May 16, 2002
By Wayne Gustaveson   Home Page:
Lake Elevation: 3644  Water Temperature: 60-68 F
There is no discernable spring run off into Lake Powell which continues a very slow decline. The fall in lake level is not fast enough to disrupt spawning bass or dry out nests. In most year's the spring flood covers the shore line so fast that bass seem to get lost in the process. That's not the case this year. Bass are right where they have been since they started to spawn. That makes them easy to find. The short term drought effect is that fishing remains excellent for smallmouth and stripers. Walleye fishing is good with bluegill and catfish coming on strong.

Nightly low water temperatures are finally at 60 degrees which has caused a whole generation of small bass and stripers to move shallow and actively pursue food. The bigger fish are still hitting but catch rates have doubled when all the little ones are counted up at the end of the day.

Bass fishing is at the spring peak. On the San Juan smallmouth fishing is somewhere between awesome and fantastic. Midlake is great to excellent. Downlake is good near Wahweap and better upstream from Last Chance. The very best bass catching habitat type is stair-step terraces with big steep steps, broken blocky rock and lots of shady pockets. Check outside reefs, outside points, sharp breaks on the edge of flats and big (2-3 foot) blocky rocks. Long flats, slick rock domes, and the backs of canyons and coves are not as good but bass can be caught virtually anywhere. Stay on the "outside" away from the back of a cove for best results.

Soft plastic single and double tail grubs, tubes, soft and hard plastic jerk baits and crank baits are all working well in the correct habitat. Greens, pumpkin, and smoked with black and red flakes and sparkles are preferred plastic colors but it is difficult to find one that won't work. Weightless senkos are working particularly well.

Striped bass have moved SHALLOW in the lower lake. Warmer temperatures and a dense plankton bloom have main channel stripers near the top and eating microscopic animals. Find schools by visually scanning shallow water near the narrow main channel from the dam to upper Navajo Canyon. The best places to start looking are the first corner downstream from the mouth of Antelope; the coves on the Main channel downstream from the mouth of Navajo Canyon on the reservation (east) side; The points upstream and downstream for the first set of double islands in Navajo Canyon. Further uplake the hot spot is the back of Last Chance where the muddy water and clear water meet.

Stripers in the back of canyons where water is green-stained to brown-muddy can be caught best on shad imitating crank baits trolled or cast. Main channel plankton feeding stripers can not pass up a small chunk of anchovy on a small hook without weight swimming gallantly in the midst of free falling chum. It's a grand sight to watch the striper school scooping up the free chum and then the hook. Sight fishing for stripers is a hoot.