LAKE POWELL FISH REPORT
May 9, 1997
By Wayne Gustaveson
LAKE ELEVATION: 3666
WATER TEMPERATURE: 62-66 F

The lake is rising. Expect the water level to rise 2-6 inches with each passing day. Temperature is climbing both in the water and on shore. Fishing patterns now must change from phenomenal early spring conditions to late spring tactics. The smallmouth that have been caught in the shallows guarding their nests will stay with the nest while the lake rises. The water may move laterally for a hundred yards over a long flat but smallmouth will stay where they were. Fish vertical habitat or the edge of drop offs that are not dramatically effected by changes in lake elevation. Smallmouth fishing will remain excellent if time is not wasted fishing unproductive water that was dry land three days previously.

The big news now is the beginning of the shad spawn and the emergence of the striped bass fishery. Shad run to the shallows at morning's first light to spawn on the surface around plants, weeds, and floating debris. Shad are easy targets for game fish who gorge during early morning. Fishing has been good all day in the past but now when shad spawn it is necessary to get up with the sun to find the best angling success. There will be a lull in the action during late morning while shad are being digested. Afternoon fishing will be good.

Striped bass are moving to spawn. They are still finding enough live shad to render anchovies ineffective as bait. Most fish caught have reacted to fast moving, shad imitating crank baits or live action plastic jigs trolled or cast in fairly shallow water. Catches are still random but stripers have been caught all over the lake. Fast moving boils were seen in Warm Creek and near the mouth of Lost Eden. Trolling has been producing in Wahweap, Warm Creek, Last Chance, Bullfrog, and the Dirty Devil. Timing is critical. The best time is at dusk each night when striper spawning activity peaks. Early morning is next best while stripers chase shad in the shallows. Catching during the day is completely random with infrequent chance encounters with striped bass while fishing for bass.

Numbers of striped bass caught has steadily increased each week. The abundance of 5-15 pound fish is relatively small so they are not caught in great numbers. They remain in excellent condition so taking one of these huge fish is a real trophy experience. Two to four pound fish are more common and most parties are catching a few of this size stripers. The small 8-12 inch stripers should really get active in the backs of the canyons where shad spawn. When these small fish are encountered please spend an hour and harvest as many as possible. They are easy to fillet, and provide a meal that rivals eating crappie. We need to work together to try to reduce the vast numbers of small stripers before they upset the delicate forage balance that has made fishing so good this year.

It has been reported that adventurous anglers have found a launching site for small trailered boats at Copper Canyon.