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: 57-62°F
Cold winds blow and reduce the water temperature, sending bass scurrying for deeper water. Pouting and lockjaw are symptoms of fish hoping to spawn but finding cooling temperatures. Then the wind quits, the sun comes out and fish swim into shallow warm water, and frolic while basking in the sun. The best pattern for anglers this past week was to hunker down while the wind was blowing and then rush out when the sun came out and water warmed. The short warm periods produced very good fishing results. This week expect more of the same. Wind and rain are forecast but some calm warm periods will happen as well. Look at the thermometer on your graph often and fish in the warmest shallow water available to find the best success.
The bass and crappie have started spawning. Bass nests or beds are easy to see in shallow water. The lake has come up less than a foot and water is still clear over the majority of the lake. Water is muddy near the Colorado inflow from Trachyte to Four-mile Canyon and in the upper San Juan and Escalante river arms.
Male bass guard their nests while fresh eggs are there but cold water takes the fun out of it and males sometimes abandon the nests. When the sun comes out again, the same male returns to the nest, tidies up the rocks and then finds another ripe female to add more eggs to the old ones on the rocks. Both male and female bass are able to spawn as many as six different times during the spawning season (which lasts from mid April to mid May).
This knowledge should alert anglers about where to find bass depending on weather conditions. If it's cold and windy, look for bass in deeper water near a shallow rocky shoal or point where nests have been seen. If it's warm and calm, just look for bass in close proximity to nests visible in shallow water. Crappie follow the same triggers and patterns but really like to have their nose in a bush while waiting for the weather to warm and spawning to resume. Tumbleweed piles are the most common habitat.
The big news this week is the beginning of 'Walleye Month.' Warming water increases their activity but lack of food makes them very hungry. The end result is that walleye are easy to catch from now through May. Good Hope Bay is the Walleye Capital of Lake Powell. Last week walleye were caught in stained water in the morning hours. The best technique was to drag a crayfish imitating lure slowly along the bottom. Twin tail grubs in dark pumpkin, watermelon and other crayfish variations worked well as did white shad imitating colors. Some anglers caught walleye while vertically jigging white Yamamoto grubs in less than 30 feet of water, while others used a slow-drifting technique with double tail grubs while maintaining bottom contact in 20 feet of water.
Trollers were successful as well, as they covered more water looking for the walleye congregation. Wally Diver lures in blue and brown colors were successful when they were trolled at a depth where the lure would periodically bounce off the bottom. Walleye fishing will only get better as the water gets much warmer in May. There is no limit on walleye as there is an overpopulation of these tasty fish in the northern lake. We wish you great success in catching and keeping as many walleye as you can use.
Stripers were still red hot for those using bait in the southern lake near the main channel. Hot spots included Buoy 3A on the corner that turns toward Antelope Canyon, the power plant intake and Navajo Canyon. There were no reports from bait fishermen further uplake as the fish close to Antelope and Wahweap launch areas were too fun to catch.
Warm weather returns early next week and fishing will only improve. The first two weeks of May should provide epic fishing adventures and stories for those that can make the magical trip to Lake Powell during prime time.