April 19, 2001
By Wayne Gustaveson   Home Page:
Lake Elevation: 3662  Water Temperature: 57-65 F

The first black bass nests were seen on April 18 in Wahweap Bay. Bass spawning will ensue for the next two weeks depending on how the next storm front plays out. Cold winds will mix and cool the water and bass will abandon nests and pull back out to deep water. Light winds and continued warm air temperature means that bass will guard nests, be shallow and extremely catchable. Early morning water temperatures are still in the high 50's following night time cooling. By mid afternoon the entire lake is above 60 F.

Afternoon fishing is much better than morning fishing for all species. Black bass are coming very shallow to sun themselves and to seek nest sites. Most bass will be caught from 2 to 15 feet deep. Since bass are poised for spawning, fish for them along the deep water edge of a rocky flat or terrace. Once the nest is built male bass will stay in the shallows. Females will be in close proximity but deeper, usually just over the edge where visibility decreases. Males are super aggressive for the first 2-3 days after eggs are deposited. Then they become more docile with each passing day. It is a good idea to release bass and crappie obviously caught guarding a nest. If the male is removed, all fish hatched will be lost to predation. The inherent desire to protect the nest and fry is what makes bass so aggressive and easy to catch.

Prespawn striped bass are attracted to current created by the dam and power plant intake. Anchovy bait suspended at 40 feet is working to provide anglers about 10-30 fish per trip. Afternoon fishing from 3 PM till dark is the best. Look all along the wall from the dam to the intake during the mid day slowdown. Light line, small hooks and a one inch chunk of anchovy on a carolina rig (sinker 18 inches above the hook) is the best rigging method.

Stripers are attracted to the current of the Colorado and San Juan river inflows but they are not as easy to find as those stacked up in front of the dam. Trolling the mudline at Hite is a good starting point. Graphing and trolling across main channel points anywhere midlake is a good way to find a prespawn striper school. The first ripe male striped bass was seen on April 18th following the rapid rise in surface water temperature. Males stage on long points waiting for ripe females. Females spawn at dusk and just after dark. When in spawning mode striper activity is much greater afternoon and evenings than mid day. Cooling will chase stripers back to prespawn holding areas. Continued warming will cause a move away from holding areas to spawning points.

As usually happens in the spring, tomorrow's weather will determine how good the fishing is. On calm days, fish with soft plastic along the bottom. When the wind comes up use crank baits and spinner baits on windy points and around wind induced mudlines.