MAY27, 2004

By Wayne Gustaveson

Lake Elevation: 3586

Water Temperature: 65-72 F

Rising water has flooded launch ramps at Bullfrog, Antelope Point and Wahweap Stateline. Caution is still recommended because water is just barely deep enough to float boats at Stateline ramp and the end of Antelope Point Ramp has a severe drop off. Halls, Bullfrog and Main Wahweap Ramp have excellent launching conditions. Use common sense and exercise patience and launching access and parking will be a breeze for the next month.

Windy weather has hampered fishing results for the past week. The return of stable weather will mark better fishing success. When environmental conditions conspire to shut off fishing success it seems that the areas of lighter fishing pressure still produce some good catches. The San Juan and Good Hope areas may be the best places to try this week. Do not fish upstream of the mud line. Expect good results on the clear water side of the slug of runoff water.

Smallmouth bass spawning is complete and fishing has slowed. Bass have moved off shallow points and rock-strewn humps and dropped over the edge into deeper water. Locate bass by finding old shallow nest sites and looking for the nearest rock features in water 15-25 feet deep. Bass have moved deeper but not far horizontally from the nest site. Bass will restore body reserves lost to the spawning process by feeding on sunfish, shad and crayfish. Bass fishing will improve as water continues to warms, the lake stabilizes and bass become firmly entrenched in summer patterns. Until then try a split shot rig with a plastic grub at the 25-foot contour for steady results. Smaller yearling bass are ever present in shallow rocks next to shore.

Shad will spawn at first light each morning. Predator activity will be geared to shad spawning and movements. Fish very early for best results. Afternoon and evening will mark another activity period for both bass and stripers.

Last week all mature stripers handled had ripe eggs. This week mature females were spent. Spawning was completed for many stripers in the lower lake. While more spawning may occur, especially uplake, most stripers will now move in search of food instead of being governed by spawning considerations. Schools have been sighted near the dam. These fish will begin moving back up the main channel and toward the back of the canyons where shad reside. This will be a good week to try anchovy bait near the dam and power plant intake.

Stripers were caught in big numbers on jigging spoons just north of Buoy 99 in the main channel above Bullfrog.

Stripers hit the surface as shad spawn at first light in the morning. After the initial surface flurry Stripers may be located by trolling points and coves. Usually bigger fish are on outside main channel points and small stripers are in the backs of coves near shad. Please keep all stripers less than 16 inches.

Fishing is unreliable right now as fish move and adjust to changing conditions. Results range from great success to a long day of enjoying the scenery. But fishing at Lake Powell is always a delight even when catching is a bit slow.