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Brett Prettyman
Brett Prettyman writes about the outdoors, recreation and fishing for The Salt Lake Tribune

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March Madness at Lake Powell - 36-inch striper landed

Lake Powell Fish Report – March 20, 2013

Lake Elevation: 3600

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Water Temperature 50-57 F

By: Wayne Gustaveson of Wayne's Words

Stripers have spilled into the main channel. It is time for Mid March Madness, Lake Powell style.

In early spring food for all Lake Powell predators is at the annual low point. Predator fish survive by hunkering down in the cold water and waiting for warming. Warmwater fish don’t use much energy in cold water and can subsist for a month or two waiting for shad to spawn and forage to become more plentiful.

Stripers are moving toward the channel following canyon walls and penstock current hoping to find food. They find a few crayfish and shad along the way but not all fish in a large school get fed when a few morsels are found. The entire school is hungry and hoping for more.

What a pleasant surprise it is for hungry fish to see chunks of food showering down from the surface as wise anglers cut up anchovies and broadcast them around the boat. The bait slowly settles and fish start scooping up every morsel. Stripers can be caught in very large numbers in these conditions. Conditions are now right and stripers are ready and willing to cooperate at the Glen Canyon Dam forebay. Reports over the weekend found anglers catching 30-60 stripers per trip while enjoying the warming spring temperatures.

For first time striper anglers some helpful hints and rigging techniques are found at Wayneswords.com

The basics are to use invisible fluorocarbon leader which catches more fish than monofilament under similar conditions. Chum with cut up anchovies initially spread around the boat. Then trickle chum a few more pieces each time a fish is caught to keep the school under the boat. Put the fish in a cooler on ice instead of placing them on a stringer or in a live well to maintain top-notch eating quality.

We encourage anglers to harvest stripers that are forced into the channels in search of food. This is a sign of over population. Angler harvest is a management tool used in the springtime to bring the striper population back into balance with available forage. Keep all the fish that can be used or donated to fiends and neighbors. It is harvest time from now until June when stripers move back into the canyons.

Other species are providing action as well. Walleye are actively spawning now and will not be vulnerable to serious catching until mid April. Large and smallmouth bass are on rocky structure seeking crayfish. They can be caught on plastic crayfish imitating baits fish in 10-20 feet of water. Look for murky water for best fishing success.

Crappie fishing is getting better in the remote areas near Hite and the upper San Juan and Escalante River canyons.

Fishing is warming up even faster than weather. It is a good time to fill out the brackets for spring fishing. My prediction is that stripers on the southern end of Lake Powell will dominate the catch for the next week.

Photo caption: Steve Christensen, Orem UT, caught a 36-inch striper in Lake Powell's Good Hope Bay while pre-fishing for a bass tournament. His boating partner, TJ Hiatt, is holding the striper in this picture. The fish was not weighed but a fish of this length usually weighs from 17-20 pounds.



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