September 12, 1997
By Wayne Gustaveson
Lake Elevation: 3690
Water Temperature: 77 F

You may have to forgive me for this report. It is one thing to pass on fishing information from angler interviews but a whole lot better to give details of personal experiences. I just returned from a sampling trip on the San Juan and got to spend two hours fishing in my favorite spot on Lake Powell. The little 200 yard canyon has no name but it would be my choice to bass fish over any other spot on the lake.

At 7 am we idled into the open cove and began casting top water lures and swimming grubs near secondary points. Smallmouth responded immediately to both offerings. We caught fish around each point. When hungry bass missed the surface lure they trailed the lure back to boat in groups of 5 to 10. The tattered grub would swim back surrounded by a convoy of smallmouth. Armed with three rods, I cast a surface stick bait to each spot until the bass quit swirling under the lure. Then I picked up the grub rod and let it settle to the bottom. The bigger fish were deeper and would hit the grub. Periodically a school of stripers or smallmouth would cruise under the boat chasing shad. When I saw fish flashing I picked up the third rod with a silver spoon attached and dropped straight down imitating a wounded shad. Fish were hitting on all three cylinders. It was great. The conservative catch after 2 hours of intense fishing was 30 smallmouth, 10 largemouth, and 8 stripers. We lost count of the little ones these were the fish one pound and larger.

We returned to camp to clean stripers (we had released all the bass). I had a rod rigged for catfish so I threw a bait out while filleting stripers and caught 10 channel cats. It was tough to decide if I should fillet the whole striper or pick up the catfish rod that was twitching. I had a great morning. I really love this lake.

I can attest that bass fishing is great on the San Juan. Catfish are willing and striped bass are ever present. This continues to be the best fishing year that I can remember on Lake Powell.

Striped bass are hitting anchovies on steep main channel walls. The dam and power plant intake are sure bets to catch fish but more adventurous anglers are striking out to find there own school. Look for a bit of structure on an otherwise slick wall. Shade lines created by the steep walls often hold schools of stripers from 12 inches to 8 pounds and could be the key to finding a school all to yourself. Anglers have found good schools using this pattern in Warm Creek, Padre Bay, Last Chance, main channel near Cornerstone, Bowns, the east fork of the Rincon, Annies, Halls, and the high walls just downstream from Good Hope Bay. Chumming with anchovies will get a school started but then is no longer necessary once the fish start feeding. Trolling the walls in these same areas is effective.