LAKE POWELL FISH REPORT
May 19, 2005
By Wayne Gustaveson
Lake Elevation: 3570
Water Temp: 62 - 70 F
Lake Powell has risen 15 feet this spring. Launch ramps are open and operating. Now the first hot ambient temperatures of the year will bring some big changes to fish behavior.
Bass have spawned twice already but this warming will mark the final spawn of the season. The weather has been so unsettled that bass are in various stages of prespawn, postspawn, and actual spawning. That means they can be deep, shallow, or any place in between. The good news is that they can be caught just about anywhere on any lure. Little smallmouth bass are in shallows and big ones are a bit deeper. Expect good bass catching to continue for at least another two weeks. Just remember to fish the deeper structure. The water has come up over 3 feet this week. The shoreline may have been dry land only yesterday so fish places that have been wet for at least a week for best results. While soft plastic tubes and grubs may be the best all-around bass lures it is possible to catch them on virtually any lure that can be fished close to rocky structure. Bass fishing is pretty darn good right now. If they donít bite in one spot try the next cove or point until they are found. Do not spend time fishing unproductive water. Keep moving.
Stripers are impatiently waiting for hot weather to trigger spawning. Ripe males are on deep long points near the mouth of canyons. Small groups of females are in the backs of canyons looking for shad or on rocky points dredging up crayfish. The only schooling action may be when stripers chase shad in shallow murky water (less than 10 feet) near the backs of canyons. Stripers are scattered, making trolling the most consistent technique of covering a lot of water and presenting the lure to the most fish. Lures that run 12-25 feet deep are the most successful for males holding off long points and for females on the ends of rocky bluffs. Lipless vibrators (rattletraps) are good shallow water trollers for shad-chasing stripers found in shallow water in the backs of canyons and coves. Trolling the shoreline contour along the 20-40 foot strata is the most effective pattern and much better than trolling in a straight line across the bay. Trolling works best early and late. When that bite slows down use anchovies in areas where stripers were caught earlier.
During the next week or two warm temperatures will trigger the striper spawn. Scattered stripers will then gather in large congregations in selected coves in each canyon and spawn on the water surface at dusk. When the sun dips below the canyon rim start trolling points and look for a congregation of ripe males. Rolling and splashing of a large group of 6-10 pound stripers is hard to miss. Find a striper-spawning cove to live the fishing trip that dreams are made of. Every cast will produce an adult fish from 4 pounds 50 pounds. The action is mainly after dark so it is necessary to be prepared to fish at night along a familiar shoreline to prevent accidents. Get familiar with the shoreline and then go back after dark to see if the big females have come in. It may be best to camp on shore near the congregation of males if possible. Use a single hook to make quick work of removing the hook after dark. I prefer a 1-ounce bucktail jig with a chartreuse plastic grub trailer. This lure has the versatility to fish deep or shallow and at varying rates of speed. It can be presented to stripers at any depth and will seldom tangle in the dark of night.
Walleye are active at night along the rocky shoreline and can be caught while searching for spawning stripers. Troll shallow crankbaits or drag grubs along the bottom for a bonus walleye. This looks to be a good week for fishing. I am excited about it.