Fishing out of Wahweap is hot and cold.
Fishing is super hot for the first hour of light in the morning. Toss a small profile surface lure like a Sammy or Sugoi splash toward the shoreline for fast action from smallmouth bass and juvenile striped bass. Recently, one of the hottest spots was the Stateline ramp cove. A shad school moved under the courtesy dock at first light and was quickly surrounded by bass and stripers. Lures landing on the outer perimeter of the shad school were quickly engulfed.
Shore fishermen casting topwater would be successful on the swim beach side of the ramp from first light until 7 a.m. (MST).
We left the ramp and went straight to Sand King Cove (Wahweap Bay) to catch a few more bass and stripers on the surface. Then we tried the cove on the left hand side of Castle Rock and caught more in the shade of the cliff wall.
But all good things come to end as the sun peeked over the eastern horizon.
We were very excited to see surfacing fish as the boat made it through the Castle Rock Cut. Unfortunately we found that the widely scattered splashes were made by a school of big gizzard shad frolicking on the surface. The gizzard frolics can be identified by widely spaced splashes punctuated by a little tail flip as they hit the water. These were the only “fish boils” we saw today.
All of our other fish were caught blind casting toward the shore.
We then graphed unsuccessfully to find striper schools in locations they had occupied for the past few weeks. Fishing for stripers has slowed to a crawl in the southern lake.
Luckily the uplake stripers are still going strong. Great reports are coming from the San Juan and Good Hope areas. Spooning near Neskahi Canyon (San Juan) resulted in a 100 fish catch of 3-6 pound stripers for one party early this week.
Bass fishing is very consistent all over the lake. Drop-shotting plastic shad shaped worms and senkos, casting plastic grubs and swimbaits and retrieving surface lures are all effective techniques now. Best colors are chartreuse and watermelon. Just find a quick drop off near the brushy shoreline or a rocky reef in open water. Then use your favorite bass lure to catch smallmouth bass and an occasional largemouth. Work the bait slowly with a lot of fall-time in tree lined areas for best results. With water temperature falling and shad moving on shore, bass have moved into shallower water. Look for bass at depths of 10-20 feet. As the moon fades striper fishing will pick back up in the southern lake. Fish for bass or head to Rock Creek and places upstream for stripers.
Wayne Gustaveson is the Lake Powell project leader with the Utah Department of Wildlife Resources. Check out his website at http://www.wayneswords.com.
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