Lake Powell Fish Report for May 3

Lake Elevation: 3,525 ; Water temperature: 58-65 degrees Fahrenheit

Lake Powell has risen almost 5 feet in the past week. But now, the temporary early water release has begun, and the lake will decline back down to lower levels. When the water release returns to normal outflow, the lake will rise for the rest of the spring season. It may come up as much as 40 to 60 feet. That is yet to be determined, and only time will tell. The increase in water level will make boat launching much easier at both Bullfrog and Wahweap temporary launch ramps.

The big news is that water temperature is now between 58 and 65 degrees. Calm days allow the temperature to rise, but the many windy days bring the temperature back down to about 58 degrees. Warmer water temperatures have energized many different fish species that were not very active. Reports indicate that walleye, largemouth and smallmouth bass are now active when temperature exceeds 60 F. Expect to interact with these species on warm, calm days. Then, as the wind blows and mixes that warm water with cold water, the activity level of bass and walleye will slow again for a short time. May is the warm month, so we are almost there.

With warming water, sport fish are moving into shallower water. Expect to find crappie, smallmouth and largemouth bass, and sunfish in warmer water. Striped bass and walleye will be nearby and increasing in activity level as well. Spawning season is close now for most of these fish species. Bass and walleye will be much more active during May, and fishing success will approve. Lures that worked well this past week include Hula Grubs, Keitechs, Flicker Shad, Lucky Craft Pointers and Kastmaster jigging spoons.

Fishing techniques differ for most species of fish. Trolling in open water and the backs of canyons works for stripers and walleye. The best trolling depth recently has been 10-40 feet. Smallmouth bass are holding at the same 10–40-foot depth, but they are best targeted with plastic grubs fished slowly along the bottom. Crappie are in very shallow, murky water in the backs of canyons. They seek out submerged brush, which is often hard to find in the current shoreline conditions at Lake Powell. Largemouth bass prefer brushy structure in 10-15 feet of water. Stripers are now moving into the main channel, where they can be targeted and caught while using anchovies.

I have been impressed with the numbers and health of fish caught over winter and into the spring. Striped bass are as robust as I have ever seen them. Active smallmouth bass have been healthy but smaller than expected. The larger bass will get active as water warms more. Largemouth bass always seek brushy cover. Look for them in coves with old trees sticking out of the water.

Fishing success will be great as April ends and warmer water temperatures are common. I hope for less wind in these unusual times. Be smart and check the weather before each fishing trip. Select calm days, which are hard to find in the unusual weather that is plaguing the entire United States right now.