September 3, 1999
Lake Elevation: 3693 msl
Water Temperature: 72-76 F
Monsoon storms spell the end of summer and dampen the fishing. Stripers and bass have gone deep to wait for the storms to blow by. Fishing was better than expected during August. September is normally better fishing than August and this year should be no exception.
With the water beginning to cool, expect shad to begin a month-long migration from open water to the backs of coves. Shad are assisted in the journey by bass and stripers that chase them into shallow water which is the only remaining sanctuary from the relentless pursuit. Coves with brush and shallow water are preferred but water that is just deep enough for shad and too shallow for stripers is good enough. Look for a shad school hiding in the back of a cove to mark a likely fishing spot.
Stripers will boil again when the weather improves and the moon gets darker. Look near Hite (Dirty Devil, White Canyon, and main channel) for best chance of boiling stripers. The upper San Juan is the next best bet but no longer a sure thing. The rest of the lake has sporadic surface action most commonly found in the early morning and late evening. Anchovy fishing is only fair and should be confined to the main channel where no shad are present and stripers are eating crayfish on deep rocky structure. Stripers eat shad to the exclusion of anything else when available. Use a shad imitating lure instead of bait in the backs of the canyons.
On Sept 1st I looked for boils in Warm Creek with no success. Then at the mouth of Navajo Canyon groups of 3-4 stripers were found chasing a handful of shad. The action was better characterized as a dimple instead of a boil. It can be frustrating to chase fish acting this way because the lure must be cast to the fish while they are actively jumping to get a hookup. One approach is to wait for the first splash and rush to the spot and quickly cast a surface lure. Another option is to identify the area of most surface activity and then use a jigging spoon to pick stripers off the bottom or troll the area with mid depth lures and try to intercept them on the way up or way down. All three techniques work but the catch is not as great as when stripers stay on the surface for 5 minutes or longer.
Smallmouth bass are still holding at 15-25 feet deep and can be taken on soft plastic grubs worked right on the bottom. Smallmouth will feed right with stripers in boils as shad fleeing in every direction are fair game to all predators. Surface feeding is best in the early morning and late evening but grub fishing lasts all day long. The lower lake is still slower than mid and upper lake locations. Head upstream from Wahweap at least to Last Chance for consistent smallmouth fishing. From Bullfrog/Halls it is good bass fishing in either direction.
Fishing pressure has been modest this summer. Now that school has started the boating activity level has declined and it is safe to go fishing once more.