July 28, 1999
Lake Elevation: 3694 msl
Water Temperature: 76-83 F
Lake Powell has topped out at 3695 and will now slowly decline until next April. Summer patterns are in place. That means that fishing during full moon periods is often slow since fish tend to feed at night and stay deep during the long bright days. With those constraints it is still possible to find decent fishing but more travel and inconvenient fishing times are demanded.
Striped bass are boiling from early morning until 3 PM in the Copper Canyon area of the upper San Juan Arm. Unless windy conditions make boils hard to see, it is almost a sure thing that the long trip to the upper San Juan will be rewarded with exciting top water fishing for healthy 3 pound stripers. Look for boils beginning at Spencers Camp all the way to Copper Canyon and beyond. There are boils in the Hite area as well. These fish are easier to get to but not as predictable as the San Juan fish. Sporadic boils will happen in every major canyon where shad reside. The timing is such that you just have to be lucky to see them.
Stripers that feed on shad will not eat anchovies. Use bait in main channel areas where fish are deep and running along the main canyon walls. If fishing in the back of the canyon and no boils are seen, try trolling rattletraps or minnow shaped medium depth lures in the murky water where bottom depth is 20-40 feet. Stripers searching for shad will react to fast trolled lures (4-5 mph) and save the trip if boils are not discovered.
Largemouth and smallmouth bass are hitting top water lures early in the morning in the more isolated lake areas. The upper San Juan, Hite, Escalante, Last Chance - Rock Creek Canyons are good for surface and grub fishing early and late. Try the new soft plastic jerk baits that are fished without any weight for a neat top water experience. Smallmouth habitat hasn't changed. Look on long rocky points, submerged islands with deep water all around and on ledges which offer shade and hiding spots as the rock face rapidly falls off into the deep lake. Largemouth will be in the recently flooded brush.
Evening and night fishing for catfish is as good as it gets lake wide but is most productive near inflowing current of major tributaries. Hite, San Juan, Good Hope Bay, and the backs of Navajo, Escalante, Last Chance, Bullfrog, Halls and many other spots with flowing water are good right now.