Sunday, April 29, 2018

Spring Lake Powell Trip 2018

Fishing Time: April 27-30 (Friday to Monday)
Weather: April 27-28 were calm, sunny, T-80s.  April 29-30 were windy, cloudy, T-70s.
Moon Phase: Full Moon
Water Temps: 60 degrees in morning or when windy. 70 degrees in afternoon with no wind.
Mudline: South of Red Canyon and just north of Ticaboo Canyon.
Best Bait: Curly tailed grubs (1/8 oz jighead), and topwater plugs when water was calm.
Who went: Dunc, Rick Everson, Dylan Goar
This year’s Lake Powell trip kicked off a bit later this year.  We almost didn’t go due to my recent return from San Diego, but the last-minute thought of missing it was unbearable, so we quickly put something together and hit the road.  The dates were a bit later this year, but with a late winter and cold spring it looked like we may have timed it just right. I also got to tow the boat with my new (to me) 2008 Toyota Tundra that I purchased a month ago. I love it!
Bobber John opted out on the trip this year, so our replacement was Ricks brother in-law Dylan Goar.  We hit the road at 11 PM on April 26th and tiredly arrived at Lake Powell by 6:30 AM on April 27th.  I’m getting to old for these all-nighters and I think it took a toll on me during our trip.  
By 2 PM on Friday we had camp set-up in a wind protected cove inside Ticaboo Canyon and were ready to fish.  I’m not sure if it was the lack of sleep, or what, but the photography on this trip was seriously lacking, so I apologize in advance.
FRIDAY (April 27)
We started out fishing right from camp and worked our way around the shorelines of Ticaboo Canyon.  Smallmouth bass were out in numbers and a few largemouth bass and bluegill.  Rick seemed to be the only one that could persuade the largemouth bass to bite on this trip and Dylan and I were left to play with the smallmouth bass and a couple bluegill.  All fish were caught on a curly tailed grub, ned rig, or jig/trailer.
Following Ticaboo Canyon we ran over to Red Canyon and tried fishing some shorelines there.  The water was a bit more stained than we usually like, but we did find some willing smallmouth bass, and again, Rick caught a couple largemouth bass on a jig/trailer.
We finished the day trolling Ticaboo Canyon using deep diving crankbaits.  In the past this has been an awesome tactic for picking up walleye and striped bass.  We did catch a few walleyes, but the stripers were nowhere to be found.  Throughout the day of fishing we filled the livewell with an assortment of different species.  That night we filleted 20+ fish and put them on ice.  It was a smorgasbord of walleye, smallmouth bass, bluegill, and even one channel catfish I caught from the shore at camp.  It was a fish fry feast for the next three nights.
SATURDAY (April 28)
We slept in later than usual after being up for 40+ hours.  Once we were awake we left camp and headed south to a small canyon south of Red Canyon.  I don’t know the name of this canyon.  On arrival we noticed there were fish on the finder showing up in deeper water from 20-30 ft.  We drifted through them and I picked up a striped bass.  A couple more drifts produced one more striper from Rick.  It wasn’t enough action to hold our interest, so we left and made the drive up north to Scorup Canyon. The water this far north looked like chocolate milk, but we have a special cove in the back of Scorup that always seems to produce crappie, so we gave it a chance anyway.  The crappies were right where we left them last year and we were able to put a few beautiful “black mambas” in the boat.  Such a cool species of fish! 
We ended the night back in Ticaboo canyon where we found the most amazing topwater bite that I have ever experienced at Lake Powell.  We probably caught 2 bass to every 3 casts using topwater poppers.  Most the bass were small, but Rick did land one beautiful 2-3 pound largemouth that exploded on his popper.  It was awesome!  We continued to fish the hot topwater bite well into darkness and must have landed upwards of 50+ fish.  The weather was beautiful, and no wind made it perfect for topwater.  Definitely a night I will never forget.
SUNDAY (April 29)
We woke up to a stiff breeze from the south.  We headed into the back of Red Canyon to hide from the wind as much as possible, but it made fishing very difficult.  We found one little nook that seemed to be well protected from the wind and found a few largemouth bass on beds.  We had a couple pick up our baits and move them off their bed but were unable to pin a hook to any of them.  The wind was howling now, so we made our way into the main channel and used the wind to our advantage and drifted jigs at one of our well-known striper and walleye spots.  It’s a ridge that is elevated above the deep main channel bottom at the mouth of Red Canyon.  Rick landed one striper, but that was it.  The stripers were tough to find on this trip.
The wind had us worn out, so we headed back to our wind protected camp and waited for evening.  Shore fishing from camp produced a couple small channel cats and one bluegill.
That evening the wind died down a bit, but never did go away completely.  It was one of those annoying winds that circled around and would be calm for one minute and then miserable the next.  We fished Ticaboo Canyon and tried a few different methods.  Rick was drifting a jighead pinned with a worm off the side of the boat in approximately 15-20 ft of water.  I was pounding the shoreline with a jig/trailer and a marabou jig under a bobber.  Dylan was going back and forth using both methods.  Each method produced fish.  We caught walleye, smallmouth, largemouth, and bluegill.  The fishing was decent, but the unforgiving wind took a toll on us by the end of the night.
MONDAY (April 30th)
None of us had anything urgent to get home for, so our plan was to fish hard and go home late.  Mother nature decided to change our plans.  The wind was terrible and not letting up.  We decided to break camp and make the journey back to Bullfrog.  From there we hoped the wind would let up and we could fish around Bullfrog bay in the afternoon. 
Our 26-mile boat ride from camp back to Bullfrog was an adventure to say the least.  
By the time we made it to the boat ramp we were exhausted.  We trailered the boat then sat in the parking lot and ate lunch.  When we were done we examined the weather all around us.  We all got the feeling that this wind was not going anywhere anytime soon.  We hit the road and ended up driving through a blizzard in Spanish Fork Canyon.  It was just one of those days.

