JULY 17, 2003

By Wayne Gustaveson

Lake Elevation: 3614

Water Temperature: 78-85 F

Full moon nights above Lake Powell are a visual delight! Maybe the fish stay up too late looking at the moon or the gravitational pull is too much to overcome. It has been quite hot and there is a lot of boat traffic. For whatever reason fishing under the full moon this past week has been less productive. The only bright spot was the boiling stripers upstream and down from Bullfrog.

Don't worry if you are not at Bullfrog. Lake Powell still has lots of fish and they will resume their shad-chasing ways as soon as the moon darkens. This would be a good week to prepare for coming events by cleaning out the tackle box, sharpening hooks, ordering some new lures, or respooling line on the reel. Use this lull to prepare for some really great fishing action. There may not be another chance once the fishing breaks loose. I just ordered one dozen Rebel Jumpin' Minnows which is my favorite striper stick bait.

Here is what to expect during the last week of July. Stripers will again chase shad to the surface. This time shad will be larger and better swimmers. Stripers will have to work harder and swim faster to trap shad. That will make stripers more aggressive. Bigger shad mean that stripers will hit bigger lures. There will be fewer boils but they will be much more violent in nature. Expect a daily cycle with stripers starting at a predictable spot each morning and herding shad from one location to another.

Timing of the boils will be predictable. Best action will happen at first light and last for 1-2 hours. Events will replay in the evening but that performance will be shorter lasting less than an hour. The midday matinee will happen sporadically depending on lake location. I expect the center of boiling activity to move away from Bullfrog downstream to Rincon or upstream as far as Knowles or above. Shad will move away from areas of persistent striper attacks to avoid future encounters with the silver marauders.

At some point the murky water from Good Hope to Hite will clear. Stripers will find shad that have hidden there unmolested to this point. When that happens striper fishing in all other parts of the lake will pale by comparison. Striper alley from Good Hope to Hite will be the place to be for striper boils in August. Boils will begin at Good Hope and then progress upstream. The only location that will come close to rivaling Good Hope will be the upper San Juan where the same hidden shad circumstances prevail.

Bass will join in the fun by chasing shad and boiling alongside stripers. Topwater baits will catch both species during morning and evening twilight. Smaller poppers (Pop-R) are favored by bass while larger stick baits (Jumpin' Minnow, Super Spook Jr.) work best for stripers. During the day bass will hit shad colored grubs swimming at 20-30 feet around rocky ambush points.

Have patience - Even better fishing is on the way.