March 3, 2008
By Wayne Gustaveson
Lake Elevation: 3590
Water Temp: 49-53 F

Lake elevation has been stable for a month. That will end March 4th when a spike flood from Glen Canyon Dam will lower the lake by 3-4 feet in a short time. The water is cold making smallmouth fishing slow, with largemouth and striper fishing only fair. Fish don't like a quick drop in lake level so the flood event further compounds fishing success. But after the lake drops this week and the temperature and day length increase, fishing will be ON at Lake Powell.

Muddy water from early snow melt has slowed fishing to a standstill from Hite to Trachyte. Muddy water reaches all the way down the San Juan to Neskahi Canyon.

Here is what to expect in the near future: Largemouth bass are the first fish to respond in the spring. They will seek warmer water which is often provided by vertical cliffs with southern sun exposure. The rock picks up solar heat and transmits that into water of calm coves. Check for temperature spikes and fish around brush in the warmest water found. Bass like spinner baits that can probe the brush without sticking. When the reaction bite stops, pull out the plastic grubs and drag them slowly along the bottom at 15-25 feet.

Bill Bjork with tournament bass.

Smallmouth bass need a bit more warming before taking off. They increase activity about 10 days after largemouth start. Smallmouth are more numerous and will be found in a wider range of habitats. Again the 15-25 foot bottom contour will be the favored depth. Smallmouth will be on rock points and ledges without regard to the occurrence of brush. Brush only becomes important when it harbors the food source. If shad are present over the submerged creek channel then fishing location will be the rocky drop-off at the canyon edge. If bluegills hiding in brush are the forage target then bass will be around brush. It will be two more weeks minimum, before smallmouth fishing picks up.

Striped bass are scattered in the backs of the canyons. Fat two-pounders are present in good numbers but temperatures do not favor activity. A school may be located but the fish are flighty and hard to corner. Slow trolling may offer the best strategy to cover ground in search of stripers.

Walleye are just beginning to spawn. The males are ripe and off feed but the females are still eating and gearing up for spawning. Target clean rock structure to find spawning walleye aggregations. There are more walleye in the northern lake.

Other species are still huddled up looking for something warm. My advice is to wait one week and then come give it a try.