April 16, 1998
Lake Elevation: 3674 msl
Water Temperature: 50-54 F
By Wayne Gustaveson
Last week I suggested that fishing would peak unless there was a major weather front. As I write this report it is snowing out my window. Cancel my dream of all the bass spawning at once. The water temperature dropped to 50 degrees. Set all plans back at least one week. Now each fish will try to spawn when the water in its home cove exceeds 58 F. That may be very different for individual bass over the length of Lake Powell. The last week of April now appears to be a better bet for great fishing. My main advice is to plan your trip around the weather. Watch for a stable high pressure system to settle over the southwest and then come to Powell. The trouble with this advice is sometimes that doesnít happen until June. So, if your schedule lacks flexibility, just come on, you can still catch fish.
Some bass and crappie have made nests and will be in the shallows, while others are in prespawn mode hanging suspended in deeper water near spawning flats. Fish small plastic grubs in the shallows and trees - then turn around and throw the same lure into deep water. A slow swimming retrieve will get the suspended fish while vertical jigging right in the tree gets the fish in the cover. The pattern will change with the water temperature during the day. It is a transition period where the fish want to be shallow but need to be deep. A prime fishing cove may provide nothing in the morning and then be dynamite in the afternoon. Cover a lot of water but concentrate on the backs of coves where the water is stained. Take a thermometer along in the tackle box. The warmest water available will provide the best fishing. My choice of lure for spring fishing for crappie and bass is the 2 inch Berkeley power grub with pumpkin colored head and chartreuse tail. This provides lots of action from predominantly smaller fish. If you would rather catch fewer fish which are bigger then increase size of the plastic grub, or throw a spinnerbait, or crankbait.
Striped bass patterns havenít changed. They periodically cruise the steep canyon walls resting near cover of ledges and isolated rock piles. The most consistent pattern is found in the backs of canyons where the water is stained and a few trees or bushes are present. Most consistent striper action occurs where channel depth is near 30 feet. Anchovies are the bait of choice but many anglers are scoring on rattling crankbaits and jigging spoons. The crank baits are ripped through the shallows while the spoons are bounced on the bottom. The use of a fish locating graph really cuts down the search time. Striper have been found in virtually every canyon on the lake. The most consistent reports come from Navajo, Last Chance, Moki, Red, and Trachyte.
Striper action has slowed with the colder temperatures. Anglers were catching up to 100 fish per day but now getting only about 25 fish in the same amount of time. Fishing and catching will heat up as soon as the water does. Hope for good weather!