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Brett Prettyman
Brett Prettyman writes about the outdoors, recreation and fishing for The Salt Lake Tribune

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Lake Powell Fishing Report - Keep the little ones to help the big ones grow larger

Lake Powell Fish Report – June 13, 2012

Lake Elevation: 3636

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Water Temperature 70-78 F

By: Wayne Gustaveson of Wayne's Words

There are so many changes and happenings this week as water warms and shad grow bigger. The quick summary is that fishing is still as hot as the weather. Here is a summary of when and where to catch fish.

Smallmouth bass are still providing great fishing action. They are on the edge of rocky structure and occupy the depth zone from 5-25 feet. Morning and evening bass are coming up for top water lures right at the edge of the brush line or near rocky points. During the day go deep with drop shot (dead sticking is best) or Carolina rigged plastic baits in watermelon green and smoke sparkle color. Largemouth are still being caught in the brush line by those willing to "flip" plastic baits in the thickest brush around. The best spot is the San Juan but many other spots come in a close second.

Striped bass are feeding according to the following schedule:

Morning and evening twilight are absolutely the best times to fish over the entire lake. From Rainbow Bridge to Wahweap perhaps the only time to catch nocturnal adult stripers is in the evening as the sun sets in the west. Morning works too but big fish quit biting as the sun hits the water. The best technique is trolling along the edge of a brush line or in any area where juvenile stripers were seen slurping during the day. Return to that spot in the evening to catch stripers from 3-5 pounds. Bait is still not working. Trolling is more effective.

From Bullfrog upstream and in the San Juan adult stripers are caught more often but still twilight is the key to catching bigger fish. Adult slurps start at the mouth of Piute Canyon at 5:30 PM (MST). Another adult school is sometimes seen upstream from the mouth of Reflection Canyon near the partially submerged boulders in the main channel. Troll for them if they do not boil.

Red Canyon to White Canyon has adults slurp early and late with juveniles up during most of the day. Look for slurps in the main channel at the mouth of Hansen Creek early. Slurps have been reported from Buoy 112-117 and at 122 during the day. Moki Canyon has bigger fish on top in the evening.

The best spot may be the main channel across from the mouth of Lake Canyon in the early morning. But then again the back of Bullfrog Bay where bottom depth is 25 feet is very consistent for juvenile stripers. The Halls Creek buoy field is a perennial favorite slurping spot and this year is no exception. Look for juvenile slurpers during the day.

In the lower lake the best slurping spot for 10-15 inch stripers is the travel lane from Castle Rock Cut to the main channel at Buoy 12. The best time is mid day. Bring a nimble boat that provides a stable casting platform in houseboat and tour boat wakes. It’s crazy fishing on the freeway but passing boaters smile and wave as you catch fish in their prop wash. The best lure for these juvenile stripers is a 2-inch Creme Scrounger swimbait with a black back and clear body. But small spoons and white plastic grubs worked as well. Fly fisherman may be best equipped to "match the hatch" with small flies that resemble a tiny shad. It is possible to get close enough to use a fly rod on these fish. But if you hook a houseboat on the back cast you have to put it back!

This information is provided to allow you to effectively catch stripers. Just know that during the day most will be small. Most folks don’t want to bother with the little fish even though they are easy to fillet and provide superb fillets for dinner on the lake.

The 35 small stripers we filleted averaged 40 shad per stomach for a total of 1,400 shad. Yearling stripers are super abundant this year and eating larval shad at an incredible rate. Please keep and eat the little stripers so predatory pressure on shad will be reduced allowing them to grow large enough to provide food for all game fish in the lake.

You can make a difference!

Photo: Jerry Dawkins, Salt Lake City UT, had a great trip to Lake Powell catching many different species on his trip from Hite to Knowles Canyon. He caught these stripers in boils from mile marker 112-117 in the main channel.



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