Colorado River Northwest

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October 24th, 2007
Colorado River Northwest

LAKE POWELL – By Wayne Gustaveson. Details of this report will include general concepts that will work through mid October. I will be on vacation for two weeks so there will be no new fish reports until I return.

Water temperature continues to fall as nights are cool and days short. In springtime temperatures in the 60s and low 70s are the periods of greatest fish activity. That works just the same in fall. Expect bass, stripers, walleye and sunfish to feed heavily before it cools enough to cause inactivity in forage fish and predators alike.

Bass are feeding on shad, sunfish and crayfish in shallows. Lake level decline is stranding more aquatic weed beds each day. Forage fish hiding in weeds must relocate as the weeds dry up. Sunfish and shad are vulnerable to predation during the relocation process. Largemouth bass are very shallow as they live in the grass with sunfish. They can be caught next to shore or on very shallow flats that may not be deep enough for boat operation. Find weeds and largemouth are close. Use surface lures or weedless presentations to fish shallow weeds. Plunking a Fluke or Senko into an open pocket in a weed mat can be deadly.

Smallmouth bass will be on rocks because that is their preferred habitat. That means crayfish are more important in their diet. If prey fish swim by they will attack, but their primary search image is bottom oriented. Fishing with bottom bouncing grubs/tubes in open water is more likely to be rewarded with smallmouth than any other species. Crayfish imitating lures fished slowly on the bottom around rocks is the best technique for catching smallmouth bass. As I write this, smallmouth bass are more often found on the “outside edges” meaning they are more likely to be on the main channel side of a rock, instead of the side nearest shore. That can change on a daily basis, but for starters look on the deep water side of a rock ridge and then adjust as needed.

Striped bass are hungry and constantly looking for fish forage in open water. They are most talented at feeding and trapping prey in open water. They have little finesse while working a weedy bottom near shore. A good general strategy is to fish the outside reefs for bass while keeping an eye on the graph for fish in deep water. A spoon can be rigged and waiting. Employ the spoon at the first sign of multiple fish at 30 feet or deeper. These fish could be a school of larger bass or a striper school. Either one will be fun.

Active stripers will respond immediately to a shad (spoon) dropped into a school. Stripers are so competitive that they rush to see which fish can get the shad first. The entire school responds to a single feeding opportunity. Draw the school off the bottom by hooking one fish, and keep them going with a shower of anchovy chum at 10 minute intervals. Striper schools will suspend under the boat, often following it, and actively feed, sometimes for hours, as long as bait is presented.

Some striper starting spots include: Warm Creek near the floating restroom, Rock Creek in all three arms, Oak Canyon, Piute and Neskahi Canyon on the San Juan, main channel near mouth of Long Canyon, main channel at buoy 86A, dome rock in Bullfrog Bay, mouth of Knowles Canyon, and Striper City from the horn at Good Hope to White Canyon.

Don’t be surprised to catch a big catfish, walleye, sunfish or crappie. All fish are active at this temperature range.

LEES FERRY – Steve Garro wrote that he caught several rainbows in the 16- to 18-inch range using a gold spoon, adding, “Fish quality was the best I’ve seen in years and I’ve been fishing there since ’76. We were fishing from a sea kayak and saw a sucker that must have gone 20-25 pounds. Not similar to any sucker I have seen, a huge tadpole-shaped pre-historic humpback?”

Courtesy Lees Ferry Anglers, report by Ted Welling.              

Today’s Fly Fishing: Fishing was slow in the morning hours, but picked up toward dusk. The riffles have been holding trout in the early hours until the water comes up. Otherwise seek midging trout in the back eddies or try a little drifting while using a nymph rig. The size of fish brought to hand has been bigger in the past few days. It seems that fish are coming out of the deeper water again. Carry the same fly patterns: scuds, midges, and San Juans. Make sure every cast counts, as you will have the best fishing in you first five casts. After which you will need to switch up you rig. Switching your rig is a necessity here because of the variables, water volume, water speed, and lighting.

Spin Fishing Tips: Back trolling has produced more than any other approach. The Rapala has been the magic lure.  Try the Rapala Countdown No. 5 or 7 in rainbow or perch colors. Also try working Panther Martens along banks where you find plenty of grass and algae in approximately 5 to 20 feet.

Walk In: I just got a good report about the walk-in area today. He got down there late in the afternoon without much action until the sun went behind the cliffs. He stayed until he could no longer see his indicator

What does that tell you?

