April 11, 2002
By Wayne Gustaveson   Home Page:
Lake Elevation: 3647  Water Temperature: 56-64 F

The really warm, calm weather has given way to nice mornings and breezy afternoons. While air temperature is still mild, the evening breeze mixes the thin, warm surface layer and has slowed down movement of fish to the shallows. Fish are still deep as a general rule.

Bass spawning has been set back another week in the main clear cool water of the main lake. Bass fishing is slow near Wahweap but improves with up lake travel. The San Juan is good and smallmouth and largemouth bass are in prespawn, nest searching mode. They can be taken on shallows flats and in coves where likely nest sites may be found. More warming is needed before bass move shallow in the main lake. Bass fishing is improving daily from Good Hope to Hite.

The best fishing on Lake Powell is found for stripers in the lower lake, particularly in the main channel from the dam to Navajo Canyon, although bait fishing near the mouth of Trachyte (Hite) is very good. Warming water and flowing current has drawn most stripers from their wintering grounds to the main channel (dam and power plant intake and many points in between). The exception is canyons with constant flowing water also have a school of stripers near the inflow. The muddy, bright green water in upper Navajo has a major population of stripers which can be taken by trolling shallow running shad imitating lures or casting plastic jigs to shore in 10-15 feet.

Most stripers are taken on bait by the dam and intake. Fishing is much better in the afternoon after warming has occurred. On an average day stripers start hitting about 11 am and continue until 5 pm. Cloudy or windy weather changes the pattern and usually slows down the bite. On a good afternoon you just have to be there to catch fish.

Some hints that will increase striper catch rate include:

*Regular chumming increases catch, especially if your bait is put right in the chum and descends at the same rate. A weightless anchovy on a hook with the line in free spool mode is just the ticket to match the chum.

*Watch the chum. If stripers are seen flashing around bait, fish shallow. Either use the weightless rig or drop a jig head or carolina rigged bait until it disappears from view and then suspend it. The depth will only be 15-20 feet.

*Take fish off quickly and try to keep a bait in the water when a striper is caught. They run in groups and when the group is under your boat it is critical to quickly and efficiently harvest as many as possible before they move to the neighboring boat. I like to have another rod ready and after placing a fish on the deck, make a cast before taking the first fish off the hook. The bait can slowly descend while putting the first striper in the cooler. If all is going well, the second striper should hit just as the first rod is rebaited.

*Stripers seek warm water on protected shallow flats (turquoise colored water) near the channel. A quick cast to the flat with a shallow running crank will often turn a quick striper or bass.