LAKE POWELL: Lake elevation: 3,610 feet
Water temperatures: 6572°F
Lake Powell actually rose 12 inches last week. The runoff was welcome, but all fish are still anxiously waiting for the lake water to cover the brush on the shoreline. That has not happened yet but the water is moving in the right direction this week. After a cool week, the days are now getting warmer and water temperature will rise once more. All of these are positive events when considering how fish will respond in the coming week.
Striped bass are actively spawning. The cooling temperature slowed down the process because the females are motivated to spawn by rapidly warming water. We noticed a few stripers on the surface during our weekly fishing investigation. They came to the top as the morning sky began to lighten in the east. Numbers seen were much less than the previous week. We were able to catch a few stripers while fly fishing, casting surface lures, and even jigging with bass lures at 10 to 20 feet. The action was sporadic as stripers rolled on top in small groups from first light until the sun cleared the horizon. In full sunlight, striper action was done for the day along the spawning wall. There were reports of good striper catching in the stained water in the backs of the canyons with trolling lures. Some stripers are still being caught with bait along the main channel walls and in the canyons but striper fishing is good instead of great right now.
Our sampling shows that both gizzard and threadfin shad spawned this week. The tiny shad will grow and reside near the surface. In due time, striper schools will finish spawning, find small shad, and begin feeding on the surface. Then fishing will improve from good to great as stripers start to slurp shad from the surface. Expect these changes to occur the first week of June.
Smallmouth bass are the hot item in the lake this week. They continue to spawn in shallow water, feed actively on crayfish and sunfish, and provide constant action for anglers. They are found in great numbers in 10 to 25 feet of water along the shoreline where large rocks are available for cover. We drifted along rocky shorelines yesterday in Padre Bay and found active groups of bass on small rocky points jutting out from the shoreline. Expect this pattern to hold over the length of the lake.
Bass will hit topwater lures early and late. The most versatile lure is a single tail plastic grub which works all day long. Chartreuse and various shades of green were the best colors. Bass size ranged from small to 2.5 pounds. Number of bass caught ranged from 30 to 50 for each group of anglers that we checked with. Largemouth bass were less abundant but were caught right alongside the smallmouth throughout the day.
We found that adding a one inch piece of nightcrawler to the single tail grub increased the catch considerably. While fishing the rocky shoreline (10 to 25 feet deep) we also caught green sunfish, bluegill, channel catfish and walleye. This mixed bag of game fish really makes fishing the shoreline exciting. The rising water has had a small impact on the extreme water clarity as well. It is now possible to see the bottom in clear water areas at a depth of 15 feet but there is a green tinge to the water as well which is encouraging for the productivity of the fishery.
Finally, we are continuing to study eating habits of fish that might might quagga mussels. Were asking for your help with that study. Simply catch bluegill and sunfish and bring them to the fish-cleaning stations at Bullfrog or Wahweap from May 28 through June 2, from 10 a.m. to dark.
For every fish you turn in, we will put your name into a drawing for new fishing tackle.
Please bring fish to cleaning stations separated by location caught. Example: Good Hope Bay or Moki Canyon, is sufficient.
You can take filets from fish if you want them. We need the carcass with stomach intact and the ability to get a length measurement.
Each person who donates fish will be entered into a drawing for each fish donated. The drawing will take place after June 2, 2018 and prizes will be mailed to winners.
All current fishing regulations will be enforced: Daily limit for bluegill and green sunfish (a combined total of 50).