Cool temperatures delaying spawn at Lake Powell

Kids don’t have all the fun at Lake Powell but they sure get their share, especially when the fish are biting. Stripers continue to be caught on bait in the main channel or by trolling in murky water near the back of most canyons at Lake Powell.

Lake Elevation: 3,610 asl                
Water Temperature: 53 – 58 degrees F

PAGE, Ariz. — Spawning tension continues as bass and crappie are ready to spawn but temperature is just not warm enough. Days are warm but a persistent afternoon breeze mixes the warm surface layers which delays spawning. Water temperature this morning was 53.7 at Wahweap. In years when warming is late, spawning occurs in isolated locations in each cove as temperature exceeds 60 F in the afternoon. There are places on Lake Powell where bass spawning has begun but over the majority of the lake it is still a waiting game.

Remember that bass spawn more than once with each male protecting as many as 4 different nests of fry each spring. The first spawn is overdue because of weather which will reduce spawning potential to only 3 nests this year. Expect bass spawning to extend well into mid May. The first spawn is the most exciting because low lake levels allow shallow nests and guarding bass to be seen with the naked eye. After water rises rapidly, nests are deeper, banks slough in the water, clarity is reduced and sight fishing is over for the year. Bass and crappie are still caught but the visual portion of the equation is greatly reduced. Nevertheless spawning is imminent and good fishing continues for bass. It will be better as spawning begins over the length of the lake.

Striper fishing in the southern portion of the lake is still HOT as striper schools roam along cliff walls. Large numbers of stripers have been caught by bait fishermen from the dam to Navajo Canyon. The key feature to find is a 25-40 foot deep ledge or shelf that extends into the main channel. Stripers swim over shallow ledges looking for crayfish and will respond to chum lying on the bottom. Pre chum likely spots and return to them sometime later to catch fish as they return to look for more food. Perhaps the best spot this week has been Buoy 3 near the mouth of Antelope Canyon.

Water temperature is essentially the same as it was in March. That means most fish are still behaving exactly as they did last month. Patterns that worked in March are still working this week. Largemouth bass are in shallow muddy water in the backs of canyons. They are vulnerable to a slow methodical retrieve as lures are worked through tree limbs and allowed to rest on bottom for extended periods. Crappie are near brush but can also be found suspended in open water. Try trolling a small jig very slowly using the trolling motor to control speed.

A good portion of the striper population, particularly juvenile fish and trophy size individuals, still reside in the back of the canyons. Juveniles are vulnerable to fast trolling (4.5 mph or faster). My most effective technique now is to troll fast and hook a juvenile fish. As that fish is being retrieved spoons are deployed by other anglers in the boat. School fish trailing the hooked fish dive as they see the boat and discover the spoons at depth. Spoons are readily taken by trailing fish. More stripers are caught on spoons than by trolling at the end of the day.

There are many ways and many places where fish are being caught on Lake Powell. The next 2-3 weeks will provide the best of the spring fishing. Use your favorite technique to catch fish. It’s just a matter of being here on a day when the weather cooperates. 


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