Saturday, February 18, 2012

Flaming Gorge Off Again, This Time it's Lake Powell

Fishing Time: All day February 17, and 18
Weather: Sunny, about 40/45 degrees in the morning and evenings, and about 50/55 degrees in the afternoon. Very little wind. Storm came in Sunday morning as we were leaving.
Moon Phase: 19% Moon
Location: Lake Powell (Bullfrog area)
Water Temps: average temp 50.5 degrees, with sun-blocked areas being below 50 and some shallow sunny bays reaching about 52.
Bait: Jig and trailers, spinnerbaits, plastic worms, crankbaits, and small plastics
Who Went: Jason Willard, Rick Everson, MeWith winter conditions still very mild in Utah, our February Flaming Gorge Ice fishing trip was cancelled just like January’s trip, due to lack of ice. Last time we replaced the Flaming Gorge trip with an ice fishing trip to Fish Lake, but this time we decided to give winter the birdie finger and head south to Lake Powell for some boat fishing. The ice fishing just hasn’t worked out well this year, so the boat is getting some extra work. We left Thursday evening and after stopping to eat and pick up groceries in Price, we didn’t arrive until midnight. We stayed in the family units at Bullfrog which was a nice way to go, but a bit more pricy than I like. It was nice though, with 3 bedrooms, 2 baths, and a full kitchen. Basically a modular home fully furnished.Friday: We launched around 9:00 and fished until dark. We started up in the north end of Bullfrog Bay, predominantly on the west side of the point that divides the north end. Jason began getting bites immediately, but never did put one in the boat. Rick also had a few hits, but didn’t hook up. It wasn’t until late morning that I received my first bite and joined the missed hit club. It was early afternoon and we decided to go check out Lake Canyon. There really isn’t much shallow brush to fish in Lake Canyon until you reach the very back end where it turns into flooded trees and brush. Shortly after being there I landed the first and smallest largemouth of the trip with this 2 lb 12 oz fatty.After another long period with no success, Jason started throwing a firetiger crankbait in the back of Lake Canyon to see if any stripers were hanging out. After one missed hit he finally landed the trips first striper with a very nice healthy fish.Rick and I grabbed for our crankbait rods and began fan casting up and down the canyon. I picked up three fat stripers on a chartreuse and red crankbait that dove about 10’ deep.All four Stripers ended up on fish tacos for dinner the next two nights. We continued fishing our way out of Lake Canyon with no success and headed back to the north end of Bullfrog Bay. Jason finally laid into one along this stretch and landed a really nice bass over 3 lb. Soon after Jason caught his fish it began getting dark, so we called it a night.Saturday: We didn’t launch until around 10:00 and while Rick and I were dropping the boat in the water, Jason spotted two nice largemouths just east of the boat ramp in a small bay. We decided to fish the area for awhile and although we didn’t pick up any largemouth, Rick did land the only smallmouth of the trip. Eventually we moved back into the north end of Bullfrog bay and fished the same shoreline that we missed bites the day before. Rick and I both landed a nice largemouth and we felt like things may start heating up a bit.It never really did, but with work we were able to land one sporadically throughout the day. We fished a small cove on the west side of Bullfrog Bay and I was able to pick up another chunky 3 lb largemouth.Also while in the cove we noticed there were carp pods slurping around, so Rick pulled his fishing bow out to make an example of a couple of them. He actually hit two in one shot, but the other fell off before the picture was taken.As the sun started to work its way towards late afternoon we toyed with the idea of running to Moki Canyon, but decided to fish a submerged island with bushes coming out of the water just south of the point where we caught most our fish. Rick landed the biggest largemouth of the trip at 3 lb 12 oz off this island and put a little pep in our step again.We ended the night fishing our popular run again and I was able to land one more nice 3 lb largemouth.Just as we were about to call it a night, the carp came out to slurp again and I got my chance to take aim. After a few misses, I finally connected.Sunday: We woke up with plans to fish the morning and go home. The weather quickly changed our plans as dark clouds closed in around us and the wind started picking up. As we were about to leave Bullfrog to head home we noticed my back right tire on my boat trailer was leaking air. Luckily we were 50 yards from the Bullfrog Marina shop and they were happy to help us throw the spare on for no charge.The bite was slow the entire time and we caught fish sporadically throughout the day with no particular time seeming more consistent than another. We mostly fished up in the north end of Bullfrog Bay, on the south facing shorelines that receive the most sun throughout the day. We fished many different shorelines and submerged points/islands and the shorelines that produced the most action had a rocky/gravelly bottom with partially submerged bushes/trees that were 4-8' deep on the lake side of the vegetation. Casting distance put our boat in about 20-25' of water. The sandy and bedrock bottoms produced nothing regardless if it had vegetation or not. The shallow bays were pointless and looked like the Dead Sea. We fished jigs and trailers, small plastics, larger senkos, crankbaits, kastmasters, and spinnerbaits. Not a bite on the spinnerbaits, crankbaits (except stripers) and small plastics. The jigs worked the best and we also had a little success on the senkos. SLOW PRESENTATION was key. Slowly dragging it along the bottom and even dead sticking it for a bit. I don't think anyone got hit on the drop. The fish were sluggish to say the least and seemed to be buried deep in the bushes and were tough to coax out. We never found any schools of stripers on the surface or below us.

We only boated 8 or 9 largemouth the entire trip. Sounds miserable, however they were all pigs! Smallest (other than a dink smallmouth) was 2 lb 13 oz and the largest was 3 lb 12 oz. Each of them had a gut that looked like it was ready to explode.We turned all LMB loose so we didn't get to see what was inside their stomachs. The stripers were healthy looking, and probably in the 5 pound range although we never scaled any. We missed a dozen or so confirmed bites, but a lot of those were pretty weak bites. I hope these chunky largies are a sign of a great spring and are more willing to bite when the water warms up a bit.

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