April 17, 2003

By Wayne Gustaveson

Lake Elevation: 3605

Water Temperature: 53-62 F

The last winter storm (hopefully) blew across Lake Powell on 4-15-03. The water cooled, shad moved deeper, stripers and bass quit biting. But the effects were temporary. It is warming again today. We know exactly what to expect as fish return to the shallows. They will do precisely what they were doing before the storm.

Striped bass will take up stations 15-25 feet deep in the back of canyons where shad are basking in warm murky water. Stripers are scattered and feeding individually which makes them easy targets for trollers. Keep the boat in the "shad zone" (murky-green water where bottom depth is 15-25 feet) and troll shallow running rattletraps or shad raps in a circular or zigzag pattern. When wind or cold puts the fish down then go deeper with a shad imitating lure that will run 15-25 feet deep (Rapala DT-16 or down-rigged lure).

Drifting along a reef and casting to shallow water, then pulling the lure into deeper water is very effective when stripers are active. Don't be surprised to find stripers very shallow in side canyons off the main canyon where shad are found. Casting crankbaits and soft plastic baits will catch a variety of fish near shad.

The first report of stripers being taken on anchovies was received from an angler fishing near the mouth of Trachyte on the north end of the lake. As water warms the need to feed increases. Stripers are nearing maturity and will be attracted to current for spawning purposes when water warms more, but this movement has not been detected yet. Stripers are still found feeding in the backs of canyons and resting in deeper water nearby.

Bass will move shallow this week. Water temperatures holding steadily at 62-65 will trigger spawning. Current temperature fluctuations will cause a rash of nest building. Visually scan for largemouth and smallmouth bass in the shallows. These bass are very spooky and may not bite unless stealthily approached and long casts are used. Catching will get much easier when males start guarding nests instead of just constructing them.

Remember to release all largemouth bass and smallmouth bass over 12 inches. Keep the little smallmouth bass for supper. That selective thinning will let the whole smallmouth population grow bigger. The favorable forage conditions this spring will cause good growth for all fish at Lake Powell. Fishing will improve for all species during the next two weeks."

Fishing will improve for all species during the next two weeks.