Best Spring Fishing happens SOON

Lake Powell

by Wayne Gustaveson

April 29, 2022
Water Temperature 58-62 F
Lake Elevation 3522

The water level at Lake Powell remains at 3522 MSL, as it has for the past three weeks. The good news is the lake is rising about an inch each day instead of declining. Wahweap Launch Ramp had another cement pour bringing the new ramp closer to the water. The ramp still could not function without the two lanes of boiler plate that allows boats to launch at this low lake level. Bullfrog Launch Ramp has cement poured down to 3525. Launching access at Bullfrog will not be available until the lake comes up above the level of 3525 or until boiler plate is put in place to allow boats to launch at the current lake level.

Water temperature this morning was 58 F at the Wahweap Legacy Ramp. We are still not quite at the magic 60-65 F temperature that turns bass on to spawning mode. I did not see any bass spawning beds on my weekly fishing trip. That could be related to the steep rocky shoreline areas at the mouth of most canyons. The backs of those canyons have shallow water but the visibility is less due to muddy water. I am sure when bass start to spawn that we will see evidence of nest building in shallow water near the backs of canyons. Last year bass spawning was going strong during the second week of May. That should be repeated in 2022.

The destination on my weekly fishing trip was Rock Creek Canyon. We turned into Rock Creek and then stopped in the first cove on the right to take a look at Pothole Arch. Normally, Pothole Arch is viewed from the top looking down into the lake. At the current low level, the arch with a hole at the top is now completely out of the water. It is always worth stopping to take a look. While focused on the Arch I was distracted by a splash on the shoreline. Hoping to find fish working the shoreline, I was surprised to see an otter running along shore, then jumping into the water. That was an awesome sight. While working the shoreline rocky structure, I caught a 12- inch smallmouth bass.

At the back of Rock Creek, we trolled for stripers and caught a few fish. It was not fast fishing but the scenery was awesome and catching an occasional striper was fun. Two other boats were in the back of the canyon and we saw them catch a fish or two. Fishing in the southern lake is not fast but it is dependable. You will catch a few fish trolling, casting or bait fishing. Fishing success will improve in May as water warms and bass begin spawning.

Stripers will spawn in May but they are lethargic and inactive during the day and super motivated at night. They are most likely to spawn during the dark moon at the water temperature of 60-68 F. It is amazing to find a spawning school. I have only found a few spawning schools in the past 45 years since I usually fish during the day. Those memories of the spawning schools that were found will always be with me.

Walleye are night spawners as well, but their spawning season is over. Now with warming water, walleye fishing will get much better. Target them at dawn and twilight. Look on rocky points and on flat shelves that are 15-20 feet deep. Use a green plastic bass jig with a small piece of night crawler attached to the hook. Fishing is getting better. May is the magic month in the Spring.