Lake Powell is always an exciting fishing experience and autumn can be the best time. Expect the typical boils of striped bass.
When the boils are going, catching 30 to 50 fish a day is common. The condition and size of stripers is also looking good this year. Expect to catch a lot more fish in the 2- and 3-pound range.
The real good news this season is the smallmouth bass. Powell is now loaded with hard-fighting 1- and 2-pound smallies again. Down-lake in the Wahweap area and up-lake especially in the Hall's Crossing to Hite area are looking good. But launching at Hite could be tricky; the best access is at Hall's.
If shad patterns don't work, crawdad patterns will. Anglers should fish with light line in the 4- to 6-pound-test range and tie on small, 2- or 3-inch grubs or tubes, or 4-inch finesse worms.
Although the smallmouth's preference in lure colors varies, I've had excellent results with clear finesse worms with salt and pepper flakes and grubs. Try dipping the tail of the grub or worm in chartreuse lure coloring. Another good color to try is root beer or similar crawdad color.
Look for rockslides along bluffs and canyon walls. Smallies hang around these areas waiting to feed on baitfish and crawdads. On one early fall trip a few years ago, two of us hooked and landed roughly 50 bass a day for four days in a row by "jump fishing" from one rockslide to another in the Antelope Canyon area.
Be prepared weather-wise. As the sun sets each day, the temperatures drop dramatically and a warm jacket is a must. Even early mornings can be chilly, as can fishing in the shade of deep canyons.
Anglers looking for some of the best fall and winter trout fishing in the West should visit Lee's Ferry. After high flows all summer, the Colorado River dropped in September and fishing at the Ferry has been excellent. The fish grew to be real healthy during the summer with a large terrestrial diet and they are showing it.
"After months of drift fishing, it is nice to be able to wade the gravel bars again with lots of success," said veteran guide Terry Gunn. "Sometime after the Thanksgiving holidays, the fish will start to think about spawning. The spawn normally lasts until March, providing the best time to catch a big rainbow at the Ferry."
Projections for fall fishing success in other northern Arizona waters are good, too. Kaibab Lake in Williams should be decent for rainbow trout and black crappie. Kinnickinick is a good place for trout and catfish.
Located close to Flagstaff, Ashurst Lake is expected to provide good angling not only for feisty trout, but big northern pike as well.
It's uncertain as to what the fall holds for Long Lake, but some big pike should still be available from the shore.
Fall is always a good time to fish Blue Ridge Lake for trout. This deep canyon lake has lots of big trout lurking in the depths. Santa Fe Lake in Williams might be a sleeper for brown trout. Knoll Lake can also be a good bet, especially for those wanting to hear or see elk while pursuing hungry fall rainbows.
NOVEMBER CLUB MEETINGS
The Arizona Flycasters Club will hold its monthly meeting at 7 p.m. Tuesday in the Sunnyslope Community Center, 802 E. Vogel Street in Phoenix. Mike Kaul, a certified casting Instructor, will conduct an indoors casting clinic using specialized equipment and speak about fly fishing opportunities in the Pinedale, Wyo., area. For further information, call (480) 497-9008.
Meanwhile, the Scottsdale Sportsman's Club will hold its monthly meeting at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday in the Scottsdale Boys and Girls Club, 2311 N. Miller Road. Arizona Game and Fish Urban Fisheries program manager Eric Swanson will present a video and hold a discussion on fishing the urban lakes. For information, call Al Larson at (480) 994-4750 or e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.