May 2, 2018 - All Species Now Available

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wayne gustaveson

Staff member
Lake Powell Fish Report – May 2, 2018
Lake Elevation: 3609
Water temperature: 59 - 64 F
By: Wayne Gustaveson or
It’s typically springtime weather now with some warm days followed by cooling and windy conditions. Water temperature has been in the mid 60s but then drops back into the high 50s when the wind blows. Inflow and outflow at Lake Powell are getting closer but there is still more water flowing out than coming in. Water in the southern lake is still amazingly clear. Conditions in May are generally warmer, calmer and conducive to catching a wide variety of fish species. Here is what to expect.
Striped bass are spread between the main channel and the main canyons. Fish in spawning condition will be in the big bays and main canyons. They will be most active at night. Look for them in the shade of the tall canyon walls at first light in the morning. They will eat plankton close to the surface but their main purpose is to wait for the rapid warming spawning trigger that happens when surface water temperature increases almost 10 degrees in one day. The best fishing method is trolling and graphing until a small school or a few individuals are seen. Catch a striper trolling and then watch the graph to see following fish below the boat which may be caught on spoons.

The other striped bass contingent is found in the main channel looking for food. These are fish that can be caught on bait at 30 - 50 feet. Schools are wide spread now over the length of the channel from the dam to Dangling Rope and beyond. The best spots change on a daily basis as the schools rove up and down the channel. Keep moving along the channel walls until a feeding school is found.
Large and smallmouth bass are actively spawning now. Their shallow guarded nests can be seen in crystal clear water at depths from 3-10 feet. Sight fishing is super now with male bass moving back on their nests after the wind cooled the water and caused the nests to be abandoned. Bass fishing will be excellent throughout the month of May.


Crappie are spawning now but without much brush they are more likely to use rocky structure and murky water as spawning habitat. Male crappie make a nest on the bottom and behave much like male bass as they guard the nest until the fry hatch and swim away.

Walleye are most active and catchable during the month of May. They are usually nocturnal but during May they can be caught both day and night. Low light is the best fishing time both at dusk and dawn but they will congregate under mud lines caused by wind or wave action. With high water clarity right now, fishing at deeper depths (30 feet or more) may invite more walleye to participate in the southern lake. In the north, find murky water leading toward the mudline and you will find walleye holding there. Some productive techniques include: Trolling close to a steep cliff wall, particularly if there is a submerged ledge where walleye can hang out in their preferred habitat. Walleye like to park on a ridge or ledge where they wait for food to swim by. Dragging a bottom bouncer and worm harness is often effective on humps, ledges and flat bottoms. Casting a double or single tail plastic bass jig, then maintaining bottom contact is also effective. It works even better if a piece of live worm is attached to the hook. The most productive depth to catch walleye is 15-35 feet.

Bluegill and green sunfish increase their feeding behavior as water warms to 65F. It takes only a few more degrees before spawning occurs. Bluegill activity level is now increasing. Fish size has also increased recently (perhaps due to mussels in their diet?) as many larger size bluegill have been caught 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. Look for a submerged bush near shore or a large rock pocket to find a school of bluegill.

Catfish are getting more active and will spawn in late May.
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