LAKE POWELL: Lake elevation: 3,627 feet
Water temperatures: 6568°F
The 10-day weather forecast is for calm water and perfect daytime temperatures in the 70s. Fishing has been mixed recently because of wind, dropping temperatures and finicky fish. This will be the last regular report for the year, but my prediction is that fishing will be excellent during the last two weeks of October.
First, the challenges: Fishing has been difficult recently because abundant cover and forage has allowed all sportfish species to eat on their own schedules or not at all. These fish are now accustomed to eating at their leisure with plenty of foragea luxury usually not found in this lake because the normal overpopulation of predators always means fish seeking after prey. The windy conditions resulted in a rapidly dropping water temperature, which was a problem that confused fish and put them off feed at times. Hopefully those negative points are now past history.
Next, the new events: A stable water temperature (in the mid-60s) that is favored by most predators as the most consistent feeding and activity conditions of the entire year. There is an abundant shad and sunfish population that is readily available. The water levels will decline slowly which forces shad to leave the brush sanctuaries and encourages feeding from all the predators. Here is what to expect during the last two weeks of October.
Striped Bass: Right now, shad are hiding in the shallow brushy coves. By November, shad will migrate into deeper water as the water temperature drops. Threadfin shad need stable temperatures and do not like cold water. They seek a constant temperature in 30 to 60 feet of water. Stripers will react to this migration by forming bigger and tighter schools, which will make them easier to see on the graph and catch on spoons. As they make that transition from foraging in small pods in the brush to their normal large school mentality, fishing will improve dramatically.
Until that happens, you can find striped bass by trolling a shad-imitating crankbait while watching the graph looking for small schools and individual stripers. In the northern lake, surface action may happen anytime as more shad are available for stripers to chase.
Smallmouth Bass: Bass are the best angling target now because they are abundant and feeding prolifically at their favorite water temperature. Both large and smallmouth bass love brush that houses the bluegill and sunfish forage that is so abundant in this high-water year. The water temperature will remain at the peak bass activity level during the pleasant days forecast for the remainder of October. Start searching for bass on the prominent points and coves at the mouth of the canyon instead of the shallow water in the back of the cove. There is more shad forage swimming in deeper water (15 to 25 feet) than in the back of the canyon. Bass are currently holding in that deeper water but may move shallower as the lake level and water temperature drops. Bass really like surface lures right now, but will always eat plastic grubs bouncing along the bottom and dancing through the brush piles. Fast moving buzz baits are fun to throw over the brushy shoreline. Treat bass just as if it were springtime by fishing for them in the afternoon as the water warms.
Walleye: These toothy critters are back on the bite now with many being caught in the northern lake on spoons fished at 15 to 25 feet, bottom bouncers trolled slowly at the same depth, and nightcrawlers fished slowly on worm harnesses over main channel points. The magic depth for trolling across treetops or main channel points is 12 feet. Let the walleye diving lure hit bottom at 12 feet, and then catch a fish as it bounces into deeper water.
Crappie: Expect the crappie catch rate to increase dramatically as water temperature continues to decline. Normally the first two weeks of November provide the best crappie fishing of the year. Anglers are catching some crappie right now, and that catch rate will increase over the next three weeks. The most important factor is finding the school. With brush being abundant, look in the back of the canyons where water depth is 12 to 20 feet deep. Drive the boat right into the brushy thicket and then drop crappie jigs straight down below the boat to prevent snagging as you move the jig slowly up and down. It is also possible to fish from the old river channel where the brush begins. Drop jigs to the bottom at the edge of brush where crappie can see the lure while still staying in the brushy confines that they love. Expect to catch a few bluegill while fishing specifically for crappie. Tip the jig with a small worm to target bluegill.
Catfish: You can catch catfish by placing bait on the bottom near the sandy beach behind the boat near camp.
Again, this will be the last regular report for the year. Annual netting starts October 30 and will continue through November 10. I will post random reports on the website through the winter when something good happens. Though, the only time fishing at Lake Powell, isn't good is when you don't go. I will fish all winter and keep you advised of the fishing excitement.