May 15th, 2023, (Walleye early May)

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Dan Keller

UT DWR Fish Biologist
May is one of the best months to catch Walleye at Lake Powell. In fact, it’s one of the best months to catch most all the Sport Fish at Lake Powell! I say most, because in my opinion, the best time for Stripers is later in the year when boils start, can’t wait! Back to the subject of Walleye, Wayne wrote a detailed article on fishing for Walleye you can find here:

Walleye Information and Fishing Tips

Using many of the same tips shared in this article, we recently had success catching Walleye, mostly using curly tails on 1/8 oz jigs tipped with a worm. We also did well trolling shallow divers near cobble bars and shallow under water humps that came up to 10-15 feet. One of the best lures was a Berkley flicker shad (fire tiger color). We spent one evening just before dark and the following morning targeting Walleye, we camped in the back of the Escalante Arm and fished the cloudy water near our camp. We ended up catching 30 Walleye, not too bad considering we only targeted them for around 4-5 hours. We found plenty of Smallmouth Bass up shallow on their beds, the best bait we found was a watermelon Senko rigged with Wacky rig hook and O-ring (the O-ring saves lots of baits). We tried the muddy water with little success, we did better a few hundred yards out from the muddy water where the water was cloudy, not muddy. I like to drop a jig from the surface and note where it disappears, I have found 6-12 inches of visibility is a good range, offers Walleye the right amount of protection for their light sensitive eyes, yet enough visibility to feed effectively. Bottom bouncers using a worm harness is a great choice when the water is more on the muddy side, the Walleyes lateral line and olfactory senses (vibration and smell) help them key in on the spinner and worm working slowing along the bottom. In general, bass fishing will be better where water clears up, this could be the back of a canyon or the mouth, with the lake being at record lows early this year and now rapidly filling sediment and debris flows are different, be prepared to try new areas if your regular ones aren’t producing.

I attached a figure showing trends in Walleye numbers as measured by our fall gill net survey. You will notice that Walleye numbers at Good Hope are far greater than other sites we monitor. The North end of the lake, Bullfrog up to Good Hope Bay is where you are more likely to find Walleye, however, you will also see that in 2022 the number of Walleye at Wahweap increased significantly, time will tell if that trend continues. If you want to target Walleye, get out on the water and make it happen. If you catch a random Walleye while bass fishing, mark the location and return early in the morning or as the sun is setting, this will really increase your odds of catching more Walleye. Spring fishing is finally here, get out and enjoy !
 

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