Date Received: March 10, 2003 -Wayne Gustaveson

A pattern is emerging on striped bass as this report and the next one down indicate.

I was in the back of Navajo last week and graphed schools of fish in 25-35 of water where the color was brown/green and bottom depth was 25-35. I could not catch fish on anchovies.

Over the weekend some very good winter anglers, Roger Martig and Richard Phillips from Phoenix, were in Rock Creek fishing for walleye. They were trolling #5 and #7 countdown Rapalas in a bright chartreuse or fire tiger colors in the brown/green water in the backs of all three arms of Rock Creek and found stripers hitting instead of walleye. These fat 2-4 pound stripers would hit the "trolled minnow" as a reaction as it swam by in the shallow colored water in the back of the canyon. I suspect they are feeding occasionally on shad and can't pass up a chance to eat a fish that swims right past their face.

Then Tom Hartford reports catching his striper in the same area - back of Trachyte Canyon, colored water on a trolled rattletrap.

I think we have them located. Just go to the back of any main canyon that has a flood plain and muddy water in the back. Find schools of fish on the graph and then really concentrate on that area. Troll or cast shad imitating cranks. The fish I saw were suspended, so cranks may work better than spoons. Once fish are found on the graph it may be a matter of changing lures, varying speeds and trying a few different options but the stripers seem to be catchable. It may be that a long thin lure like a Rapala is taken better than a short fat rattletrap. That is for you to find out once you get there.

Avoid clear water and anchovies. Instead use reaction baits at the brown and green water interface where bottom depth is 35 feet for the starting point.

Date Received:April 14, 2003 - Wayne Gustaveson and Ryan Mosley

Ryno came back for a visit yesterday and talked me into going fishing. I told him about the shallow crankin' striped bass pattern and told him to pick a canyon. Place doesn't really matter as we have dialed in stripers in Rock Creek, Last Chance, Warm Creek, Wahweap and Navajo in the past two weeks. The pattern is simple. Go to back of the canyon where water depth is 15 feet, water color is chalky green and throw crankbaits. Half-ounce rattletraps in chrome with green back, shad rap in white and chartreuse, yozuri deep diver, bomber model A, have all worked.

He picked. We went and found water temperature at 62 in the shallow water which is the warmest I have seen this year. Air temp was 77 and with a gentle drifting breeze it was pure delight to be there. We found grebes, seagulls and ravens sharing the venue. First few casts to the east shore went blank. So we trolled across the 25 foot depths to the other side. Ryno hooked a nice 3 pound fish on the troll on his $3 Yozuri in rainbow trout color he found in the bargain bin at Wal-Mart.

The wind was just right for a slow drift along the bank so we just cast and drifted. I threw my $3 Yozuri on the submerged bank and cranked it off the ledge where a nice fish whacked it at about 5 feet from shore. It was a great battle with a big fish in shallow water on 6 pound test line. As the fish tired and came to the boat I realized that my fishing techniques would have to change this year. As the husky fish rolled and dived along side the boat I realized that my standard swing method of removing the fish from the water and placing it on ice was antiquated. If I tried to hoist this fish with tight line just using the rod tip for leverage the end goal would not be achieved. I would lose the fish, the lure and a lot of pride. I glanced around for a net. Why? I have no idea. I have not used a net or even taken one in the boat for probably 5 years. About that time Ryno took pity on me and bent down trying to lip the fish which had a mouth full of treble hooks. Giving up on that approach he palmed the fish with hands around the back and the stomach and lifted it in the boat.

This was the biggest striper I have caught in a very long time. The scale proclaimed 4.5 pounds.

We are entering a new era in striper fishing, folks. These fish are NICE. The chase is very satisfying. Drifting and casting is more active than fishing bait. Getting one in the boat is a challenge. I really like this. We drifted and picked up 10 more fish in 2 hours. The chrome/chart rattletrap proved to be the best lure by the end of the trip. Catch rate was up to 12 in 2 hours or one fish every 10 minutes. Average weight was right at 3 pounds.

On the trip back thoughts of other years, skinny fish, battles to get us back to this point swirled around. Its been a real journey to get to this point right here, right now, April 2003. I am going to enjoy this while it lasts, These fish will spawn, numbers will climb and growth will probably slow again.

But for this moment.... you better come and enjoy it. This is what we have been waiting for.

Date Received:April 24, 2003 - Wayne Gustaveson

I was honored to go fishing with Charley Meyers, a writer for the Denver Post and his lovely wife Diana. The morning started with clouds, rain and snow. We fished Wahweap Bay hoping to avoid the ride uplake in cold weather. We graphed fish but could not induce any activity when surface temperature was 53-55.

The sun broke through about 1 pm and we opted to go uplake despite the freshening breeze. We pulled into the back of Warm Creek and found the temp to be 56-57. That was the ticket. We started casting crank baits to the shallows and pulling the lures to deeper water. Stripers hit near shore at depths of 2-5 feet. We caught 8 quick ones after a slow morning for fishing tempered with good company, great scenery and a chance to be on Lake Powell.

The fish report pattern is still holding. Cranks in murky water, backs of canyons, where water is slightly warmer than main lake. Afternoons are better than mornings. Fish were fat and very satisfying. Doesn't take too many of these husky fish to make a great trip.

Date Received:April 28, 2003 - Joe Royer

We put on the lake on April 18, fished hard for days, for anything. Caught nothing. Since the warmest water is what you want to find we headed to Warm Creek and at the very back of the canyon we finally ran into some shad and when you find the shad you find the fish and we did. The fishing was great from 5 P.M. to 6 P.M. and then a switch was flicked and the Stripers quit biting. This went on for two days.

Date Received: May 5, 2003 - Kenny Baker

My name is Kenny Baker from Phoenix Arizona and we just returned from our annual trip to Lake Powell April 20th - 27th and had a great time and this is a report on our trip. We took off out of Wahweap Marina Easter Sunday and anchored the first night in West Canyon. We can't believe how low the water level is and for the first time in 4 trips had to take the Narrows out of Wahweap. Not much action the first night afternoon and evening with only 3 Catfish and 2 Small Mouth Bass.

Gary, Mark and I went up river in Gary's bass boat to check out Rock Creek Canyon to see if we could find a spot to anchor the Catalina (a 60' Houseboat) on a sandy beach and have a place to fish, hike and most important a place to set up a 6 hole golf course. We looked around and once again couldn't believe how low the water was. We stayed in Rock Creek 2 years ago and had good fishing but this year it was to low with no beaches to camp in. We checked the Southwest canyon at Rock Creek and found a beautiful beach with everything else we wanted and water on each side of the point where we would anchor the houseboat so we went back to West Canyon and pulled up anchor and headed for Rock Creek. This spot was the best Lake Powell had to offer, a sandy beach, hiking, golf course and of course fishing.

We caught 12 fish Monday night including Small Mouth Bass and Catfish. We caught 15 on Tuesday, all Small Mouth Bass. Wednesday things changed and we found a what we called a secret canyon all the way in the back of the canyon and caught 18 fish with 1 Walleye and 1 Large Mouth Bass and the rest Small Mouth Bass.

On Thursday we talked about leaving Friday after breakfast for Warm Creek Bay so we wouldn't have so far to go Sunday morning to return the Catalina by 9 am to Wahweap Marina and because we were surprised that nobody had caught a Striper.

Thursday late afternoon Gary, Rick and I decided to try along the North Wall all the way in the back of Rock Creek around 5:30 pm and all of a sudden Gary and I spotted large marks on the graph and I started throwing my crank bait ( we had been fishing for SMB with plastic grubs ) and BAM! a 3 lb. STRIPER so fat and with a great fight is was unbelievable, then Gary had one on and with more and more large marks on the graph all three of use started throwing crank baits and BAM! I had another on then Rick hooked one and then Gary hooked one for a triple, What Fun We Had. Well between the three of us and one hour later we had (16) 2 - 4 lb. Stripers in the live well and headed back to the Catalina where the other 5 were wondering what was wrong because it was getting dark and we weren't back yet. They couldn't believe what we pulled out of the live well (16) BIG FAT STRIPERS one after the other, What a time we had catching them.

Gary, Carol and Mark went out at 5:45 am Friday morning and caught 12 more Stripers within the first 30 minutes and then they stopped. We went back out Friday late afternoon for one hour and caught another 6 before dark. We went out first thing Saturday morning and only found 2 Stripers and 1 nice 3 lb. Walleye and it was time to get back so we could head out for Warm Creek after breakfast so we would only have a 2 hour trip back into Wahweap Marina Sunday morning to return the houseboat.

Well, that's it, (1) Carp (1) LMB (3) Walleye (9) Catfish (41) Stripers and 54 SMB for a total of 109 fish. It was a great trip and oh boy was it fun getting into those 2 - 4 lb. Stripers. Until next year it's the Catalina with Kenny, Holly, Gary, Carol, Mark, Pam, Rick and Cheryl. See you next April.

Date Received: May 6, 2003 - Mike (Boatiac)

Jackie and I arrived Wednesday evening (4/30) and checked into the Days Inn. Very friendly staff, pleasant weather. Had a business dealing that we needed to take care of in Bullfrog, so we headed uplake Thursday morning (5/1), temps were a little brisk at 9am, but, lots of sun and no wind to speak of, made for a perfect day cruise. Finished our business in Bullfrog, head back down lake, stopped and made some GPS markings along the way for Mike B's website. Stopped into Friendship Cove and met/chatted with Papa Jack. No fishing done this day.

