June 16, 2009
By Wayne Gustaveson
Lake Elevation: 3636
Water Temp: 70- 74F

OK! I am excited! We are finally moving striped bass up to the top of the report. STRIPER BOILS have started and fish are catchable. For weeks there have been small boils reported here and there with none of them really repeatable or predictable. That is past now. Boils start at first light and continue all morning or until the wind comes up.

Kip Bennett and Grandpa.

Stripers have been quiet most of the year because they came out of winter in good shape making them finicky eaters. Then the water warmed and they forgot about food as they concentrated on spawning. Now with spawning complete the population is lean and hungry. Fish look thinner now with the ovaries evacuated. Striper fillets are still prime and fish are healthy. All they need now is food and lots of it!

Shad have spawned and larvae are in rich abundance in the open bays and channels, where predator and prey are doing daily battle. Here is the scene.

Shad regroup in schools at first light. Stripers see the gathering, surround the school and feed quickly by trapping shad on the surface. Since shad larvae are tiny, a quick feeding burst often fragments the shad school making them hard to see and follow. Stripers then go deep, regroup and search for the next shad pod. The school is then up and down at every feeding opportunity.

Today, as we ran from Wahweap to Rock Creek, about 25 quick boils were seen. More boils were seen in Padre Bay but there was surface activity all the way up and back. The first fish was caught at 8 AM and the last one at 11:30 AM. We caught 10 stripers so there was more chasing than catching. Best success was found when boils were located, boat properly positioned and then the fish surfaced in range for a second time. Casting to the tail end of fleeing fish is not productive, but if a school resurfaces in range stripers are caught. Regardless, boil junkies have the adrenaline surge going for hours when that much surface activity ensues.

There was no best lure. The catch was made when a lure was placed right in front of the first fish coming to the surface to feed. We caught them on full size topwater lures, shallow running rattle traps, and deep diving Rapalas. It took many casts to get the lure and fish together but it was certainly satisfying when it happened. School stripers were all 3 pound clones. Expect good striper surface action from Wahweap to San Juan and beyond to Bullfrog. The best spot on the lake is at the mouth of the San Juan.

Visibility in the upper lake is improving. Runoff has declined to 60,000 acre feet per day. Launching at Hite and fishing downstream to Good Hope is enjoyable once again with less driftwood and clearer water. Water temperature is still lagging due to snow melt runoff so fishing downstream from Bullfrog is still a better bet.

Bass fishing remains good on main channel rockslides with plastic baits. Walleye are still caught occasionally while fishing for bass. Sunfish and catfish are at a peak in activity level as both species are near spawning. Fishing is now improving each day and will continue to improve as water warms and lake level stabilizes. It is a great time to plan another Lake Powell fishing trip.