Lake Powell Fish Report - April 6, 2011
Lake Elevation: 3609
Water Temperature 51 - 57 F
By: Wayne Gustaveson
The report this week finds most striper fishing success in the southern end of Lake Powell. Fishing upstream from Dangling Rope Marina has not started as quickly for most with striped bass being hard to catch. Fish that are responding well right now are largemouth bass and crappie. Brush lined coves from Good Hope Bay to Hite harbor good populations of crappie that are moving ever closer to spawning with each warm afternoon. Crappie have responded well to 2-inch pearl or white plastic grubs in thick brush. Largemouth bass and walleye are being caught on a regular basis now with smallmouth bass fishing improving every day.
Dale Jones holds up fat striper caught at Dam while partner plays a fish in the background.
The common theme over the entire lake is that murky water in the backs of the canyons warms more quickly than clear water. Searching for active fish visually by selecting stained water and with thermometer to find the warmest water available is the most effective search pattern. This general pattern works until base water temperature exceeds 60F. Then clear water is just as good.
My weekly fish sampling trip included a circuit of the striper spots near Wahweap. Anglers tied off to the barricade in front of the dam reported striper fishing to be outstanding beginning precisely as the first sun rays hit the water. That flurry of action lasted about 1.5 hours before slowing down. Those at the barricade caught over 50 fish in the initial skirmish. The next flurry of catching was at midday and lasted for 2 hours with similar numbers of fish caught. I suspect an evening bite as well but did not document it. Never trust fish to repeat a previous pattern but download the information that recently fishing at the dam is good in streaks during first light and later at midday.
We then moved on to other likely striper spots beginning with Buoy 1. Two boats were fishing there. Later at the fish cleaning station we found that both groups collected 30 some stripers from this location. We graphed at Buoy 3 but did not see fish traces so moved on to Antelope Canyon where we caught 2 stripers in 10 minutes. I did not heed my own advice, fishing only clear water where we could actually see stripers at 25 feet before catching them. There have been many more fish caught recently in the back of Antelope where water is stained.
Nob Wimmer with 7.5 pound striper caught spooning in the back of Navajo Canyon. (Note murky water color.)
Next stop was the Power Plant Intake. Two more fish were caught here in another 10 minute effort. But I was anxious to fish dirty water so went quickly to Navajo Canyon. The first point past the double islands was good for 2 more stripers in 5 minutes but we didn't stay. We past the big sand dune and saw water color change from clear to off-color. Around the next corner color changed again this time to murky. We began to troll deep diving Lucky Craft pointers in ghost color at 4.5 miles per hour and immediately began hooking stripers. As each fish was brought to the boat we would spoon the bottom for to catch trailing fish with good results. We ended up with the same number of fish at the end of the day as those that were fishing bait but I like to troll and use spoons better than bait. There is a fishing technique to suit your individual desires working now. The bottom line is that striper fishing in the southern lake is red hot. It will get much better for stripers in the mid lake to Hite area in the near future. Bass and crappie fishing is slightly better uplake but warming water will make fishing success superb from April 15th to May 15th weather permitting.
Advisory: Castle Rock Cut near Wahweap is now closed due to low water. It is necessary to go through the main channel for uplake travel. Antelope Point launch ramp is open and provides time savings for those heading uplake.