June 21, 2001
By Wayne Gustaveson   Home Page:
Lake Elevation: 3672  Water Temperature: 74-79F

Runoff is slowing and Lake Powell is nearing its high point for the year. Don't expect the lake to fill much more than elevation 3675 this year. That leaves lots of beach for campers and not much brush in the water for fish. Tamarisk and tumbleweeds will grow on wet beaches as soon as the lake declines.

Stripers are feeding on shad in the backs of canyons at first light and then suspending in the shade of canyon cliffs during the day. They make periodic runs on to rocky shallow points and ledges to find crayfish where no shad are present.

For the first two hours of daylight look for small stripers boiling on larval shad at the color change zone in the back of many canyons like Navajo, Warm Creek, Last Chance, Bullfrog/Halls, Red, and White Canyons. Larval shad leave colored water when they attain swimming ability at one inch in length. They look for more food (plankton) in clear water. When they find food they also encounter yearling stripers lurking at the same spot. Boils erupt on the skirmish line. To save a shad from being premature striper food use a small lure like a silver spoon or shad minnow. Cast the heavy bait into the surface disturbance and work it quickly just under the surface. After stripers sound let it fall to the bottom to pick up a few more stragglers. Delivering a small white jig or fly by tying it directly to the back hook of a large surface lure also works on young surface feeding stripers. Put a fly behind a bubble to catch stripers just like trout.

More stripers can be caught on the canyon walls with bait. Best fishing time is the first 2 hours after dark. Next best is early and late in the day although some can be caught all day long. Stripers are coming up to 20-30 feet to search for crayfish. Chum to attract the attention of bottom grubbing stripers who will respond quickly to bait if in the area. If not, move to another point and chum again. Stripers have recently been caught on bait in the morning shade of Castle Rock (Wahweap Bay), points in Navajo Canyon, Last Chance, point near red buoy 30, confluence of Rock Creek and Dry Rock, Mountain Sheep Canyon, main channel from Halls to Lake Canyon (trolling and chumming), rocky shore opposite Bullfrog Marina, Crystal Springs, main channel across from mouth of Forgotten, Ticaboo, Red and White Canyon.

Smallmouth fishing is good (fish every 10-15 casts). They may be right on shore or as deep as 30 feet. Fish steep rocky structure that allows the bait to be worked from surface to 30 foot depths in one bottom-dragging cast. The breaking edge of deep structure is more productive than the rest of the shelf or drop off.

Bluegill and catfish are in full bite with the warm waters of summer. They are good quarry for kids of all ages during the day when other fish slow down.