Great weather Friday (5/2), didn't get onto the lake till almost noon though. Had to make an unexpected trailer repair. Went to Warm Creek and did some flat line trolling only got one, but it was a really healthy one. Caught it using a Rapala DT-16 (shad color) in 30' of water. Reset my line and wouldn't you know it, lost the lure 10 minutes later with no spare. Jackie was using a ˝ oz Rat-L-Trap chrome/blue and got nothing. Was kind of surprised at that. I know she was at the right depth, because her line would bounce in 15' of water. Explored Antelope Canyon. Tried some smally fishing but nothing. Wind began to kick up, so came off the lake. Tried to assist Dave Gal in figuring how to get "Doc Bill" and his P Boat onto the trailer (wind was really kicking by now) when we suddenly realized "Doc Bill was going for it without us. Thinking back I still laugh. :-)

Saturday (5/3) was on the water at 9am (just not an early riser), a little breezy but not real bad. Went up to Gunsight and did the same setup as the day before, only I used a Rapala DT-10 this time, Jackie had the same rigging and again she got nothing. I got one smaller than yesterdays, but a fighter none the less. Wind really started to BLOW about 11am, couldn't even keep course with big motor trolling so off the lake we went, what a ride back.

Fishing wasn't great for me (still learning and getting there), but it was an awesome time none the less. I will definitely remember this weekend for some time.

Date Received: May 7, 2003 - Rich Sutterfield

Took my first trip to the Wahweap end of the lake, to join in the fun for the South Rally and 7 days of fishing at Lake Powell. For you Colorado people that normally go to Bullfrog as I do, it's worth the trip to go see the south end of the lake. The drive down through Moab, Blanding, Mexican Hat, Monument Valley is truly magnificent country. The radio happened to play Leanne Rymes belting out her version of 'God Bless America' during that drive, if your patriotism needs sprucing up, that will do it.

I arrived very early Sunday 4/27, a warm, sunny, calm day so I headed up to Warm Creek. Tried for stripers first but they weren't ready yet. Gave the bass a shot, caught plenty of fat SMB on smoke/pepper grubs, then went back to the stripers about 3:00 pm. Caught 6 stripers in about an hour of trolling/casting with white/chartreuse #7 Shad Raps. Trolling speed is important, now and then I would forget and slow down to less than 3 mph and you catch no fish. Speed back up to 3-5 - 4 mph and hang on to that rod.

Found active SMB Monday and got distracted from the stripers. I have that problem at Lake Powell. When the bass are biting it's hard to go look for stripers. Had a great day, caught a lot of bass on crankbaits and plastics.

Tuesday and Wednesday Wayne G. came aboard in the mornings for a while and we fished around Wahweap Bay for stripers. He heads me into Ice Cream canyon, says 'OK let's start trolling' and about 50 feet later he sez 'got one'. This man knows his stripers! That was a very special experience I will never forget, thank you Wayne for taking time to fish with me.

Each day through the week the mornings were great, then the wind would blow in the afternoon. Nothing life-threatening, and trolling fast in the back of canyons works in the wind. Beats the heck out of drilling holes in the ice all winter! I didn't rack up any big striper numbers on any one day, but it was consistent and the stripers are healthy and hard fighting. Like Wayne says, you don't have to catch 200 to make it fun anymore. #7 deep diving Shad Raps were the ticket all week but I imagine many similar lures would work. In clearer waters the natural shad color worked best, and in cloudy water the fire tiger or white/chart back worked best. Just head back in the canyons, look for shad schools (balls) on the sonar, then troll fast and shallow over points, sandbars or humps dropping off into deeper water near those shad you saw.

Fellow Coloradan and fishing buddy 'Hukilau' Lou Schulz joined me for the big day Saturday, we got out early and were trolling by 6:30. It was good in Lone Rock until about 9:00. Lou caught a 6 lb striper right off the bat, big fish for the day. We ended up with 15 that morning, most caught before 9:00. Then the big winds came and we just stayed in Lone Rock until noon, finally had enough of the wind and headed for the fish fry. That Top Cat can really cook fish, his reputation is well deserved, with good helpers like Ron Colby. Many thanks to all of you.

Ended up with 78 fat stripers for the week (my biggest was 5 lbs. but fought like 10), 63 SMB, 2 LMB, 2 catfish, one Carp and a lot of great memories. It was a great trip, and I really enjoyed meeting the Waynes Words crew. You're all fine people. Looking forward to the next time. Until then, happy trails and tight lines to all. I will send along some pics when I get them developed.

Date Received: May 8, 2003 - Papa Jack

Fish Report for April 27th to May 1st.

After all the trouble with the houseboat, we finally made the beach in Friendship Cove and secured the houseboat and setup the tents on Saturday April 26th. Due to mechanical houseboat problems and 3 1/2 days of wind, I only got out twice for a total of 2 1/2 hours of fishing. But those times on the water were productive once the pattern was established. The water temp ranged from 57 to 59 degrees in the areas I fished and it got up to 61 to 63 degrees in the back of the coves in Friendship Cove on calm warm days. The SMB/LMB were looking to make a bed in the very back of the coves I fished. They were also on the shaded side of any drop off, like in the mouth of West Cyn. The first canyon on the left at the upper end of Rock Creek Cyn. was an excellent spot and again it was the very back area of that canyon that produced the best fishing. I spotted a number of large bass in the 2-3# range on beds.

Middle Rock Creek and Dry Rock Creek were also productive, but flattend out towards the end. Grotto Cyn. and Wetherhill Cyn. entrances held bass on the shaded dropoffs as well. A couple of the gals aboard the houseboat that just stayed in camp at Friendship Cove out fished everyone regarding size of SMB/LMB. One gal fishing from shore in the north cove, caught a 2 1/4# SMB one day and a 2 3/4 LMB another day. They also caught a number of smaller SMB from 10-14". Most all the fish they caught hit within 8-10 feet of shore in about 4-6' of water. One of the other gals also caught a 4# plus striper on a chrome w/blue back Rattletrap in the same area and a number of catfish. Fishing off the back of the houseboat every night was also produced some nice cats.

The most productive lure was a 18-20-156 Chartreuse w/lg. blk. flakes. The next two were the 18-20-194 Watermelon w/lg. blk. flake and the 18-20-036 cream white grub. We all used the 1/4 oz. roundhead jig with 3/0 hook.

Due to the time I had to spend on working on the houseboat engines, I did not have time to count or measure and weigh all the fish caught. I would estimated that when the fish baskets were pulled up on Thursday afternoon, there were 15 catfish and 45 to 55 bass that got fileted for the fish fry.

I believe that as soon as the winds stop and there are a few days of warm weather, bass catching is going to go crazy.

Challenges of the trip and all things considered, it was still wonderful to be back on the Big Pond again.

Date Received: May 20, 2003 - JNJKA

Spent 2 wonderful days fishing Friendship Cove and West Canyon on 5/16 and 5/17. The high winds kept me off the water on Thursday, 5/15. Thanks for all the great tips Papa Jack... Lost count after 60+ SM. Also caught 2, 5lbs stripers in the green water in the back of Friendship on a spinnerbait. After those 2 fish my spinnerbait was bent and twisted beyond repair. Water temp was 68 degrees in Friendship in the early afternoon. SM caught dropshotting 4" worms as well as on 18-20-194 grubs on 1/4 oz round 3/0 jigheads. Planning my next trip for late June.

Date Received: May 20, 2003 - Ed Gerdemann

Almost but not quite - that's the best way to describe last week's fishing trip. While there were just enough active smallmouth up shallow to tease the angler, there were not enough up yet to make for really good fishing. It was sort of like giving a child a couple small pieces of chocolate while the keeping the rest of the box just out of reach.

Joining me on this trip was my friend and longtime co-worker at State Farm Jim Buxton. We fished together out of my boat on Friday the 16th. The following day we were joined by Cap'n Chuck Duggins and Lou Keating. Lou and Jim worked together for many years in Albuquerque before Jim transferred to the Phoenix area, so it was a reunion of sorts for those two. Of course, it's always a treat for me to be able to fish with the Cap'n. I'd just like to have a day on the lake with him when the fishing was really good.

Friday morning started slowly for Jim and I. We fished all around Antelope Point without even a strike. About 7 a.m. we headed over to the rocky bay just opposite and a bit up lake from Antelope Point where we were able to take a few smallmouth. Between 7 and 10:15 a.m., working up the Antelope Island side of the lake, we managed to put 17 smallmouth in the boat before the steering cable on my trolling motor broke which forced a premature ending of our day.

During that brief period we were able to learn two things. First, the active smallmouth were located on two distinct break lines - the first dropoff off shore where the depth changes suddenly from two to three feet to eight to 12, and along the second drop where it goes from 12 to 15 feet to over 30 feet and deeper. All the bass we caught were located right on the edge of one of these two drops. Also, all the bass were taken from shoreline transition areas where a relatively flat bank was transitioning to a steeper bank or where the bank composition was changing from, say, slick rock to chunk rock or chunk rock to pea gravel or sand. We would fish along the bank and not get a strike, but when we got to one of those transition zones we'd pick up some fish. We had just solved the pattern when the trolling motor went out of commission.

On Saturday I fished out of Chuck's boat while Jim went with Lou. We generally fished the same areas we fished Friday with a couple additions. Jim and Lou found some fish around the mouth of Antelope Canyon, while Chuck and I located a reef filled bay at the mouth of Warm Creek just where the main channel swings eastward to head towards Padre Bay. The day was overcast, however the fishing was surprisingly tougher than the day before. The same patterns held for Saturday, however the strikes were fewer. I really had a tough time hooking the fish. I had many strikes, however I just couldn't seem to get the hook set. I lost a couple decent fish right at the boat and had several more come off just after a few seconds. I checked the hooks on my jigs constantly, however they appeared to be very sharp. It was just one of those crazy days. The highlight of day, in addition to fishing with such great company, was Lou's 3-pound 3-oz. walleye which he gratiously donated to Jim and I for our dinner that night.

On Friday our smallmouth ranged mostly from nine to 12 inches, however on Saturday we did manage to get a few bigger fish with my best being a 14-incher. It appeared that a majority of the bigger fish were still in deep water and inactive.

