from Wahweap to the Escalante. The northern lake is still quiet. This week there were a few boils early in the morning but the best time was between 9-11 AM (MST). Surface feeding fish blew up at Buoy 22-23, mouth of Last Chance to Rock Creek, mouth of the San Juan to Buoy 60, and near the mouth of the Escalante. Boils can happen anywhere throughout the day. Always look for a few fish breaking the surface and making big splashes. Single fish popping to the top are often gizzard shad. Look for at least 3 fish surfacing in the same spot before heading toward a striper boil.

Smallmouth bass are really enjoying the heavy dose of shad available this Fall. They have learned a few tricks from feeding stripers. Some of the boils are “green” with bass chasing shad instead of silver stripers. Regardless, all fish caught are fat and robust. This is a very unusual year for fishing at Lake Powell, but the health of all boiling fish is incredible. A bumper crop of threadfin shad has been responsible for the increase in girth of striped and smallmouth bass.

Big catfish are swimming along the bottom under the shad schools. Spooning for stripers may result in a big dark fish with whiskers instead of the expected silver fish.

The big rise in lake level covered the brush line, which may result in an increase in largemouth bass and crappie. These two fish species need brush to protect them from predators, to provide needed spawning habitat, and to give them shelter as they live in the lake. We will sample the lakeshore with electrofishing equipment next week and report the results in October.


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