April 10, 1997
By Wayne Gustaveson

The fish are ready and waiting for warming. The long range weather forecast is for calm warm weather. If that happens it will mean that this week should provide some of the best fishing for the month. Bass will build nests and begin spawning as soon as the water temperature hits 60. That will happen on the first warm day, especially in cloudy water which absorbs heat more readily. Main channel temperatures in the clear water will lag behind a few days but spawning should occur lake wide before my next weekly report.

The commencement of the bass spawn means that bass previously found on the edge of a brushy or rocky flat will now be on top of the flat in shallow water. A bush, a rock, or any other likely looking piece of cover on the flat would be a great place to cast a plug or a plastic grub. Largemouth will build a nest at the base of a bush while smallmouth will find shelter near a rock or ledge. The nest will be in 2 to 5 feet of water and the male guarding or building the nest will be close to the light colored patch of dirt created when he swept the rocks free of silt with his tail. The male drives away any intruder that comes near the nest. He will often pick up lures placed on the nest and drag them away. He may just tug them by the tail without getting the hook near his mouth as he keeps the eggs and fry safe from harm.

At this time of year harvesting of male bass and crappie means sure death to all eggs and fry on the nest. I suggest returning males caught from a nest to guard the brood. If keeping a fish for supper try to keep the females. Male bass often have a scarred and bloodied tail from nest building activity. Male crappie are jet black and usually smaller than the females. Smallmouth are in greater abundance than largemouth or crappie so it would be alright to harvest an occasional smallmouth bass either male or female.

Striped bass are just beginning to show activity. They are still holding in the backs of canyons and cuts in 20-40 feet of water which is generally cloudy or off-colored. So far, most stripers have been caught incidentally by bass and crappie anglers who chanced upon a striper while casting grubs or trolling. Striped bass have not yet shown up at Glen Canyon dam or the Power Plant intake. Fishing anchovies near the site of a chance striper capture may prove to be productive.

The most effective lures have been plastic grubs in dark pumpkin and chartreuse color combinations. Use small one inch grubs on 1/16th ounce heads for crappie and 4-5 inch grubs on 3/8 to 1/2 ounce heads for bass. Crappie will be caught in the upper 10 feet of water and bass will be found from 2-20 feet deep.