March 6, 2007
By Wayne Gustaveson
Lake Elevation: 3597
Water Temp: 47-51 F

Bass fishermen have already been competing for fishing honors in the early season at Lake Powell. Cold temperatures, and a little snow mixed with wind did not dampened their spirits as they showed their prowess by catching bass in the toughest of cold weather conditions. The Anglers Choice Team tournament saw many 5-fish bass limits with some teams weighing almost 15 pounds for a 3-pound average. Smallmouth up to 4-pounds and largemouth over 5-pounds were taken and released following the weigh-in.

There are as many productive techniques as there are fishermen. Some of the most productive in this early tournament involved a fishing strategy using multiple methods. Most know that a few bass will be easy prey and bite on the first cast. After that it takes more patience to continue to catch fish.

Ron Colby shows off a 3-pound smallmouth caught on the shad shaped worm. Ron won the heaviest weight for two days combined.

Bass were often shallow but not in the backs of the canyons. Bass like points with shallow feeding areas in close proximity to deep water. Wise anglers fished the points and brush shelters. Prowling fish were taken on deep diving crankbaits tossed to the far side of the point. The deep diver was then dragged through the soil and rocks leaving a mud trail. Bass attracted to the mud trail would then bite as the lure broke out into deeper water. Remember that each team only had to catch 5 fish to get a limit. Fishing was not fast, with one or two keepers caught in 2 hours of cranking. It takes hundreds of casts and great patience to be successful in cold conditions.



When prowling fish quit biting, it's time to break out the plastic and fish slow and deep for resting fish. Time tested jig and pork rind and large hula grubs caught some fish but perhaps the best deep approach was the drop shot rig. The weight is placed on the bottom with the plastic worm, grub or senko hooked on a super sharp hook some 6-10 inches up the line. When fished correctly, the weight rests on the bottom and the plastic bait resembles a free swimming or resting bait fish. A slight movement of the rod tip allows the bait to flutter and twitch with tantalizingly slow movements that are attractive in cold weather. The weight is pulled along the bottom on a tight line and then allowed to rest and flutter in one spot for longer periods.

Fish become accustomed to seeing the same popular baits fished time after time. Sometimes the new bait or new color draws the strike while the old standard is ignored. A new plastic bait from Yamamoto worked very well in this event. It is called a SHAD-SHAPED WORM and is designed specifically for drop shot fishing.

The deep diving cranks needed a bit of innovation as well. The lures that dug up mud at 15-25 feet worked better when a "hot color" like red-crayfish or fire tiger was used. Fishing is off to a good early start. When temperatures warm up, it won't take nearly as many casts or crazy colors to catch fish here.

Tournament anglers found some willing stripers in Rock Creek, Neanderthal Cove and Warm Creek. A few walleye were taken as well.

Remember to protect the big lake from hitch hiking mussels coming from Lakes Mead, Mohave or Havasu. Drain all water and wash the boat, then let it dry 5 days before launching in a new water.