LAKE POWELL FISH REPORT march 27, 2003 By Wayne Gustaveson Home Page: www.wayneswords.com Lake Elevation: 3607 Water Temperature: 52-57

Warming has begun and fishing is perking up. While early morning main channel temperature can be as low as 50 the afternoon sun will warm dirty water in the back of the canyon to 57 or higher. Fish react accordingly. Smallmouth bass are oblivious to lures in the morning but come alive as the water temperature creeps above 55. Bass react to spinnerbaits, crankbaits, and, as usual, the soft plastic grubs and tubes. It's really about temperature instead of lure choice. Find the warm muddy water and bass will be there.

Shad abundance and behavior has been the most pleasant surprise.. Shad have moved much shallower than expected probably in response to warming water. Schools, which are found in most canyons, will be holding in about 15 feet of water. Water depth may be 25 but shad schools will be suspended at 15. Shad were making trips to the shallowest water available (less than 2 feet) in Rock Creek on 3-26-03. Shallow shad were always in or near the muddiest water which was warmer than surrounding clear water and provided visual camouflage from foraging striped bass.

Striped bass are catchable all day long. Action is not fast but steady. Find the shad school and stripers will be close. Shad are not quick swimmers at these water temperatures. Stripers are very effectively finding shad but not using the normal school attack behavior. Individual stripers are swimming in the dirty water and bumping into enough "shad opportunities" to overfill their stomachs. The technique to catch stripers in these circumstances is to cast or troll a colorful, loud vibrating crankbait in the dirty water.

I used a ˝ ounce rattletrap (chrome and chartreuse back) and a shad rap (#5 white with chartreuse back). Usually one fat 2-3 pound striper is caught every 30 minutes. Sometimes two are caught in close proximity. It is a random happening. Fishing is best in the afternoon as water warms but a solid activity period happens from 7 to 10 AM. Mid day is slower.

The ‘back of canyon' pattern holds lake wide. Shad presence is crucial. Graph shad schools and start fishing. Cast shad imitating baits if targeting striped bass or put on grubs or spinnerbaits for bass. Small jigs attached to a float will take crappie. Active fish will be found in the same small area in each canyon. You decide which fish species to catch by the technique used.

Lower lake canyons where shad have been found include Warm Creek, Last Chance, West Canyon and Rock Creek. The pattern will hold all the way to Hite.