July 4, 2002
By Wayne Gustaveson   Home Page:
Lake Elevation: 3640  Water Temperature: 77-85 F

Have a safe and exciting holiday weekend. With all the boating, swimming and wake boarding make some time for an early morning fishing excursion. There is no better time to enjoy Lake Powell than at dawn when the colors come alive and change minute to minute for the first hour of the day. Bass and stripers consistently feed in the subdued light each morning and this may be the very best hour for catching fish.

Striped bass are starting to boil and will be found chasing shad on the surface from 4 to 9 AM. Cruise to the back of the canyon watching for individual splashes or full blown surface boils. Once sighted cruise within casting range, turn the boat parallel to the direction of feeding activity and cast a surface lure like a Zara Spook or Super Spook Jr. just beyond the splashing fish. Then reel it quickly back across the ripples where the fish were last seen. Bouncing the rod tip makes the lure return in a side-to-side manner which is the desired effect. If you have trouble making your lure "walk-the-dog" then just tie on a rattle trap and rip it back through the school with a straight quick retrieve. The ‘trap catches more fish but the topwater lures offers a visual effect that is unforgettable.

After boils cease, fish anchovies while hopping from one prominent point to the next. Chum the point and fish weightless anchovies for 15-20 minutes. If stripers don't start biting within that time move to the next point and try it again. When the school is contacted stripers can be caught in big numbers in a short time. Look for boils in Navajo, Last Chance, upper San Juan, Bullfrog, Halls, and all the canyons from Good Hope to Hite. The boiling action is repeated at sunset as well as sunrise.

Smallmouth bass fishing has slowed in the lower and middle portion of the lake but is still excellent in the San Juan and near Hite. Bass catch per spot is only half what it was last week That means on each rocky shoal expect to catch 2 or 3 bass before moving to the next spot with sharp breaking rocks that offer shade and crevices for bass to hide and ambush prey. Moving from spot to spot will still provide 20-30 bass at the end of each trip.

Catfish are at their peak. They favor sandy spots that allow boats to beach. At dusk toss a chicken liver bait onto the sandy beach right behind the boat. Night fishing for stripers is a good technique, as well, but the boat must be anchored in water that is deeper than 40 feet. Use a floating crappie light or lantern to attract bait fish then fish 10 feet above the bottom under the light.

Sunfish are found in big boulder habitat on prominent points and along rock piles protruding from the steep cliff wall. Use live worms and small hooks for these abundant and colorful pan fish.