Hite stripers offer best chance for success at Lake Powell

Kathy Coblentz of Centerville, Mich., recently fished Lake Powell for the first time and found some decent striped bass fishing. Fishing conditions are great near Hite and will improve with September cooling in the rest of the lake.

Lake Elevation: 3,655 asl

Water Temperature 80-88 F

PAGE, Ariz. – Aug. 31. Lake Powell is covered by a blanket of warm water that snugly holds game fish in the cooler depths. Declining lake levels also contribute to current conditions by forcing fish down instead of bringing them up. The net result is difficult fishing conditions over most of the lake. The bright spots are around tributary inflows where deep incoming river water provides a constant temperature corridor for fish to mingle with forage and maintain the normal predator-prey relationship which equates to good fishing.

Shad numbers are somewhat higher than the annual average which means all fish species have adequate forage. At Hite stripers are taking advantage of shad by feeding around the clock. The result is a grand fishing opportunity to catch striped bass chasing shad on the surface. These “boils” can be seen from great distance and provide anglers easy targets as they cast to the surface disturbance knowing that each cast will attract the interest of many fish. Some fish bump the lure while others slash at it and others whack it with their tail. The lure is jostled and tossed until one fish finally puts a mouth around it. Then it’s a race to land that fish in record time so another cast can be made before the feeding party atmosphere ends. Surface fishing for stripers also causes an adrenaline boil in the angler that is not often duplicated in other inland fishing opportunities.

Striper boils are often good on calm mornings and then seen intermittently throughout the day. The best time to fish is from 5 p.m. until dark. In this magic period boils often cover the surface from Hite to North Wash and downstream as far as Trachyte and to the Horn. Anglers adept at positioning the boat, then efficiently casting and landing fish, are catching up to 60 fish in an evening.  Others just learning the art of chasing boils are catching enough to bring bright smiles and a feeling of success to all.  Hite is the best place to fish this week with good launching access and short runs to highly productive fishing areas.

If a trip to Hite is not possible, then fishing opportunities normally considered awesome when compared to other fisheries that are not Lake Powell still exist. Boils are seen midlake around Bullfrog. Look near the houseboats fields at Halls Crossing and as a good starting place both morning and evening. Again the best time to see boils lakewide is in the evening. Unfortunately, the lower half of Lake Powell from San Juan down to Wahweap is not producing boils now.

Bass fishing is challenging but one lake wide pattern is consistently producing. Bass are now off the steep vertical cliffs in the main channel and main canyons. The best spot to fish would be in the shade of a cliff on a 20 foot deep ledge or outcropping protruding from the cliff wall. Here bass can quickly up from the cool depths to feed quickly and drop straight down in to the preferred temperature zone. The backs of canyons feature a gentle sloping bottom that requires a longer swim from the cool water to the feeding areas. Shad have a myriad of brush in which to hide in the back of the canyon. Bass work harder chasing shad in the shallows than they do waiting for a school to swim by in the main channel.  Bass spend time waiting for shad searching the bottom for crayfish that may venture out of their rocky hideout.

Fishing for all species will get better in September. Temperature will drop by mid September removing the warm blanket and releasing fish lakewide to feed closer to the surface. But for now there are still fish to catch by traveling to Hite or fishing the main channel vertical habitat. 


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