June 2, 2009
By Wayne Gustaveson
Lake Elevation: 3630
Water Temp: 70- 75F

Inflow has dropped from 110,000 acre feet per day to a paltry 85,000 acre feet. The large inflow brought the lake up another 5 feet in the past week. Rapidly changing shoreline features confuse both fish and anglers but there is more. The layer of dead brush that succumbed when it was covered last year has been completely covered once more. Green brush that was only partially submerged last year is now wet again. Largemouth bass have moved into the welcome green tamarisk and willow boughs. Flooded cover is probably as good right now as it has ever been in the life of Lake Powell. Bass love it, fishermen just have to deal with it.

Sue Rudie with striper trolled up near Bullfrog in the rain.

Smallmouth fishing is steady on main channel and main canyon rocks and points. Main lake areas are better fishing than the backs of canyons where new brush has been covered. Target small rock slides on slick rock shorelines for a predictable catch of bass.

Walleye are still being caught trolling and casting in the northern half of the lake. Some walleye are caught in the southern lake but numbers are much higher in the north. Walleye have reverted to feeding mostly during low light periods at the ends of the day. During daylight hours fish muddy water and shade pockets on the main channel for best results.

Striped bass are at best - unpredictable. The spawn is almost complete. Schools are forming and searching for food. When anglers and schools come together results are immediate with many stripers caught in a short time. One day a large boil will be seen in a random location only to be absent the next. A school of fish will be enticed with bait along a deep canyon wall in the middle of the day but will be somewhere else the next.

The best striper fishing strategy is to move from one good spot to the next trying to intersect a moving school. Try bait on steep canyon walls. If no fish are found move often and try again. Then troll in shallow water. Keep rotating techniques and locations hoping to locate an agreeable school. Some days no stripers are caught but then 20-40 stripers can be placed in the cooler in short order. Always have a top water lure tied on and placed in an accessible spot ready for action when the big boils pops up right in front of the boat.

If I had to choose a spot for the best fishing trip possible it would be the lake midsection from the mouth of the San Juan to Escalante. Smallmouth abound in the breaks and cracks lining the steep main channel rocks. Walleye favor the rocky points. Striped bass are schooled at the mouth of the San Juan near Jacks Arch. They boil occasionally but are accessible to trollers working the brushy shoreline edges.

Catfish are getting more active now as temperature is consistently in the 70s. Fishing is more challenging now than it was in the spring. Improvement will come as lake level stabilizes, surface water warms to the summer temperatures and fish begin to feed consistently on the surface.