Lake Powell Fish Report – April 13, 2016
Lake Elevation: 3591
Water Temperature: 57-64 F
By: Wayne Gustaveson http://www.wayneswords.com
Bass and Crappie Ready to Spawn!
Every spring season bass and crappie wait for just the right water temperature before spawning. Water temperature was 57F this morning which means that on a warm calm day the temperature will increase in the afternoon to the 64F threshold where spawning begins. The weather forecast for this week shows a cold front on the weekend followed by 80F air temperatures during the following week. My prediction is that bass and crappie will begin nest building this week but will not spawn until after April 20th.
It seems that water has been warmer this spring but looking back through the history of the lake, bass and crappie normally spawn during the 3rd week of April. This will then be a normal year.
For those that have not experienced this event, the first week of spawning prior to runoff allows anglers to see the nests in 3 feet of water and often view the attending male fish guarding the nest. These security guards will attack anything that threatens the nest. A lure bounced on the nest will be picked up and quickly removed by the bass or crappie. It is exciting to see a 3-pound bass or 1-pound crappie guarding the nest and then grabbing your lure. Guarding males are most aggressive right after the spawn. They lose enthusiasm with each passing day and become less aggressive. I am not sure why nature made Dads the babysitter when Moms are much better at it, but that is how it is in the Centrarchid world.
Largemouth bass and crappie are in short supply because of the lack of brush which is critical nursery habitat for young fish. Any fish caught off a nest should be returned to protect the young fry. It is easy to tell male crappies because of their dark black coloration. Females are lighter, more silver and larger. If keeping a few crappie for dinner, select the big fish and let the little black guys go.
Largemouth males usually have raw red scrap marks on their tails from sweeping the mud off the rocks while nest building. Since it is impossible to tell male bass from females all largemouth should be returned. Smallmouth bass can be kept both male and female as their population strength is high.
Stripers continue to delight bait fishermen in the main channel from the dam to the back of Navajo Canyon. There are individual stripers that have remained in the murky water at the back of some canyons that can be caught trolling and casting in 15-25 feet of water. Further uplake there are more stripers in the backs of canyons that can be caught trolling and some stripers looking for bait along the canyon walls.
My preferred approach to fishing in these conditions is to run uplake to Padre or further and fish for stripers in the morning. Then as it warms up, switch over to pounding the shoreline for bass and crappie with plastic grubs. Walleye are an added bonus as they began to feed regularly along the shoreline with bass in the 15-25 foot range. Tip the plastic grub with a chunk of worm to select walleye.
Springtime fishing at Lake Powell is totally awesome no matter which species of fish you wish to pursue.
Largemouth bass on bed: