JULY 24, 2003

By Wayne Gustaveson

Lake Elevation: 3612

Water Temperature: 79-86 F


The anticipated confrontation between stripers and shad has begun at Hite. Shad have been hiding in murky water clouded by runoff. Water has cleared enough for stripers to see shad and the attack has begun. Surface feeding boils start at dawn and last all day. If you have a desire to fish a boil this will be the very best opportunity to do it. Boils should last for at least three weeks and probably much longer.

It is still possible to launch at your own risk at Hite. But Hite marina will close due to low water on July 28, 2003. There will be gas and services on shore but no gas for boaters after this weekend. The launch ramp has a solid dirt bottom with some gravel but primitive conditions exist. A few large rocks must be avoided while backing in. Water at the marina is 6 to 8 feet deep. Drive carefully in and around the marina. Watch for hazards that are marked and some that are not. The best option is to launch at Bullfrog or Halls, bring your own fuel and boat upstream.

Boiling action begins at the mouth of Farleys and progresses downlake to Good Hope Bay. Use top water lures, shallow running cranks, spoons, or any personal favorite than can be fished near the surface. The only caution is that freshly hooked 3-5 pound stripers are incredibly strong and must be handled with great care. It is wise to remove all but one treble hook from a surface lure. Mash down the barbs to make it easier to remove the hooks from the fish or from your hand. Use a single hook for best results.

You will catch fish so be prepared to care for them properly. Put fish directly in a cooler on ice to preserve eating quality in this hot weather. Fillet them as soon as possible. Stripers are healthy, fat and provide the best quality fillets seen for many years. Do not waste fish. Fillet them and give extra fillets to your friends. They will thank you.

There will be striper boils of less intensity and duration over the expanse of Lake Powell. Those at Hite will be the most dependable. The upper San Juan will be almost as good. But expect good early morning activity from Rincon to Knowles Canyon and from Rock Creek to Oak Canyon. This is really going to be fun!

If smallmouth bass are preferred their activity level has picked up. Fish plastic grubs, tubes or jerk baits along 45 degree sloping shorelines. Steep cliffs and long flats are not as good. Bass are stationed on rocky points and protruding rocks bordering the main channel. Bass are waiting for shad to swim by. They are traveling in packs much like stripers. Many points will have no fish and then one point will have a bunch. Keep moving and trying the outside structure. The reward will be bass that are heavier than any seen for the past 5 years. Bass are really putting on weight and look just great. If I seem excited by these prospects. I am! Fisheries at Powell are in the best physical condition since 1996.