It was apparent that the smallmouth were nearly ready to move into the shallows in great numbers but just hadn't done so. I would suspect that if the weather stabilizes this week that they should move in. I would also expect them to spread out more along the bank rather than to just be concentrated in the transition zones, and I would expect more fish to be located off the first dropoff than the second.

While the trip was not successful in terms of catching big numbers of fish, the nice weather we and great companionship we experienced more than made up for the somewhat slow catching. Of course, any day on Lake Powell beats fighting the traffic in Phoenix! That's why I keep coming back over and over again!

Date Received: May 23, 2003 - Lou Schultz

Bought a weekly license on Sat., 4/27, went fishing Sunday in Warm Creek Bay, as per Wayne's tip. "Huey" & "Dewey" who were with me put on deep-divers, I put on my new Rapala "tail dancer". (Shad, of course.) I found that even w/ 12# line on, it would go deeper than 20'! After only ~ 20 min., mt pole was yanked WAY back & held there. Line was being taken at a respectable rate.

when I picked up the pole to size it up, I KNEW it was a healthy one. Turned out to be ~ 23", maybe 4# or better, didn't weigh it.

Then, Huey got one an hour later, lost a few, caught 5 or 6 smaller ones, then they pretty well shut down. No choice but go clean after working the UT., NW side of Antelope. (bucked 2' + waves coming back around.) I actually got back to my room before dark!

Fished again on 5/1, went to Warm Creek again, NOTHING. on 5/2, met up w/ Richard Sutterfield, who showed us Ice Cream & Lone Rock canyons. Trolled & trolled, not much. Small striper right away, nothing for a long time. Changed tactics, went for SMB w/ grubs, got several, nothing to write home about. (Or You.) Later, while trolling, Huey says, "I'm snagged!!" I whip the boat around, just in time to see an 18" Wally-eye clear the water! Got that on an orange/ red rattle-trap. Couldn't duplicate it, back to grubs, where Huey got a 17" or so channel cat off the shallow back bay w/ a grub.

While playing around in my boat, my fuel line came apart where it passes through the inside of the gunwale (I found out ~ $100.00 later). Richard most kindly towed me & the other ducks in, wind was REALLY kickin' up by then. WHAT FUN trying to jockey in position, "load" w/ just your electric motor. Richard said I could go w/ Him on Sat., the 3rd. Left EARLY (NOT as early as Tim, though!), headed back to Lone Rock.

Richard thought I had too heavy of line on my pole, so He says use His, replete w/ Lure (Shad Rap #7)! Well, it's out for ~ 5 min., when that puppy arches over quickly, looking like it's snagged, but faster, & jerking all over!!

I knew it was BIG, REALLY taking line, so much, that Richard had to back up to get some back. We got it in the boat & Whoa!

It measures out at 6# (Wayne's scale). THEN, the wind comes up big-time, but we're in the canyon, not too much problem, YET. in the span of ~ 3 hrs., we catch 13 more, one of which Richard caught was 3#, very fat. I wanted to unhook it quick, so He could get back in the water. I jerked, the fish leaped, I wound up with the barbed hook driven into the middle of my thumb, ALL the way to the bone. My new monicker is "hooky-YOW! (Thanks, Rich.) well, we did the mono + needle-nose thing on the count of 3, & I may get feeling in it someday.

By noon, we headed in, as it was getting pretty icky-looking. Rested, went to fish cleaning station, met Wayne there, headed to fish-fry. What a grand time that was, putting faces w/ names! Thanks, EVERYONE, for all the hard work that made that happen!!!!!

Date Received: May 23, 2003 - Steve A

Visited Lake Powell from 5/9 to 5/19. Camped in the back of Dry Rock Canyon. Had a great time Catching smallmouth (approx. 140 over the trip), 1-largemouth, 1 walleye, 2 catfish, colorful bluegill, and to my surprise, a 4 to 5 lb. trout. I caught the trout shore fishing at camp with anchovies!

Wanted to say thanks for the weekly fish report!! I look a it every week and enjoy the info. Keep up the great job!

Date Received:June 9, 2003 - Wayne Gustaveson

Up at first light the next morning checking the splashes against the shore in Padre bay. Each splash was a carp for the first 45 minutes. We took some decent smallmouth on topwater but we wanted stripers. Finally got to the back of Gunsight. I was just about ready to start trolling when we saw the first striper boil. It was maybe 30 seconds long. We were close enough to get two casts in and catch 2 stripers. Then we trolled through the same area after the boil stopped and picked up 4 more stripers. The largest was a 5 pound fish caught by my brother Dorian. Smallmouth fishing was slow with rising water and fish being in transition. But we did catch one really nice bass along withquite a few smaller ones

Date Received: June 11, 2003 - Ed Gerdemann

Maybe it was the rapidly rising water, or maybe the fish were in the post spawn blues. And maybe it was because my regular trolling motor was still out of service forcing me to use my spare stern mount. And perhaps it was because the two fishermen weren't very good at figuring out a pattern (now that couldn't be, could it?). But whatever it was fishing was tough for my partner Dale Marenda and me last Friday and Saturday. Friday was the better of the two days as we were able to find smallmouth scattered along the shoreline between Antelope Point and the mouth of Warm Creek. Unlike previous trips, I simply couldn't figure out why the fish seemed to be in one place and not another. That troubled me as I am a pattern fisherman, and if I can't figure out what is holding the fish in a particular area I will nearly drive myself crazy. After reading Wayne's fishing report from last week, we started early on Friday, launching the boat at Antelope Point around 4:30 a.m. We also fished crankbaits and a little topwater. The topwater did nothing, however I did manage a couple fish on a Poe's 300 crankbait in the Tennesse Shad color. But the best lure was the old reliable Yamamoto 40 Series single tail grub. On this trip we found the daiquiri color (237 on the Yamamoto chart) most effective with plain white running second. We didn't have the success on the crayfish colors, rootbeer and watermelon, as the lighter colors. I believe the smallmouth were looking for shad and other baitfish over crayfish. We also caught more fish while swimming the grubs rather than bouncing them on the bottom. Probably our best spot on Friday was a fairly large cove off the main channel just above where the channel makes the right turn to head uplake at the mouth of Warm Creek. We found some fish around undercut ledges, mostly in eight to 12 feet of water. We spend over two hours working this one area with both grubs and crankbaits, and it produced most of our fish. In addition to the smallmouth, I caught my first walleye of the season which found the daiquiri grub to its liking. We did see one striper boil on Satuday. It happened just above the Antelope Point ramp on the Page side of the lake. In fact, it happened right in front of a bunch of sunbathers. Unfortunately, we couldn't get our lures into them in time to get a strike. I doubt of the entire boil lasted more than five or six seconds. I did cast the area for awhile with a crankbait hoping to lure them back up. I even tried trolling through the area but to no avail.

Altogether we finished up on Friday having boated about 25 smallmouths, three or four big green sunfish and the walleye.

On Saturday we decided to fish Navajo Canyon. Things couldn't have started better as Dale latched onto a 3-pound plus striper on his third cast. While he was battling that fish I was fast onto a smallmouth. My fish got away, however we were able to chase Dale's striper with the trolling motor as it tore line off his reel. It eventually wore down, and I was able to get the net under it. It was fat and absolutely beautiful. As it turned out, that was the highlight of the day. I managed a decent smallmouth a few casts later, but after that we struggled to catch much of anything. We had plenty of strikes from tail biters, but we were unable to set the hook on very many of them. I suspect most of those fish were small, however we did see a few in the water which would have been big enough for the frying pan. Despite our struggles, we did manage to boat somewhere between 15 and 20 smallmouths and the one striper. We were able to save enough fish or a second fresh fish dinner which tasted great with the lime and Lowery's Seasoning Salt recipe that Dale put me onto a couple years ago.

In retrospect I wished I had downsized my baits. I think that would have put a few more fish in the boat. I also wish I had used either a mini-Carolina or a drop shot rig with a Yamamoto split shot hook as I think I would have landed a few more fish with that setup. But hindsight is always 20/20, and it was still a good trip with nice weather and great companionship.

Date Received: June 19, 2003 - Lenny Lamberty

After getting the boat secured, wives and kids settled, myself, brother in law Kevin, "Big D", and "The Navigator" headed up a few bends in the pontoon to try our luck. Things started out slow, as my partners assaulted the shoreline with crankbaits, and only managed to persuade a few small bronzebacks. After about an hour, Uncle Gary snagged the first striper of the trip. A very healthy 2-3lb beauty. Not much else to speak of until Uncle Kevin and Big D both landed Walleyes around 18-22 inches respectively. Shore fishing that night produced some nice catfish, and a superbly constructed campfire by Grant and Bill, wrapped up a great first day.

Me and my partners headed back out in the pontoon around 5:30 Wed. morning, and were just about skunked, if it weren't for the Gary and Kevin manipulating a few smallmouth , about the size of the lure they were chasing. We went back to camp around 7:45, where Uncle Gary proceeded to treat the group to what would be one of many award winning breakfasts. Bill and Grant managed to rustle up a couple more cats, and a nice smallmouth off shore.

After the storm passed Thurs. night, we discovered fishing off the back of the houseboat with the lights on attracting the baitfish, was the key to success. Following the baitfish, were stripers and big catfish galore. We enhanced the technique by dropping my crappie light off the back as well. Every 15-20 minutes there was another addition to the stringers, which by morning I needed assistance to lift over the railing. Big fish of the night was Bill's 7-8lb channel cat. My 8 year old Nephew Kyle wrestled a real drag ripper for a while, which unfortunately will live to fight another day.

Date Received: June 24, 2003 - Bryan Kelly

Here is our report for our week on Powell 6-14 -6-21

Camped in Rock Creek fished Sunday am Monday am 04:00 small mouth like white grubs in ambush points. One striper trolled in 25 30 ft water along big cliffs in cove next too floating Toilet following shade line. Sunday morning after breakfast on the San Juan our very first trip to middle of the Lake. Only Made it to Cha Canyon. Gas was a concern for my first time there. Small mouth in the back of Cha of points no size white grubs again.

