By Wayne Gustaveson, DWR Lake Powell Biologist
The best walleye fishing at Lake Powell usually happens during May. April is usually fair for walleye but the action gets better as the season progresses. The rapidly rising water creates a lot of turbidity as sandy banks slough into the lake, and wind action stirs and suspends recently flooded soil. The turbidity protects the light sensitive walleye and allows them to feed during daylight hours. Warming temperatures speed the metabolism and cause walleye to feed voraciously. Together these events are great news for those who wish to coax a walleye out of the lake and into the frying pan. The formula is to fish in turbid water or during low-light periods. The 40 mph wind gust that blows your tent away also causes wave action that makes a stream of muddy water trail off an exposed rocky point or fills a cove with brown silt as turbidity settles out soon after the wind subsides. So fish first and set the tent up later.
The same plastic grubs that catch bass work well for walleye. It is even better to tip the grub with a piece of night crawler. Walleye have a great sense of small and can detect that small morsel of fresh meat. Now cast the jig into the muddy water and slowly crawl it along the bottom. Don't hop it — just drag and rest. Maintaining bottom contact is critical. Walleye bite distinctively, often hitting the tail. It is common to get three or four bites before actually hooking a walleye. So, flick the wrist with each bite, but if the fish misses, drop to the bottom again, drag the bait a few inches and wait for another pickup.
Striped bass are scattering randomly while searching for food and can be caught anywhere. Many are caught by bass fishermen casting to the shoreline. There are still fish to be caught by the main canyon walls, but that action has slowed. Occasional schools happen by and anglers at the dam and power plant intake are getting stringers of 5-15 fish for a morning's effort. The canyons from Good Hope to Hite are still producing fish, and action is slow in mid-lake area.
Smallmouth bass action is steady and will remain so all summer. Fish drop-offs by long running points or rapidly descending shorelines because they offer deep water bass access to shallow water for feeding. Remember that long flats have been wet for only a short time and are not occupied by fish yet. The fish are staying by the same brush or rock that they used earlier when the water was five feet shallower. My favorite technique is to position the boat over a dropoff, lower the jig straight down until it hits bottom, then yo-yo it up and down. It really works. Give it a try.