Outlook by Terry Gunn: On Sept. 1, the high water flows of summer ended and the lower fall flows began. The fish responded the same way that they did last year by being unhappy with the change. Last year the fishing in early September was slow and as the month progressed the fishing became better each week…I expect the same thing to happen this year.

The water flows are near perfect for wading most of the popular spots on the river as well as the walk-in section. The fish continue to look good and are strong and in great physical shape. The weather is finally cooling off and the remainder of September and October is normally the best and most comfortable weather of the year. We are seeing a tremendous number of fingerling trout in the river as a result of the terrific spawn this past spring, which bodes well for the future.

Note from Arizona Game and Fish: Whirling disease has been detected in the rainbow trout population here. Please take the following steps.

Never transport live fish from one water body to another (this is illegal in Arizona).
* Dispose of fish entrails and skeletal parts properly. Never discard fish parts in or near streams or rivers. Do not discard fish parts in a kitchen disposal. Whirling disease spores can survive most wastewater treatment systems. Instead, discard in dry waste that would go to a landfill.
* Rinse all mud and debris from equipment and wading gear, and drain water from boats before leaving an infected drainage. This is good practice for preventing transfer of other aquatic hitchhikers as well.

Although the above precautions will remove most spores from your gear, you may want to consider the following if fishing in heavily infected waters:

1) Rinse, and then thoroughly dry your boots, waders and other fishing equipment. This is generally sufficient to kill the TAM stage of the whirling parasite.

2) Chlorine (regular household bleach) is a very effective disinfectant, and one of the few that can kill all stages of the parasite if used at the proper concentration. However, chlorine is a very strong chemical and can harm your equipment with prolonged exposure, so make sure you rinse the chlorine off your waders and other equipment after you disinfect, and dry in the shade.
 
3) To kill the TAM stage, use 1 part chlorine to 32 parts water. It must stay in contact for about 10 minutes to assure disinfection.  

4) To kill the mature spores that may be found in the mud from an infected stream is much more difficult and hard on equipment, such as 50% solution (1 part chlorine to 1 part water) – dip waders into a solution of the bleach or wipe or spray it on or 10% solution (1 part chlorine to 9 parts water) and soak your equipment for 10 minutes.

5) Quaternary ammonium compounds are also effective in killing both parasite stages. These disinfectants are commercially available for disinfecting fishing equipment (Bright Water TM) or for the pet/veterinary trade (Roccal-D TM, Parvosol TM).
Equally effective is water heated to nearly boiling (200°F) poured over your gear and allowed to cool.

LAKE MEAD – The striper fishing at Lake Mead has slowed a little, but is still pretty good. Trolling crankbaits along steep shorelines in Greggs Basin was yielding stripers.  This is a good time to find largemouth bass and bluegill in the backs of coves, especially at first light. Catfish have been biting all day and night on anchovies and liver, some reports of multiple fish being caught in the 10-plus-pound range.  Night fishing for stripers under submerged lights turns on around 9 p.m.  With the new moon this week, the lights will be more effective.  The rule of thumb is typically fish during midday periods during a full moon and at night during a dark moon phase.  Of course, there are no black and white lines only grey, and fishing during the in between moon phases is always the trick.  The ramp is open at South Cove, but it is a gravel ramp. Be careful when launching here.  The lake elevation remains fairly steady around 1,111ft amsl.  

Important notice: With the recent discovery of invasive quagga mussels in Mead, Mohave and Havasu, proper cleaning of all watercraft is critical to help prevent the spread of these invaders.  Please drain and dry your livewell and bilge on land. Drain all the water you can from your engine. Also, inspect your vessel and trailer, removing any visible mussels, but also feel for any rough or gritty spots on the hull. These may be young mussels that can be hard to see.
For more information, go to the Arizona Game and Fish Department’s web pages at azgfd.gov or visit http://100thmeridian.org/.

LAKE MOHAVE – No new reports. The striper bite has been slow. Anchovies are the most popular bait for stripers, but if you want to try something different, use shrimp or squid. Fishing for striped bass at night with crappie lights can be very effective.  For the lights to be most effective, try to time your trips around a new moon. Davis Dam has plenty of shoreline for numerous anglers to enjoy the fishing. Cabinsite and Telephone Cove also provide plenty of shoreline fishing access. Arizona Game and Fish Biologists surveyed Lake Mohave recently and observed the largemouth bass to average about 2.5 pounds. Channel catfish and striped bass were also plentiful. Also, there is a wheelchair accessible fishing pier just south of the main launch ramp at Katherine’s Landing. If you fish Mohave and are having luck, please e-mail me at mchmiel@azgfd.gov so I can share your successes with others.

