Lake Powell Fish Report for Sept. 28

Alex and Nick Gustaveson.

Lake Elevation: 3,529 ; Water temperature: 75-80 degrees Fahrenheit

Recent rainy weather slowed the decline of Lake Powell, which dropped only 1 foot over the past two weeks. Lake Powell could use more rain, but we are thankful for any small help received. Let’s hope for more wet weather in the coming days and months.

Fishing is improving as striper schools are following shad schools all over the lake. My last two trips on the lake were fantastic while searching for striper schools in the southern lake. I like to go up to the mouth of Last Chance Canyon and beyond and search the canyons that are not as busy as the canyons closer to Wahweap.

On a recent trip, we went to Friendship Cove and Rock Creek. We found striper schools by slowing down to 3 mph and watching the graph. When we saw a group of 5-10 fish near the bottom at 30-50 feet, we dropped spoons to the bottom and jigged up and down trying to coerce the fish into biting. The results were tremendous, as almost all the schools showing up on the graph were striped bass that were very willing to participate. When one fish grabbed the spoon, the graph would light up with a swarm of stripers that would follow the fish with the hook in its mouth. When all the school was engaged, it was quick and easy to catch lots of fish from 12 inches to 4 pounds. The catching continued for close to an hour until the school finally drifted away. Our average catch from one school of fish was 50 stripers.

Our next move was to look for another striper school by cruising around again in the same general area near the back of the canyon, while looking for another small group of fish. It seems that every time we dropped on the small group of fish and managed to hook a striper, many more fish would converge on the fish with the spoon in its mouth. Schooling fish like to feed in big groups, and they run toward a feeding opportunity.

On our next trip we went to the back of Last Chance and found similar results using the same techniques. We targeted the 30-50 feet bottom depth and trolled while watching the graph for striper schools.

Trolling was not very productive due to the warm surface water (75-80 F). Adult stripers need cooler water, so they hold out at 30 feet where the temperature drops from the 70s down to the 50s (thermocline).

When we did see fish on the bottom, we dropped spoons and got the same positive reaction from stripers looking for a quick meal. I suspect that this technique will work lakewide as stripers are constantly searching for shad schools. The trick is to catch the first fish and let the other stripers in the school rush over to share in the banquet.

On our first trip, our catch was about 150 fish. On the next trip, the same techniques resulted in catching over 200 fish. There are plenty of stripers out there waiting for a feeding opportunity. Watch the graph targeting the 50-foot depth range. When a small group of stripers shows up – drop spoons. Catch that first fish, then enjoy fantastic fishing until it’s time to look for the next school.