Water temperatures are now up into the spawning zone. Largemouth bass, smallmouth bass and crappie are on beds now. This is the first spawn and we can expect the nest guardians to spawn perhaps two or three more times before mid May. Inflow continues to increase the lake level, which is now officially above 3600 MSL. Expect 40 more feet of elevation increase. Make sure to check the boat tie lines each morning if camping on the lake. Weather is clear with no rain expected for two weeks but there will be some wind in the evenings and overnight.
Now for the angling roundup: Fishing is pretty darn good!
Stripers are on fire at the dam and many other locations in the southern lake. Most anglers coming into the Wahweap Fish Cleaning station have 20 and sometimes many more fish to clean. Anglers are spreading out along the canyon walls and finding many new “striper honey holes.” Most of the recent reports are coming from Buoy 3 (south wall where the lake turns left just before Antelope Canyon); Power Plant Intake (look for chain link fence on top of the south cliff wall just beyond Antelope Point Marina); Buoy 9 on south wall; East wall before arriving at Navajo Canyon.
My guess is that you can find stripers all along the main channel by searching for rocky outcroppings that offer shallower substrate than the steep perpendicular cliff walls. Just chum the chosen spot with anchovies followed by bait on hooks to excite the school. If nothing happens within 15 minutes just move to the next likely spot on the canyon wall.
If bait fishing is not your choice then head uplake to the southern shore canyons between Labyrinth and West Canyon. We have found willing stripers suspended in each canyon and willing to hit trolled and cast Rattletraps, Lucky Craft Pointers, Flicker Shad and other small jerk baits. These fish are suspended and very easy to see on the graph. Virtually all of the fish graphed today were stripers. The difficult part is that these fish are holding in their current locations and feeding on plankton while waiting for shad to spawn. They will swim up to taste a shallow running lure but will miss a couple of times before hooking up. We caught our normal 30 fish this morning using this trolling technique.
Here is the best news flash: Buoy 25 is loaded with fish that are just waiting for someone to bring some bait. We caught them trolling regularly but we could see hundreds of stripers swimming in shallow water looking right back at us. The water is crystal clear and the visual experience is awesome. These fish are located in the Mile Marker 25 Cove and not along the steep wall closer to Face Canyon. Look for the longest cove on the south wall for best fishing success.
Those seeking bass and crappie are still finding great success. The techniques are the same as reported last week (See report for April 11, 2017 ). Look for shallow rocky structure where green water clarity is 5-10 feet. Green water is better than crystal clear or muddy brown. Find the good spots by going toward the back of the canyon and watching the structure and water clarity. Bass grubs, senkos, dropshot shad-shaped worms, chatter baits, spinner baits are all working. We started catching smallmouth bass today on our trolled lures while fishing for stripers. Bass are getting much more aggressive and reacting much earlier in the day with water temperature hitting 60 by about 9 a.m.
Next week we are going to be working between Bullfrog and Good Hope Bay. We will tag another 500 walleye for the 2017 Walleye Contest. The best time to catch these fish will be during the month of May. The contest started last year on July 1, which is past the best walleye fishing period. Expect the numbers of tagged walleye that are recaptured to soar in May. The best spot will be between Bullfrog and Good Hope Bay. It might be a worth a May fishing trip to catch many different species at Lake Powell and maybe even win a prize for catching a tagged walleye.
I am excited about the potential fishing success over the next six weeks. I recommend you take advantage of this opportunity to enjoy fishing and the beauty of Lake Powell.