Lake Powell Fish Report for Sept. 21

Biologist Dan Keller holds a striped bass caught at the Rincon.

Lake Elevation: 3,530 ; Water temperature: 80-84 degrees Fahrenheit

Hot weather has kept water surface temperatures in the lower 80s, resulting in the continuation of summertime fish behavior.

During the heat of the summer, it’s always a good idea to get out on the water as early as you can manage and search for fish activity on the surface. This will lead you to locations where striped bass are feeding on shad. The surface activity might be short-lived, as adult stripers cannot stay in 80-degree water for more than a minute or two.

When the surface activity stops, drop down a spoon to catch more stripers in the cooler water below 30 feet. Boils will often be in a different spot each day, as shad attempt to hide from feeding stripers.

After locating active stripers in the morning, you can often continue to catch them throughout the day by changing tactics as needed. A variety of methods will work, including trolling deep-water crankbaits, vertical jigging with spoons or dropping cut bait. On our last fishing trip in Wahweap, we consistently caught larger stripers by dropping spoons down below the young fish feeding on the surface.  

Not following my own advice to “get out early,” we lucked into some great midday fishing on Sept. 8 at the Rincon.  Our success was the result of having several fishing rods rigged up and ready for action on our sampling boats. We had various lures tied on including top water plugs, jigging spoons and plastic jigs.

We had spent the previous two days monitoring young-of-year fish at night with electrofishing equipment and traveling to new sampling locations by day. When we reached the Rincon at about 2 p.m., we began searching the south shoreline for a campsite. We soon noticed fish chasing shad in the shallow bays, thinking they were likely young stripers, we casted top water lures to the splashes and right away caught several chunky stripers.

We also discovered that many of the splashes were being made by good-sized smallmouth bass. The smallmouth bass were hunting together, pushing shad up to the surface or shoreline, resulting in a quick feeding frenzy. We mostly caught fish on topwater, but we did try jigs and caught several healthy smallmouth bass.  

Over the next few weeks, surface water temperature will gradually decline, allowing all fish in Lake Powell to increase feeding activity in shallow water, and fishing will improve over the length of the lake. Get ready now – fall fishing at Lake Powell is just around the corner. I can’t wait!