After going to this year's boat show at the Salt Palace, I started doing some reflecting about how lucky I was to win a fishing trip to Lake Powell at a show a few years ago.
I had signed up for a drawing with the Castle Country Chamber of Commerce for a fishing trip, along with the many other free drawings at the show. I went home from the show and completely forgot about any of the drawings like I do each year.
I couldn't believe it when, a few weeks later, I received a notice from the Castle Country Chamber of Commerce congratulating me on winning the fishing trip. After the initial shock was over, I started thinking of what kind of fish I would catch and the size. I waited in anticipation for a call from the fishing guide to make arrangements for the trip.
After about a week I received a call from the guide. I was told that we would be fishing for stripers and that the average size would be 2 to 7 pounds. The guide told me that if I was interested in sleeping over night in a tent then we could stay an extra day and fish. Well, I am not stupid, I would of slept on a rock to stay an extra day and fish.
The guide used the Farmer's Almanac to determine which days would be good weather. I had never ever heard of anybody using the Farmer's Almanac to predict the weather but I figured it was worth a try. We picked the first weekend in May to go because the Almanac said that that weekend would be the best weather.
I was told that all I needed to bring was a fishing license and a fishing partner. My wife Linda wasn't that interested in the fishing, but a free trip to Lake Powell sounded all right with her. I thought I was going to die waiting for that weekend to come but finally it was here.
We drove down to Price on Saturday and stayed over at the Quality Inn. At 4:00 a.m. Sunday morning we met our guides, Ron and Mel, and began the drive to Bullfrog Marina at Lake Powell. On the way to the lake Mel told us stories about the different towns and the historical things that had happened in southern Utah. I really enjoyed hearing about them.
We arrived at Bullfrog about 10:00 a.m. and set up camp. I had never been fishing for stripers and was very excited about catching some. This was my first trip to Powell and the country was just beautiful. The weather turned out to be perfect and I became a believer in the Farmer's Almanac. I think that the local weathermen should pick up a copy. It would improve their weather reports by 50 percent.
After we had camp all set up we launched the boat. Ron turned on the fish finder and we began to scout for a school of stripers. It took about an hour to find the fish using the fish finder. I had never used a fish finder and couldn't believe how much easier it made fishing. The fish finder screen was completely filled with dots representing fish when we stopped and got out our rods. The fish were in a school at about 30 feet below the boat.
Mel cut frozen anchovies into four pieces and placed a piece on a jig hook. I lowered the hook to 30 feet and waited in anticipation for the fish to bite. After about ten minutes I got my first bite but I was so anxious that I missed the fish. I told myself that I would catch the next fish that took my bait. When the next fish hit I set the hook and began to reel it in. The fish didn't fight too much until it saw the boat and then it took off. It took a few minutes to get him into the boat. Linda caught the next fish and was so excited about catching it. We didn't even know she was battling a fish until she asked for help to get it into the boat. She was very relieved when Mel took the fish off her hook because she wasn't going to touch it. We fished for the rest of the day and caught fish continually. We fished until about 5:00 and caught 35 fish. The fish were all in the 2-7 pound range and were very fun to catch.
Back at camp our two guides fixed us a super fish dinner. We were told about how large the stripers used to be at Powell until they ate themselves out of house and home. I usually don't keep too many of the fish I catch but because of the large population of stripers the guides encouraged us to keep them. Besides, they were very good eating.
Our guides showed us that when you catch a striper, you should cut the red vein in the gills to allow the fish to bleed and when skinning the fish you should cut away the brown meat next to the skin. This takes away the fishy taste.
The next morning we were on the water about 8:00 a.m. and began to fish. We fished the same cove that we had fished the day before, except we fished the north side instead of the south side (the first large cove northeast of Bullfrog Marina). We were fishing along a steep wall that rose about 200 feet above the water and the water was very deep. While eating lunch, the boat drifted away from the wall and Mel got a snag. He began to pull the boat back towards the wall trying not to break the line. After the boat was against the wall Mel's snag began to move. It was funny to see the look on his face when his snag turned out to be a large catfish. We caught well over 50 fish by 11:00 a.m. and kept our limits.
We drove over to Hall's Crossing so Linda could buy herself a T-shirt so everyone would know that she had been to Lake Powell. We then packed up camp and returned home. On the way home Mel told us some more great stories to make the long trip pass more quickly.
This was one of the most enjoyable fishing trips I have ever had and I can hardly wait to go back to Powell and do some more fishing. I sure hope that the DWR can get the other states involved to allow the planting of a new forage fish into Powell so the stripers will have something to eat again. The two to seven pound stripers were so fun to catch that I can only dream about what a 10 to 20 pound fish would be like.
I would like to thank the Castle Country Chamber of Commerce and our two guides Ron and Mel for a most enjoyable time.