Date Received: June 3, 2002 - Chuck Fulton
Three of us launched at 10:00 Thursday for the 3 hour boat ride to Zahn Bay. We camped on the East side of Donkey Island (not), set up camp then started trolling in 25' of water on the North side of the island. It took about 45 seconds to get a double using white bucktail maribo, 3/4 oz jigs out 3-4 colors on leaded line. We troll at 2.5 to 3.0 mph. The graph showed fish at all levels from 10-25 feet but not in schools, just scattered around, and lots of them. We caught a striper about every 200-400 yards of trolling. The fish were all in great shape, 2-4 pounds. Definitely, two year groups of fish. Caught a few walleyes trolling in the shade. At 4:30 the next morning I was wakened by a rushing sound which was a boil in front of camp...one of those fast beach running boils... I grabbed a pole and sprinted up and down the beach fishing stripers in 18" of water, tripping over shoe laces I forgotten to tie. Trolling that morning we caught them on mono, not leaded line, the fish seemed shallower. At noon half way between Zahn and Spencer's on the south shore we found a boil that lasted 30 minutes (on and off). Caught 15-20 fish out of it and then 2 hrs later got another 10 in the same spot "blind casting" surface lures and jigging. All in all we fished one and 1/2 days (came home early 'cause of potential wind Sat) and caught 75-80 fine stripers. The fish are throughout the light green water, 20-35', on the west and north of Donkey Island. Zahn is DEFINITELY worth the trip!!
Date Received: August 5, 2002 -Cal Keetch
Well, as you can tell we didn't go to Hite. The "Call of the San Juan" was too great to turn down. We blasted off at 6:00 a.m. on Friday Morning, August 2nd. We had a great ride up, noticing all the new rock formations, that have grown up through the shallow water.
Our quiet trip was interrupted, by a striper boil, at the front of Piute Canyon. We scrambled to find our rods, and was able to catch around 12, before the fish disappeared. We then continued our trip to Spencer's Camp, where we found a great camping spot. We quickly unloaded our gear, and headed up to Donkey Island area. The water depth at Donkey Island is 12 feet, although we were marking fish, nothing would take our spoons. We moved around the whole bay, by Donkey Island, and finally found water, @35 ft., we also were marking lots of Shad, and what we thought were stripers, but again, we could not get them to hit anything. Wind started coming up, so we went in narrows between Donkey Island and Spencer's Camp, and continued to try to find fish, no luck. We then went into Spencer's camp, and tried to graph fish, but nothing doing.
After a "Power Nap", we once again headed up to Donkey Island (wind was now blowing around 20 mph), and we graphed, and jigged, and graphed and jigged.........nothing.
It was now @5:00 on Friday, and we decided to head down to Piute Bay, and try some old familiar spots, and see if our luck changed. We loaded up everything, and found a new camp by the mouth of Neskahi Wash. We set up camp, and started graphing out in front of Neskahi. We immediately found fish, and started jigging, and catching. Stripers were taking our jigs, just as fast as we would drop them down. These were great healthy stripers, ranging from 1 lb to 4 lbs., and great fighters. Just as sun was setting, we got a few on top water (spooks), but boils were very short and sporadic.
Saturday morning, we got up and headed back to the mouth of Neskahi, and the Stripers were already boiling. We caught several on Spooks, but it was not the consistent boils that you can load the boat, I believe Wayne calls them "Ghost" boils, were they are up for a minute, then they go back down. We fished until they quit boiling, then went for a ride looking for other boils. We found another group boiling in a small bay between Neskahi, and Piute, we caught several fish, before they went down. We then started jigging, and caught fish after fish.
Weather was overcast, and we had several small sprinkles of rain, made it real pleasant. After another power nap, and lunch, we went back out and started jigging again, and again we caught lots of fish. Saturday night, we had one small boil, but most fish caught on spoons.
