Lake Powell Fish Report for April 26

Brenda Smith with one of the 69 stripers caught on her day of fishing.

Lake Elevation: 3,519 ; Water temperature: 55-62 degrees Fahrenheit

On my weekly fishing trip, we focused on catching stripers. Striper fishing has been great all winter trolling and spooning in Wahweap Bay, but now the weather is starting to warm up, boat traffic is increasing, and it is time to have some of those great uplake adventures. We tried many different locations but found the best success in the back of long canyons such as Rock Creek, Last Chance and Navajo Canyon. The long canyons in the upper lake, such as the San Juan, Escalante and Good Hope Bay, would be good targets for those fishing out of Bullfrog.

The secret to catching fish right now is to fish on days when the surface water temperature exceeds 60 degrees. Stripers are much more active and aggressive in 60-degree water, but then they slow down and go deeper when the temperature drops back down into the 50s. In the past week, we have experienced a couple of warm, calm days and then twice as many windy and colder days. Striper fishing is great on warm water days but tougher on cold and windy days. The reason for that is lake water warms on the surface and then tends to expand into greater depths as the warm weather continues. If the wind blows, the warm water mixes with much more abundant cold water and the surface temperature drops, which slows down all fish that swim in the lake. For best fishing results, focus on calm, warm days with water temperature in the 60s and above when fishing in the springtime.

Fish move into shallower water in the springtime because that is where the warm water resides. On my last fishing trip, we found the best results when we trolled in water that was only 5-15 feet deep. That means we had to use shallower running lures in coves with sandy bottoms so lures touching bottom would bounce on the sand, instead of being snagged in brush or rocks. The best locations were in the backs of canyons, but occasionally it was possible to find fish holding along the shallow shoreline. Shallow water in the backs of coves is murky and more of a milky color than the open, deep water. Fish are more comfortable when shallow, if the water is not crystal clear. Turbid water also collects and retains more heat from the sun.

We used a wide variety and colors of shallow running lures that ran about 5-12 feet deep. It was more important that the lure ran at the right depth, rather than if it was the right color or swam with the right action. Many different lures worked well when running at 6-12 feet. We trolled many different lures at 3.5 mph, in a half-mile circle in the back of the canyon, and caught 36 stripers in three hours. I got another report from an angler trolling in the same canyon, the day after we fished there, who caught 69 stripers in six hours. The size of the fish ranged from a 1-4 pounds. These stripers were great, and the health of the stripers was awesome. We did not catch any thin or malnourished stripers. It looks like they have survived the winter and the low water very well.