May 8, 2003

By Wayne Gustaveson

Lake Elevation: 3605

Water Temperature: 56-67 F

Lake Powell has stabilized at 3605 feet elevation. Inflow is exceeding outflow, but just barely. New projections have the lake rising 10 feet to 3615 by July. An increase to 3608 puts all the launch ramps back in operation and will allow great launching on the new extended ramps. Hite ramp has a new gravel base and will be operating an improved one lane ramp for the short term.

Just returned from the San Juan and found the wind. As soon as it quits blowing, fishing is going to take off. We based out of Piute Canyon and found very little fish activity there - no shad, no stripers in Piute proper. Smallmouth were found in many places but the best locations were shallow coves with a flat bottom and lots of rock structure adjacent to a deep drop off. Look for rock islands sticking up to mark smallmouth holding areas. Largemouth were well represented and found on slightly steeper structure but near the same edge-of-channel, flat-bottom coves. The most active time period for catching bass was the last hour of light in the evening.

The very best fishing in the San Juan was found near Spencers Camp in Zahn Bay. Here water was murkier and warmer. Stripers were found on most points and were smacking trolled lures while walleye and smallmouth were scooping up soft plastic grubs in shad colors (white, silver, with sparkles). Crappie were caught on the small plastic grubs. Remember to honor the 10 fish crappie limit even in the upper San Juan. There is no distinct mudline on the San Juan but color gradually increases with travel uplake.

A good bet for catching stripers is trolling the back of Bullfrog Bay and The Horn near the mouth of Scorup Canyon. The Colorado River mudline is near The Horn and stripers seem to follow the mudline in search of easy prey. Bass fishing near Hite is better in the clearer water now that runoff has started and inflow is cold.

Striper trolling in the lower lake died after the last wind storm but will light up again as soon as the weather stabilizes. The simmering hot spots are Lone Rock Canyon, Warm Creek, Navajo, Last Chance and Rock Creek - all three arms.

The peak of spring fishing has not yet occurred. Expect gradual improvement with the warming weather over the nest 2 weeks.