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Thu, April 15

Column: Colorado River runoff will help Lake Powell water level and spawning of bass, crappie

A fisherman holds up his catch of the day, a smallmouth bass. (Submitted photo)

A fisherman holds up his catch of the day, a smallmouth bass. (Submitted photo)

On April 22, water flowing into Lake Powell exceeds water released through the dam.

Warm weather continues and the Colorado River runoff will increase next week. Looks like the 2020 low water point for Lake Powell will be 3599 MSL. Now the lake can rise and cover some brush to help spawning efforts and survival of young bass and crappie.

A rapid rise in lake water temperature will follow. Crappie and bass have been waiting for the 60-65 degree water temperature, which is the spawning trigger. Bass nest construction has already begun. Now, with the temperature spike, actual spawning may occur. The bass spawn typically begins during the last week of April.

Those interested can look for newly constructed spawning beds in the clear lake water. Beds will be in shallow water and easily visible until high runoff causes the lake to rise, muddies the water and increases the depth of the nests. Begin the search by heading into canyons and coves and checking the primary and secondary points. These points usually have good rocky structure and small isolated, protected areas where male bass choose to build the nest. Crappie prefer to build a nest near brush or under a tree limb. Both species fan the bottom to remove sand and expose small pebbles or rocks. After spawning, eggs stick to the small nest rocks and male fish hover over the nest to protect the eggs. Eggs hatch in 3-4 days in warming water or maintain for 5-8 days if the water cools. Papa bass guards the kids for a few days after they swim up to find food. Then he sends the kids off to college, and he preps the nest and spawning happens again. One male bass can spawn as many as 4-5 times during the spawning season

Fishing is fun over the shallow bass nests. I suggest releasing the aggressive nest guarding bass and keeping other bass caught near the visual nest.

Walleye season begins with rising water and temperatures

They feed during the day, near structure, as water warms. My best walleye experience happened when a rapid lake rise covered shoreline brush. Treetops were 5-10 feet under water. Walleye suspended in treetops and waited for forage to swim by. My small trolling lure was just what they wanted to eat as it swam by the walleye hangout. When water level is lower, try trolling and casting on the breaking edge of rocky structure, right where there is a quick change in depth.

Striped bass patterns still unknown

There will be some fish moving along the main channel looking for something to eat, but there will be more fish hiding in spawning coves and canyons waiting for spawning to happen before switching over to eating shad. We will definitely see some great slurps and boils in June but finding fish in May will be more challenging. I will provide more information after I get out on the lake.

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