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Lake Powell Report

Fishing Still Good As Temperatures Warm
By Wayne Gustaveson

Gustaveson.jpgphoto credit: Gustaveson
OVER 30 CATCHES -- Angel Talucci, Tucson AZ, fished with her family in Lake Powell's Navajo canyon. They caught over 30 fish on bait but also saw some top water boil action. Fishing is still good despite rising lake levels and warming temperatures.

From this point forward many of the reports will be about surface feeding by striped bass. Here are some terms that will make it easier for you to understand my reports.

"Slurps" are defined as surface feeding by stripers of all sizes on very small larval shad. Tiny shad are poor swimmers. There is not much chance of their eluding stripers that line up with open mouths and skim the surface sucking in shad as they go.

Peter_Fullerton.jpgPhoto Credit - Wayne Gustavesom
HIS FIRST -- Peter Fullerton, 8 years old, Palo Verdes Calif., caught his first largemouth bass on a plastic Senko in Last Chance Canyon. Fishing conditions are changing due to rising water and temperature but fishing is always good on Lake Powell when the right techniques are used.

The scrimmage line moves along at high speed (3-5 mph). Slurpers go down when the boat gets in range but then resurface in random directions. If they come up near the boat, stripers are easier to catch. If they surface well out of range, the boat must be quickly repositioned to get in casting range again.

Slurping stripers can be fussy eaters because their prey is so small. The feeding school can move in just about any direction as larval shad are commonly found in most open water areas.

Fishing success in slurps requires precision casting. A lure tossed into the scrimmage line will spook the whole school or be ignored by fish looking straight ahead. But a lure cast well in front of the first fish and worked back into the scrimmage line will be seen and sometimes eaten.

Slurps have begun lakewide but colder water temperatures have delayed catching success. Slurps are seen each day from Wahweap to Bullfrog. Wind erases the trail making it difficult to find slurpers, but in calm periods keep an eye out for the small surface disturbance that marks a feeding school.

Larger stripers may slurp but it is more likely to find them very deep (60-90 feet) in the same areas they have occupied all spring. Look along the main channel walls from the dam to Bullfrog. Fish much deeper then was necessary in May and June using copious chum to get the school going.

Bass fishing is getting better. Largemouth are in the green brush just being flooded by increasing lake levels. Go flippin’ for best results. That entails nosing the boat into a brush thicket and working the bait vertically instead of horizontally to keep the lure from grabbing a limb instead of a fish. Big bass are in the brush from the shoreline to 25 feet.

Smallmouth are on the rocky terraces and ledges also at 20-25 feet. Tubes, grubs and senkos are working well now when the bait gets in the correct depth zone. Try to keep the bait at last 20 feet deep for best results. Black and watermelon green colors are working well for bass.

Walleye are the surprise fish for this time of year. Slow warming has kept walleye active longer than normal. The best way to find walleye is to work the shoreline where brush is evident. Look for the deep slot leading to the cove. Fish plastic grubs or live night crawlers slowly along the deep slot where walleye are stationed scanning for food moving from one side of the brush canyon to the other.

Catfish have taken off and will be caught each evening on the sandy beach near your camp. Bluegills are in the brush along the shoreline. The lake level continues to increase in dramatic fashion. The big inflow and flooded brush means there will be good survival of small fish, which leads to good fishing for the coming years. At press time, lake elevation was 3,647 and water temperature was 74-78F.

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