BULLETIN: Wind and strong cold front on groundhog day made fish seek shelter. Guess they were looking for a "shadow". Anyway, fishing is very slow lakewide.

January 30, 2003

The late January thaw has been good to anglers as fishing has improved slightly. Cool water species like walleye, stripers and largemouth bass are showing some interest in lures once more. Smallmouth bass, sunfish and catfish are still snoozing waiting for longer days and warmer temperatures. Don't expect to catch a lot of fish. It is still winter.

Water temperatures are really not any warmer in the main lake. There is still too much cooling during the long night. But some really pleasant warm afternoons make angling prospects better in the warmest parts of the day. Cold-blooded fish can sense the slightest difference in temperature and will most often be found in the warmest water available. For best fishing luck find a warm water packet that is just a little warmer than its surroundings. Start looking in calm spots where direct sunlight warms a rock face or boulder. The warmth of the rock may be transmitted to the water and congregate fish.

Largemouth bass are more tolerant of cold temperatures than smallmouth. Largemouth have responded to bright sun and slight warming by moving to the 15-20 foot strata. Murky water is important because it holds heat better than clear water. A storm front will negate the feeding response but continued calm stable weather means that largemouth can be caught at Lake Powell. One good choice for bait is a bottom bouncing jig with soft plastic and a pork rind or live worm trailer. Be frugal with lure movement. Sometimes no movement is better than too much. Fish are still slow moving and may a very long time before deciding to eat.

Stripers are moving in schools and occasionally finding and feeding on shad. Start graphing in main channels and canyons where bottom depth is 60-100 feet. Only fish where schools are located on the graph. Use spoons when the school is first observed and then use bait if the school seems to be staying on one general area. Stripers are biting very lightly in cold water so pay particular attention to the rod tip when bait fishing. Set the hook on any movement no matter how slight.

The only true cool water fish in Powell is the walleye. Current water temperatures are ideal for them. The biggest walleye congregation is near Hite. There was a report last week of one angler catching 18 walleye in one day. With river current visible from Hite Marina walleye will stage prior to spawning very near the marina. Prespawn females are ‘big fish' most vulnerable in February before the spawn begins in March. Use live worms on bottom bouncers for best results.