Important notice: With the recent discovery of invasive quagga mussels in Mead, Mohave and Havasu, proper cleaning of all watercraft is critical to help prevent the spread of these invaders. Please drain and dry your livewell and bilge on land. Drain all the water you can from your engine. Also, inspect your vessel and trailer, removing any visible mussels, but also feel for any rough or gritty spots on the hull. These may be young mussels that can be hard to see.

For more information, go to the Arizona Game and Fish Department’s web pages at azgfd.gov or visit http://100thmeridian.org/.

WILLOW BEACH -Trout are stocked every Friday. The fishing for trout has been good from shore immediately following the stocking.  As the water temperature falls in the basin, some of the stripers will return to the open water, but many of the big stripers remain in the vicinity of Willow beach year round.   The water level has begun to drop for the winter.  Look for the surface elevation to drop to around 12’ below full.

Important notice: With the recent discovery of invasive quagga mussels in Mead, Mohave and Havasu, proper cleaning of all watercraft is critical to help prevent the spread of these invaders. Please drain and dry your livewell and bilge on land. Drain all the water you can from your engine. Also, inspect your vessel and trailer, removing any visible mussels, but also feel for any rough or gritty spots on the hull. These may be young mussels that can be hard to see. If you fish Willow beach and are having luck, please e-mail me at mchmiel@azgfd.gov so I can share your successes with others.
For more information, go to the Arizona Game and Fish Department’s web pages at azgfd.gov or visit http://100thmeridian.org/.

TOPOCK MARSH – On Oct 13th, 45 kids participated in a fishing clinic at Five Mile landing that produced carp, bass, channel catfish, and 1 green sunfish.  One little girl caught a 10lbs carp her first time fishing. 
Catfish have been excellent. Try using mackerel, anchovies, worms or shrimp in the early morning or night. Bass fishing has been fair in the early morning and evening.

Kenne Probst caught 25 catfish, with most in the one-pound range, using frozen anchovies. He said one angler caught a 15-pound striper. In the marsh, bass are moving out of the cattails and into the wood. There is a bit of a topwater bite in the evening. Game and fish biologist sampled lots of largemouth bass the middle of January throughout the marsh. The bass numbers were great and the crappie and catfish populations looked really good as well. You can access the marsh by boat at North Dike, Catfish Paradise, and Five-Mile Landing. All three also provide plenty of area for shoreline fishing too. For more information on the marsh, contact the Havasu National Wildlife Refuge at (760) 326-3853 or go to http://www.fws.gov/southwest/refuges/arizona/havasu/index.html.

Important notice: With the recent discovery of invasive quagga mussels in Mead, Mohave and Havasu, proper cleaning of all watercraft is critical to help prevent the spread of these invaders.  Please drain and dry your livewell and bilge on land. Drain all the water you can from your engine. Also, inspect your vessel and trailer, removing any visible mussels, but also feel for any rough or gritty spots on the hull. These may be young mussels that can be hard to see.
For more information, go to the Arizona Game and Fish Department’s web pages at azgfd.gov or visit http://100thmeridian.org/.

COLORADO RIVER BELOW DAVIS DAM – Trout stocking resumes this week.  Fishing has been good below Davis Dam, but look for it to be even better following the trout stocking.  One angler reported catching some nice stripers and a large catfish around the Big Bend area.   I’ve also received reports of some nice smallmouth being caught at Davis Camp and smallmouth, largemouth and stripers being caught at Topock Gorge.

Kenne Probst said he found fishing at little slow but did manage to catch some catfish float-fishing from Davis Camp along Casino Row.

Rainbow trout were last stocked by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service on March 28 and 29. Stocking will resume the week of October 22nd. The fish are stocked in two locations; Davis Camp and near The Riverside. Water levels on the river fluctuate, so be careful. You can check the Bureau of Reclamation Web site for flow predictions http://www.usbr.gov/lc/riverops.html before you go. If you fish the river below Davis Dam and are having luck, please e-mail me at mchmiel@azgfd.gov so I can share your successes with others.

Important notice: With the recent discovery of invasive quagga mussels in Mead, Mohave and Havasu, proper cleaning of all watercraft is critical to help prevent the spread of these invaders. Please drain and dry your livewell and bilge on land. Drain all the water you can from your engine. Also, inspect your vessel and trailer, removing any visible mussels, but also feel for any rough or gritty spots on the hull. These may be young mussels that can be hard to see.
For more information, go to the Arizona Game and Fish Department’s web pages at azgfd.gov or visit http://100thmeridian.org/.

 

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