Calming water means start of bass spawn

Josh, Matt, Mike and Luke Gross enjoyed fast action fishing for stripers recently in Navajo Canyon at Lake Powell. Striper action at Lake Powell remains hot as bass move into the shallows to spawn.

Lake Elevation: 3,597

Water Temperature: 53-63 F

PAGE, Ariz. — Wednesday, the wind was howling and keeping Lake Powell water temperature down in the low 50s.

My advice: Don’t be discouraged. The wind will stop, the temperature will rise and the warming water will usher in the annual bass spawn.

If sight fishing for bass is high on your list, then the fun begins as the water calms and continues into the first part of May.

Largemouth bass will be searching for some structure, like an old tree stump or submerged tumbleweed before sweeping a nest site.

Smallmouth will be fine, nesting on a rocky point or ledge and crappie will search for tumbleweeds or other dense cover.

The brushy cover that has provided so much habitat the past few years is currently out of the water and without dense cover it will be difficult for the hatchlings to survive.

It is imperative to return male bass and crappie caught guarding nests to allow them to protect their young in the absence of cover.

Female bass and crappie can be harvested without impacting young survival.

Be advised that young crappie and largemouth bass produced this spring will have very low survival without brush shelter.

It is possible that an early runoff could raise the lake high enough that old brush could be covered and protect some fish spawned in May but that is yet to be determined.

Striped bass are being caught in large numbers over the length of the lake. Deep water on the southern end, from the Dam to Navajo Canyon, offers anglers an unlimited opportunity to harvest stripers.

The strategy is to chum near the main channel canyon wall.

Attach a chunk of anchovy to a lead head jig or a hook weighted with a sliding sinker. Cast the bait 30-50 feet from the boat and let it settle in the water column at the same rate the chum descends.

Striper schools move along the wall searching for food. The hard part is finding the school.

Be patient for 10 minutes while waiting for the first bite, but if it does not come, then move along the wall and chum again until the school lights up.

Hot spots are at the dam, buoy 3, Antelope Canyon, Power Plant intake, and Navajo Canyon points.

A new spot is in the main channel upstream from Dominguez Rock Floating restroom and the mouth of Face Canyon in the largest slick rock cove near Buoy 25.

On a personal note, my weekly fishing trip was on a breezy morning before the current windy storm front arrived.

Trolling close to shore for stripers in murky water caused by recent wind events was steady but not fast.

During a brief mid-morning calm, the water warmed rapidly causing all fish in the cove to respond and trolling was no longer necessary.

Casting kerk baits to the shallow shoreline, we caught healthy stripers of all sizes and smallmouth bass to three pounds on every cast.

Then the wind blew hard from the opposite direction and we went in.


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