May 19, 2009
By Wayne Gustaveson
Lake Elevation: 3619
Water Temp: 68 - 73 F

Lake Powell tributaries are now depositing 90,000 acre feet per day in the lake. That volume of water brings mud, cold temperature, and driftwood. Fishing in the muddy water is difficult at best. For this week fish clear water. The mudline is well downstream from Good Hope Bay in the main stem and at Neskahi and Piute bay on the San Juan.

Lake Powell has risen 4 feet in a week. The shoreline is rapidly changing. Expect to reposition the boat every day if camped on shore. Do not leave vehicles close to the waters edge when camping for an extended period. To avoid false starts do not fish shallow flats that were dry desert soil the previous day. Fish are not there yet. Instead look for a ravine with steep sides and brush where fish can move vertically with rising water and changing temperatures.

Russ Muir 8.5 pound striper - Anchovies at Moki Wall.

Cautions aside, the good news is that fish can still be caught. Bass fishing is excellent for 1-2 pound smallmouth bass. An occasionally largemouth or crappie is still caught in the brush. Best bushes are those just recently covered by water as they were home to bass before the lake rose so fast. With the backs of canyons changing daily, a better strategy is to fish main channel cliffs, cracks and cuts. The deep water ends of rocky points allow one to find bass by gradually working deeper along the point until fish are caught. Once the active fish depth zone is known, concentrate efforts on that specific depth for best success.

Striped bass are being caught more often but still only in modest numbers. Some anglers are finding stripers in the traditional main channel spots including the dam, power plant intake, Navajo Canyon and Moki Wall. It is necessary to fish much deeper than in past years. Stripers are holding at 50-80 feet in the main channel, so let the bait go deep and chum often to attract attention and get fish to rise in the water column.

More consistent action is found trolling in 25 feet of water. That pattern has been in place all spring and continues to produce the majority of the striper harvest. Some good trolling locations include backs of major canyons where bottom depth is 15-25 feet. Try Warm Creek, Navajo, Gunsight, Last Chance, Rock Creek, Jacks Arch, Escalante, Lake Canyon, Bullfrog, Halls Creek, and Red Canyon. Troll over the shallow water between the Halls Ferry Ramp and houseboat buoy field. Again catching 10 stripers a day is good and 20 or more is perfection.

One very bright spot is the potential walleye catch this week. Rising water causes bank sloughing and muddy coves. Warm temperatures energize walleye to their peak feeding response of the year. Cast night crawlers to coves or troll muddy main channel shoreline with Wally Diver lures to target hungry walleye.

Catfish have come alive now with warm water. The can be caught with ease along main channel beaches in the evening with hotdogs, chicken liver or anchovies.

Bluegill are larger than normal. These forgotten fish will provide excellent fishing and table fare for those willing to use live worms in the brush.