AUGUST 28, 2003

By Wayne Gustaveson

Lake Elevation: 3605

Water Temperature: 79-83 F

Just returned from a sampling trip to the San Juan. We hit a bad day for fishing. It was tough to catch a fish anywhere from Wahweap to the end of the San Juan. I know stripers boiled at Piute Canyon on the weekend and certainly started right after we left but we couldn't find them. Oh well- that's fishing!

One of the good things we found was a much calmer and gentler travel route through the main channel from Wahweap to Padre bay. Traffic is less and the ride is not nearly as intimidating as it was in July. The only consistently rough ride is from Antelope Canyon mouth down to the wakeless area at the entrance to Wahweap Bay. The rest of the trip was fine.

Next we found some very warm water in quiet coves where the water temperature was 88 degrees. That is the warmest I have ever seen in Powell and it is almost September! Swimming was deluxe but the fish didn't seem to like it all that much.

We ran upstream to Zahn Bay the first evening and found some very quick boils at dusk. Groups of 5-10 stripers would break loose for 2 splashes and then quit. They came back up in the same area quicky so the boat could be parked and waiting for the next event. If in range when they splashed again a fish or two could be caught. If out of range there was not time to get there. That was a bit disappointing to be at at the most remote outpost of Lake Powell and find fish just as a fussy as at Bullfrog. These boils were unique in that individual stripers would leap 1 to 2 feet out of the water and seem to wink or smirk as they went back in. This was more of a frolic than a boil. I think they were just having fun. There is plenty to eat and none of the fish in Lake Powell are working very hard to find a meal. They are pretty much ignoring angler offerings right now. But as soon as the temperature starts to drop, fishing will improve immediately. Wait for water temperature to hit 75 and then decline to 65 for the peak of Fall fishing.

The best place to fish is the 60 mile stretch from Rincon to White Canyon. Striper boils are quick but consistently visible. Boils lasting longer than a minute are producing 1-3 fish per boil. It may be more productive to troll or spoon schools found on the graph BUT chasing boils is such a lot of fun!

Bass fishing is only fair in these unseasonably warm water temperatures. It will get much better when it cools. Catfish are very active and catchable on most shallow patches of sand - especially if a camp has been there recently.

The water is warm, crowds are diminishing and fishing will pick up soon. September should be a great month for catching fish at Powell.