Wed morning out of Stateline 04:00 smooth sailing around Antelope GET OUT VERY EARLY if you going around Antelope !!! Skunked in Warm Creek and Gun site.

Thursday again out of Stateline 04:00 smooth sailing around Antelope to very back of Navajo. Saw Shad Spawn very neat fish! Around the bend from the end of water nice 2.0 walleye on 20 FT crank bait. Small mouth again in ambush points with white grubs one real nice 1.8 lbs that swallowed grub. 10 or 12 till 10:30 am. Trolled along walls in Navajo from back to the double middle islands 3 Stripers on Risto Raps Rapala.

3.8 MPH shade line if there was one. Picked one up in between Single middle island and wall! man they are fat and fighting. Got hot went swimming. later that day picked up two more in Main Channel along walls on Lakeshore drive where small boulder pops out. both went 2.5. 3.0.

All these Thursday fish were great that night in fryer and blackened.

Date Received: June 24, 2003 - Ed Gerdemann

Before we even arrived in Page on Thursday, June 19, John Conrad and I knew the key to any fishing success this trip would be both beating the wind and the extreme boat traffic. That mean getting out on the lake early, earlier than we'd ever done before. Our plan, therefore, was to get on the water around 2:30 a.m. and fish until either the wind or boat traffic made it impossible. As it turned out, the plan worked quite well as we beat the wind that came up every afternoon and also had several hours of having the lake pretty much to ourselves. Oh, by the way, we did catch smallmouth - lots of smallmouth.

As planned on Friday we put my boat in the water at around 2:30 a.m. I'm still without my bow mount trolling motor, however we reversed the head on my stern mount so I could get maximum thrust in pulling the boat from the stern. It worked better than the other setup and enabled me to have better boat control. Even though my boat has running lights, and we also had a bright lantern, I get the heebee jeebees out on the lake before any daylight. If I can't see where I'm going it simply makes me nervous. Because of my lack of nerve, we limited our early fishing to the rock-filled bay just across and uplake from the Antelope Point ramp. I started out throwing a short armed spinnerbait with a big Colorado blade as I had heard that was a good lure for night fishing. John also tried a spinnerbait as well as a single tail grub. As it turned out, our pre-dawn experiment was a bust as we didn't catch our first fish until just after the first light. By then I could see both shorelines and the water, so I decided to head uplake to where the channel makes a right angle at the mouth of Warm Creek. There are several reef filled bays there in which I had located good numbers of smallmouth on previous trips. We took a few fish on grubs over the next hour or so, however this was not the action I was looking for. I decided to try some deeper water with a drop shot rig. After taking the rod rigged for drop shotting out of the rod locker, I reached into my soft plastics pouch for a bag of three-inch Yamamoto Senkos in watermelon with black (color 194). I don't know what it was, but something told me to wacky rig the Senko. For those of you who don't know, wacky rigging is hooking the lure through the center rather than through the front end. This leaves both ends dangling with the hook in the middle. I'd tried this method a few times before without a whole lot of success, and I really didn't have confidence in it. What caused me to try it at this time I still don't know. At any rate, I'm glad I did. On my second drop I was fast into a nice smallmouth. Several more drops produced a couple more fish. Soon John had his drop shot rod working, and we were both into fish consistantly. We discovered that the smallmouth were concentrated off points and reefs that faced out to the main channel. The back sides of the reefs facing the near shore weren't nearly as productive as those facing the channel. We also discovered that most of the smallmouth were at the 20 to 25-foot depth with a few as deep as 30. We did catch a couple fish up shallow, however it is quite obvious that most of the smallmouth are now moving into their summer pattern. What we also discovered on Friday that if the fish didn't hit the bait on the initial drop, they likely weren't going to hit at all. With that knowledge we were able to make the most of our time and cover a lot more water. We finished the morning with 30 smallmouth and one large green sunfish. Most of the fish were chunky 10 to 12-inchers, just right for the grill, with some running up to 15 inches. Because of our lack of success before first light, we decided to "sleep in" an extra hour on Saturday, launching the boat around 3:30 a.m. We ran right back to the channel bend and then a little further up as I wanted to try a spot that Wayne had pointed out to me a couple years earlier. Our drop shot pattern was still working as I was into my first bass on the first drop. Soon John was into fish, and we had consistant action until we stopped fishing around 11:00 a.m. Although we were busy catching smallmouth, we did stop to enjoy the spectacular sunrise that brought all of Lake Powell's colors to life.

Our results on Saturday were even better than Friday with 47 smallmouth boated. The reason was not that the bite was better but that we were on the right pattern from the beginning which was not the case on Friday. The main difference between Friday and Saturday was the smallmouth, in addition to hitting on the initial drop, would also hit our baits after we worked them a bit. This caused us to slow down and keep our baits in the water a little longer on each drop than the day before. Although John and I are a lot alike in the way we approach fishing (we've only been fishing together about 25 years), we are different in some aspects. When I find something that's working, like the three-inch wacky rigged Senko, I tend to stick with it. John, on the other hand, likes to experiment with different things to see if he can find something that works better. On Saturday he tried wacky rigging a four-inch tube. I've never heard of anyone wacky rigging a tube, so John's experiment really interested me. While I won't say it worked as well as the Senko, it did catch quite a few fish, including the biggest of the day. John had it balanced so with just twitch of the rod tip the tube would quickly move up and to the side, like an injured minnow struggling to swim, and then slowly drop in a spiral. I could see why that presentation would catch fish, and I believe there might be days when it would outfish the Senko. At least I'm filing that away in my memory banks for a later time. Our only disappointment was we didn't see any striper boils. We both had some rods rigged to throw into boils, however none showed. Although I've gotten into a few boils, I've never gotten into one of the super boils which is something I'm itching to do.

Saturday evening, after our second great smallmouth dinner, John and I discussed what we learned this trip. First, getting up and out on the lake early was definitely a key to our success. Second, the smallmouth are clearly moving to their summer haunts where they will likely be available and quite catchable until fall. Finally, we decided there are three reasons why wacky rigging works so well. It's a more natural looking presentation, it's easier to make the bait look injured and the hook in the middle of the bait means fewer missed strikes as that's where the bass normally hit the bait. As I've said before, I measure the success of a trip not just by the numbers and size of fish caught, but what was learned in the process. On all accounts, this trip was a smashing success.

Before concluding, I'd like to plug a new product which I think will help anglers catch more fish. Over the past couple seasons I've been rigging my drop shot and mini-Carolina rigs with #4 Yamamoto split shot hooks. Although I found those hooks generally satisfactory for smallmouth fishing, I had often thought I'd lose fewer fish with a slightly larger hook. Apparently the Yamamoto folks were reading my mind, as well as those of lots of other anglers, and introduced this same hook in sizes 1 through 3. On this trip I used the #3 size exclusively and was extremely pleased with its performance. I lost very few fish. Like its smaller bretheren, this hook is sticky sharp and extremely strong. While I think the #1s and #2s are a bit too big for smallmouth fishing, I think they would work quite well for stripers and catfish with anchovies and other baits as well as larger soft plastics for largemouth. At any rate, I highly recommend these hooks, particularly the #3 size.

Date Received: June 25, 2003 - Gary Polakovic

Just returned on 6/20 from my ninth Powell fishing trip in 11 years. My boy and I pitched a dome tent deep in Last Chance & fished for better part of five days. We usually go to Powell during spring, so summer at Powell in a tent is, well, an adventure. Hotter than blazes! Swam a lot when we didn't fish, had a good time nonetheless. Fishing, however, was slooooow! Very disappointing. In fact, it was nearly the worst fishing I've experienced at Powell. Boy & I banged out about 15-20 fish daily, mostly small smallmouth, fishing at first light until 10 a.m. and 5 p.m to sunset each day and had to work hard for those. Thank heavens for silver grubs! Saw virtually no surface activity, despite throwing lots of topwater baits and covering lots of water. Graphed gobs of shad and lots of stripers at about 35-45' deep, but they were disinterested in spoons, DB3s, DBIIs, Fat Raps, jigs, Rattletraps. Only stipers we caught were the occasional suicide fish that briefly appeared on top and succumbed to a Zara Spook. No sustained striper fishing whatsoever. Intense sunshine, 83-degree water temp, a bright full moon and 12-foot increase in lake level in two weeks were against us. Nevertheless, did catch four nice walleye -- most ever for us -- lots of smallmouth, which are fun but too diminutive to take seriously, and one very nice (4#) largemouth. We saw the most action deep, deep inside the narrow slickrock canyons, where shad would get trapped, ambushed.

Date Received: July 1, 2003 - Scott Stelmach

Arrived in Wahweap June 20 and stayed for a week. Worked our way up to Dangling rope and back down again. Found the fishing to be best in areas around Padre Bay and my luck worsened the closer I got to Dangling rope. Fished most frequently with a silver rattle trap off of any shelf or rock pile I could find. There were more fish off of the hidden shelves than lurking in the rock piles. Caught numerous small mouths, one large mouth, and two healthy stripers. Did not do well with a spook jr. for top water action. The smallmouth are increasing in size compared to what I've caught in previous years but I didn't catch as many. The catfishing is always fun but the blood bait I bring really stinks up the houseboat and is sure difficult to get the odor off of my hands(my wife wouldn't come near me the entire week). Tried watching for crows but caught nothing where ever I saw them...although they frequently were near a large school of shad in the back canyons(Face). One day I watched a school of shad bang against pontoons of our houseboat for over an hour.

Date Received: July 3, 2003 - J C Beltran

I must say that my trip was not precisely a fishing trip. Our houseboat left Wawheap on moday @ 7:30am, heading to Dangling Rope, where a group of employees (including me) were going to spend the night and play some voleyball. As the fishing freak i am, i didn't miss the oportunity to pack my rods and reels and wait for the chance to put my lines on the water. The trip was great and we were heading back to Wahweap on Tuesday, July 1st at 9am. About half an hour after we left Dangling Rope we got into the Rock Creek junction, where we saw some action on the water.

