July 23, 2008
By Wayne Gustaveson
Lake Elevation: 3633
Water Temp: 80-85

Lake Powell has topped out at 3633. It was great run while filling 45 feet and we are sorry to see it stop, BUT there are some good things that come with stability and falling water levels. When the lake declines a foot, camping and beach use will be so much better. It will be all right to go barefoot again without the threat of tumbleweed stickers. Beaches will feature much more sand for playing and parking boats.

Fishing will improve for bass that have found a home in flooded green brush. Stability will allow a definitive pattern to develop and make anglers more successful when fishing around brush. It will help that shad have grown larger and are hiding in that brush alongside sunfish. Fishing with surface lures will be the rule instead of the exception. Shad imitating baits of all kinds will work each morning and evening.

Smallmouth fishing around rocks, points and ledges will continue to be good. It will be easier to define spots where bass may be holding. Once a good spot is found it will be possible to return there and find the same fish holding there for a week or two. In the past, fishing spots were gone within a day when the lake rose over a foot. Bass fishing is going to be very good during August and September.

There is no waiting for great striper fishing. Stability has allowed the water to clear up in the northern lake. Stripers have found shad and boils have commenced in grand fashion. From Bullfrog upstream and in the San Juan expect to find boils every morning and evening, weather permitting. Wind will often blow the boils away but they return in larger magnitude as soon as the wind stops.

These are real boils now in the northern lake. That means shad are larger and stripers have to work harder to capture their prey. School behavior is more aggressive. Casting precision is not quite as important. Long casts are still required. A full size surface lure landing in the middle of the melee will no longer spook the entire school. A big lure will be readily accepted and fought over if the first fish misses. Schools will not be quite as boat shy but it will still require knowing how close the boat can be to feeding fish without putting them down.

Boils are still small and scattered in the southern lake. Hopefully, these boils will get bigger and stronger with darker nights now that the moon is waning. This week expect to see small groups of stripers surfacing quickly and moving rapidly. These will more likely be "ghost boils" (can see but not catch) and not the real thing.

A recent report of trolling with shad raps and hot-n-tots in the back of Navajo Canyon produced walleye, bass and crappie. The depth was 20 feet and water was murky. It seems like a spring time pattern may be paying off in the back of the canyons. It may be worth a try.