Lake Powell report
Information compiled by Wayne Gustaveson, www.wayneswords.com
Attention: Lake Powell is infested with quagga mussels. 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 launching in another water. If you plan to launch soonet, a professional decontamination is required. Locate a decontamination station and learn about quagga mussels.
Lake elevation: 3,610 feet
Water temperatures: 53–60°F
The bass spawn has been postponed because of cool, windy weather. It seems this happens every spring with bass moving shallow in early April only to be chased back into deep water as the water surface temperature cools back down with the next cold front. The forecast now is for warm weather to arrive this weekend and persist for the entire week. Therefore bass spawning will occur over the entire lake from April 20-27. Crystal clear water is found over most of the main lake which will make sight fishing for bedding bass an amazing event. Expect to see male bass protecting a light colored fanned spot, 3 feet under the surface, on the green or brown lake bottom. Once eggs are laid on the small rocks the male bass will protect those eggs from all predators including plastic baits. On the first day or two after the spawn the guarding bass is overly aggressive, challenging everything that swims within sight. He will pick up plastic baits that settle on the rocks within the nest boundary and move it off the nest and drop it. He can be caught many times and becomes less aggressive with time. The eggs hatch in about five days and the bass body guard stays with the bass fry that hatch and swim above the rocky nest site.
Photo courtesy of Wayne Gustaveson
The bass protector leaves the swimming fry and lets them swim away after a few days, and goes back to the nest. He then finds another ripe female, spawns again and starts the process over once more. A male bass may bring off four or five successful spawns with 2-3,000 young bass per nest.
It's a good idea to release all bass caught off nests until spawning season is over in June so the next generation of bass can be propagated for the future. The lake has not yet started to rise and remains amazingly clear. It will be interesting to watch the natural spawning cycle even if you are not a fisherman. Look for bass on primary and secondary points and in coves near the backs of canyons.
Walleye have now completed their early spring spawning season making them more available to be caught by anglers. With such clear water it is best to target walleye during low light periods, morning and evening. Standard walleye baits include bottom bouncers and worm harnesses and a live night crawler. It is also possible to use a regular double or single tail bass plastic grub. The secret for success is to make sure that lure maintains bottom contact. Gently lift it off the bottom and then make sure it touches bottom again after each jigging motion. Walleye are found in increasingly higher numbers with distance traveled uplake starting at Padre Bay. Good Hope Bay is the best spot as long as there is some visibility in the muddy runoff water coming downstream.
Stripers are biting bait in the main channel starting at Buoy 3 and proceeding further uplake. Pre-spawn stripers can be found in the backs of canyons where there is some color in the water. These fish can be caught on bait or by trolling, spooning and casting. As spawning time gets closer, expect stripers to move from the backs of canyons out to main canyon walls where they will spawn on the surface after dark. Over most of the lake, stripers can still be caught trolling. Locate a school on the graph and make repeated passes over the school holding at 30-40 feet deep. Smaller lures (3-4 inches) work better in the south where few shad are found while 4-5 inch lures work where shad are more abundant. It is best to troll lures that run 10-15 feet deep or use down riggers at the same depth the school is seen on the graph.
Expect fishing to improve significantly as the weather warms and the wind quits this weekend.(04-18-18)