JUNE 19, 2003

By Wayne Gustaveson

Lake Elevation: 3616

Water Temperature: 74-82 F

Lake Powell has topped out at 3616. All ramps are open and operating. The Castle Rock cut is wet but not quite passable. With runoff lessening muddy water in the main channel from Hite to Bullfrog will begin to clear as silt settles out. At the same time the full moon is getting darker. The result of these combined circumstances is that fishing will improve. Next week will be better than this week, but there are some bright spots happening right now.

The San Juan is the best bet. Runoff was not as intense and it is clearing faster than the Colorado River arm. Striped bass continue to feed on the surface in the morning and evening and can be caught trolling all day long. The best striper catching location is Neskahi Bay. Upstream is still too muddy and downstream is too clear. Look for open water and shoreline boils. Use surface lures while fish are breaking the surface and mid range crank baits and spoons after the boil subsides. When there is no visible feeding activity, troll the bay with shad lures that run from 12 to 20 feet for constant action.

Smallmouth fishing is steady lakewide but catching has been slower this year for the same reason stripers are hard to find. All sport species have plenty to eat and are not as aggressive as they have been in other years. With a stable water level and summer conditions prevailing smallmouth fishing will improve. Early morning will produce a quick surface bite. As the sun gets higher, bass will head for shade and deeper water. The cycle replays in the evening. Low light is the best time to fish. Soft plastic grubs are working better each day. Shad colors are still the most effective. Bonus walleye and green sunfish are caught while fishing for bass.

Hite may be a week or two away from really good fishing. It may be better to let the water clear a little longer. Try Bullfrog /Halls instead for some very good early morning action from bass and stripers. Troll or cast around points and shoals in Bullfrog Bay, Halls Creek, and up the main channel near buoys 102-103. Use the shade of the sheer cliff to guide your fishing efforts. Get out early and then fish late. Expect to catch 10-20 stripers in a morning of diligent effort. Trolling and casting is much better than fishing bait during the day. Bait has only been effective at night under a crappie light.

Many different lures are working. Trolling with big-lipped, deep diving lures is effective but shallow trolling with plastic shad bodies and twister tails is working just as well. The main ingredient is getting out early and giving it your best effort for a few hours. The serious angler is rewarded with some very nice fat fish after a very pleasant morning on Lake Powell.