Bass fishing nearing its seasonal peak at Lake Powell
PAGE, Ariz. — It’s a typical year at Lake Powell, As soon as the water warms, bass move onto nest sites and then retreat as water cools.
If the home cove is protected from wind, it stays warm (53-60 degrees) and bass spawn. But if strong wind cools the water, spawning is delayed until the next calm period.
Lake level (as of Monday 3,597 asl) is the selling point for coming sooner rather than later to fish for spawning bass.
Now, the lake is stabilizing, ready to start filling and the water is crystal clear.
Rising water causes bank sloughing, which clouds the shallow water and reduces visibility.
All these factors suggest that the last week of April and first week of May will be the peak time for spring bass fishing.
This is my best suggestion for a one-day fishing trip on the southern half of Lake Powell.
Water temperature will be cool in the early morning. At dawn, go toward the back of the canyon and troll along the shoreline in 25 feet of water with medium running crankbaits or bottom bouncing worm harnesses.
Walleye are a low light feeder and may be more aggressive in morning twilight.
When the sun hits the water head to the main channel and fish bait for striped bass along the canyon wall.
Chum a spot to locate fish. If they don’t bite within 10 minutes, move on and repeat until a school lights up.
Catch stripers all morning long. Fill the cooler as many times as needed stopping to fillet fish as space runs out.
Then take a lunch break.
As water warms into the 60s in the afternoon, head for the backs of canyons and coves again, this time sight-fishing for bedding bass.
Cast hard-plastic jerk baits and soft plastic grubs to the shallows while trying to locate bass beds.
Without brush, rock structure is the critical feature needed to find fish.
Bass will be hiding in rock cracks, humps, rock piles and in tumbleweed piles.
Warm water increases fish activity dramatically.
Throw long casts in clear water to catch fish before they see you.
As the sun sets, if there is any energy left, try night fishing under the shadow of a green light near the marinas or canyon walls to catch another cooler full of striped bass.
Wayne Gustaveson is the Lake Powell fisheries biologist for the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources. His website for lake Powell is http://www.wayneswords.com