May 24, 2001
By Wayne Gustaveson   Home Page:
Lake Elevation: 3666  Water Temperature: 68-74 F

Water level is rising. Shad are spawning. Holiday crowds are descending. Fishing was hot as can be last week. Sounds like a good time to be at Powell.

Stripers have moved away from the dam and power plant staging areas. Spawning is over in the lower lake. Stripers are randomly moving in search of food. Moving striper schools may be taken at the customary spots but they are just as likely to be in Antelope, Navajo, Padre (Cookie Jar), Last Chance, Rock Creek, Mountain Sheep, Oak or Reflection Canyon. Fish edges of cliffs where points, shelves, reefs and rock slides provide a rest stop or snack bar for moving schools. Schools are large and considerable catches can happen when a school is located.

Stripers in heavily fished locations (dam, power plant, Hall's Creek mouth, Moki Wall, Red Canyon, White Canyon) are more likely to be caught while a bait is descending instead of hanging still. Stripers can be tricked by lowering the bait slowly to resemble descending chum. Click the anti-reverse lever on the reel to the off position and reel backwards very slowly to allow the bait to drift naturally deeper. Throw in some chum and watch both bait and chum descend. Simulate the fall rate to match the chum. Stripers will hit just as the chum and bait disappear from view. The same slow fall rate is achieved by using a weightless anchovy and patiently waiting for it to get to the 25-35 foot zone. On tough fishing days these tips will double or triple the catch.

Uplake stripers are still spawning due to colder runoff prolonging the event. Look in staging areas at White, Red and Blue Notch. Runoff has muddied water as far down stream as Good Hope. Look for clear water in side canyons and main channel for feeding stripers and bass. The upper San Juan has the same mud problem as far down as Zahn Bay.

Smallmouth fishing has been as good as it can be the past two weeks. It has to slow down - just can't get any better. Pull fishing lures of any kind through clear or green water around broken chunk rock and catch bass. Rising lake level means water will discolor and fish will be displaced. They actually stay on last weeks habitat while new beach is flooded. If you can't find bass then fish vertical habitat(rocks and points) instead of shallows that may have only been wet for a day or two.

I prefer bouncing soft plastics jigs on light heads on bottom for quick (8-12 inch) smallmouth action. Use heavier heads in deeper strata to catch larger fish but at a much slower rate. Walleye, catfish and other species will hit the same plastic jigs.

Remember to keep all striped bass caught and keep a limit (6) of smallmouth bass to reduce predator numbers and allow limited food to be used by the remaining fish. It will help future fishing success.