AUGUST 12, 2004

By Wayne Gustaveson

Lake Elevation: 3577

Water Temperature: 79-84 F

Launching is a challenge at all ramps except Halls Crossing which still has a viable concrete ramp. Bullfrog and Wahweap ramps vary from hard packed sand to old asphalt. It is wise to have a 4WD tow vehicle and to carry a tow strap so you can help others that may get stuck while retrieving their boat. That will get your boat in the water more quickly and perhaps make a new friend in the process. Helping inexperienced boaters launch will ease ramp congestion.

Fishing is challenging as well. Boiling stripers are the big draw but the randomness of boils makes waiting for them a risky proposition. There are no known boils in the lower lake. Boils will happen in the San Juan near Neskahi but the timing is erratic. Continuing uplake, boils are seen sometime during the day at the mouth of Cottonwood Canyon, Escalante, Rincon, Halls Creek, Stanton Creek, Cedar, Knowles and Good Hope Bay.

When a regular boil is seen stripers will eagerly hit full size surface lures. It is much more common now to see a single striper chasing one shad. Fish areas where single striper splashes are seen with jigging spoons or anchovies. The main striper school is down deep in 30-80 feet of water. Providing food to hungry fish in cool water is a good way to fill the cooler in a hurry. It is best to find the school on the graph before exerting much effort. If the school is elusive then fish near shade and deep water in close proximity to where stripers were seen surfacing.

Smallmouth bass seem to have been forgotten by most striper chasers. The better fishing strategy may be to fish for smallmouth with a split-shot rig. Put a small weight on above the nose-hooked, free-floating green or brown plastic grub. Drag it slowly along the bottom near main slick rock points especially where big rocks are found at depths of 20-30 feet. Smallmouth are ready and willing. Catching bass is a great way to pass the time while waiting for stripers to boil. Have another rod rigged with a Jumpin Minnow or Super Spook Jr. for boiling fish. Don't be surprised to see smallmouth boil where stripers were expected.

Catfishing is excellent in the warm water near camp. Cats can be caught any time of day but are more commonly caught in the evening and after dark. Use live worms, chicken liver, anchovies or table scraps on the sandy beach behind the parked boat. Gentle sandy slopes with water depth of 10-15 feet is ideal.

Fly fishermen are finding willing bass, sunfish and stripers searching for suspended morsels in the warm surface water. Single stripers hitting the surface are ideal targets for fly fishers. Stanton Creek near Bullfrog may be the best location.