‘Angler’s moon’ delays start of fishing frenzy at Lake Powell

Mike Hanna caught this nice largemouth bass while fishing in Ribbon Canyon with Mike McNabb of Page, Ariz. Bass fishing at Lake Powell is getting better each day while striped bass fishing is expected to improve as the full moon wanes.



Lake Elevation: 3,652 asl
Water Temperature 68-71 F

PAGE, Ariz. – This is my final report about challenging fishing at Lake Powell.  All fish are poised and ready to explode in a feeding frenzy.  Really the only thing holding them back is the big, bright, beautiful “angler’s moon” hanging perfectly over the calm water.  It’s a sight to behold. But when the moon wanes fishing will improve.

The water temperature has now dropped into the high 60s. The lake elevation has stabilized, having been at 3,652 elevation for three weeks.  Beginning this weekend and continuing through mid November fishing will be better than it has been since April and May.

There are some really good fishing patterns happening now and they will improve with darker nights and lower temperatures.  Bass fishing is quite good in two different patterns.  The first is the"drive by zone”. There is a band of brush around the perimeter of Lake Powell where tamarisk trees and other brush is reemerging as the lake level declines.  Brushy areas generally have a bottom depth of 5-25 feet where some brush sticks up and other bushes are still submerged.  Further out the lake bottom falls away as the lake deepens quickly.  Forage fish are in the brush and bass cruise along the outer band of brush waiting for a shad school to venture out of the brush shelter.  Bass surround shad and feed quickly just under the surface. There will be a telltale swirl, a leaping shad, or splash marking the feeding zone.  Watch for a single splash at the deep water edge of the brush. Get there quickly and cast a rattletrap (or surface lure) between the stickups to catch school size bass.  This is the most productive fishing strategy right now lakewide.

The second bass pattern is similar to that used so successfully last spring.  Bass are also behind the band of exposed trees in 1-5 feet of water.  Find a fairly weedless plastic rig and toss it on the sandy shore. Then gently pull it into the water so shallow fish are not spooked. Work the bait over the twigs and limbs and let it fall to the bottom. The key is to fish very slowly giving bass lots of time to inspect the bait before pulling it over the next limb. This technique catches more and bigger fish for those that get the feel for pulling the bait though the brush without snagging.

Stripers are ghosts in the main lake.  They show up at a spot and boil or feed subsurface in the band of trees previously described.  Anglers finding them in the act of feeding score quickly on fat fish up to 6 pounds. The problem is that stripers then go to a new location, leaving anglers at the site of the last massacre wondering what they did wrong.  Again look for that one splash at the front edge of the trees to mark a feeding spot.

Some of the best reports last week came from Halls Creek where small largemouth were caught in big numbers in the old tree stumps in the back of the canyon.  Iceberg Canyon had a huge school of stripers holding there willing to bite for more than one day.  Stripers continued to “flash boil” at Hite where angling competition for each short-lived boil was intense.  A quick boil of large stripers was reported from Piute canyon on the San Juan.

In summary, fishing is really good when the right pattern and right spot are found.  The best strategy now is to fish very slowly and methodically for bass at the edge of brush band.  But while waiting for a slow bass to bite keep scanning to see one splash that could mark a sub surface feeding spree and a quick reward from a variety of species.


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