APRIL 1, 2004

By Wayne Gustaveson

Lake Elevation: 3582

Water Temperature: 57-65 F

Keep the water warm enough and bass will spawn! That is exactly what happened with the hot March weather. This is the earliest bass spawn I can remember on Lake Powell. Both largemouth and smallmouth bass are in the first spawn.

That means that bass nests are very visible. Look for a white colored circular spot on the dark lake bottom. Most often the nest will be located on the deep-water edge of flat or on the spine of a ridge extending into the water. The nest will always be on rocky structure. But don't be surprised to see a nest on sand. Closer examination will reveal rocks in the middle of the nest. Spawning is going strong lakewide. Find 60-65 degree water in the backs of canyons and cuts. Right now the nests are mostly on south facing exposures while the cooler north side is barren.

The neat part about finding a nest is that an angry adult male bass will be right in the middle of it in very shallow water. He will be willing to hit just about any lure IF HE DOES NOT SEE YOU FIRST. So throw long casts to likely looking nest sites. Or, if you mess up and spook him, mark the spot and return later to catch him. Some excellent lure choices for nesting bass are soft and hard plastic jerk baits, small soft plastic grubs, and spinner baits. It's fun to plunk a lure on the nest and watch him pick it up and move it off. It's a good idea to return male bass caught on nests so they can protect the young. Keep the females that lurk in slightly deeper water nearby.

Stripers are hitting both trolled and cast rattletraps in the green water section of most canyons. The strongest bite is from first light to 10 AM. After that stripers are hard to find until just before dark. We found 2.5 pound stripers holding on the shade line in green water of Rock Creek in the morning. They were active until the shade was gone and full sun hit the spot.

Fishing under lights at night is effective now with water temperatures hitting the mid 60's in the afternoon. Find shad schools by graphing the backs of canyons in the daytime then anchor in 40 feet of water near shad for night fishing. If shad come to the lights then stripers will follow. Drop anchovy bait under the shad school near bottom to find stripers. There are shad in almost every canyon.

Good fishing will continue as long as water temperatures remain near 60 or above. The early spring fishing is showing no signs of slowing down. April will be a very good month for fishing at Lake Powell.