Lake Powell report
Information compiled by Wayne Gustaveson, www.wayneswords.com
Attention: Quagga mussels have been detected at Lake Powell. Protect other Utah waters by cleaning and draining the water from your boat before leaving Lake Powell. Your boat must be dried for 18 days before you can launch in another water. If you plan to launch sooner than that, a professional decontamination is required. Learn more about these destructive mussels.
Lake elevation: 3,591 feet
Water temperatures: 55–63°F
This is an incredible time to be on Lake Powell. Spring arrived early with warm temperatures and no wind. The calm water is so picturesque that it is hard to break away and concentrate on fishing. All the fish are noticing the warm water as well. It’s a month early, but the bass are lining up to spawn. If the water continues to warm, the bass may move onto nests next week. Regardless, the prespawn fishing success is awesome.
Smallmouth bass are the most cooperative fish right now. Fishing success is temperature dependent, which makes afternoon the prime time to be on the water. Use plastic single-tail grubs or tubes along primary and secondary points near shore. The warm water is found in shallow areas. (The deep water is still fairly cool.) You may have more consistent success in areas with colored water, although some bass are now being caught in clear water as well. You can catch bass anywhere from the shoreline to depths of about 25 feet. Cast shallow and work the plastic bait progressively deeper along the rocky point until you hook a fish. Then, it's time to recast and catch another one.
You can also use some of the smallmouth techniques to catch the occasional largemouth bass. It helps to find some semblance of brush to locate largemouth bass habitat.
The best news is that all these fish are fat and healthy. Many rotund, two-pound smallmouth were caught this past weekend.
Crappie are also showing up in these warm conditions. Bluegill and other brush-loving fish have moved into muddy water to find protection from marauding predators. If submerged tumbleweeds or some other brushy material is in the water, the bass, crappie and bluegill may set up temporary quarters there until the lake rises and covers more brush. We heard reports of anglers catching 30 crappie in one day last weekend. One angler caught a three-pound crappie in the San Juan.
Stripers are following these proceedings with interest. As small-bodied fish move into the shallow muddy water, the stripers follow. The best reports for big stripers this week came from muddy water in the backs of canyons. Anglers who used jerk baits and lipless vibrators in shallow water were rewarded with big stripers. Some weighed five pounds or more. Again, afternoon fishing was better after the water warmed in the afternoon sun.
Smaller stripers (16 inches) are eating plankton, which is most prevalent in murky water (5–10 feet deep). Troll or cast lipless vibrators or jerk baits to target these fish. The best option is to troll and find the striper school. Then, right after you hook a fish, have another line ready and cast quickly into the school so you can catch more stripers while netting the first fish.
Walleye are starting to show up for bass anglers who drag plastic lures along the bottom. They will get more active in April, but walleye made an appearance this past weekend. To target walleye, tip the plastic bass jig with a small piece of nightcrawler.
All things considered, it looks like a very good week to fish for many different species at Lake Powell.