Late March weather iffy at Lake Powell but fishing can be excellent

Utah fisheries biologist Wayne Gustaveson holds proof that the 2011 fishing season has begun on Lake Powell. Fishing for largemouth bass and striped bass has been excellent on warm days, Gustaveson said.

Lake elevation: 3,612 asl                
Water temperature: 48 – 53 degrees F

PAGE, Ariz – As the weather warmed last week striped bass moved into the shallow trees (10 feet) in the backs of major canyons. We were able to troll shallow running lures on brush covered rock points and steadily catch fish. But then a cold front rolled through dropping water temperature from the mid-50s to 48 F.

On the first warm day after the front we returned to Dry Rock Creek to check fishing conditions. We started trolling in the same pattern as last week but found it difficult to approach the previously productive shallows. We hooked the first striper on a shallow-running rattle trap where bottom depth was 45 feet. As that fish was coming to the boat I dropped a spoon to the bottom and immediately hooked up.  From then on fishing was incredibly amazing. We caught fish on spoons as fast as we could take a striper off and return the spoon to the water. The school trailed below the slowly moving boat. After 2.5 hours of spooning we had 84 stripers in the big cooler. Size ranged from 12 inches to 5 pounds. These stripers that spent the winter with shad were in good to excellent condition. Only 5 fish were thin and not filleted.

Obviously the previously shallow stripers had moved out deeper with the colder weather. Shad had the same plan as they went deeper to avoid cooler surface temperatures. With stripers and shad in the same zone school fish were very active. At the fish cleaning station we found shad in many stomachs. When stripers and shad commingle at depth spooning is the best technique.

We were not alone at the cleaning station. Other anglers found stripers eager to eat bait at the barricade line in front of the dam. Catches of 20 to 50 stripers were reported today. Looks like the striper bite is on at Lake Powell. We are now declaring the long anticipated spring striper run to be in full bloom. It will last through the month of May.

Look at the weather report and plan a spring trip as soon as possible trying to match your trip with the best weather pattern possible.

Largemouth bass fishing is excellent. Smallmouth bass are just beginning to wake up. Crappie are about two weeks away from consistent action in the thick brush in the backs of the canyon. Walleye will begin to bite well around April 15th. Fishing during April this year will be memorable as many different kinds of fish can be caught in large numbers.

Better put Lake Powell on the top of the To-Do list.


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