Lake Powell Fish Report - May 4, 2011
Lake Elevation: 3612
Water Temperature 55 - 62 F
By: Wayne Gustaveson
All the variables are now falling into place. The best spring fishing of the year will happen in the next 10 days. Water temperature will now rise as warmer days without wind are in the forecast. Bass that have tried to spawn but were thwarted by cooling will be able to complete the task in earnest. Stripers kept at bay by cool temperatures will break loose in the middle portion of the lake where bait fishing action has been slower. Lake Powell is warming, rising and fishing success will follow suit. The only caution is to react quickly. Runoff that has been slow to come will now flow downstream in gushes. Rapidly rising water will make shoreline fishing more difficult within the coming weeks. So come now. It's time.
Just returned from Good Hope Bay and am happy to report that although the water is stained from Castle Butte to Bullfrog fishing has not been negatively impacted. Water discoloration begins at Bullfrog and gets progressively darker (greenish-brown) from Bullfrog to Good Hope. At Castle Butte water color changes to brown and then turns to muddy color further upstream. There was no floating debris on the water at Good Hope. The main channel from Bullfrog to Wahweap is crystal clear.
We targeted stripers at Good Hope Bay looking for ripe fish to be parents of hybrid striped bass or wipers. Sterile hybrid wiper populations exist at Willard Bay and New Castle Reservoir from UDWR hatchery efforts. Wipers may now be created in Utah as disease concerns with out-of-state procurement places that program in jeopardy. This was our first attempt to create wipers using Utah fish exclusively.
Ripe stripers were collected by trolling deep diving crankbaits that ran 20-25 feet deep along the talus slopes and rocky points in Good Hope Bay. Fishing was slow but steady for 2-5 pound fish in prespawn condition. We found no pattern or feeding schools but rather small groups of isolated individual fish. Pre-spawning stripers were not tightly schooled as feeding stripers would be. They still responded to bait in close proximity to their mouth but they were more interested in spawning than feeding.
Once captured fish were injected to hurry the maturation process and then held overnight. The next day striper sperm was collected to take to Utah Lake where eggs from white bass could be fertilized to create the new hybrid fish.
My best fishing pattern was discovered by accident. While trolling toward the back of a canyon the channel curved around a rock island. There was just enough room to troll in a semi circle around the island. While halfway around the island my line tangled around the rod tip as the rod was pumped to give the lure more action. I paused to clear the tangle and when the boat moved forward again a ripe female striper was caught. Then we turned around and retraced our path complete with a pause next to the island. Another ripe female was caught right after the pause. We duplicated this effort 15 times. Casting and spooning to the same locations produced no fish. Trolling was the only thing that worked. Guess we will call that trolling technique the "jerk-bait" pattern.
Stripers are still being caught in big numbers near Wahweap by anglers chumming and bait fishing along the canyon walls. Some fish have been caught on bait near Moki Wall out of Bullfrog. Expect stripers to be caught there in big numbers next week.
Bass and crappie fishing will be hot in the next 10 days as water temperature increases to 65 degrees. Look for beds as long as visibility allows. Rapidly rising water will reduce visibility and sight-fishing success soon. Crappie will be in the thickest brush available in the backs of the canyons where bottom depth is 10-15 feet. Stained water is usually better for crappie than clear water. Walleye fishing will improve and peak toward the end of May.
Use bottom bouncers with a night crawler harness slow trolled along flat sandy bottom to specifically target walleye. Or use plastic grubs and cast to muddy wind washed coves to get walleye and bass. You can now use your favorite fishing technique to catch your favorite fish. The action starts this weekend as the weather and fishing gets much hotter.