MARCH  23, 2005
By Wayne Gustaveson
Lake Elevation: 3556
Water Temperature: 51-55 F

March weather has been a bit testy which has the fish trying to decide how to respond. One day is warm and the next cold.  Water temperature has vacillated 10 degrees. Surprisingly, stripers in the lower lake have been more dependable than the weather.

Stripers near Lone Rock in Wahweap Bay have moved shallow (10 feet) to feed and then deep (45 feet) to ride out the cold front.  On any given day they can be caught trolling with deep divers (20-25 feet) when they are in the deep slots and with regular shad lures (12-15 feet) when they are feeding on the points.

It may be time to give these fish a rest as heavy fishing pressure lately has made for a crowded fishing pattern.  It looks a lot like a NASCAR event on warm afternoons with most boats trolling in left-hand circles.  But the rewards are great with most anglers getting at least a couple of the 6-pound plus beauties.

Lone Rock is close but the same striper catching opportunity exists in Gunsight, Padre, Navajo, Last Chance and Rock Creek.  Use the experience gained from trolling at Lone Rock to boost your catch in other locations.
1.  The key elements are to get a lure that trolls true and deep.  The best lures have been Norman D-22, Big Mac, Shad Rap (size 9), and salt water deep diving rapalas with the metal lip.  Basically any lure that will troll between 15-25 feet and resembles a shad.   
2.  Troll at 3-3.5 mph.  Those trolling slower are not catching as many fish.

3.  HINT:  I have caught the most fish by trolling deep water close to shore.  Each time a shallow ridge appears on the graph I turn the boat towards deep water.  This forces the lure to turn and follow the ridgeline.  Stripers hanging off the point attack the lure as it drops over the lip into deep water. This zigzagging technique has been deadly and improved my catch rate tremendously.  Know how deep the lure runs so you can judge when to turn and when to continue straight across a ridge. Bumping bottom once on a ridgeline is a good thing.  Snagging is not!
CAUTION:  Trolling more than two lines will cause the lures to tangle when making quick erratic turns.

Using these techniques in the backs of most canyons where water depth is 25-50 feet will allow you to find your own private school of big stripers.  If stripers are present they will not ignore this method. Use this search technique anywhere on Lake Powell. Stripers are staging in the backs of many canyons and eating shad when the water warms.  Prime time seems to be 3 PM each afternoon.  

Bass fishing is getting better on warm afternoons.  Try drop-shotting - or use tubes and plastic grubs on steep walls and fast falling vertical structure for bass.  A large temperature differential between main channel and protected coves mark potential bass hotspots.  The thermometer may be the most important bass catching tool right now. Remember that cloudy water warms faster than clear water.  Fish stained water for best results when the sun is out and water is warming.