March 2007

At Lake Powell

A Big ‘Un Opens The Fishing Season

By Wayne Gustaveson

The Lake Powell fishing season was opened very early this year with the capture of a huge striped bass from Knowles Canyon. The big fish weighed 32.5 pounds, with a length of 43.75 inches and a 26-inch girth.

The lucky angler was Sherm Mcdonnell who lives at Bullfrog and gets to go fishing often.

Mcdonnel is a good angler but admits the catch may have involved some luck. He was in Knowles canyon for the first time and just fished the whole length of the canyon to get to know it. 

He tried anchovy bait in the deep water and caught a walleye but no stripers.  That was only the first strange event. 

The best bait for 1-2 pound stripers was the chartreuse plastic bass grub on a lead head jig.  Bass weren’t interested at all in the plastic offering in the 47-degree water. 
Small stripers hit best in the afternoon from 1-3 p.m. As the deep water gave way to shallow near the end of the canyon, Mcdonnel picked up his chartreuse bass grub on the light 6-foot Ugly Stick rod with 6-pound test to try a cast to the shoreline.

As the grub descended in the clear water, he saw the flash of a nice fish and set the hook. It was a solid hook up and Mcdonnel was sure he had a 10-pounder. 

The first run was strong, but the trolling motor in high gear was enough to keep up as the fish passed under the boat and headed for deep water.

The first run played out in about 40 yards, but Mcdonnel couldn't gain much of his 6-pound line back without using the trolling motor to take up the slack. He got just enough back before the second run started.

The next run was longer but fairly steady so he was able to keep up with the fish by using the trolling motor. He felt lucky to still have the fish hooked up with some line left on the reel.

On a warmer day, the runs would have been quicker and longer, and the first run might have been the last. Mcdonnel was braced for the next run, but the huge fish came to the top and rolled on its side where it was apparent that it was much larger than 10 pounds.

The boat and fish finally got close enough together for the net to be slipped under the trophy after an adrenaline-filled 15-minute battle.
Stripers in the 30-pound class have been caught during the past three years during May.  Hopefully, this is a sign of more good things to come.

Trophy fish are spread through the entire lake.  The last three big fish have come from Padre Bay, Rock Creek, and the San Juan. Now a 32-pound striper from the northern lake proves that a trophy can be caught anywhere in Lake Powell.

Good luck; I hope you catch the next big one.
At press time, lake elevation was 3,598, and the water temperature was 48-50F.