May 2, 2002
By Wayne Gustaveson   Home Page:
Lake Elevation: 3645  Water Temperature: 56-65 F
Spring weather alternates between hot and calm followed by cold and windy. Fish really respond to hot and then get blow away by windy conditions. The fish activity cycle is really predictable since it has be replayed 3 times in the past 3 weeks. Winds cool the lake surface temperature to 56 and fish quit biting. Then as soon as it calms down surface temperature pops back above 60 and fish start biting all over again.

Bass are spawning. Nests are found in shallow water on a rocky bottom very near a deep water escape route. The male guards the nest, is very visible and sometimes easy to catch. Females are in deeper water near by. Bass are aggressive and will chase lures. Now is a good time to cast crank baits in bright colors along the breaking edge of a reef, terrace or point. A bass chasing a lure often turns away but the curious fish will often follow a plastic grub dropped to the bottom near where he was last seen. Have both offerings ready when a bass comes tearing after the lure. We suggest keeping and eating smallmouth bass between 9 and 12 inches and releasing those over 12 inches. We hope this practice results in faster growth for smallmouth bass.

Striped bass have been congregated in prespawning schools for the past 3 weeks. They have been found in the main channel near current of inflowing (tributaries) or outgoing water (dam and intake). The next warming trend (surface temp exceeding 65 F) will cause ripe fish to leave the prespawn staging areas and spawn in coves and the backs of canyons. Expect fish to move often between staging and spawning zones as temperature fluctuates. Spawning occurs at dusk and into the night. After spawning stripers will be more active in the late afternoon and lethargic in morning hours.

For now, expect stripers to be 20 to 50 feet deep near the dam, power plant intake and in Navajo Canyon and readily caught on bait. They also spill onto shallow flats near the main channel on warm afternoons where they slip over the edge to get warm. Use shallow running crank baits to sight-fish for these shallow basking fish. Shallow stripers have been seen near the islands in Padre Bay this week. At midlake look for this main channel striper pattern in Lake Canyon, Halls Creek and Bullfrog Bay.

Spawning stripers, which are often bigger and healthier than those in the main channel, will be near the backs of canyons where water is cloudy and a little warmer. They can be caught trolling (mono or lead line) with long, thin shad imitating lures like Shad Raps, Wally Divers and Thunderstick Jr. A school located on the graph can be caught on jigging spoons or white jigs by dropping lures right in the school. Expect to find mature stripers in Dirty Devil and main channel near Hite and in most canyons downstream to 4-Mile Canyon. Trolling has been productive in the back of Halls Creek, Last Chance and most recently in Wahweap Bay. Bottom depth is usually between 20-45 feet in the most productive areas.

Crappie fishing is at its peak but that is a really small blip as their numbers are not large. Walleye catching is getting much better in the upper lake from Good Hope to Hite and will peak during mid May.