A warm blanket of air is covering Lake Powell and convincing sport fish to come shallow. Stripers and bass are warming to the task and fishing has improved dramatically. Catching will get better each day until the next storm cools the warm surface layer and sends fish deep once more. Until then, it's time to go fishing!
Stripers are the easiest to catch. Warming conditions have triggered the move toward current. In the lower lake water being released from Glen Canyon dam and drawn into the NGS Power Plant create plenty of current which stripers follow. Large striper schools congregate near the rock wall barrier at the water release point. Anchovy bait fished at 30-60 feet is very effective. Chumming increases catch and the investment of 2 big handfuls of chum every 20 minutes means more stripers at the end of the day. Some anglers attach an anchovy head behind a white double tail plastic grub, others use a carolina-rig with a one inch chunk of bait. Another effective technique is to place an anchovy tail in line with a lead head jig. Using a combination of techniques and fishing at different depths may improve your catch from the prespawn striper schools. Catching is sporadic with many fish taken at once followed by a waiting period. Most angling parties are getting 10-20 stripers per trip at the intake which is better than at the dam.
Stripers move to current in each canyon. Most canyons have little running water and stripers will be in shallow water as they rise to feel the warmth of the sun. Trolling shad raps, and similar shad imitating crank baits has worked well in Halls Creek and Bullfrog Bay. Trolling is more effective than bait fishing near Hite where striper congregation areas are not well defined and much water must be covered before finding active fish. Flat line trolling in 20-40 feet of water at a rate of 3-4 mph will produce nice catches of healthy stripers. A higher percentage of lean fish that have not fared well over winter will be taken on bait at the same locations.
All game fish including stripers and bass are seeking the warmest water available. Stripers in the main channel near current are cruising over the lip of the cliff wall where cold water spills onto a shallow flat. The flat must be 3-5 feet deep and have a flat bottom which absorbs heat from the sun. The shallow water on the flat is warmer than the main body of the lake and both bass and stripers can be seen cruising over the cliff wall and basking in warm shallow water. The flat must be close to the main channel. Neither bass nor stripers are cruising to the back of a long shallow cove. They still need the comfort of deep water to feel secure. Try small jerk baits to hook a few of the basking fish. Size of smallmouth caught this week will be larger than average. The smaller bass are still dormant and waiting for another degree of warming.