Sunday morning got up, and went to mouth of Neskahi, no boils, and had a hard time finding fish to jig. Went back to other small bay, and graphed fish, and again started catching. We caught fish, until it was time to head back to Bullfrog. On the way out, we ran into one boil by the mouth of the San Juan, stopped and caught 3 or 4 each, what a way to end the trip!!!!
Weekend total @200 stripers, 12 catfish (hit jigs), and 10 Smallmouths (caught on Topwater while trying to get stripers up). We had a great time, but was fairly disappointed about area up by Donkey Island. We are not sure why we couldn't catch/find fish.
There were 2 of us fishing, the other boat decided to go to Hite. I will find out today, how they did.
A little warning.....water is lower than we have ever seen it. There is "yellow water", and rocks everywhere. Be very careful, and slow down. Especially up the San Juan, where there are no markers.
Date Received: August 12, 2002 - Dave Huffaker
My 14 year old Daughter, her friend, my 10 year old son and I were in the upper San Juan area August 8-10 so I thought I would send you a quick fishing report.
We got to our camp spot near the downstream end of the great bend about noon on Thursday so we missed the morning fishing and tube'd and skied most of the day. The kids caught about a dozen SMB from shore while I set up camp.
We headed upstream around 6pm, saw a small boil in progress at the upstream end of the Spencer's Camp area right where the channel starts to narrow down again. We weren't rigged & ready so by the time we got the rods out and rigged we only caught 5 or 6 stripers and one Smallmouth. Headed up to Zahn bay and graphed and looked all over but no fish. Went back down to Spencer's and caught a few SMB on topwater lures before heading back to camp.
The deepest water we could find in Zahn bay was 20-25 feet. Down at Spencers camp the main channel depth is around 50 feet. Water temp was 76 to 80 degrees.
Due to teenage girls we didn't get going until around 7am Friday. I caught 2 stripers right out in front of camp in 35 feet on a Wallylure while I was waiting for the girls. Then we headed upstream. We found a pretty big boil in progress in one of the coves on the north side (left said as you look upstream) of the Spencer camp area. This time we were ready. We had around 50 stripers in the boat in about a half an hour along with quite a few smb and a couple of lmb. The kids caught most of them. It was all I could do to unhook them as fast as they could catch them. This was the first good boil any of the kids had been in and they couldn't believe how the fish went crazy chasing the shad right up on the shore. It was the first fishing trip ever for my daughter's friend. I think she is spoiled now. She thinks that's the way fishing is all the time.
We caught a few more on Wallylures after the boil ended. The speed-reeling technique seemed to work best. We had very few hits just jigging the spoons but got quite a few by reeling up as fast as we could. They nearly pull the rod out of your hand when they hit.
We looked around up in Zahn bay again but found nothing so we went back to camp. When we got there we saw splashes right next to our tent. There had obviously been a boil going on and we just hit the end of it. There were ravens all over and hundreds of shad up on the shore around our tent. We caught a few stripers and probably a dozen smb on topwater but most had moved out and it was getting hot so we quit fishing and went swimming.
Friday evening we went back up to the Spencers camp area. we fished topwaters and caught many smb and lmb (one lmb around 3 lbs) but no boils until we were about to leave at 8:30 or so and they started boiling in the next cove downstream from where they were in the morning. We fished until it was dark, probably caught around 50 stripers but didn't keep any because our limited cooler space was full from the morning boil.
Saturday morning all I had to say was let's go see if the stripers are boiling and the girls were up and in the boat. We got up to Spencers camp by 6:30 expecting to see boils all over but there was nothing so we fished topwater lures for smb and lmb. The typical 8-12" smallmouth were by every rock so it was fun but not as fun as a boil. We fished until about 9am and were ready to head back to camp when the boils finally started. Right out in the middle of the main channel at the upstream end of the Great Bend there was a boil nearly a half mile long and another one in the first cove on the north (right hand side as you look downstream) after the canyon narrows. This ended up being one of the best boils I have ever been in. They weren't even spooked when a couple of pwc's ran through them. The boil lasted for around two hours. They would slow down at times and move around a bit but we had three or four stripers on at a time for nearly two hours. I spent most of the time unhooking fish. I got a few, maybe 10 or 15, but the kids probably caught close to 100 in 2 hours between the 3 of them. We didn't keep anymore, no space in the coolers and running out of ice.
