MARCH 9, 2004

By Wayne Gustaveson

Lake Elevation: 3585

Water Temperature: 50-55 F

Nothing like a few warm days to start warming the water surface. Lake Powell is basking in the sun today. While fishing yesterday the surface temperature rose to 55 degrees in calm spots. The first breath of wind will mix the small warm zone with the much larger cold layer. But warming has officially begun at Lake Powell. Good fishing will follow. Continued calm, warm weather will make the fish bite sooner. But a cold weather front will delay the process.

I found fishing to be slow. There were many western grebes and I suspect shad in the back of Warm Creek. Trolling with deep diving and shallow running crank reaction baits went unrewarded. I did not try anchovies. I kept waiting to graph a school of stripers before trying bait but never did see a school on the graph. I suspect that stripers are still quite dormant. Sometimes they lay on the bottom and are hard to detect with electronics. More likely I just did not detect them in the electronic cone.

On the return trip I fished for bass along the deeper drops in Warm Creek and then the main channel. The only action was found along the vertical edge of the main channel sheer cliffs. In very small shallow cracks and crevices of the cliff, bass were basking in warming water. The ideal spot was a sandy bottom cut not quite large enough for a boat to beach. Bass would lurk on the deep edge where water spilled onto a shallow spot. A bait cast to the shallows would be hit just as the plastic grub was pulled back into deep water.

Fishing is still slow. But it is only a matter of time and warming before bass come shallow and stripers start to prowl.