May 26, 2009
By Wayne Gustaveson
Lake Elevation: 3625
Water Temp: 68 - 74 F

Lake Powell is rising almost a foot per day making the lake 6 feet higher than at last report. Last week fish and fisherman got separated. Let's hope we can get both groups back together this week.

Mudlines have advanced further toward Bullfrog and the mouth of the San Juan. Inflow close to 100,000 acre feet per day moves a lot of sediment into the lake. Fishing in muddy water is generally less productive than clear during peak runoff. Some water color in the backs of main lake canyons not directly affected by runoff marks good fishing spots but main channel mud should be avoided.

Fishing for Largemouth bass has been the best seen in decades so far this Spring.

Flat shoreline is not a productive spot to fish now due to constantly rising water. Look instead for steep structure: cracks in cliff walls, deep water ends of long points, islands in open water and other habitat that has been submerged longer than a week. Fish continue to use habitat along the original shoreline before the lake begin to rise. Expect to find shore bound fish like bass and walleye in at least 15 feet of water. Only the smallest fish will be venturing into newly covered terrain.

One effective pattern for bass fishing now is to find isolated rock slides on the steep main channel. A small slide only 20 feet wide is better than a huge slide that may be over 200 yards long. A small slide on a steep slick rock shoreline almost guarantees that fish can be caught on the thin line of rocks. I find white rocks hold more fish than red rocks in the lower lake. I can't explain that but offer it as a means to locate more fish in these tough conditions.

Walleye are being caught regularly now. Numbers harvested increases with distance traveled uplake. Rainbow to Good Hope are the best walleye spots right now.

Striped bass are in transition. Some fish have spawned, some are still waiting. The bigger news is that stripers are finding schools of spawning adult shad. Scattered boils are being reported from Last Chance to San Juan. The boils are really quick and not really fishable yet. A better strategy is to troll or cast or vertically jig with spoons in the vicinity of the surface activity. Jerk baits are working in the shallows to catch a few single stripers. The best report came from the mouth of the San Juan at Jacks Arch. Trolling a heavy white bucktail jig accounted for consistent catches of stripers over the past week. Unfortunately bait fishing is still spotty and not as productive as seen in past years.

The most productive fishing approach now is casting surface lures around brush in morning and evening twilight.

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.