The first largemouth bass has been seen tidying up a nest site. That heralds
the beginning of spring fishing excitement. The
largemouth bass spawn during the next 4 weeks will create
indelible fishing memories for those lucky enough to be fishing on those
magic days when bass are visible in shallow clear water, and eager to chase
anything that comes near the nest. Bass spawn every year, but this year the
average size of bass caught will exceed any yearly average in the recent
past. The spawning peak will come during the warmest five consecutive days
in late April unbroken by a cold front. Bass continue to spawn in May but
spring runoff will raise the lake, cloud the water and make finding nesting
bass much harder. If your bucket list includes catching a 3-6 pound
largemouth bass then a spring trip to Lake Powell is mandatory.
Jacob and Jet Berry
Largemouth live in the brush that rings the shallows around the lake. They
go very shallow on warm afternoons and are very spooky when approached. It
takes a very stealthy cast to catch them shallow before they spawn. More
often they are in thick cover. Lures bouncing through tree limbs get their
attention. The lure must stop for a while to entice a bite. So use big baits
with lots of surface area that settle slowly to the bottom for best results.
When bass are on the nest they are much easier to catch. A slow settling,
weightless bait, like a plastic senko is ideal.
Many big fish will be caught on beds this spring. Male bass guard the nest.
Male bass should be returned to protect the young eggs and fry on the nest.
Put them back right where they were captured and then watch them go right
back to the nest site. It is fine to take a picture, weigh and measure the
fish first. An exact replica of a huge fish can be done in fiberglass just
from the length and girth dimensions. Expect to catch a big one but be ready
to record the feat before a quick release.
Female bass are the ones that should be targeted for harvest if desired.
Better yet keep smallmouth bass which are more abundant.
Crappie will spawn during the same time frame. This spring will
offer the best crappie fishing seen at the lake for a very long time. Be
aware of the 10 fish crappie limit. Keep enough for a meal but not enough to
stock the freezer. Largemouth and crappie have returned to prominence
because of the ephemeral brush ring around the lake. When the brush
disappears in the next few years their populations will decline as well.
That is whey they are still cautiously protected when they appear to be
available in large numbers.
Striped bass remain in the backs of the
canyons. Small stripers are in the upper 15 feet while larger fish are now
becoming more active in the deeper water (15-35 feet). Trolling is still the
best method to catch them. Shallow running (6-12 feet) small baits take
small fish at a fast pace. Deeper running (20-30 feet) lures take the 3-4
pound fish at a slower rate. Fishing with spoons and jigs on the bottom near
schools seen on the graph is improving every day. There is still no movement
of stripers to the main channel and there have been few fish caught on bait.
Fat stripers like action baits and will show little interest in a passive
anchovy. If bait is your choice then try slow trolling a whole anchovy on a
salmon mooching rig in 35 feet of water.
There is more than can be said but the bottom line is that fishing will be
remarkable in 2010.