Saturday, April 22, 2017

Spring Lake Powell Trip 2017

Fishing Time: April 20 to 24, 2017
Weather: Sunny, warm, mostly calm wind, T-70s
Moon Phase:  20% Moon
Location:  Lake Powell (San Juan)
Water Temp: Morning - 59-61 degrees, Afternoon - 60-65 degrees
San Jaun Mudline:  Mud: Neskashi Wash to the mouth of San Juan River, Green Stain: Piute Canyon to Neskashi Wash, Clear: Main Channel to Piute Canyon
Best Baits:  Trolling crankbaits, casting creature baits and grubs
Who Went:  Rick Everson, John Schuler, Dunc
Our Spring Lake Powell trip took a twist this year due to extremely low water levels.  The north end of the lake has treated us well the last 7 years, but with low water and early runoff, the upper end of the lake is shallow and muddy.  So, we headed south this year to the San Juan Arm.  The boat ride from Bullfrog Marina to our camp spot at Leroy’s Canyon inside the San Juan Arm took almost exactly 2-hours.  This is double the amount of time we are used to heading north to Good Hope Bay.
We found a nice sandy shoreline at the mouth of a small vegetated slot canyon deep inside Leroy’s Canyon and it became home for 4 days.  Soon we found out we weren't the only ones inhabiting this nice cove, but more on that later…
On first arrival we found two critters near camp.  One we were excited to see and the other we were devastated to see. The first was a desert spiny lizard that decided to flare out and show us how tough he was.  The other was the quagga mussels that have now infested the shorelines of Lake Powell.  The muscles are attached to the walls and shorelines where water used to be.  It's a sad sight to see.  What a tragedy.
The fishing turned out to be different than the north end of Lake Powell with very little gravel shorelines and no brush to be found.  We mainly fished deeper underwater structure, points, and boulder shorelines on the main channel.  It was less flipping jigs and plastics into the shallows and more casting and retrieving grubs, drop-shot rigs, crankbaits, and spinnerbaits towards the deeper boulder shorelines and deep underwater structure.  The biggest change in our trip this year was trolling.  We spent a lot of time doing it, and it produced a ton of fish. 
My favorite part about this trip was learning a new area, seeing new scenery, and catching a variety of different species.  In the past we have focused mainly on largemouth and smallmouth bass, with a few crappie and walleye mixed in, but this trip was a mixed bag of everything and in good numbers. 
We trolled and caught stripers, crappie, and walleye.  Casted the shorelines with plastics and crankbaits and caught tons of smallmouth, largemouth, and crappie.  We also drifted jigs to pick up more stripers and a bunch of small channel catfish.  Topwater produced multiple different species including bass, crappie, and stripers. We also found a pile of monster bluegill hanging off a deep underwater point that kept us busy for hours and made us feel like kids again with our ultra-light rods and floating bobbers.  We used a bunch of different techniques to catch fish and they all worked!  Lake Powell is awesome!
We camped at the end of Leroy’s canyon and there were gamefish, wildlife, and carp all over.  We utilized the bow to take part in the carp eradication program, and caught stripers, smallmouth, and crappie from the shoreline when not on the boat.  We also found another critter in abundance that apparently loved the cove as much as we did… Scorpions! 
This camp spot will forever be known as the Scorpion campsite.  We found a couple small ones the first day and didn’t think much of it, but that evening I went to turn on the generator and found what I thought was the king of all scorpions.  It was huge!
Now we were up to three scorpions and started getting the heebie jeebies.  We decided to do a spot check on our gear and sure enough, found another scorpion in Bobbers suitcase! 
Now we were officially creeped out!  Rick had a blacklight in his fishing tackle and we knew that scorpions were supposed to glow under a blacklight, so we put it to the test and went out on a scorpion hunt.  Maybe we shouldn’t have.  The scorpions were everywhere and some of them were gigantic!  I have never used a blacklight to hunt scorpions, and wow!  You can see them from a mile away.  They glow so well all you do is shine a blacklight on the hillside and you can easily point them out as they glow like stars in the sky. It’s crazy.  We started using the blacklight on all our gear before we went to bed.

Anyway, it was another great trip with many fish caught using a variety of techniques.  We had a big fish fry one night and enjoyed good weather the entire trip.  I think we were a bit early on the bass spawn.  This spring has been extremely wet and cold, so it’s taken the water a bit longer to warm up.  I think this Powell trip could go down as one of my favorites and the only thing we needed to cap it off was a monster fish.  Usually someone lucks into something nice, but this year was more numbers and no lunkers.  However, Rick has been trying to catch a pair of 15-inch crappies to mount on his wall for years now, and this trip he finally completed the task. 
In fact, we all caught a bunch of very nice crappie...
Our four days was finally up and we made the two hour jaunt back to Bullfrog Marina.  I think we wore the big fella out.
I also think he got zapped by a scorpion and didn't know it.  What the hell is that...
Overall a very fun and relaxing trip, and the best part… no problems, boat wrecks, or prop killing rocks!  We joked on the way home that we were going to get in a car crash and die because the trip went way to smooth with zero issues.  The spring Lake Powell trip is always my favorite trip of the year, and this year was no exception.

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