September brings quality fishing, lower water at ramps

Cal Evans, Salt Lake City, captured this photo of his grandson hefting his first striped bass at Lake Powell. Evans said the young angler caught the fish on a Kastmaster spoon jigged on the bottom at 35 feet near Cedar Canyon.

If you’re headed to Lake Powell this month, be ready for the year’s best overall fishing conditions.

That’s the latest word from Utah fisheries biologist and longtime Lake Powell veteran Wayne Gustaveson.

According to Gustaveson, the combination of cooler nights and warm days is perfect for anglers returning to the lake after the busy Labor Day weekend.

“With Labor Day weekend in the past, visitation by recreational boaters decline while fishermen start to return,” Gustaveson wrote in a recent mailing. “The lake calms down a little with less fast boats and more slow fishing boats.”

One challenge might be getting your boat in the water.

Gustaveson said low water levels (the lake as of Wednesday was 44 percent full, about 110 feet down from full) have made launching impossible at Hite and the Castle Butte end of Blue Notch road.

Launching is possible at Bullfrog Marina, but hidden rocks and sandbars make it tricky putting in the water.

An alternate ramp is being built to help low-level launching, but it’s nearly too shallow for launching.

The best place to launch midlake is at Halls Crossing, where the ramp is open and operating well. The cross-lake ferry can help with logistics.

In the southern lake, with Antelope Point ramp expected to close soon, the best launching is at Wahweap and Stateline ramps.

As for fishing, water temperatures continue to reach 80 degrees every day, keeping larger stripers trapped in deeper, cooler water where shad are absent.

“Bait fishing for stripers along main channel shade lines are a great place to start looking for hungry fish,” Gustaveson wrote. “Add a canyon mouth to the shade line and stripers should be close by.”

Smaller stripers are hitting the surface early each morning in Bullfrog Bay.

Gustaveson said the best option is to fish spoons at 35 to 40 feet near Dome Rock, which is just toward the back of Bullfrog Bay from the houseboat buoy field. Bait fishing off the houseboats in the buoy field is working great at night under green fishing lights.

Smallmouth bass are still quite aggressive lake-wide.

And as usual for September, catfishing is excellent.


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