May 29, 2003

By Wayne Gustaveson

Lake Elevation: 3608

Water Temperature: 72-80 F

I cannot ever remember a 10 degree temperature jump from one weekly fish report to the next. That is what happened this week with morning water temperature now at 72. The rapid warming has melted snow in the Rockies which is rushing toward Lake Powell. Hite marina sits exactly where river and lake meet. Each day as much as 74,000 acre feet of water passes the marina and this week the flood is running directly through the marina. The current and silt load is pulling down moored houseboat anchors and threatening to pull the boats under as well. Launching at Hite is sketchy.

Further downstream the rapidly rising water is welcome. The shallow slope of the Bullfrog ramp is improving. The leading edges of extended ramps at Wahweap Stateline and Antelope Point are now under water. These ramps are not yet open but will be by next week. Launching and access are much better and almost back to normal.

Fishing is holding up well despite the wild environmental transitions occurring. Avoid the main channel flood at Hite but slip into side canyons for excellent fishing for stripers, smallmouth, walleye, and sunfish. In the upper San Juan fishing has shut down at Spencers Camp but improved dramatically at Piute/Neskahi Bay. Some early morning striper boils are occurring along with excellent smallmouth catching. Fish near the water color transition zone.

In the clear water of the main lake fishing is good for smallmouth and spotty for stripers. Very early and very late may be the best fishing times. Shad are ever present and spawn at mornings first light. All predators take advantage of the "shad run" as spawning shad deposit adhesive eggs along the shore, brush and around floating mats of driftwood in the backs of canyons.

Shad imitating crankbaits may be the best lures to use near spawning shad. Shad raps, Bevy Shad, Pointers and rattletraps are good shallow runners. But surface lures are more exciting and perhaps the better lure to use each morning. Sammy. Superspook Jr., jumpin' minnow, and pop-r type lures are working very well. Mid day the ever-popular soft plastics grubs are working well for smallmouth.

Bass are caught between protecting the nest made last week and following the rapidly disappearing shoreline. Bass will move from flat nesting structure to steeper rocky shoreline as fry are released to fend for themselves. It will be necessary to fish all kinds of habitat to find where bass may be on any particular day. Look for a pattern to help reduce time spent on unproductive water. Luckily bass are very aggressive and will let the patient angler know where they can be caught. Pay strict attention to where the fish bites and concentrate on similar type habitat and structure.

Stripers are not in the lower lake main channel and will spawn in the backs of the canyons. Stripers have not left the shad food supply and will remain scattered. Fat healthy stripers can be caught on surface lures, crankbaits and spoons around spawning shad. Casting shad imitating spoons to long points after dark may be the very best method for bigger stripers.

Rapidly changing conditions sometimes make it tough to keep up with the fish. If success is limited then try changing locations and techniques to find something that works.