Spring warming was delayed a bit with air temperature a bit cooler than predicted last week. With runoff roaring down the Colorado River, Lake Powell is rising rapidly and will soon top 3,600 MSL. Most bass and crappie have not spawned yet due to cool weather. That is great news for the future bass fishery. Both bass and crappie need brushy cover for newly hatched young fish to survive in big numbers. A later spawn and higher lake level will increase bass and crappie survival for future years.
Bass will spawn for sure during the next two weeks. Sight fishing for bass on beds will be limited due to rising water, but water clarity at mid lake is still quite clear making bass nests visible. Just remember that once a nest site is chosen, male bass will try to use that same nest site for the next six weeks as bass spawn numerous times from late April to May 15. The nest gets deeper and less visible each day.
With that said, bass fishing reports over the weekend were excellent despite windy weather. Winning weight at the Yamamoto Bass Tournament at Bullfrog over the weekend was over 30 pounds for 10 bass. Fishing was best in warmer water with finesse baits like Senkos fished slowly along rocky structure from 10-25 feet.
Reports from the Escalante to the San Juan were great with willing bass and crappie found on main canyon rocky structure where water clarity was 5-10 feet deep. Best fishing depth was 10-25 feet. The most productive lures were Yamamoto shad shaped worms fished on a drop shot rig.
The San Juan has turned on and may be the best destination this week. The best report came from the main channel of the San Juan (clear water) where over 200 bass were caught on Friday, April 7. Morning fishing is not as good as that found in the afternoon as water warms from the 50s to the 60s.
Striper fishing continues to shine near Glen Canyon Dam from boats and shore. Those walking down to the lake from the Chains parking lot are catching as many fish as they can carry up the hill. Schools move in and out so as one spot slows another heats up. It is a tough choice to move the boat and follow the school or to wait in a good spot until the school returns. Both methods seem to work well.
The clear water striper cohorts are still hanging out in the back of clear water canyons and can be caught on small lures that are trolled or cast or small spoons dropped down to the magic depth of 20-35 feet. Good striper fishing reports continue to come from Navajo Canyon, Warm Creek, Labyrinth, Face, Padre, Last Chance and Rock Creek. I would feel confident in catching stripers and bass in any of the canyons between Rock Creek and the Escalante. I think the pattern is quite solid.
I would look for water between 30 and 70 feet deep and start trolling and graphing to find fish. Small stripers are in shallow water eating plankton but will hit a small pointer or flicker shad.
Walleye are still hit and miss but will respond better in late April and then be the best fish to chase in May.
So many fish – so little time!