Lake Powell Fish Report for April 19
Lake Elevation: 3,519 ; Water temperature: 45-62 degrees Fahrenheit
Weather is the biggest mystery confronting fishing success in 2023. It changes from calm and nice to windy and stormy overnight. Last week, there were two days of nice weather followed by clouds and wind. Fortunately, I was able to go fishing on one of the good days when the air temperature climbed to 87 F. The better news is that the lake temperature rose to 62 F on my day at the lake. On the next day, the lake temperature dropped back into the 50s.
We picked a great day and headed uplake. While driving to the back of a canyon, we tried many different coves and canyons searching for bass. We used a 1/8-ounce crappie jig with a red head, chartreuse body and a white tail. The bass were not interested early in the morning but, surprisingly, the crappie loved the small jig. It is not common to catch a lot of crappie in the southern lake, so we went to the back of many coves and short canyons. Crappie were really enjoying the warm surface water, so they were relaxing in backs of coves in 2 to 15 feet of water. There was not a lot of brush where crappie prefer to hang out, but the water was cloudy and there were lots of rocky drop-offs providing the habitat crappie and bass need.
It was important to cast right to the shoreline or rocky structure and then work the jig slowly and gently back to the boat. Crappie would gently bite the slow-moving jig. It was easy to miss a bite if the small bump was ignored. When fishing for crappie, pay very close attention to any change in movement of the lure. If it feels different in any way, I set the hook just in case it is a crappie gently licking my jig. I tend to set the hook on the very first bump instead of waiting for the fish to pull a second time on the lure. It is also good to have a very sensitive rod when targeting crappie. There were two of us on the boat, and we caught about 25 crappie in three hours.
Later in the day, smallmouth bass woke up and started to compete with crappie for the shallow swimming jig. Toward the end of the trip, we caught more smallmouth bass than crappie. We were so excited to catch crappie again that we focused on crappie all day. I am sure we could have caught many more smallmouth bass if we changed to larger plastic baits and fished in deeper water. It was great to find crappie again, so we just continued to fish for crappie.
I suspect that the lake water will warm into the 60s again over the next two to three weeks. Bass and crappie tend to spawn when water temperature holds at 60-67 F. They are nest builders so it will be common to see bass and crappie nests in shallow clear water for the rest of April and that will continue into the first week of May. It looks like we are going to have great fishing opportunities for a wide variety of fish in the coming days at Lake Powell.