LAKE POWELL FISH REPORT

SEPTEMBER 4, 2003

By Wayne Gustaveson


Lake Elevation: 3603

Water Temperature: 78-82 F

Access to launch ramps will offer a daily surprise as lake bottom not seen for over 30 years emerges. Boaters at Bullfrog found that launch ramp closed last Friday making for some uncomfortable moments. Launch at Halls Crossing midlake or Wahweap Main ramp for sure access. All other ramps are closed or launch at your own risk.

Fishing is good from Bullfrog to White Canyon. There will be small quick striper boils for many miles in the main channel. Most boils are too quick to see and then fish. It works better to see a boil then guess where the fish might come up again and try to be there when they surface. Occasionally the boil will stay up long enough to approach and get a cast off. It seems that the stretch from buoy 102 to Crystal Springs Canyon has more cooperative fish that stay up longer. The Horn to Two mile canyon is another good spot.

San Juan stripers are showing the same behavior. A few pop up and then go down. The only chance is to race to the spot and hope they come up in range when they show again. Boils are consistent at Zahn Bay and now there is morning and evening action between Wilson Creek and Cha Canyon.

Surface feeding smallmouth bass are found in the exact location where stripers are feeding. A subtle difference in strategy will target bass instead of stripers. When boils are seen place the boat one cast from shore so that a small surface bait can be cast to shallow water. Use a small profile popper like a Pop-R. Yozuri and Sugoi Splash poppers with a feather on the hook are more effective. Throw the popper near shore and work it very slowly. Let the ripples die way between soft jerks. Smallmouth will find the small bait. Stripers will be on the deep water side of the boat and can be caught on the super spook jr and jumpin minnows. It is often possible to catch more bass near shore than stripers in the open water. Size of bass caught near boils is significantly larger using topwater baits in twilight periods than when using grubs on the bottom.

The lower lake is still a puzzle. Many bait and predator fish are graphed in water deeper than 30 feet but few are caught. Smallmouth bass catch steadily improves with uplake travel. Padre Bay is fair, Rock Creek is better, Oak Canyon is better still. Striped bass are not being caught at all for as far uplake as the San Juan or above Cottonwood Canyon. Then the small quick boils are seen.

We expect all this to change on the south end of Lake Powell as water cools off. Surface temperature in the low 70's will hopefully free the predators to start chasing live shad and angler baits once again. It has been a long dry spell for striper anglers. Bass anglers are still catching smallmouth and the average size is getting progressively larger. If fishing in the lower lake we recommend fishing soft jerk baits like Senkos on a drop shot rig in 25-35 feet of water. Only the very smallest bass are found in the shallows. The decent fish are deeper where water is cooler.