August 7, 2019 - Small boils

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wayne gustaveson

Staff member
Lake Powell Fish Report – August 7, 2019
Lake Elevation: 3621
Water temperature: 80-86 F
By: Wayne Gustaveson or

This has been the hottest summer on record for much of the country including Lake Powell. It has been tough on anglers to focus on fishing instead of swimming with these hot temperatures. At the same time, snowmelt runoff has been running into the lake at very high levels, which allowed the lake to rise over 53 feet. The result of high temperature and high inflow was steady surface water temperature, which held at 79 degrees for most days. Afternoon surface temperature did rise to the mid 80s but the steady inflow mixed the water layers resulting in lower temperatures each morning. Water clarity is improving lakewide with clearing water over most of the lake and a visible increase in cloudy water from Good Hope Bay upstream. Lake Powell finally leveled off and will hold at 3621 (MSL) for the next week or so.

The best news is that shad have produced in record numbers this year. Small shad in the mid to north lake were protected by colored water from during the high runoff. As runoff declines and water clears during August, surface activity begins for most fish. Striper boils occurred in the lower San Juan and the main channel near Buoy 59. Expect Bullfrog to Good Hope to blow up with boils in the next two weeks.

Right now shad are using shallow coves in the backs of canyons as hideouts. The water is murkier in the shallows but also warmer than open water. Adult stripers cannot live in 80-degree water for more than about 5 minutes. They cannot search the hot shallows for shad. Young stripers are not heat sensitive and can go all the way back and gorge on young shad. Fortunately for shad, newly covered brush can protect some of the shad school when stripers attack. Small striper boils are now blowing up in the back of Warm Creek and many other bays over the length of the lake. Small striper boils are defined as small stripers (8-10 inches) chasing shad in the backs of canyons. It is possible to see a group of shad shimmering on the surface when stripers are not attacking them.

For those seeking larger stripers deep water trolling is best. Expect adult striper schools to hold at 30-50 feet. Use down riggers to catch stripers when scattered fish are seen on the graph. Stripers that boil in open water will dive to the depths to cool off and rest. They can be caught trolling or with spoons when the boat is directly over the school.

Bass anglers have two great choices. Use topwater lures along the brushy shoreline at first light in the morning and last light in the evening. Then during the day pound the bottom with plastic grubs, square bill crankbaits or spinner baits. Twenty feet is still the magic depth.

Catfish may be the easiest fish to catch right off the back of the houseboat in the evening. Table scraps, night crawlers or anchovies are great baits. Fillet fish off the back of the boat and toss the carcasses into deep water. Catfish will find them and then come to camp looking for more food.

In summary, the report is that fishing at Lake Powell is HOT! (about 100 F)


A huge striper (36 inch) was caught in Padre Bay by a young girl fishing at the lake for the first time. This is all the information I have at this time but hope to get more from the family. What we do know is that stripers still get big in Lake Powell.
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