We cut this trip short by one day and adding in the lost day on Monday due to wind wasn’t enough time on the water.  Dylan was a fun addition to the team.  Some of the fishing techniques and species of fish were new to him, and it was fun to see him catch new species using new techniques like topwater baits and jigs.

The bass bite on this trip was flat out weird.  The first two days the water temps and air temps seemed like it should be the best fishing of our lives, but the fish didn’t seem to hold any consistent patterns. They seemed to come shallow in the evening and that’s when we did our best, but during the day we had a hard time finding them shallow or deep.

Typically, by the end of our Lake Powell trips we have most species dialed in.  If we want to catch walleye we know where to go, if we want to catch stripers we have a spot.  Bass, fish that cove. Crappie, over there. This trip was different, and our only consistent producer was Ticaboo Canyon for bass, and Scorup Canyon for crappie.  Stripers were hard to find in numbers, and we caught a lot of walleye, but they were random.  The smallmouth bass were everywhere, but outside of Ticaboo Canyon we never did find them in good numbers.  Largemouth bass were non-existent to everyone except Rick.  He probably caught 10-12, mostly in Ticaboo Canyon.  Shore fishing from camp was slow, and the wind was unacceptable!  All said its Lake Powell and we had a blast, caught and ate a ton of fish, and had an epic topwater bite that will go down in history. 

The big mama largemouth escaped us again this Spring.  Rick had her on for a second.  She was hidden in deep water next to a big rock in Ticaboo Canyon.  Rick made a good cast near the rock and she took his bait and headed straight to the surface, jumped out of the water a couple feet so we could get a good look at her, and then spit the hook back in our face.  It was probably a 5 pound bass.

We did get a good scorpion hunt in one night as well, and Rick brought one home as a pet.  It’s seriously creepy how many scorpions are out at night down there and even more creepy how well they glow when shining a black light on them.  Luckily this year they seemed to stay back behind our camp a little bit, unlike last year where they tried to sleep in our tent with us every night!

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