JULY 31, 2003

By Wayne Gustaveson

Lake Elevation: 3610

Water Temperature: 79-86 F

Those that reacted to last week's report of stripers boils near Hite and upper San Juan were not disappointed. Most anglers fishing two days while camping overnight caught 2-3 pound stripers in triple figures while fishing from Good Hope Bay to Hite. San Juan boils were found at the Great Bend.

Fishing was beyond description but there were some challenges. All reports indicate that launching from Hite, while primitive, was very adequate for all fishing boats. It seems that water levels will allow safe launching there for at least one more week. There was too much wind associated with thunderstorms that caused some damage and dampened the camping experience. When the wind did not blow it was very hot for tent campers.

This week expect more boils at the two hot uplake locations. Shad of all sizes are common and surface feeding disturbances range from leisurely slurping all the way to magnum boils. In "hot zones" boils are active most of the day with morning and evening the best times. Feeding activity ranges from short and quick to prolonged hours of fearless feeding. You will catch stripers from Hite to buoy 129 and from Neskahi canyon to Spencers Camp.

The rest of the lake is suffering from easy living. There are enough shad for an easy meal and not enough stripers to force fierce competition for food. So stripers and bass are eating when convenient. They have become extremely fussy eaters. That makes it tough on anglers from Wahweap to Bullfrog. There will be quick boils by both bass and stripers but it doesn't last very long. Boils are still happening occasionally from Rincon to Good Hope and less frequently from Rainbow to Wahweap.

Expect to catch a few bass on the deep water edges of the main channel. Bass are congregating on certain points waiting for a shad drive by. Shad come - bass eat and then it's over. I am surprised to report that trolling shad lures along main channel points is perhaps the best bet to catch smallmouth bass in the lower lake. Fishing 30 feet deep with shad colored soft plastic baits works but bass are clumped in groups leaving many points unguarded. Covering lots of points casting cranks or trolling lures is the best way to find fish quickly.

Channel catfish are very active now in the evenings and can be caught on most beaches. Use table scraps for a quick and easy fishing experience. Adding the soft glow of lantern light will attract plankton, shad and then larger predators. Viewing the host of aquatic life in Lake Powell after dark is a neat experience.