September 18, 1998
Lake Elevation: 3689 msl
Water Temperature: 76-78 F
By Wayne Gustaveson
Surface fishing continues to excite anglers as a mixed bag of large and smallmouth bass, striped bass, and sunfish attack shad and other forage fish each morning. The backs of the canyons are great along with some main channel areas in many of the open bays.
The best spots are the Copper Canyon area of the upper San Juan, and Red Canyon in Good Hope Bay. Many adjacent canyons and coves are excellent particularly from Hite to Good Hope and the upper San Juan from Copper to Piute Canyon. Fishing is improving in the lower lake from Last Chance to Rainbow Bridge Canyon.
The pattern is the same lakewide. First find shad in the back of a canyon or cove. Once shad are located fishing activity will be intense for the first 3 hours of light in the morning and the last hour of light at night. Shad can be seen feeding on the surface or located on a graph. Even if shad are not available, surface action still happens as many small sunfish are being chased and eaten by the bigger fish. This time of year most game fish will rise to the surface to eat.
Cast stick baits (jumpiní minnows and zara spooks), poppers (Pop-Rs, Sugoi Splash, chuggers), jerk baits or a single tail plastic grub on a 3/8 ounce lead head to the brushy shoreline and retrieve slowly for bass or quickly for stripers. Bass like to watch surface lures come to rest momentarily and then twitch before striking. Stripers like to chase the lure and get there before their buddy can eat it. Either way the strike on the surface is spectacular and even when the fish is missed there is a sense of satisfaction for getting the hit. The visual display more the doubles the fishing excitement.
Mid day is not wasted as plastic grubs fished deep on long prominent points will pay off in smallmouth bass. The bigger fish are as deep as 30 feet with many of the smaller fish at shallower depths. Keep moving from point to point as bass tend to school this time of year. Fish will be bunched up on one or two spots. I fish a shoreline quickly only stopping when I get a bite. More than one fish can be taken from a spot where the first aggressive fish is caught.
Catfish are really active from the last two hours of daylight until 2 hours after dark. I really like September. It is probably the very best month of the year for catching fish at Lake Powell.