I never fished a striper before (lots of catfish and smallmouth though) and even though i read the Lake Powell report almost every day, i had my doubts on how a striper boil should look, so i just asked our captain Mark, to get closer to those weird things happening just in front of us. Then it all happened...i took my tackle box and decided to use a Heddon Zara Puppy, a topwater lure as i always read the recommendations from this excellent website. The results were inmediate, 5 minutes later i had onboard the first of my 4 good size stripers. It was pretty hard to go after the stiper boils because we were driving a 59 foot houseboat, and i had 8 more people not very excited about the idea of watching me fish for a long time, so we stayed there for 45 exciting minutes, when the stipers were boiling all around, sometimes we even had "a hard time" deciding because we had boils on every possible direction of the boat...

I've been fishing since i had memory, mostly on salt water, and i must say that this was one of the best fishing experiences i have ever had in my life!. You can not beat the feeling of seing your topwater lure literally jumping in the middle of a stiper school....this was awesome, thanks Wayne for your invaluable tips. PS: By the way, we just had a wonderful striper dinner. As the good cook i am, i marinated the fillets in lime, onions, cilantro and some salt for a couple of hours and then cooked them in a frying pan with some cracker batter....with a nice spring mix and balsamic vinager salad, it was just delicious!!.

Date Received: July 29, 2003 -Ed Gerdemann

If I had any doubts about Lake Powell fishing being different this year, I lost them all Saturday. Several things became readily apparent to me. First, shad, rather than crayfish, are the primary forage for smallmouth this year. Instead of looking down in the rocks for their dinner, the bronzebacks are definitely looking up. Nearly every smallmouth we caught spit up bunches of shad as they tried to spit out the hook. None of them we kept had crayfish in their stomachs, only shad. Second, the smallmouth are considerably fatter this year than any year I've seen since I began fishing Powell seriously in 1995. Finally, they are definitely harder to catch which is undoubtedly related to the good forage conditions.

Attempting to beat the heavy boat traffic, my partner Dale Marenda and I launched my old Sea Nymph at Antelope Point Saturday around 4:00 a.m. Running up to the channel bend on smooth water was a neat experience. Although it was still fairly dark, the navigation bouys provided the necessary guidance to get us uplake safely. Using drop shot rigs, things started well for us as we took several nice smallmouth right off the bat. As Wayne stated in last week's Fishing Report, not every reef or point produced a strike. The ones that did, however, produced two or three fish. By 6:00 a.m. Dale and I had boated about 10 smallmouth and one very large green sunfish. But then everything just stopped. Although the weather was still cool and a patchy cloud cover kept the sun's rays off the water, and the hordes of Saturday boaters had yet to find their way out of bed, the fishing just went dead. Nothing we tried seemed to produce anything except a very occasional strike here and there.

By 10:00 a.m. boat traffic made holding the Sea Nymph on the channel impossible, so we motored into Navajo Canyon. We were pleasantly surprised to find the water reasonably calm. We found a few active fish as well. We fished the area both below and above the double islands and took several more nice smallmouth. By day's end we had boated 20 smallmouth, the green sunfish and a channel catfish that found a wacky rigged Senko to its liking. Again, wacky rigged three-inch Slim Senkos fished on drop shot rigs were our most effective baits. I used color 194J (Classic Watermelon with Black), however I wished I had tried that pack of white ones I had in my bag since the smallmouth were definitely feeding on shad.

Thirty feet seemed to be the magic depth this trip. It also paid to leave the bait down a little longer than normal as a number of fish hit as we were dragging our rigs along. I missed a very large smallmouth in Navajo Canyon because, figuring my bait was out of the strike zone, I started reeling it quickly to the boat. I saw this brute chasing it but couldn't stop the bait in time for it to inhale the Senko. Instead it grabbed one of the ends and ripped part of the Senko off the hook. This was by far the biggest smallmouth I've seen in Powell this year.

As mentioned above, I was quite impressed with the girth on these fish. One fish that was a little over 13 inches weighed 1 lb. 2 oz. which is considerably heavier than a fish of that length would have weighed last year. Even the nine and 10-inch fish had a heavy feel to them.

While these are not the numbers I expect to catch on a Powell trip, I had to put things into perspective. If Dale and I had gone out on Lake Pleasant or Bartlett and caught 20 bass in a morning, we'd have been tickled pink. And even though we're not catching as many as in the past, the ones we are getting are nicer which, in the long run, makes for a better angling experience. It also shows Wayne's smallmouth management plan is working. I'm scheduled to be up again in mid-August. Hopefully I'll see some boils.

Date Received: August 20, 2003 - Ed Gerdemann

Perseverance, hard work and a willingness NOT to be disappointed can turn a not so good fishing trip into a pretty good one. At least that's what my friend and co-worker Jim Buxton and I felt after we got off the lake last Saturday. It wasn't the best fishing day we've had on Powell. In fact, it was down right slow. But we stuck to what we were doing and ended up with a fairly decent catch in spite of tough conditions.

Our original plan, considering the bright moon, was to launch my boat on Friday about 7 p.m. and fish until around midnight or 1 a.m. After sleeping in Saturday morning, we were going to repeat the process Saturday night. However, a nasty monsoon storm put an end to our Friday night plans, and with a forecast for afternoon and evening thunderstorms the next day we decided to fish early Saturday morning. I figured it might be slow, but I was hoping Friday night's cloud cover might negate the effects of the bright moon.

We launched from Antelope Point at precisely 4 a.m. Saturday morning and motored up to the channel bend where I'd been catching some fish all summer. I figured if we would have any fast action it would be early, however it wasn't as good as I had hoped. We managed a few smallmouth early fishing drop shot Senkos in about 25 feet of water right off the ends of the reefs. Jim tried some jig fishing early. He hooked a nice smallmouth on a double tail Hula Grub that got off close to the boat, however that was about it for jigs on Saturday. By about 5:45 a.m. the first houseboats were making their way up the channel, and the bite stopped. I was watching all the time for boiling stripers, but I didn't see anything that resembled a striper hitting the surface.

By 6 a.m. we decided to motor into Navajo Canyon where we managed to connect on a couple fish off the end of a ledge just below the double islands. We fished the double islands for the next five hours managing to catch a few more smallmouth as well as a catfish and a couple big green sunfish. We concentrated off the ends of rockpiles and ledges. We even found a couple fishing hugging right along the vertical walls. We finished the day with 13 smallmouth as well as the catfish and sunfish.

On the plus side most of the smallmouth were between 11 and 12 inches long and extremely fat. One 12-inch fish I weighed went 14 ounces. The smallest smallmouth we caught were nine-inchers, and even they fat and provided some nice fillets. Except for a couple shallow fish, most of our fish were caught at between 25 and 37 feet. A straight vertical presentation with the drop shot rig seemed to be what they wanted. Of the smallmouths I filleted, only one had a crayfish in its stomach. All the rest had shad - lots of shad.

One of the highlights of the day was the weather. It was overcast and delightfully cool the whole time we were on the water. It was such a pleasant break from the Phoenix sweat box where Jim and I live and work.

Fishing is quite tough in the lower lake right now. Forage is plentiful, and fish that aren't hungry are harder to catch than those that are. Also, I think the heavy boat traffic in the area has affected the fishing, paticularly daytime fishing. I suspect as boat traffic decreases this fall daytime fishing will improve. One thing that might work which we didn't try would be live nightcrawlers. I'd suggest fishing them vertically with a drop shot rig and a #3 or #4 Yamamoto split shot hook.

Although we were disappointed we couldn't fish the evenings, we still hung in there and made the most of our time on the water - and ended up with a pretty respectable catch all things considered.

Date Received: September 05, 2003 - Ed Gerdemann

If there's anything that gets my heart jumping, it's a cool overcast autumn day, a calm lake and a bunch of fiesty bronzebacks. In my mind, that's as fine a freshwater fishing experience as one can have.

Last Friday provided such a day for my friend Tom Mai and I. Tom and I worked together many years before he retired four years ago. While we have taken many fishing trips over the past 17 years, this was only his second trip with me to Powell. On his first trip, a year ago last May, we found smallmouth fishing pretty tough, but we ran into hordes of stripers in Navajo Canyon. This time, however, the stripers failed to show, and it was those bronzebacks that provided all the fun.

Although technically still summer, Friday really felt like an autumn day. The overcast sky kept the temperature down, and there was just a bit of a breeze to ripple the surface - just about a perfect day for fishing in my book. There's no doubt in my mind the smallmouth sense it's autumn. After taking a siesta for the past month or so, shorter days and lower sun angle tell them it's time to feed for winter. This was the most agressive I've found them in a long time. Even when we missed or lost fish, if we dropped our lures back down they'd usually be on them again. This is something I hadn't seen since June. Also, when playing a fish, I often saw several others chasing it - again something that hasn't happened much since early summer.

We started early in the morning working the Antelope Island side of the main channel between Antelope Point and Navajo Canyon. The fish seemed to be keyed in on steep vertical breaks that dropped from about 15 feet to 40 in just a few horizontal feet. Most were hanging between 28 and 32 feet. We both started fishing drop shot Senkos on the first spot and were quickly into fish. My second fish of the day was a 16.2-inch beauty that tipped the scales at two pounds, one ounce. We landed several more between 11 and 13 inches before the action stopped. I then moved up the bank to another spot where we repeated the process. It seemed every time I found the right kind of break line we would catch three to five smallmouth. We caught relatively few fish under nine inches with quite a number running 12 to 14 inches. Our average size probably ran about 11 inches and weighed close to 3/4 pounds. All the fish were extremely fat, and the smaller ones kept to eat provided thick fillets. All the fish we hooked fought extremely hard, and felt like much bigger fish than they actually were. Inch for inch and pound for pound, I would have to say that Powell smallmouth fight harder than any other smallmouth I've encountered - and that's been a lot over 46 years of chasing bronzebacks!

