July 14, 2005
By Wayne Gustaveson
Lake Elevation: 3608.4
Water Temp: 80-85 F

Lake Powell is large enough that fishing conditions at one end can be completely different than that found on the other.  Such is the case now with the remnants of the massive spring flood clouding the water in the Colorado River arm above Bullfrog. Compounding factors include a huge shad crop in the upper lake that offers such plentiful forage that fish have all they want to eat.  Fishing upstream from Bullfrog is slow.  

Conversely, clear water and fewer shad in the lower lake make for hungry fish eager to feed.  Larval shad are the target and both bass and stripers are skimming the surface in large herds.  Slurping schools of fish are surface feeding morning and evening.  Slurps can be seen from first light to 10 AM and then again in the afternoon from 3 PM until dark.  Slurps are seen most often from the mouth of Last Chance to the Escalante.  The San Juan may be the best place to catch surface feeding fish. 

The feeding nature of slurping schools is such that all fish face the same direction so a cast must land in front of the school to be seen.  When the school sounds all fish move as a unit to the depths and then return to the surface near a new shad school at some distant location. Try to guess direction of travel and stealthily move the boat to the next expected eruption site.  Guess right and fish are caught.  Guess wrong and the chase resumes.  Each time a school surfaces close enough to cast the chance of catching a fish diminishes.  After 3 or 4 up and down events it is time to find a new school to chase.

The most effective presentation is a 2-inch plastic grub on a 3/8th ounce jig head with light line.  The heavy jig casts far enough to reach the fish while the tiny plastic grub is small enough to resemble a larval shad.  Let the jig fall through the school and then work it back with a steady retrieve while twitching the rod tip to provide an erratic swimming motion.

 Anchovy caught stripers from Navajo Canyon July 13th

If you want to catch fish instead of just chasing them then bait fishing is the best strategy. Adult stripers continue to sulk in the depths along the canyon walls in the lower half of the lake.  Fishing anchovies at 40-60 feet is the best technique for catching 4-6 pound stripers. The hot spot is Navajo Canyon from the mouth to the second point past the double island. The mouth of Warm Creek on the east side and Antelope Canyon are producing fish as well.  Steady catching continues at the dam on both the east and west sides depending on time of day.  Fish in the shade of the canyon walls during the heat of the day.  Stripers prefer the shaded areas.

Please harvest as many stripers as possible.  Last year’s striper crop was huge.  There are millions of young stripers very effectively feeding on larval shad right now.  Shad must grow larger to become a positive food source for adult fish.  Young stripers may prevent that from happening in southern Lake Powell. Catch a striper to help keep fishing good.

Anchovy tail on quarter ounce jighead.