May 5, 2005
By Wayne Gustaveson
Lake Elevation: 3564
Water Temp: 58 - 65 F
Fish are wondering what happened to spring? Warm days in April got
them excited about spawning. Now May is here and it seems like March.
Water temperatures hover around 60 degrees but fish are looking for that
quick warming to trigger more spawning. While waiting most fish are
hovering between deep and shallow water. But they can be caught.
Bass fishing is the best bet. Old nests from the first spawn in April
are now 8 feet deeper due to rising lake levels. Fishing the shallow
shoreline is not as productive as dropping a plastic tube or grub over
the first ledge and letting it fall 5-15 feet. Bass are close to the
deepwater edge of shallow rocky structure where nests are built. On a
warm afternoon or when the wind blows they will come back on top of the
rock. When the water cools due to wind or evening temperatures they
drop back into deeper water.
For best results in cool weather use small baits like Berkeley power
grubs, or tiny Yamamoto grubs on eighth-ounce jig heads. Toss the jig
near brush or debris and let it slowly settle around limbs and
branches. Find a patch of floating driftwood and debris and poke the
jig under the floating mat to find fish using the floating cover for a
hiding spot. When the temperature rises in the afternoon use larger
baits and retrieve more quickly to catch fish. Matching the mood of the
fish is important to success. Find the right speed and color to enhance
the catch. When it quits working then change one of the variables until
fish start to bite once more. Another great technique is to use
suspending jerk baits. When water is cold, pause as long as 5-10
seconds between jerks.
These bass fishing techniques will catch many different kinds of fish
during May. Expect crappie, bluegill, walleye, green sunfish, catfish
and carp to be caught on the same bait in the same cove.
Striped bass are off feed now waiting to spawn. They have not quit
feeding, just relaxed the relentless pursuit of shad. Being the biggest
fish in town causes baitfish to run away from striper spawning
concentrations. Stripers are chasing each other instead of looking for
food, which causes a separation between stripers and shad. Catching
requires specific methods. Stripers will eat when a food item is placed
in front of them. Trolling deep-running (25-40 feet) baits in the
backs of canyons is still effective. Using fire tiger or baits with a
fluorescent orange belly increases success when fish are lethargic.
Stripers are moving in the main channel. Trolling the intersection of
the main channel and canyon mouth is productive but not fast.
With stripers prowling and not chasing shad, fishing anchovies at 40-60
feet is a good bet. Stripers have recently been caught at the dam. It
is reasonable to expect that historical anchovy fishing spots will be
good as long as the cold weather persists. Try the dam, power plant
intake, Halls and Moki walls for bait fishing.
Best striper fishing is in the southern half of Lake Powell. Wahweap to
Rock Creek is best with stripers found recently in every canyon. Muddy
water extends down to Tapestry Wall in the main channel. Fishing for
most species is tough upstream from Bullfrog.
Warming will change fish location and fishing success. For this week,
go small for bass and deep for stripers.