I had 6 rods rigged. Two with rattle traps, one with a super spook jr, two with a pop r's, and one with a swimming image. They all worked well when they were really boiling but the pop r seemed to outfish all others when they slowed down. It was about 2 inches long with white feathers off the back hook. I don't know if the size or the feathers made the difference but they really worked great when there were no fish boiling but we knew they were in the area. The pop r's are easier for kids to fish than zara spook type lures also. We saw two different size/age classes of shad. The ones down by our camp were close to 3 inches long but all of the ones we saw in the boils up in Spencer's were only an inch or so long.
I'm sure we could have stayed and caught many more on spoons but we were worn out and hot after they slowed down so we went back to camp and the kids played in the water while I broke camp and then we headed home.
Date Received: August 16, 2002 - Jeff Gilmore Huntington Beach, California
I was on a houseboat trip from August 5-15 and camped along the San Juan River everyday. Our camping location was upriver from Piute Canyon but downriver from the Great Bend. The best fishing was along Spencers Camp walls. If you look at the walls, specifically the southern ones, there are holes everywhere in them. I believe the fish use them as garages to hang out as a haven from the sun. Regardless, we caught numerous stripers along the walls with shad lures while trolling. Hope this helps!
Date Received: August 28, 2002 - Chris Smith
The dates above were my first trip to Lake Powell - even though I'm a Phoenix native (sad, but true). Spent the week on a houseboat with those more knowledgeable of the lake and the fishing conditions, and I'm sad to say the indication was this was "the worst fishing trip in 10 years" by their recollection. I wasn't so disappointed, but here are the highlights:
- Very few shad were spotted - one small school in Deep Canyon. Probably explains the next point.
- Only saw one small striper boil, that was in the Wahawheap (sp?) marina on the day of departure. Very small, but striper none the less.
- Only three striper were caught the entire trip, all on the San Juan river. Deep Canyon was the best spot, as the three striper were taken with jigs.
- Smallmouth were taken nearly everywhere - Deep Canyon, Piute bay, Oak bay, and Red Creek. Hadn't read your report, but your right on target - rocky points and shaded areas. They were hitting on Rocket Shad spinners, Husky Jerk jerkbaits, and spinner/worm combinations (a special creation of our own).
- Very few largemouth were taken, when they were it was mainly when fishing for smallmouth.
Looking forward to next years trip - hope the water levels are higher and the stripers are boiling (I caught one down deep - great experience!)
Date Received: September 25, 2002 - Jessie and Linette Weston
We went up to the San Juan River between 20 and 25 miles up the river and caught 8 really fat healthy stripers in a very voracious boil on Friday, 9-20. We also caught about 20 smallmouth in the area. On Saturday we went to the Rincon and caught about 30 nice smallmouth, but no stripers. Just thought we'd let you know. It was beautiful weather, as you well know, and we had a terrific time.
Date Received: September 30, 2002 - Chuck Fulton
We just returned from our annual pilgramage to the San Juan and striper hunting. Camped in Piute Creek and fished that entire area. Tried Spencer's and Zahn twice..once early AM and once PM. There is floating debris and junk throughout the area and some "rafts" as big as a couple acres. Spencer's had only smallie action, no stripers. We trolled the right hand bank in Zahn in 25' of slime green (algea) water and caught stripers every 15 minutes or so by finding a school on the graph and marking them by a floating oil bottle or piece of drift wood. There were lots of shad in Zahn, few in Spencer's. The great Bend canyons had stripers in the mouth of each. A couple down rigger boats reported good success on the walls of the Great Bend for stripers...they also did well in Piute Cr during the day. Piute Cr had a 2 minute boil each morning at daylight then the fish were gone. Could be caught jigging if they could be found. They seemed to totally leave Piute each morning and come back sometime during the night. Lots of shad in Piute Cr...none in Neskahi. Deep had a few shad, no stripers. Total striper count...probably 75.
