May 16, 2017 - Perfect temperature

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wayne gustaveson

Staff member
Lake Powell Fish Report – May 16, 2017

Lake Elevation: 3610

Water Temperature: 63-66 F

By: Wayne Gustaveson

Surface water temperature today and for most of the week was 64 degrees. End of report!

For those that need a bit more information here are the details:

Striped Bass adults prefer a temperature of 64 degrees. At this comfort level, trophy size fish, adults, and juveniles have free reign and can travel in any direction, any depth and feed anywhere. Trophy fish cannot handle warmer water and must stay in the 64 degree range. Adult fish are found close to the warm surface layer now and can be found by shallow trolling and casting. Young stripers are near the surface and are eating plankton until they find young shad. They are also susceptible to trolling and casting.

Large and smallmouth bass spawn when water temperature is from 60-66. Male bass guard nests and are often seen in shallow water. Females feed ravenously now as they are very active and excited about spawning. Bass are in shallow water and very catchable on open water reefs and along the rocky shoreline. This activity level, along with desire to feed more in warmer water, makes bass very active and easier to catch.

Crappie are nearing the end of their spawning season. Feeding has become the higher priority. Crappie are still very active and quite catchable.

Walleye have completed spawning but are reacting to warming by feeding at a higher level. They are known to feed early and late but this temperature range has them feeding extremely well at mid day (10 am - 2 pm). Walleye are very active and will continue to increase in activity as water temperature increases into the low 70s. They will do even better as the water continues to warm.

Bluegill and green sunfish increase their feeding behavior as water warms to 65-70. It takes only a few more degrees before spawning occurs. Bluegill activity level has increased dramatically. Fish size has also increased recently (perhaps due to mussels in their diet?) as many larger size bluegill have been seen recently. Larger bluegill feeding voraciously makes a whole new sport fishery possible in Lake Powell. Big fish are now available in large schools in 12-25 feet of 64 degree water.

Even channel catfish are responding to the warming water. They spawn as the water warms into the 70s. That is a ways off but their feeding level has increased. Catfish are now easier to catch.

In summary, the very best water temperature for spawning, feeding and activity is now available to all sport fish in the lake. This is the best time to fish in the springtime.

Therefore, it is not surprising that our fishing trip today was awesome. We motored uplake to Face Canyon and then tried trolling and casting for bass and stripers. Our trolling lures were rattletraps, (Lucky Craft LV’s), mid depth crankbaits (Lucky Craft pointer SPs, Bevy Shad). We trolled close to shore targeting rocky reefs and points where depth quickly fell from 10-15 down to 30-40 feet. Trolling was very successful as we seldom went more than 5 minutes without catching a striper or smallmouth bass. Each time we hooked a fish trolling the other angler would reel in fast and then cast to the shallow shoreline to get another hookup. When we had worked over a productive shoreline and failed to get another hook up we moved on. We found great success using this technique and moving from Face Canyon, to Buoy 25 coves and shoreline, Gregory Butte coves, mouth of West Canyon and Dove Canyon, and finally Dungeon Canyon.

Our catch included 30 stripers, 25 large and smallmouth bass, and 2 large bluegill (caught trolling). The weather was agreeable with a mild day in between windy events, pleasant air temperature, and great satisfaction while catching many fish with short stays in many places. Spring fishing is now at its peak. If you want to catch fish now is a good time to come to the lake.
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