Annual gill net sampling confirms what anglers have been saying about Lake Powell.
Striper numbers are highest near the inflowing tributaries and less at midlake. Numbers increase again near the dam. Physical condition decreases with fish size. Healthiest fish are near the inflowing Colorado and San Juan rivers. All of this correlates to shad location and abundance. Lake Powell has peaked in game fish population numbers and now must experience a population downsizing before balance between predators and prey is regained.
Anglers can do their part by catching and keeping all striped bass. Striper schools are not hard to find as many fishing hotspots still remain. Fishing with anchovy bait is the best way to find fish and keep them biting under the boat. Large schools of striped bass are holding in deep water just waiting for food. Toss a little chum, followed by a baited hook and catch as many stripers as you dare in a short time. A few of the southern hotspots include: the back of Warm Creek near Crosby Canyon, the mouth of Padre Canyon, the back of main Rock Creek near the gravel island. These fish will most likely be seen on the graph at 70 feet. After chumming and catching a few on bait, the school will rise off the bottom and come into visual range. When near the surface they can be caught on hard baits and even surface lures. When the school descends again they can be started once more with anchovy chum. One hundred fish per trip is common but adult fish are not in prime condition. Keep all fish but fillet the smaller ones.
In the northern lake the hotspot is between the mouth of White and Trachyte canyons (MM 134-135). More shad equates to more aggressive fish that can be taken by your choice of trolling, casting, spooning, or bait fishing. Start at the mouth of White Canyon for best results. Fish size ranges from 1-2 pounds with some larger ones. Fish health here is excellent. Other good spots include Blue Notch/Red Canyon, and Cedar Canyon but these pale in comparison to White Canyon.
The San Juan features good numbers of striped bass that can be caught trolling along the walls of the great bend or on spoons and bait in the cuts and deep drops in the 50-70 foot range. The best fishing is in Neskahi and Cha bays and the cuts leading to the ends of canyons.
The lake midsection has some spots to avoid. The Rincon has almost unbelievable water clarity, which is beautiful but makes fishing tough. Stripers here are in very poor condition. At midlake make sure fishing is done in water with some color to increase chances of success. Avoid crystal clear water during the day.
Bass fishing at clear water locations could be successful during low light periods in deep water or by throwing very long casts.