Date Received: October 9, 2002 -Tim Zemo (Hemo) F.F.C. Fishing Club
Week of Sept 28th - Oct. 5th
Our group headed up the lake from Wahweap Sat. Sept. 28th headed for the San Juan. We fished Piute and Neskahi for 4 days catching small mouth and stripers. Several catfish and Blue gill offered lot of fun. We also fished Cha Canyon but did not have much luck until we hit the south shore east of Cha The Small mouth were abundant and aggressive most of us fishing with a 1/8 ounce jig head and triple ripple grub. Most fish caught were down around 20 to 25 feet. We also caught several largemouth on the same setup. They were very aggressive and all the largemouth were put back unharmed; the largest being around 1 1/2 pounds.
The Piute was full of shad but we noticed no boils during any period that we fished. All of the stripers caught were done trolling with deep divers of blue and silver during dusk. Smallmouth were abundant and caught mostly on 1/8 ounce jigs with various style grubs of brown and chartreuse grubs.
A fish fry was held Wednesday night for the 10 of us with all that we had caught and fillet. What a meal and we could have eaten more. Thurs we started headed down the Lake despite the wind and rain looking for a campsite closer to Wahweap. We stopped off in Dungeon with one of the Fishing boats while the House boat was headed down the San Juan. We were lucky enough to come across a boil towards the lower end of the Canyon pushing Shad up on the Shore Line. That's all we needed !!! We started casting Top Water lures and the Stripers hit them with a vengeance. All four of us had a great time and continued to pull a few more trolling after the Boil subsided. We finally made camp in Padre Bay and found another batch of stripers in calm deep water at the back of the bay. We threw deep divers again and reeled in a few more. The following day was very slow but jigging down deep along points and the east shore produced several nice smallies; very aggressive and very dark. The following day we did our final camp at west of Castle Rock and caught some more smallies and catfish.
The weather played havoc all week as several fronts came through and the water level was fifty five lower than the last time we had made this trip in 2000 and it was interesting to see the areas we had fished before when the lake was up and the patterns that had emerged at that time in relation to the structure we could now see but all in all we had a great time as usual.
Date Received: October 22, 2002 - Chuck Fulton
We went to Piute Cr (PC) in the San Juan on Sat Oct 19. Fished 19th and 20th in the upper part of the lake. Camped in PC. PC is still full of shad and there are a couple good sized schools of stripers there too. It was full moon. The stripers seem to be holding the shad in place as, when schooled, they are in 60' or so but there also seems to be lots of singles cruising around at 35'...probably feeding. A down rigger would work great, we did fair on leaded line. No boiling at all. Saw what had to be a boil that just happened as there was 2 ravens, a heron and a coyote all sharing 50' of beach right on the water line in the mouth of PC. Couldn't raise a taker nor graph anything...may have been a smallmouth boil.
Sunday we ran to Zahn. The large rafts of debris and junk are now beached. It will really be a mess next spring when the lake comes up---there are thousands of cords of drift wood waiting to float. Proceeded along the South shore of Zahn until the water was 15' deep and trolled in the algae slime. There were singles throughout the zone, top to bottom and 12' to 18' of water. Caught 16 fish in 2 hours but we got better toward the end when we figured out that "loud" lures are better. We started trollling rattle traps and bucktails with spinners. Lost a few but fishing was real good . Ran into a boat that said they'd encountered a quick, small boil in Spencer's. Neskahai was FULL of carp on the surface and no shad. None of the other small side bays seemed to have shad either.