Lake Powell report
Information compiled by Wayne Gustaveson, www.wayneswords.com
Lake elevation: 3,574 feet
Water temperatures: 52–60°F
The lake level remains fairly constant, with a slight drop to 3,574 feet above mean sea level (MSL). We hope spring runoff holds off for another three weeks because the Castle Rock Cut deepening project will continue until the last week of April. The best news is that the Cut will be deepened down to 3,575 MSL, meaning that the lake only has to come up five feet or so from the present level to allow boats to take the shortcut. That will save much time, fuel and aggravation with rough water in the main channel detour. My guess is that the Cut will be passable before Memorial Day.
Warm weather is here, and the fish are responding accordingly. It is time to go fishing! Bass are moving up to feel that warm surface layer. Fishing is not hot yet for bass but much improved over the past three weeks. Remember that colored water warms faster than clear water, and then target the warmest water available to find willing bass.
Walleye fishing is improving for the same reasons. Plastic bass lures (tubes and grubs) are beginning to draw interest, but they work much better when tipped with a piece of live worm. The best depth for finding walleye is 12–20 feet. If trolling is your favorite technique, then troll over long rocky points that jut out into the main channel. Allow the lure to touch bottom a couple of times as it bounces across the point. Walleye really like lures to be close to the bottom. When it's breezy in the afternoon, try slow-trolling bottom bouncers — with live worm or plastic worm imitations — on flat-bottomed structure under a wind-caused mudline.
Stripers are the most active fish right now. Schools of adult stripers have followed gizzard shad schools into the backs of canyons and coves. Similar reports have come from 7 mile canyon, Lake Canyon, Iceberg and a few San Juan canyons. Stripers are hitting crankbaits cast into very shallow water. Some fish are even boiling on five-inch shad and surface lures. White lures with a chartreuse stripe seem to mimic the gizzard shad well.
In other canyons (Gunsight, Padre, Last Chance, Rock Creek, Escalante and San Juan), fat juvenile stripers are feeding on plankton. Stripers are scattered and can best be caught while trolling a shad-imitating crankbait that runs 12 to 20 feet deep. Trolling speed should be 3 mph for the best result. Mark the locations where you catch each fish and return to those spots to catch more.
More stripers are hitting anchovy bait at the dam. Anglers checked this week caught about 10 fish per hour. Stripers caught on bait are not as healthy as those caught with reaction lure techniques.
Very deep canyons (150 feet or more) with a shallow bench along the edge are harboring a few large striper schools. We found a huge school with fat juvenile stripers and recovering adults at Buoy 25, which was last year's hottest striper spot in the lower lake. We dropped spoons right on the school with quick results, but the fish moved back into the deep water after we caught six or more in five minutes.
Spring fishing is at its best right now. It will only improve as the water warms into the 60s.