It's easy to understand how the largemouth bass got its name.
Let's talk Lake Powell since vacation season is the most popular time to fish the southern lake. Part of the intrigue, to me anyway, is the possibility of catching 10 different species, and which species comes out of the water is often a surprise. The 10 types at the lake are largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, striped bass, walleye, crappie, catfish, northern pike, bluegill, green sunfish, and the prized carp.
So, who exactly wants to catch a carp? In England they are revered. So much so people spend big money and weeks by a lakeside for the opportunity to catch and release just one trophy carp. One was so loved by anglers, a special tank was built and she was retired—never to be caught on a hook again. Carp may not be trophies for serious anglers, but for kids a two- or three-pounder can be a truly exciting catch.
The carp at Lake Powell are pretty easy to catch. A ball of bread dough on a No. 8 hook dropped off the back of a houseboat in most any bay works. For the more serious anglers there are nine other species.
For me, largemouth and smallmouth bass top the list, followed closely by crappie. All three are fun to catch, challenging and tasty. Striped bass are there to break the boredom on a slow afternoon.
Over the years, I’ve caught at least one of the 10 at one time or another. The most on one trip was five.
I’m lucky, though. I’ve gotten to know Wayne Gustaveson, the King Neptune of Lake Powell. After 35 of managing the fish in the lake for the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources, Wayne has probably fished every bay and cove on the lake at one time or another and learned where fish love to hangout. So, he takes me there—one benefit of being a journalist.
Wayne Gustaveson holds largemouth bass, caught and released.
The first question Wayne always asks is: “So, what fish are you after?’’ Not simply if I want to catch a fish. He’s never missed.
He puts out a weekly report called Wayne’s Words that summarizes fishing conditions and which lures and baits to use for best results. My advise is to follow his instructions. In the latest report, he pointed out these facts:
Striped bass are feeding near the surface in southern reaches of the lake, but the feeding frenzies are quick and fish are not as easy to catch. He suggests trying to find a feeding school with a fish finder and “dropping a Kastmaster’’ down for a quick hookup. Mid-lake conditions are different, and stripers are easier to catch in the back of bays with a long cast and retrieve of a Rattletrap or Kastmaster.
To the north, waters are still a little muddy from the runoff and shad, the main food of game fish. Stripers aren’t grouped and trolling can produce some very large fish.
Evening is a great time to catch catfish, some up to 10 pounds. He suggests trying a chunk of meat on a single hook fished along sandy beaches.
Smallmouth are hanging around open-water reefs and largemouth near bushy structures.
Walleye are best caught mornings and evenings trolling.
Crappie are fun to catch and are one of the more tasty treats.
There you have the word of the master, so good fishing.
10 Popular Fishing Waters: