Fish Report - March 2, 2017

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wayne gustaveson

Staff member
Lake Powell Fish Report – March 2, 2017
Lake Elevation: 3594
Water Temperature: 48-50 F
By: Wayne Gustaveson

Water temperature this morning was a cold 48 degrees, but March is coming in like a peaceful little pussy cat. Weather is warming with little wind predicted for the coming week. That means fishing success will improve with each passing day until the next storm front. Expect rising water temperatures to reach 57 degrees in the afternoon by the end of next week. That temperature really wakes up Lake Powell fish. Here is what to expect for each species.

Largemouth Bass: Bass hover over, reside in, and do not like to leave cover. They like to share their bush with sunfish. Rent is extremely expensive for the individual sunfish eaten each day but the others peacefully coexist until meal time the next day. To catch largemouth, fish in, over, and around that bush. It’s too cold for topwater so the lure must be placed in or really close to the bush, so a weedless presentation is often best. Brush is limited now at this low lake level so look for bass in large rocky structure as well. Use a slow presentation so a cold bass has time to view the bait before deciding to take a bite.

Crappie: Like largemouth, crappie really want to live in a bush. When brush is absent crappie tend to seek a certain water depth, hover over a ledge or dropoff, or find colored water where they can eat small fish by ambushing them in low visibility water. At the current water level, crappie will be hard to locate. Look in the backs of canyons where water depth is 12-25 feet with green to muddy water color. I use an eighth ounce crappie jig, either hair jig or plastic, to search for crappie in the backs of canyons.

Smallmouth Bass: These bass use rock structure for cover so it is easier to locate them with plastic grubs fished on rocky shelves, in boulder fields, or at the edge of drop-offs and other shallow water areas from 30 feet deep to the shallow shoreline. The key to springtime bass fishing is to find the warmest water available. Often a tall rock, facing the mid day sun, will heat a cove slightly warmer than the surrounding water. Fishing in that cove will be better than a cove in the shade or without a warming rock. Use the thermometer for best fishing results.

Walleye: It is spawning season for these toothy critters. The boys are totally focused on finding the girls so they are not caught as well during March. They really turn on in April and May. Large females are still actively eating shad and can be located in green to muddy water in the backs of canyons. If shad are present and swimming in open water, big female walleye can be caught trolling and casting. We caught a 3-pound female last week in open water while trolling for stripers with shad imitating baits. If trolling for walleye, it is always best to fish at a water depth where the lure occasionally hits bottom. The most effective trolling lure may be a bottom bouncer that can hit bottom at various depths. Walleye are bottom oriented so the overall most effective technique may be to hook a piece of worm to a bass jig and slowly inch that along the bottom structure. Troll to find the walleye aggregation then cast to catch more fish.

Striped Bass: Stripers swim in schools, so finding the school really increases catch rate. I troll to find a school, then cast or spoon while hovering over the school. One striper eating a lure will encourage the rest of the school mates to join in. After catching one striper, quickly get the lure back in the water to entice following fish. Watch the graph to see if the school follows and appears under the boat.
The springtime question is: Will stripers be in the backs of canyons chasing lures or in deep water of the main channel eating bait? Right now I have found more stripers in the backs of canyons because that is where I have been looking. My prediction is that there will be an equal number of stripers that come to the main channel looking for bait. That prediction won’t be fully answered until April. I promise to keep looking until that is fully defined. Stay tuned.
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