Information compiled by Wayne Gustaveson,
Attention: Lake Powell is infested with quagga mussels. Protect other Utah waters by cleaning and draining the water from your boat before leaving Lake Powell. Your boat must be dried for 18 days before launching in another water. If you plan to launch soonet, a professional decontamination is required. Locate a decontamination station and learn about quagga mussels.
Lake elevation: 3,631 feet
Water temperatures: 77–84°F
Stripers are still on top. Surface feeding stripers have been reported from Wahweap Bay to Hite. The slurping schools are still feeding quickly and tend to go up and down often. My reports indicate that they stay up longer and are caught more often from Dangling Rope to the San Juan and Bullfrog Bay to Good Hope Bay. Expect to see them anywhere and anytime. Since they are commonly feeding lakewide, my goal was to find out which lures caught the most fish.
Photo courtesy of Wayne Gustaveson.
I prefer surface casting, so that I can see the fish hit the top water lure. That way, even if there is no action, I can see the fish and feel the adrenaline spike. I chose the Ima Skimmer because it performed well last week, and it repeated that performance today. It's a long thin lure that casts well.
My next rod had the Lucky Craft lipless vibrator (rattletrap type) tied on because the slurps go up and down quickly. When they are up, just reel it quickly through the splashing fish. If they go down, let the rattletrap sink until it is below the submerged school and then reel it up through the school for a quick hookup.
Stripers are feeding on very small shad, so the best lure to match the hatch is a small white fly. It takes a fly rod to cast a fly or an added weight to get the fly out there on a spinning rod. I tied a small white fly on behind a Kastmaster spoon. This setup was not the best, and I got only a few bumps without a hookup. If using flies, bring the fly rod.
The best lure of the day was a Yamamoto D Shad (white color 364) on a 5/0 Owner hook with a 3/32-ounce belly weight and a twist lock attachment. I caught the most slurping stripers with this big lure. It worked well swimming through the striper school or dropping down a bit when the school went down.
All of the lures worked, but the most important factor was casting to the right spot. These fast-moving fish feed in an erratic pattern. They start in one direction, only to change course, go down and come up in a new direction. It is critical to cast five feet or more ahead of the lead fish since the lure will fly for two to three seconds and then land near the fast moving school. If it lands in the sweet spot, where the lead fish can see it, there will be a hookup. If it lands behind the lead fish, then it is often ignored. The school often stays up for up to five minutes or more, but once the boat is in range the fish tend to go down after the lures hit the water. The first cast must be accurate to get a quick hookup.
On June 20, the striper slurps began at first light and quit by 9 a.m. We didn't wait for the noon slurps to start because it was a hot day. You'll find more slurps in the evening too.
We did try trolling with deep divers over 25-foot slick rock bottom structure and caught stripers and smallmouth bass. We talked with bait anglers fishing in the shady coves on the east wall in Last Chance and they were catching a lot of adult stripers. Striper fishing is still good, despite the heat.
I often tell anglers to fish small, isolated white rock slides in the steep walled main channel to catch smallmouth bass. We tested that theory, but found the rock slides to be quiet. If we cast to the slick rock wall on the other side of the rock slide cove, though, we caught a smallmouth bass on every cast. Smallmouth bass are still active and very catchable. It just takes a bit of experimenting to find their preferred habitat for the day.
Walleye are active early morning and evening and during the day as they hang out under muddy water, floating on the surface caused by wind or wake action. Catfish, bluegill and green sunfish are active now as well, but the rising water has not allowed them to find their summer home. That will happen when the lake stabilizes in July.