May 10, 2001
By Wayne Gustaveson   Home Page:
Lake Elevation: 3663  Water Temperature: 62-68 F

Warm weather has returned. This warm spell has started snowmelt runoff which will increase lake level, turbidity and stimulate plankton growth. Warm calm weather means that stripers will soon spawn and then move away from places they have been caught all spring. Bass have spawned again. Conditions are prime for good fishing.

Striped bass are found in smaller groups but in many more locations with decreasing catches coming from lower lake staging areas. The dam and power plant are still steady with average catch being 10-20 fish per boat for a day of fishing. Schools are moving along the walls and can be found anywhere in the main channel or long canyons between Wahweap and Hite. Shad have not spawned yet and are not abundant. Look for striped bass near main channel points with broken rubble rock where they can forage for crayfish. Steep cliffs offer no reason for striper schools to stop moving until they come to a spot that might provide food. Fish points, ledges and isolated rough areas in smooth textured terrain. Chumming 5 finely chopped anchovies at each spot will get stripers started if they are present. Drifting anchovies or trolling in off-colored water in the backs of canyons (30-40 feet) is another good way to locate a shallow feeding school.

Four tagged stripers have been turned in during the million dollar fish contest which runs until May 24th. They were caught at the power plant intake, Navajo canyon, upper San Juan and mouth of Halls Creek.

Smallmouth bass have spawned again. The first two spawns involved larger individuals. Younger, shorter fish have built new nests near spots that larger fish have used for the past two weeks. Look for soil on slick rock ledges. Bass fan away soil until only the rock is left. Then they build the nest. Virtually any area that provides pebble size broken rock is now occupied by smallmouth bass. All broken rock habitats are now working for smallmouth - submerged reefs, boulder rock, any rock slide on the edge adjoining the cliff face, rocky coves and cuts and slots in canyons. I hesitate to say they are behind every rock but that's pretty close.

Smallmouth are so abundant that we recommend keeping a limit of 6 fish to reduce numbers and allow those that are left to grow to a larger size.

Walleye, catfish, bluegill and some other species are becoming more active in the warming water. Fish deep smallmouth structure for walleye. Sunfish will be caught right along side shallow smallmouth and bluegill will be in brush or on deep boulder habitat on long points, particularly uplake (Good Hope Bay). Don't be surprised to have a catfish hit your plastic grub in shallow turbid water in the back of a cove.