Despite appearances, there's a lot of activity under the surface here.
Smallmouth bass are biting, largemouth bass are coming on, walleye were hitting hard and striped bass are fat and hungry.This is, said Wayne Gustaveson, chief of fisheries at Lake Powell for the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources, some of the best fishing at the lake in several years.
Part of the reason is the main forage fish in the lake, the threadfin shad, has rebounded from a low a few years ago. Gustaveson said checks show shad are now all over the lake.
Currently the shad are spawning. They'll move into shore for the first hour or two in the morning, then move back out midday. Popular areas to fish are in the backs of canyons, where the water is a little murky, or around floating logs and debris.
Fish, mainly the striped bass, largemouth, smallmouth and walleye, will follow the fish into these areas.
Smallmouth: This is the best catch right now. As the water warms, however, the biting will slow down. Especially active right now are the smaller fish, in the one-pound range. Fishermen are picking up a few of the larger adults in the 2- to 21/2-pound class.
Best fishing is from 6:30 p.m. to dark. Best lures are grubs with lots of action, either single- or double-tail in chartreuse, pumpkin, gold and salt-and-pepper colors.
The secret, said Gustaveson, is to fish off the bottom. "Feel the lure bounce along the rocks. That's where the smallmouth are, in among the rocks."
Largemouth: Like the smallmouth, fishing is good now, but will slow as the water warms. Gustaveson believes it will stay good into early July.
The same lures that work for smallmouth will work for largemouth. Also try crankbaits and shad imitations.
Striped Bass: This is the fish that a few years back couldn't be kept off hooks. It is also a fish that biologist would like to thin out. The daily limit is 20 fish and fishermen are being asked to keep all they catch up to the limit.
Gustaveson said the stripers, because of the good shad population, are all fat and healthy. He added, however, that the fish were acting differently this year.
"Because there are shad, the stripers are following them. They're not staying in one spot. So, what we're seeing is fishermen getting into the schools one day, but going back a day later and finding the fish gone," he said. "If the fish aren't there, then fishermen need to go to other places."
Best lures have been shad-imitation crankbaits like the "Rattle Trap," and "Cordell Spot." Anchovies have not worked well, but should improve as the fish begin to settle down and stop moving around.
Gustaveson suggested fishermen find wave-washed points where the water is a little murky, cast across and reel back.
Average fish have been in the 2- to 21/2-pound range.
Crappie: The crappie action is about over. It was rated as one of the best years in the past four or five for these fish. There were no buckets of fish like 10 years ago, but fishermen were coming in with three or four to show.
Catfish: This is the one guaranteed catch at Powell. The catfish are biting almost anything. Recently one fishermen landed 30 within a one-hour period.
Gustaveson recommends a chunk of chicken liver dropped in 15 feet of water. The average fish has been about one and a half pounds. Best fishing is at night.
Bluegill: The little bluegill are spawning and can prove entertaining with a fly rod and surface lure.
Fishing is expected to slow down in mid-July, then pick up again in September.