As has been my experience most of the year, shad seem to be making up a bulk of the smallmouths' diet. Only one of the fish I filleted had a crayfish in its stomach. The rest were loaded up with shad.

After working up that shoreline, we motored up to where the channel bends to head to Padre Bay. There we worked some reefs and shelves that had produced for me earlier this year. While not as productive as the first area, we still were able to take some decent fish before the sun came out from behind the clouds. At that same time the boat traffic increased and the fishing fell off. Our tally for the day was 31 smallmouth and one green sunfish. Being an overcast day, I was surprised we didn't get a walleye or two, however we were very satisfied with what we got.

All of our fish were caught on the Yamamoto three-inch slim Senko (9B Series) in classic watermelon with black (194J) fished on drop shot rigs with 1/4 ounce weights and #3 Yamamoto split shot hooks. We both used medium weight spinning outfits with 10-pound-test Berkley Fireline with a six-pound-test Stren fluorocarbon leader. This setup has produced nearly all my smallmouth since June. The length of line between the hook and weight didn't seem to matter too much as we caught fish with the distance as short as six inches and as long as 18. Eight to 12 inches seemed to work the best. Also, nearly all of our fish were caught on straight down vertical drops right below the boat. Horizontal presentations were not effective. Unlike other trips when most of the hits occurred on the initial drop, it was often a good idea Friday to leave the bait down a bit longer. We often got hits after leaving the lures down for over a minute. We fished those Senkos almost like live bait, imparting virtually no action other than that made by the rocking boat. Senkos have a natural quiver that looks like a stunned or injured baitfish to the bass, and a lot of action is not needed. They are a terrific bait - the best new bait I've seen in the last 15 years or so.

After Friday's success, we were really excited about Saturday. However I awakened at 3:30 a.m. Saturday to the sound of thunder. From 4 until about 5:30 a.m., Tom and I sat on the porch of my Greenehaven mobile, drank coffee and watched a spectacular lightning show. From 5:30 to 6:00 we watched an equally spectacular sunrise drench the overcast sky with brilliant pink, orange and yellow colors. From 6:00 until 8:00 we drank more coffee and watched the wind blow and rain fall. We then decided that with this unsettled weather pattern we weren't going to get out, so we unloaded my boat and secured the mooring cover. Then, at 9:00 a.m. it cleared off and calmed down. After saying a few choice words about the weather, we headed into Page to watch some college football. We even got to see Tom's alma mater, Colorado, squeek by UCLA.

Although we probably could have gotten in some fishing on Saturday, I have a small boat and must really be careful about the weather. Also, by the time we would have gotten launched, the Saturday crowd would have been launching as well and my boat does not have the fuel capacity to get far enough uplake to get away from all the chop. With the Castle Rock cut closed, every boat heading uplake passes the fishing spots within my boat's range, so my fishing this year has been early morning or no fishing at all. While it's easy to second-guess our decision, it's always best to play it safe.

This is my last trip up until October. Next week my wife and I will be in Vancouver and will hopefully catch a salmon or two. I'll post a report on that if we catch anything. At any rate, I'm looking forward to early October and more great smallmouth action - and hopefully some stripers as well!

Date Received: October 6, 2003 -Ed Gerdemann

I can't think of too many things I enjoy more than an October fishing trip on Lake Powell. This has been an annual event for my friend John Conrad and me since 1996. Although the fishing can be spotty and the weather unsettled, all those beautiful October days make up for the few bad ones we've experienced. This past week's trip had both the good and the bad. Fortunately, the bad, also known as the weather, came early in the trip and passed through in time for us to get in a good day and a half of fishing. Although we didn't get as much time on the water as we would have liked, the time we had was beautiful and productive.

We arrived very late on Wednesday night and could not get up in time to get things prepared for an early morning outing on Thursday. When we finally did get the boat in the water, the bad weather had moved in. We got about 15 minutes of fishing before the thunder, lightning and rain descended over the lake. Under those conditions being on the water in a metal boat with graphite fishing rods is really tempting fate, so we decided to take out and wait for another day.

Friday morning dawned cloudy and rainy. The NOAA weather forecast seemed gloomy for the whole day. Not thinking we would get on the lake at all, we went into town, spent some money at Stixx, Walmart and Basha's and headed back to Greenehaven to take a nap. At around 12:40 p.m. John woke me up saying he thought it was clearing off. I looked outside, agreed and suggested we go fishing. By 1:30 p.m. we were launched and headed to our first spot.

Since it was late and the weather still looked unsettled, I decided to stay close. We started off by fishing the flat points coming out into Wahweap Bay near the Castle Rock cut where Ron Colby has found success recently. The smallmouth were still there and willing. Within a short period of time I had four nice ones in the boat. All the fish came on drop shot three-inch slim Senkos rigged wacky style. Three of them came in 32 feet of water right on the break line where the bottom dropped from 20 to 40 feet very quickly. A fourth came from on top of one of the points in about 15 feet of water. As was the pattern all weekend, only the shallow fish hit the Senko on the initial drop. The other three came after I had worked the lure for over two minutes. We then moved down past Wahweap Marina and fished a point coming out into the lake below Lake Shore Drive that I hadn't fished since May. I immediately took three more smallmouth on the Senko then lost a large fish that snapped my line. I think it was a catfish but could not be for sure as I never saw it. We finished the evening working some points and ledges on the Antelope Island side of the bay. Here John broke through and took his first bass of the trip. Although consumed with the fishing, we did take time to notice the beautiful colors on Castle Rock bathed in the rays of the evening sun. I never get tired of looking at that. We finished the evening having boated 13 bass between us and having lost several more. While we were happy with our catch, we were even happier just to see the bad weather break so we could get out on the lake.

Bolstered by Friday afternoon's success, we looked forward to Saturday with great expectations. The morning dawned beautifully with the morning sun turning the patchy clouds into brilliant pink puffballs. This provided a wonderful backdrop as we motored through the narrows up to my favorite ledges along the Antelope Island side of the main channel. On our first stop we took six dandy smallmouth in about 40 minutes. I stuck with the drop shot Senko, however John, who likes to be a bit different, started having success on a chartreuse colored Yamamoto 30 Series (three-inch) single tail grub. Although primarily considered a panfish grub, the 30 Series can be very effective on smallmouth under certain conditions. We moved up the shore taking several more nice fish. The pattern was similar to the night before. Most of the fish were between 30 and 35 feet down right along the sharp breaklines. Again, patience was the key as most hit my drop shot rig after it had been down in front of their noses for quite some time. John was letting his grub hit the bottom on a slack line and then brought it back with a very slow and steady retrieve. Most of his hits seemed to be coming on the retrieve as well. Not all of the good looking spots produced smallmouth even though we were seeing lots of fish on the graph. Only a certain few spots seemed to hold active fish. Our pattern was to take several fish off one spot and perhaps none on the next couple of places before finding a spot with some active fish again. This pattern held true all day long. After we fished all my best spots along Antelope Island, we headed into Navajo Canyon. Our first stop was a ledge just below the double islands that had produced well for me this summer. Again, we found active smallmouth all at around 32 feet. We fished several more spots in the area, however we only had a few hits. It was getting late and I wanted to fish some of the spots in Wahweap that we passed up on Friday, so we motored out of Navajo heading back to our home base. We were disappointed that we didn't run into any striper boils in Navajo. In fact, we saw nothing that resembled a boil the whole trip.

We spent the rest of the afternoon fishing a ledge off Antelope Island just below Wahweap Marina. Since I have a two-pole Arizona stamp (we were in Arizona, by the way), I dropped the Senko below the boat and picked up a light spinning rod with a 30 Series grub in clear with silver (color 136), a very good shad color. After making several casts with the grub, I saw the drop shot rod bending over. I grabbed it and fought a nice smallmouth back to the boat. I wasn't even holding the rod when the fish hit. The only action being put on the Senko was from the boat rocking. This illustrates a good point that the Yamamoto Pro Staff has been trying to hammer into fishermen's minds - you don't want to overwork a Senko.

After catching that last Senko fish, I started having some success with the little grub just like John. I even caught a dandy channel cat on it as well as several smallmouth. Although we could have stayed out longer, it was getting late and we had a bunch of smallmouth to fillet. Leaving the lake is always hard to do, no matter what the fishing is like. We finished the day with 27 smallmouth between us and the one catfish. While it was not the best day we've had for Lake Powell smallmouth, it was still pretty good. Most of the fish were nice, running 11 to 12 inches with some as high as 15. We didn't catch many six to eight-inch dinks. Wayne's management plan is clearly working. If anything, the fish were fatter than they were last month - another sign of good management.

Several things became abundantly clear for John and I this trip. First, the smallmouth were still on the same shad bite they've been on all summer. I did not fillet one smallmouth that had crayfish remains in its stomach. While playing out fish, it was common to see them spit up myriads of shad. They regurgitated quite a few onto my boat's carpet as well. The second thing we observed is that most of the shad were quite small, maybe two inches or so. That is why the small Senkos and panfish grubs worked so well. I would think that the shad this time of year would be bigger, however there are millions of these small shad in the lake. Those are the ones the smallmouth are eating. Finally, it was also clear the fish weren't overly aggressive. Most of the hits were soft pressure bites - very few rock 'em sock 'em type hits. There is so much forage in the lake that the bass seem to have become somewhat nonchalant in their feeding. That is why it was necessary to fish so slow and why not all spots, even though there are smallmouth present, are producing all the time. As the weather cools, I would expect more aggressive behavior from these bass as they rush to feed before the cold weather comes. Still, if you are not catching many fish it is a good idea to downsize your baits, fish deeper and slow down your presentation. Concentrate your efforts along the sudden breaklines at 30 to 35 feet. Finally, if a spot doesn't produce be prepared to move to the next one. Don't get discouraged if you don't get bit on two or three spots in a row. The next one just might be a charm!

