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

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Lake Powell Fishing Report - Waiting for the water to warm

Lake Powell Fishing Report

March 15, 2014

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Lake Elevation: 3575

Water Temperature 49-52 F

By: Wayne Gustaveson of Wayne's Words

Does anyone have any exciting fishing stories they want to share? We need a little energy while we wait for fishing success to improve. We have had some nice sunny days in March, but Lake Powell water temperature is still 50 degrees and that is just not warm enough to get fish going. Largemouth bass get more active when water temperature exceeds 53, while smallmouth need 57 or better. Stripers always eat so it is more about shad for them. Shad will come shallower with warming too. So we wait.

There have been a couple of early season bass tournaments, but bass were slow to respond. There was a report of a 6-pound largemouth bass being caught, but the lucky fisherman’s total weight for the tournament was only 8 pounds including the big one.

The only bright spot was a few good catches of walleye in the mid-lake area. Walleye are poised for spawning as soon as the temperature warms a bit more. While in that prespawn state walleye responded to trolled lures that crossed the ends of main channel points at 20 feet. Unfortunately, when walleye do spawn they tend to be caught less as they go off food in favor of spawning activity.

While waiting and watching the thermometer we should get our tackle ready for the early spring action that will start just as soon as the water warms. Bass will be lured in with plastic baits like double tail grubs, tubes jigs and drop shot rigged shad shaped worms, fished slowly in the green water zone in the back of the canyon. Slow rolled spinner baits and the always popular jig-and-pig (could be real pork rind or bulky plastic bait) are standard early spring offerings.

Best walleye trolling baits are Cotton Cordell Wally Divers, deep running Lucky Craft pointers, and similar lures that troll consistently at 12-foot depths. Serious walleye fishermen will have a bottom bouncer and live worm harness that can be trolled slowly or drifted along the bottom contour between 12 and 30 feet. Walleye are light sensitive. They are best caught in subdued light of early morning and late evening.

Striped bass can be caught on a variety of baits and lures once you find them. Schools are often large right now making it wonderful fishing when over the school or completely befuddling when the school is just out of sight on your graph. I have missed a school with my old fashioned electronics only to turn around and drive over a huge school that was only 10 yards away from the location of my first pass. Newer graphs with side finders make it easier to find fish schools that are not directly under the boat. It is possible to "see" a school that is 50 yards away from the side of the boat with a side finder unit.

Stripers in the southern lake are mostly young pups that occupy open water and eat plankton. Trolling is the best bet to locate a school. Once found and marked return to the spot and troll, drop spoons or bait with lots of chumming for best success. In the northern lake there are still many of the older adults that had enough food to make it through the winter. These older fish will be found working the shallower water toward the back of the canyon or cove. They will hit slowly retrieved crankbaits or spinner baits in 12-30 feet of water. The small plankton eaters will be caught trolling similar to those in the southern lake.

It is almost time. I hope the fishing improves as soon as this report is sent. My best guess is that the first week of April will bring much improved fishing success.

Andrew Coyne, Littleton CO, caught a few nice walleye trolling in Good Hope Bay this past week. Fishing success is still mired in cold water but warming will allow vast improvement in the coming weeks.



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