July 10, 1998
Lake Elevation: 3697 msl
Water Temperature: 74-82 F
By Wayne Gustaveson
Lake Powell has now topped out at 3697 feet. It will hold at this elevation for a week or two and then begin a slow decline.
Looks like the fish have outlasted the anglers this year. There are still plenty of cooperative fish waiting to be caught but the anglers have melted away. Striped bass just will not quit. All sizes of fish from 10 inches to 6 pounds are still right in the same places that they have been since early spring.
The striper boils reported last week are still happening but it is a matter of being in the right place at the right time. Look for small stripers feeding on the surface in the backs of canyons where shad spawning has occurred - Navajo, Warm Creek, Bullfrog, Halls, Red and White Canyons are good places to start. Certainly many other locations are experiencing similar striper boiling behavior so be ready at all times. Small stripers feeding on larval shad make very little commotion. Look closely at boat wakes and waves which may in reality be fish feeding on the surface.
The scarcity of shad in the open water means that plankton, which is normally consumed by shad, is now available for other fish to eat. Stripers key in on dense plankton schools and swim through the clouds of microscopic organisms consuming as many as possible. Stripers are not really proficient at filter feeding so the sudden appearance of bait or lures draws immediate response from a feeding school. Concentrate fishing efforts on the 15-25 foot strata. Once a school is discovered fish can be readily caught with silver jigging spoons, small white curly tail grubs and crankbaits, like rattle traps. Any large group of fish traces seen on the graph will most likely be stripers. The fish are very cooperative as they constantly need food while their metabolic rate increases in the ever warming water.
Stripers are still being caught at the dam, power plant intake, Warm Creek at the mouth of Crosby Canyon, Navajo canyon by the double islands and all the way in the back, Moki Wall, back of Bullfrog Creek, Halls Creek, Piute Canyon, Red and White Canyons. The fish are in generally much better condition than expected. It seems the really skinny fish were harvested early in the year with the remaining fish maintaining their body condition quite well on plankton, crayfish and an occasional shad.
Smallmouth fishing is good with mostly small fish (less then a pound) searching for food on main channels islands and points and in the backs of canyons near shad schools. Use crayfish colored green grubs in clear water and shad imitators in the murky water in the backs of the canyons. Bigger smallmouth are deeper on drop offs and will hit a heavy lead head with grub in various green colors. There is a really good top water bite for smallmouth around brush in the very early morning hours.
Catfishing has really exploded. The whiskered prowlers are really searching the shallow sandy beach areas at dusk and dawn. It is not uncommon to catch 20-30 from one location in an hour or two of fishing. Put on the hat and some sunscreen and go fishing at Lake Powell.