Date Received: October 21, 2003 -Ed Gerdemann

Although stripers may be beginning to show in the lower lake, neither Lou Schultz nor I saw any of them during our October 17 outing. Fortunately we still found the smallmouth willing and were able to enjoy a great day of fishing and fellowship.

As in my other recent trips, the action was not fast and furious. Given the abnormally warm water temperatures, the bass were still in their mid to late summer patterns. Once again I found them concentrated along very sharp breaklines along to the 30 to 32-foot contour. The exception was a couple of fish that came out of 15 feet of water, but that was in the late afternoon along a heavily shaded cliff in Navajo Canyon. Also, as with other trips, not every spot produced. We'd catch two or three off one structure and then fish a couple others with no success before finding active fish again. Also, the three inch slim Senko fished wacky style on a drop shot rig produced most of the action, however, like on my last trip, I did manage to get a few fish on a little Yamamoto 30-series grub.

On this day Lou graciously agreed to our fishing out of his fine boat, and he was even more gracious in letting me run it. After getting pounded to death all season in my little Sea Nymph, driving Lou's Lund felt like a Cadillac. It ran beautifully on the smooth water of early morning, and performed quite admirably on the late afternoon powerboat chop. This was the first time since spring that my lower back didn't hurt after a day on the lake. Thanks again, Lou!

We launched from Wahweap at around 7:00 a.m., motored through the narrows and started fishing the reefs on the Antelope Island side of the main channel. We managed a few fish there, however by around 9:45 the channel was getting too rough to hold the boat precisely enough for the drop shot finesse fishing we were doing. We then motored into Navajo and to the double islands area. We fished my favorite spots in that area, taking a fish here and there. At around 2:45 we motored back to Wahweap and finished the day fishing the ledges and reefs along Antelope Island just opposite Wahweap Marina putting a few more fish in the boat. Over the long haul picking up one fish here and a couple fish there adds up. We finished the day having boated 23 smallmouth and two catfish. Although we considered this slow fishing for Powell, that's still pretty good. Our fish averaged between 11 and 12 inches with some bigger. All them were shaped like little footballs. They are still on a shad diet as none of the fish I cleaned had crayfish remains in their stomachs.

Most of our hits came after our baits had been down for awhile. Only on a couple occasions did I get a hit on the initial drop. During the past several trips I'd been having good success on the classic watermelon with black (194J) Senko, however I'd been thinking about trying the creme white (036) ones. I did on this trip, and found that color quite effective. Lou, on the other hand, stayed with the watermelon, and I believe he got as many strikes as I did. What I think this means is the color of the lure is not all that important right now. It's location and presentation that counts.

This was my last scheduled fishing trip of the year although I might sneak up in November if the weather stays warm and the fish remain active. Whether I do or not, I'd just like to say how much this website has meant to me over the past four years. Not only have I become a better Lake Powell angler from reading about other anglers' experiences, I have been able to meet and fish with some great people - people I never would have met otherwise. My day with Lou is a great example of this. This is without a doubt the best fishing site on the web. Wayne, thanks again for all you do!

Date Received: October 22, 2003 -Tim Kelly

Dates Fished 10/17/03 through 10/20/03

Rock Creek and Friendship Cove

We pulled into Friendship Cove(thanks to Papa Jack for his info) late Friday afternoon,and Chris and I fished for SMB while waiting for Jeff to show up with the Toon. The afternoon was beautiful, and the topwater bite was on! We caught a few SMB, and Jeff came rolling in, so we stopped and helped him find a spot to camp! We night fished for awhile but it was only about 12 deep off the back of Jeff’s Toon so we did not do good—but there were plenty of shad drawn to the hydro-glow!

Next morning we got up to another gorgeous day, and started working Friendship Cove. Papa Jack was right about it being a SMB haven, because they are stacked in there good. We caught a few, and started working our way out, and around towards Rock Creek. Well no dis-respect to SMB, but everybody that knows me-I was is Striper mode! If I had known what was going on in Rock Creek I would have been there right off in the morning , because I figure we lost three hours to rod bendin striper action!! As we headed around the west point Jeff yelled out there is a boil in the middle-well you know what went on next-Chris had the electric pulled up, and I told him to hit the deck, and was on plane before he could look up! We crashed in to the right of the boil, and Chris, and I had spooks in the water before Jeff knew we were there yet! Two hookups with rod bendin, reel screamin action as we knew nothing of what was coming up when we finally got them to the nets! We were hoopin, and a hollerin with two 5+ pound fish, and wondering is this a fluke—this had to be pure luck to get two fish this size out of one boil right! Well to our dis-belief we were in for a day like no other! We chased feeding fish in mouth of Rock Creek, and Main channel in front all day Saturday, and every fish was between 4 and 6 pounds, with the majority being over 5 pounds. These were not tight knit boils, but fish spread out that were feeding on fleeing shad. Boils were even quiker than Hite in late July, and tough to fish as they were herding them at the speed of light! We lost a lot of big fish that day as we took only thirty, but should have had fifty. The bite was not always real aggressive, but kind of a quick hit and miss thing!

Sunday they shut down , the water was a little more choppy, and it was hard to see the feeding fish as the boils were not the voracious type. We caught a few in the morning, and then took a break, and went to get gas at Dangling Rope, and get our first taste of the infamous ice cream there. Wow thay stack it up, I got the medium size cup, and it was all I could handle(of course I had to get a soft pretzel too). Jeff and Chris got the 16 oz., and ended up with 32 oz. apiece(they filled the cups up twice the height of the cup), and it was fun watching Jeff and Chris turn pale white trying to finish them! I gave them a nice fast bumpy ride back to Rock Creek so they could enjoy an internal milk shake!

That evening we were cruising for feeding fish and not seeing any, so we started trolling. Came back around the corner into Friendship, and the whole first half of the cove was feeding stipers(go figure). It was an awesome evening as we stayed right in Frienship till they stopped feeding. We ended up with 10 out of that feed. Night fished again off the back of the Toon but no real action, a catfish, and smb-I went to bed early!

Monday and the last morning of fishing, the toughest fishing yet. The fish were not feeding like Sat., and we found sporadic feeding in the main channel east of Rock Creek. But nothing that even resembled a boil, I think that they were taking a break from it, like you and I would after a Thanksgiving meal. When we filleted these fish there stomachswere so packed with shad that they were like rocks, and swelled up! We were looking for better action, and I cruised back over to Frienship(why didn’t I go there and stay that morning and fish for SMB-after all the Stripers were there the night before!!), and there they were feeding again at about 9:30 in the morning! We caught another 10 fish before the morning was over, and had to pack the Toon up, and get ready to leave.

The weather was beautiful again for the trip back, and even the channel in antelope was pretty decent! A great trip with good friends, good food, and good fishing! We ended up with around 50 stripers, and 20 smb, 1 cat, and a sunfish! We fished mostly super spook jr.’s, in bone, blue/clear, and I fished a bone colored jumpin minnow that worked well! I also used a zara puppy/G-Shad finish(wish they made that in a super jr.), but I had to give it up as these strong fish were pulling the hooks, screw shank and all right out of them! Gotta love it!

Date Received: October 28, 2003 - Brad Schoudel

Rock Creek Fish report

I want to first of all thank you for developing such a great web site, It has been very helpful. I have not contributed very much so I figure now is the time. My girlfriend Kelli and I made the drive from Vegas Friday night launched at Wahweap 7:00 AM Saturday 10-25 Went through the channel looking for boils, saw nothing. Went to Rock Creek and set up camp, Fished all day Saturday Saw no boils but caught a ton of nice small mouth.

The one thing I Noticed this trip is that the smallies are not hitting any finesse baits (dropshot,jigs,ect..) We caught 95% of our fish trolling 4-5 mph using shad colored baits on points and rock piles. Seems small mouth a waiting to ambush fast moving shad. All the smallies in rock creek had crawfish in their bellies. After seeing this with no shad present we picked up camp Sunday morning and went to Navajo area. set up camp in warm creek.

Had another good day trolling the main channel around Navajo saw no boils. Caught 30 to 40 nice smallies and 2 stripers, also caught a few nice cats in warm creek that night. We were a little disappointed no boils but that's fishing.

Woke up early Monday again no boils around Navajo. Went back to pick up camp started heading back and of course unprepared and the boat loaded to the gills a HUGE BOIL right in front of the ramp construction between Navajo and antelope. Frantically pulled two out rods and rigged them up and the boil was still happening. 2 casts with jumpin minnows two 6.2 lbs stripers. Waited another half an hour in that area and they never came up again. That was an awesome site. The boil wasn't huge but it lasted 10 minutes. if I was ready we could have caught more than one each. Saw a few more quick boils on the way in but we had to get going. I only wish we had more time.

I think the main channel will start getting hot this week. Total for the weekend too many small mouth to count, 2 small stripers, 2 big stripers, and a few catfish. Great job on managing the big pond. Your work doesn't go unnoticed.

Thanks again

Date Received: November 3, 2003 - Wayne Gustaveson

Todd Sparks and I launched Saturday morning at 6:30 AM looking for boils. There were none at bouy 3A. We waited a few minutes and then continued up past Antelope launch. At 7 am we saw a big boil going with hundreds of fish working in the channel by the power plant intake. We got there in time to lose a couple and put two in the boat before they went down. Todd got a 7 and I caught a 6.

We continued uplake towards Navajo. Just before turning the corner we ran over a striper. We threw on the brakes and tossed the anchor (not really). The boil came up in range and we put two more in the boat.

We looked downstream and they were boiling back against the wall near the intake. Got to them in time to put two more in the well. By this time it was 8:15. We cruised in and didn't see any more fish.

We did learn later that Ron Colby was out and found the fish boiling at 9 Am, 11 AM, 2 PM and 5 PM. He caught 16. Our six fish weighed 38 pounds. The two we lost at the boat were also about 6 pounds so we handled 50 pounds of stripers in an hour and a half. It's great fun!

