LAKE POWELL FISH REPORT
SEP 20, 1996

LAKE ELEVATION: 3680
WATER TEMPERATURE: 72 F

We sampled midlake this past week and found storm fronts cooling off the water and slowing the fishing momentarily while the wind was blowing. As soon as the sun came out the fish started right up again. All species are really stocking up on groceries. Bass are hitting topwater early in the morning and striped bass are ripping shad on the surface in the upper lake. Bluegill and catfish can be seen feeding right at your campsite and are easy to catch.

Striped bass were bigger and stronger this week than last. They were noticeable heavier from the intense feeding that has occurred. They are as predictable as clockwork. We found schools surfacing in the exact same locations at the same time as we had seen the week before. It is absolutely imperative to be on the water between 7-9 am (MDT) to see boiling stripers. At 9 am the morning feeding period is over and stripers go deep and dormant while they digest breakfast. They can resurface randomly during the day but will not be at all predictable.

You can count on quick intense boiling action during the morning feeding period at the following locations: San Juan at Neskahi Bay on the upstream corner; main channel at the mouth of Slick Rock, the mouth of Annies Canyon, and between Hall's and Lake Canyon; Halls Bay and Bullfrog Bay, Hansen and Smith Fork in the main channel; Good Hope Bay; White, Farleys and Hite all the way to the Dirty Devil. There will be boils in the evenings at the same locations.

Use surface plugs, shallow runners, grubs or spoons to catch fish. Getting to the school is more important than using the right bait. The schools come up quickly and can be approached full speed by boat. Stop parallel to the school and cast into the fray while the fish are on top. Once they go down they are hard to locate until they pop to the surface again. Fish size is 4 pound average with many 5 pound fish and some as heavy as 8 pounds in the schools. These are the best stripers that Lake Powell has produced since 1980.

Smallmouth and largemouth bass are gorging on shad and can be caught on surface lures during the first 2 hours of daylight. Then they can be taken on shad colored baits fished at 15 to 30 feet all day long. Fishing is excellent for bass at the Rincon, upper San Juan, Good Hope Bay to Hite and in many other places. Our best luck came by seeing shad schools feeding on the surface and fishing grubs under the shad. Invariably as the grub fell below the feeding shad a smallmouth bass would pick it up. We also saw bass boiling on stripers in the backs of coves.

Fishing is still good and holding up well. The temperature is great for boating and camping.