April 11, 2018 - Bass Spawning Imminent

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wayne gustaveson

Staff member
Lake Powell Fish Report –April 11, 2018
Lake Elevation: 3611
Water temperature: 56 -62 F
By: Wayne Gustaveson http://www.wayneswords.com

Bass Grand Slam - Sam Sherwood

Based on the extreme water clarity found in Lake Powell last week we went further uplake to see what conditions prevailed. Crystal clear water was found in Llewellyn Gulch and Cottonwood Canyon with 25 feet of visibility at the mouth of both canyons. As we went further back in the canyon, water clarity declined to about 15 feet. We then went up the San Juan and found clear water as well but not as extreme as found in main channel canyons. In Piute and Neskahi water clarity was about 15 feet. It is likely that water clarity will decrease as water temperature warms and runoff begins. Right now, fish are more likely to be caught in canyons and location where water clarity is less than 15 feet or if the bait is fished at depths greater than 30 feet. More fish can be caught during early morning and late evening when direct sunlight is blocked by high canyon walls.


Fishing results showed that smallmouth bass were active and healthy in all canyons sampled. Water temperature on our trip ranged from 56-62 F, which is ideal for prespawn bass activity. Only one fresh bass nest was seen on our trip and it appeared to be very recently fanned. Bass spawning is imminent and can be expected to begin within the next week at a water temperature between 60 and 66. Sight fishing for bedding bass will peak from April 18 to 25th. Expect to locate bass spawning beds in 3 feet of water in small-sized rocky areas rather than on sandy substrate. Largemouth beds will be in the same locations but will be near a bush, overhang or stickup.


A wide range of bass baits that worked well for us included, Senkos, Ned rigs, double tailed grubs, Chatterbaits, and Shad Shaped Worms. Long casts were more effective than dropping the bait near fish seen swimming near the boat. It was fun to watch bass, look at and interact with, the bait before turning away. It was possible to watch how bass respond to our lures and learn from that moment.


Stripers were not often seen as they seem to be moving from locations occupied over the winter. Those fishing with anchovies in the main channel saw their catch increase slightly as a few more fish were caught by each group than during the previous week. Healthy, robust stripers that are going to spawn this year are heading to their prespawn locations where they hangout waiting for the rapid warming that triggers spawning. That usually begins near May 10th and may continue until the first week of June. Spawning fish are not feeding on shad but will eat plankton to keep them alive. This is an ideal time to catch big stripers on small lures or flies. Fly fishing for stripers peaks in May at Lake Powell.

Walleye were not caught on this trip because we did not deploy bottom bouncers or tip our bass baits with a piece of night crawler. Walleye catch will increase each week from now until the end of May. Slow down and maintain bottom contact with you favorite walleye lure. I find that tipping a bass jig with a one inch chunk of bait makes me fish slower and target walleye instead of bass. Walleye are numerous now and willing to hit baits that enter their holding zone on main channel points and ledges. Fish for them in low light for best results. The ideal spot is a wind or wave induced mud line that covers the clear water and gives walleye a sense of security while they wait for food to swim by.

Spring is here. It is time to go fishing for warm water fish.

Bass habitat:
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