Date Received: October 31, 2003 - Burt Cox and Wayne Gustaveson

Burt and Wayne fished together near the mouth of San Juan catching bass during the shad rally. Burt sent some pictures and Wayne took a long time getting them scanned. But here they are.

Stripers were not found so dropshotting along main points with senkos and grubs turned the trick for some nice smallmouth bass.

We pretty well matched each other taking turns catching some nice bass.

For some reason Burt wanted me to put this photo in. I was driving his beautiful new Chanmpion bass boat and had a real nice time. I have included more scenery shorts taken by Burt on Slideshow. I also loaded some shots taken by Gary Foell on the scenery slideshow.

Date Received: November 4, 2003 -Bill Bjork

we went to the intake and really started looking hard as we continued up to the mouth of navajo canyon, we went in about 1/2 mile didn't see anything, came out and headed back the direction of the intake. we stopped midway to assess the situation. we noticed the birds freaking out about two hundred yards away. i floored it, dave lost his hat while focusing on the fish.i caught one and dave caught two. we were lucky and fished another across the chanel. chased them around and thought the hat was gone. two hours later we saw the birds freaking out and drove right past the hat. we fished that boil and dave caught one and got his hat back. they were really sensitive about the boat and would quit boiling if you start the motor to get closer when they are out of range. i think we could have caught a bunch more if we had better boat savvy. we got 5 weighin 28 pounds 7 ounces total.

the biggest was 7 lbs 8oz caught by dave. we had a great time!

Date Received: November 4, 2003 -Stan Swim

your most recent report is right on. we just got back from a weeks houseboat out of page. we got in last thursday right before the big blow. on our way up lake on monday, a boil came up in front of the hoseboat in the narrows. my son in law was rigged and got one cast in. caught a nice 6 pounder. the next am right after first light, we came back down in my bass boat and fished a couple of hours. we saw several small boils but the would go down as soon as we got anywhere close. we managed one fish. my son in law caught it and it was bigger that the first, probably 7 pounds. both fish were nice and fat.

Date Received: November 17, 2003 -Ryan Mosley

I was fortunate to able to visit Lake Powell with family and friends last Friday and Saturday. We really wanted to get into some boils because I was the only one that had ever actually seen one of the elusive mystical events. It didn't take long. At 2 PM Friday we left the wakeless area at the corner of Wahweap Bay and entered the main channel near the dam. Hadn't gone more than a hundred yards when we saw them thrashing. No one had lures tied on so we parked by the boiling fish and tied on lures while they stayed on top for more than 15 minutes. We finally got some lures loaded and fired into the fish. The first timers broke off 3 of the strong fish before Ken finally put one in the boat.

After they went down we could still catch a few stripers by casting Yozuri crank-n-dive lures against the wall. They weren't boiling but would come up and follow the lure. We caught a few more that way and then chased some really quick boils the rest of the day. It was a blast. Everyone caught one of the 5-7 pound bruisers.

There were some nice boils against the wall but for most of the time there were just a few fish breaking the surface. We really couldn't see them each time they surfaced but we watched the gulls and when the birds hit the water we raced over to the spot and caught fish.

We caught some great smallmouth in with the stripers. I caught one about 3 pounds from the wakeless area after a boil happened near by. It was my biggest Powell smallmouth.

These are going to taste great.

It was a wonderful trip. The highlight was when my father-in-law caught his first fish and we shared a moment together. That made it all worth while.

Date Received: December 26, 2003 - BassDozer

December 23, 2003 - After not being on the lake for a month due to work, Jeremy Riley and I finally took the afternoon off yesterday and slipped the boat off the Wahweap ramp. Around 12:30, surface water temperature at the ramp was 53 on the temp sensor and we marked a high of 54 most anywhere. We idled out of the no-wake zone by going up the inside of the tire line with the electronics on to see what the electric eye could spot. There were numerous marks inside the tire line - but down 125 to 150 feet deep over 200 feet of water. We hit a few spots along the south wall between the marina and the no-wake zone near the dam - but to no avail. We felt we should get into the back of a canyon and fired up the engine to slip around the corner into Antelope Canyon.

Idling into the very shallow back pocket of Antelope, we marked 52 degree surface temp. A flat sand delta hump topped off in about 12 feet of water, then dropped deeper. Right on top of the high spot of the sand hump, a loose aggregation of 20-25 largemouth bass about 10-11 inches were holding. Upon our approach, they drifted over the edge of the hump and filed out into deeper water and disappeared without a bite. We did throw lures through them during their exodus, but they showed no interest.

Using the trolling motor to fish our way back out of Antelope, Jeremy Riley was the hot stick on a cold yet fun day. Jeremy landed 3 smallmouth, 2 more lost at the boat and several other bites. Dropshotting a 3-1/2 inch 7S Yamamoto Kut-Tail was the ticket to Jeremy's success. "I could have fished only with 031 (pearl white with silver flakes) all year," said Jeremy. I stubbornly stuck with bulky rubber jigs (with crawdad trailers) and crankbaits - but no interest from the fish this day. It wasn't until Jeremy offered to let me use some of his baits that I also captured a smallmouth and had several other bites. Fish were biting slowly on this day. You could get a bump, and if you went to set the hook too soon you'd take the bait away from the bass. The smallmouth were in the 10-13 inch size range and fought furiously. One of Jeremy's fish would have made a fine Kodak moment, but the old batteries in the camera weren't willing to record that memory of this day for us.

Activity - a bump, a bite or seeing a bass down below - was wherever there was a rock slide extending underwater into 15-30 feet. As we trolling motored up to a new slide, action could be had within the first few casts with the dropshot. If we did get a bump, we would then fish that area more slowly and thoroughly. Patience often rewarded us with another fish or bite spending 15-20 minutes on "active" rock slides. It wasn't fast fishing but it was a nice way to spend an afternoon on the lake away from the office.

There were no visible or electronic signs of shad or stripers. Carp, however, were swarming on the surface in large numbers. I have never fished for carp on Lake Powell but got the feeling that some type of good carp bait may have resulted in some hook-ups with these powerful fish!

Merry Christmas to All!

Date Received: December 26, 2003 - BassDozer

December 25, 2003 - Around 2 PM, the overcast was okay but having to use the windshield wipers made me think twice as I made the approach into the Lone Rock entrance to Glen Canyon National Park. Still, I did want to see if Santa had left any glistening gold and bronze gifts for me in Lake Powell. Surface water was a consistent 53 degrees on my temperature sensor except the very back of Lone Rock Canyon was 52. There are a couple of extensive tumbleweed beds on the south side in there, but no visible or electronic signs of inhabitants as I probed the wiry brush cover and nearby drop-offs. Next I fished the rock beds that fell off the back side of Lone Rock island itself but to no avail. It looked like my hunt to snag a feisty Christmas gift was running out. I wondered, maybe had I been a bad fisherman all year on Santa's list?

On the way back to the marina around 4 PM, I idled in to try a rock ledge on shore inside the houseboat field north of the marina. Since the overcast and impending twilight made for a dark day, I switched baits to try the new Yamamoto red shad flash laminate color 922 in the 3-1/2" 7S Kit-Tail rigged wacky dropshot style. The stairstep ledge was 10 feet deep right against the shoreline. My cast kissed the emergent ledge, then hit bottom as the line billowed slack. Tightening up the slack, I sensed a mushy feeling and vibes of life on the line. A nice smallmouth with pale flanks and predominantly chartreuse yellow coloration, about 13-14 inches. In a few more casts with the red shad flash Kut-Tail, the line jumped and streaked toward deep water as soon as it hit bottom. The reel's drag started to sing and I wondered what it was that fought so hard, making several drag-pulling power runs? This one I weighed at 1.99 lbs. I fished the ledge another half hour and set the hook on one more good fish that pulled off. With darkness coming soon, I vowed to try this place again another day. No doubt Santa felt I had been a good fisherman all year, and left these gold and bronze-wrapped gifts for me under the ledge on Christmas Day.

Date Received: December 29, 2003 - BassDozer

December 28, 2003 - With only days left until year end, I'd say I am stretching the season and getting the most out of my fishing license money.

After fishing the very back of Antelope Canyon successfully a few days ago, I decided why not start in the middle of Antelope Canyon this afternoon? As ten minutes ticked by, I had a nice smallmouth chase after my bait, a 3-1/2" Black/Red Flash (922) Yamamoto Kut-Tail as I was reeling it quickly back to the boat to make another cast. Another ten minutes ticked, another nice smallie chased the black/red flash to boatside as I reeled in quickly. This caused me to wonder, "Wrong color?" so I switched to a brown purple flash (color 921) in the same bait. I caught one, fought one, had one break me off in bottom structure. Basically, I was not fishing any differently than in warmer days, dropshotting anything 15 to 40 feet deep - points, slides, cuts in the walls, ledges. Then twilight became noticeable in the sky and in the quick temperature drop.

Even with a full face mask, what a wicked forehead freeze driving the old river channel back from Antelope Canyon to the no wake zone near the dam, and jumping the tour boat wake was as hellacious as ever.

Before going through the no wake zone, I decided to make a few last casts along the south side bluffs leading down to the dam buoy line. First, I had to knock the ice off the rod tip. Then I picked up three more smallies quickly on the brown purple flash, including a pugnacious 2.03 pounder, plus multiple other bites. You can definitely take the bait away from the fish too soon. The fish seemed they were slowly mouthing the bait, and you needed to "tight-line" them a little to finagle them to commit to taking the entire bait today. Any slightly irregular feature along the south wall bluff - any indentation, outcropping, fallen rocks under an arch above - had potential to hold a smallie today.

It wasn't much different than fishing warmer days (except for the seven layers of clothing) and the fishing was great. Surface water temp sensor stayed consistently at 53 degrees.