July 25, 2002
By Wayne Gustaveson   Home Page:
Lake Elevation: 3635  Water Temperature: 79-85 F

With full moon, a recent storm front with high winds and dropping barometric pressure, then throw in a holiday weekend and Lake Powell is facing some of the most difficult and challenging fishing conditions of the year. Just be patient and enjoy some excellent boating, playing and expect fishing to improve each day as the moon darkens.

If you are going fishing anyway there will be fish to catch. Get out early! The air temperature is cool. The morning shadows make many fishing spots much better than they are with bright sun shining on them. Early fish are more active and the chances of catching one is greatly increased.

The first fishing option is to scan the surface for striper boils. Boils are more likely in the upper lake near Hite but they have been seen in all lake areas. In the lower lake the boils are quick and small. We call them "ghost boils" because by the time you get in casting range the fish are gone. Ghosts have been seen at the south breakwater of Wahweap Marina, Antelope Point, Navajo Canyon, Castle Rock and the main channel between Warm Creek and Padre Bay.

There are more shad near Bullfrog now than anytime during the past 5 years. Expect boils there within the next two weeks. Trachyte Canyon near Hite and the San Juan above Spencers Camp are the best spots to be for consistent striper fishing this week. Boils are subtle and scattered due to the moon effect, but stripers will still rise to surface baits randomly cast to points and coves. Working the surface with a Super Spook Jr, or mid depth with a Rattletrap or bouncing the bottom with a jigging spoon will put many stripers in the boat by the end of a trip.

There probably isn't a day when smallmouth can't be caught. They are on every reef and along every shoreline in Lake Powell. In tough conditions the catch may be small or it could reach 20-30 or more. The most effective technique is to throw a soft plastic grub to the terminal end of a fast breaking rock point. Start near shore in shallow water and bounce the grub on the rocks, down the point until it passes 30-40 feet. Swim the grub back to the boat and then cast to a new area and repeat the process. Most bass are small and the pickup may be subtle. Any change in tension or pressure on the line calls for a quick flick of the wrist to set the hook on a feisty bass.

I can be more descriptive with pictures than words. If you want to see bass habitat then look up my web page at The fishing report is posted there along with much more specific fishing information about Lake Powell. .

The summer peak is the best time to fish for catfish. They prowl along sandy beaches which are very abundant at these low lake levels. Use a soft, smelly bait like chicken liver or anchovy. Place the bait on a dropper with a weight on the bottom (drop shot) or just fish it weightless on a #4 bait hook. You may want to chum the area with anchovies to draw in nocturnal stripers to your lighted campsite. Fishing after dark is delightful with cooler temperatures and a bright moon which allows better visibility than on many other nights.