AUGUST 20, 2004

By Wayne Gustaveson

Lake Elevation: 3575

Water Temperature: 77-82 F

Results of our August shad sampling trip indicated strong shad numbers over the expanse of Lake Powell for the third consecutive year. These results are unprecedented in recent times. Forage fish exceed dietary needs of most fish right now. The result is a healthy, vibrant, growing population of game fish in which most individuals will grow longer and put on more weight during the next two months.

There is a down side. Fat fish are fussy eaters. Prey selection consists of fewer items and feeding periods may happen only when the pizza delivery truck (shad school) arrives. That means fishing may be slower especially while the water is still warm. Dropping water temperatures trigger a feeding response in game fish preparing for winter. Expect excellent catch rates from September through December.

Current fertile water conditions responsible for super shad abundance result in rapid oxygen use. Much of the deep water layer between 40 and 90 feet is oxygen poor. Fish are forced to find a resting place with cool temperature and adequate oxygen. Some great looking fishing spots may not hold any fish due only to lack of oxygen. The oxygen-poor / warm-water zone is most pronounced at the upper end of the lake. Stripers in this area do not have a cool water resting zone and appear less robust then those downstream. They have more forage but may not be able to utilize shad as well in the constant warm water where they live. Stripers are bigger and healthier downstream from Good Hope Bay and better yet below Rincon.

Fishing is still all about STRIPER BOILS. Slurps are no more. Surface feeding episodes are less frequent but much more violent and longer in duration when they do occur. In other words, "You Can Miss Them." There may be an hour-long boil in Good Hope Bay that goes unnoticed if you are in another location. Timing is often random which further complicates the hunt. But, find the boil and the fishing trip is a success. Find two and it's a dream trip.

A boil can happen anytime - anywhere. If you check these locations morning and evening the chances of success are high. Here are my best guesses for this week:

Buoy 59-60 - dawn to 9 AM - numerous pods of fish stretch over a long distance. Look in morning shade after full sun.

Rincon - downstream from floating restroom. Fish on eastern shoreline in morning. Fish in shade as sun climbs higher.

Halls Creek channel - Consistent boils have long occurred where narrow channel opens into Halls Bay. Most popular spot. May have to share these fish with other boaters.

Stanton Creek to Halls buoy field. Fish surface consistently each morning and evening at twilight.

Lower Good Hope Bay (Buoy 119) - Boils are random. They will come up sometime but at times of their own choosing.

Two Mile to White canyon - Many fish here with many more shad. Fish feed at their own convenience. Boils are random but large and long.

Tackle is your choice. Shad are large and stripers are taking full size lures. Cast near an actively feeding striper and it will hit your surface lure. Bass will be near the striper boil and can be caught on the boil fringes or near shore during and after the boil.

Catfishing is excellent.