May 5, 2009
By Wayne Gustaveson
Lake Elevation: 3612
Water Temp: 60- 70 F

Warm weather has arrived. The lake is warming and rising rapidly. These events signal big changes. Shortly threadfin shad will begin spawning, bass and crappie will conclude their spawning activity and striped bass will join the ranks of spawning fish.

But first, there will be one more week where all of the positive fishing events from April will continue. Large and smallmouth bass are still on nests. Crappie are protecting nests in thick brush. It is still possible to sight fish for shallow nesting fish. It is really cool to watch them guard the nest and nip at your bait while they try to move it away without being caught! But the visual display ends this week as the rising lake will muddy the water and deepen the stationary nest sites. All this will reduce visibility and prevent fish from being seen by anglers as readily as happened in April.

Bass and crappie fishing will continue to be excellent. Water cools off overnight and slows down the morning bass bite. The bite shifts into high gear about noon and gets progressively better until dark. Largemouth bass and crappie are associated with the myriad of brushy cuts and coves so prevalent on the lake this year. It is very unusual to see this much brush scattered among rocky structure.

Gary Sotelo

All fish are big and healthy. Crappie size rivals the glory days when 3 pound fish were common. In fact, a 3 pound 5 ounce crappie was caught in the Escalante Arm last week. That fish will likely be the new Utah State Record crappie. It is 3 ounces heavier than the current record crappie taken at Quail Creek, in UT.

This warming trend will activate walleye. The month of May is traditionally the best time to catch walleye and this year will be no different. Look for walleye in muddy water along windy shorelines. They move into coves to feed but need access to deep water as an escape feature. Fish along the shallow edges of the main channel to maximize walleye success. Pre dawn light and warm evenings are the best times to catch walleye. The most productive technique seems to be trolling across rocky points with a lure that bumps bottom at 12 feet. Concentrate on the 12-foot contour with a Wally Diver in black and white. The standard worm harness and bottom bouncer is always a good bet to take walleye

Striper fishing is challenging as they have moved shallower in the backs of canyons. Best catches now have come on lures trolled at about 10 feet. My best lure this week has been the Lucky Craft Pointer 128 in ghost color. Trolling still works best as schools are still moving and hard to stay over.

Expect stripers to become more active at night as the spawn gets closer. A rapid temperature spike on a hot calm day will trigger spawning which occurs at night in shallow water. Locate a school of males holding near long prominent points in the evening. Then return to that location at night to see if the big females have moved into the area to spawn. It is now time to catch that 30-pound plus striper for this year.