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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 - Try "bait fishing with a fly rod on a paddle board, complete with fish finder"

Lake Powell Fish Report – July 30, 2013

Lake Elevation: 3594

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Water Temperature 78-82 F

By: Wayne Gustaveson of Wayne's Words

My plan for the weekly fishing report trip was to go uplake and see if striper surface action was happening midlake. We launched at first light and headed out from Stateline Ramp for the long trip through the narrows. Before reaching Main Ramp we were stopped short by young stripers feeding in quick bursts on the surface. My first cast with a ¼ ounce swim bait was rewarded with a 16-inch striper. The striper was on my hook, but I was hooked as well. When stripers are hitting on top it is not my nature to leave surfacing fish to find fish. So we stayed.

There were feeding stripers popping to the top all over Wahweap Bay. But feeding was happening individually or in very small groups. By the time the boat arrived at the striper splash ring the fish had moved on to another location. It was very difficult to get close enough to cast to a surfacing fish before it went down.

Stripers were still very visible and wide spread so we tried trolling with swim baits and pointers. We trolled in the area where fish were seen splashing and caught another young striper. Maybe this was the method of the day! But no, that was the only fish caught trolling. As we prepared to move on one more small group of stripers surfaced and one more fish was caught. So we stayed longer- to no avail. One hour of fishing resulted in 3 small fish caught, but we saw many more fish jump. It is fun to see and chase stripers feeding on the surface.

Now it was too late to have a smooth trip through the narrows so we went to Glen Canyon Dam and fished with bait with predictable results. From 7-8 AM two anglers caught 40 stripers before the bite slowed way down. Most fish were hooked quite shallow (15-30 feet) with fishing success improving rapidly following each hand full of chum that hit the water.

Bait fishing is still the best technique for catching stripers from Wahweap to Bullfrog. Morning and evening boils are getting better as new moon gets closer each night. There are many more shad in the northern lake so surface action is much more dependable in Good Hope Bay and areas farther north, but large random boils can happen anywhere and at any time of day.

Bass fishing is improving as aquatic weeds are growing on sand flats in the backs of flood plain canyons. This lets bass hang out in some familiar habitat. But more likely bass are using muddy water as their chief habitat. Look in shallow murky water at the very back of the canyon for largemouth bass, crappie and walleye.

Catfish are very active in the evening and into the night along sandy beaches where boats can park. The shallow ends of long canyons with murky water provide great catfishing results on baits like hot dog rounds, anchovies, or table scraps.

Smallmouth bass are found on sloping rocky structure and can be best caught on drop shot or Carolina rigs trailing a plastic worm.

Fishing at Lake Powell is improving as lake surface temperature declines, nights get darker and shad continue to spawn. Use bait in the south and surface lures in the north to achieve the same results – to catch and keep a lot of stripers.

Photo caption: Scott Swietanski, from Alpine Meadows Ski resort, proved that you can catch stripers using a variety of techniques, even bait fishing with a fly rod on a paddle board, complete with fish finder. He stroked around Buoy 25 coves to find stripers willing to eat his bait and then tow him around the bay. Amazing!

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