APRIL 28, 2004

By Wayne Gustaveson

Lake Elevation: 3583

Water Temperature: 60-65 F


Calm weather and rapid warming allowed waiting bass to move into shallow water and spawn over the length of Lake Powell. Bass that were in deeper water last week moved on top of rocky humps, along shallow ledges, and to the breaking edge of rocky flats. Eggs were deposited April 24-26. Males are extremely aggressive when eggs are new.

Example: We saw a bass guarding a nest yesterday and positioned the boat to make the perfect cast to the center of the nest. But the bass couldn't wait when a plastic tube cast from the front of the boat hit the water 20 feet up the shoreline. He raced off the nest, hit the lure, killed it, spit it out and returned to the nest. Then we made the prefect cast and caught the fish. He was immediately released and returned to the nest to guard once more. Catching is almost too easy when bass are this driven.

Nest protective aggression will decline with each day. Eggs will hatch by April 30 or May 1st. Bass fishing will remain super but the really incredible peak is now. Expect another spawn near May 15th. Bass fishing will be great until the runoff allows the lake to rise rapidly. Then fishing will be good but the pattern will be different. For now, look for bass on very shallow rock reefs particularly on the breaking edge. A rocky hump on a sand flat will have one or more active bass nests.

Any bait will work but perhaps the best are soft plastic grubs and tubes. Baits that threaten a nest invasion are immediately attacked. For a nesting bass the slow sinking weightless Senko jerk bait may be the most tantalizing.

Caution: Some anglers were catching bass with regularity just before the spawn. When the bass moved shallow, those anglers using the same deepwater techniques may have missed some of the best action of the year. Bass are in plain view. Many fish can be seen before being captured in these conditions. Females are near the nest site just off the deepwater side. Put the males back to protect the nest. Harvest females if taking a few fish to eat.

Striped bass are moving in and out of the shad feeding zones in the murky green water at the backs of most canyons. They move in and feed for an hour and then leave for unknown locations. Stripers can come in any time of day. A good strategy is to troll and cast in the 15-40 foot deep sections for a short time. When an active school is found stripers can be caught quickly on crank baits and spoons. If they are not in with shad schools then fish bass for a while and return to try stripers again.

Walleye are being caught with regularity from Bullfrog to Trachyte Canyon. Use bottom bouncing baits tipped with night crawler for best results.