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.