May 29, 1997
By Wayne Gustaveson

It is amazing to stand on the shore of Lake Powell and watch the lake level rise. It is coming up fast enough to see an hourly change. The fish sense the change with young, exuberant smallmouth rushing into the newly created habitat and older, wiser fish avoiding it. Anglers casting to the shoreline find aggressive little smallmouth but miss out on quality larger bass that remain on deep structure. It is time to turn on the graph and fish the hidden islands and humps that are only 10-15 feet deep but not readily apparent while cruising uplake.

Smallmouth are still the best fish biting. Find that secret shoal or reef and cast a split shot rigged, double-tailed plastic grub, letting it drag the bottom as the boat drifts. Anglers fishing the deeper structure still find excellent fishing while those casting to shore will only have good results.

Walleye continue to delight anglers who cast chartreuse plastic grubs tipped with a live night crawler. Trolling works well close to shore during low light periods. Walleye angling is best between Last Chance and Rainbow Canyon but they can certainly be caught at any location on the lake using these techniques.

I keep trying to push striped bass but action is still slow. The only fish caught are taken by trollers using long, thin deep- diving lures in the backs of canyons. Occasional 5-7 pound stripers are being caught in 20-40 feet of water in Wahweap, Warm Creek, Last Chance, Halls and Bullfrog, and Red Canyon. Incident catches occur anywhere in the main channel as stripers move toward midlake following the recent spawn. Small 10-12 inch stripers are boiling occasionally in White and Dirty Devil Canyons and the back of Navajo. Please harvest all small stripers possible to help keep the predators and prey in balance. Harvesting stripers is imperative to maintain the excellent fishing that we have enjoyed this year.

Shad numbers are small this spring and spawning actions have not really affected the fishing much. While larval shad are being collected in the backs of canyons it appears that shad production will be modest at best.

Catfish are beginning to bite on sandy beaches near camp and bluegill are now spawning in the same shallow brushy water that bass and crappie used last month.