This will be the last regular fish report of 2021. Annual gill net sampling begins next week, and I will be helping with that event. It will be interesting to see the difference in catch rates between the northern and southern lake.My guess is that striper numbers will be much greater in the north than the south. I will let you know when the netting is complete. Water temperature is still in the low to mid 60s, which is perfect for bass fishing.
Bass fishing is great right now, especially since the full moon is now waning. Look for bass along the rocky shoreline anywhere from the shore to water as deep as 40 feet. Bass should hit your plastic baits a bit stronger this week than last with less moon and perfect temperature. Prime habitat includes any cove with aquatic weeds.
Some of those weed beds are 4 feet tall, and many small fish are hiding in the brushy cover. Find small fish near aquatic weeds, and bass will be in close proximity.
Striper fishing is great in the northern lake and okay in the southern lake if you use anchovy bait. Here is what to expect in the north: Head toward the back of the canyon while watching the graph for any sign of fish movement. Look for shad schools, which appear as a large round ball usually in 30-40 feet of water. Individual fish traces or a long line of fish in deeper water indicate predators, like stripers, are keeping watch on the shad. There may be a long line of fish which continues for a long distance in 40 feet of water or deeper, maybe as deep as 100 feet. These are likely a combination of stripers and gizzard shad.
Look for these large assemblies of fish and drop spoons to the bottom. Reel up to the large line of fish. Then stop and jig, up and down, through the school. Sometimes you can see your spoon on the graph and know when it is at the right depth.
More often, you have to guess where the spoon is in relation to fish school. Speed reeling works well because the spoon is below the school when the lure hits the bottom and will pass through the school when retrieved. Keep experimenting with the proper depth until the stripers respond. Then it is game on! Schooling stripers feed as a group. One fish feeding energizes all of the school mates.
This is why I like spooning for stripers so much. Catching the first fish on a spoon is only the beginning. Reel the fish in. Take it off the hook and get the spoon back down as quickly as possible to the rest of the school mates who are waiting for the next “shad.” When over the perfect school, you can catch a fish every time the spoon passes through the school for sometimes an hour or more.
My best day spooning in December near Lone Rock in Wahweap Bay was 92 fish in one hour for two anglers. This is my favorite technique for catching stripers. It works all winter long.
Unfortunately, this year, due to lack of shad in the southern lake, I am going to miss out on my favorite fishing experience. If you are coming to Lake Powell for winter fishing with spoons, you will be successful from Cathedral Canyon in the south, all the way to Good Hope Bay in the north.
I went to Last Chance this week to try spooning in one of my favorite spots. We saw no shad or striper schools on the graph. We caught one walleye down deep on a spoon. Two small stripers hit the spoon near the surface. We ended up with three stripers while on the lake from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m.
We caught many more smallmouth bass that responded to our striper spooning techniques. This report gives you an idea of what to expect to catch during the full moon in late October.