Late April southeastern Utah fishing report
|Pete Helgren, was very successful catching striped bass near Glen Canyon Dam on Lake Powell last week.|
Abajo Mountains. Aquatics biologists Justin Hart and Kenny Breidinger conducted fish sampling with nets and traps at Recapture Reservoir on April 11. They netted numerous pike and largemouth bass, plus a large number of black bullheads. Bass were fat and healthy. Bullheads were stocky and ranged from 1-2 lbs. Between net pulls, they tried fishing with a rod and reel and did very well. Justin had best luck with a Ã¯Â¿Â½ oz. white or pink jighead hooked to a 3-4 inch chartreuse or pumpkin-colored curlytail grub. Justin fished the rig slowly along the bottom. Kenny had great success using a 6-inch pumpkin-colored rubber worm rigged weedless on a bass worm hook with a single piece of split shot about 15 inches above the worm. Kenny fished that rig on the bottom as well. The biologists also tried trolling for pike with crankbaits. Justin used a medium-diving Berkley Frenzy in a crawdad color. Kenny used a larger silver-colored, double-jointed Canadian Wiggler. Both set-ups proved to be effective. For bullheads, Justin recommends worms or commercial catfish baits, fished on the bottom. Of the pike collected in nets, most ranged from 20-22 inches. The biggest weighed eight pounds and measured 31 inches. Sergeant Justin Shirley reported excellent fishing at both Blanding reservoirs as well as at Monticello and Foy lakes.
Benches Pond. Todd Munford of King's Outdoor World reported that the pond was mostly ice-covered several days ago, but ice-off is expected within a week or two. Once ice-free, Todd recommends a worm fished on the bottom.
Cleveland Reservoir. The ice has receded from the shoreline and bank fishing is available. A worm tipped with PowerBait is recommended.
Electric Lake. Open water occurs on the north end, although access will be difficult until snow melts on the access road. Good fishing is expected for cutthroats staging for the spring spawn. Todd Munford recommends a nightcrawler or red salmon eggs. If you're a fly fisherman, try a Canadian brown leech pattern on sinking line. Strip the line quickly.
Gooseberry Reservoir. Access is by foot or snow machine only. It will be at least three weeks before vehicle access becomes available.
Huntington Creek. In the fly-only zone, Tom Ogden has had good luck with a number 10 beadhead Montana. Other anglers have had luck with beadhead prince or zebra tail nymphs.
Huntington North State Park. Manager Dan Richards says that water levels will remain very low until early May or later. Dan says that bait fishing for rainbows has been sporadic, but bass fishing is still good along the west shore.
Mammoth Reservoir. The ice is very soft and slushy and may not be safe. No report on angling success. Try fishing elsewhere until the shoreline opens up. Closed to the possession of cutthroat trout. As of June 7, using motorboats with 10 horsepower or more will be prohibited.
Joes Valley Reservoir. No recent report. Aquatics Biologist Justin Hart recommends a whole chub or a three inch curlytail grub on a quarter ounce jighead, tipped with chub meat. April and May have traditionally the best months to fish Joes Valley for trophy-size splake. A couple of 11 pounders were caught in 2006. Special regulations apply. Please refer to the 2007 fishing guide.
Lake Powell. Bass spawning has begun. It is not the hoped for grand event where all fish move on the beds the same day. Instead a warming event allows a few fish to spawn in a warm cove. Then cooling moves the fish back off the beds. It warms, then cools and fish move back and forth. There are more bass beds in the northern lake, which may be a degree or two warmer than water on the south end. Very few beds are seen south of Dangling Rope. Regardless, fishing is very good in one specific spot. That spot is a sand (defined as, soft soil with small rock) drainage lined with tumbleweeds or brush.
Picture a slick rock canyon. Usually in the back of the canyon or in a cove there is a flat spot to park a boat. That flat has a different soil component than the slick rock. Now think about spawning. Bass need a rocky substrate to build a nest. Slick rock cannot be worked with a bass tail. Sand, clay or gravel can be fanned and rocks uncovered. Bass gravitate to that soil in an otherwise slick rock environment. So in slick rock canyons look for sand flats.
Now to enhance the sand pattern it is best if there are bushes (tumbleweed) for cover and deep water access leading in. Most often the weedy extreme back of a canyon (floodplain with weeds) will be good for bass, crappie and stripers this week.
Yesterday I was motoring in the main channel looking for prospective hot spots. I saw a sand flat (beach) which is not all that great in itself, but in the middle of the sandy beach was a flood drainage cut with tumbleweeds collected in it. The 10-yard wide cut was pronounced and led to a rocky ravine high and dry on the ground. The cut extended through the beach and then into the lake. So I lined up on the cut and fished it some 50 yards off shore at a depth of 10-15 feet. I was not disappointed. It was loaded with stripers but that is also where the bass were. We sorted through five stripers to get to one bass and then did it again and again. Next we found a rocky edge where the beach joined the slick rock and fished that. Mud was washed up by boat wakes and we took 10 largemouth out of that sand/mud spot where bottom depth was 8-15 feet. Look for sand and weeds for best success this week.
Wind seems to be with us this week. To fish successfully in the wind throw reaction baits instead of trying to "feel" the plastic bait on the bottom in the wind. Fish move shallower in wind and often move to windy points where the water is breaking on shore. Try spinnerbaits and jerk baits and lipless vibrators where the feel is not as important when the wind bows your line. You can troll in productive areas to keep some boat control in the wind. Don't just troll, but troll over structure like points or reefs. Then motor to the next likely structure and troll some more.
Lasal Mountains. Conservation Officer Casey McVay reports good fishing at Hidden Lake for six to 10 inch rainbow trout, which can be caught on almost any bright-colored jig or fly. Dons Lake is now open, but offers only slow fishing. Casey says that Kens Lake is still good for planted rainbow trout.
Lower Fish Creek. Try dark-colored beadhead nymphs, fished near the bottom.
Millsite Reservoir. State Park Manager Dan Richards reports that anglers have had good luck, fishing with PowerBait or trolling lures. Conservation Officer Casey Mickelsen noted that fishing success has been slowing down from past weeks. Casey reports that the catch rate is still steady, but the size of fish seems to be shrinking. Casey is seeing a lot of 12-14 inch trout. Fish early in the morning or late in the day for best results.
Scofield Reservoir. The reservoir is ice-free. This past week, fishing success has been sporadic, possibly due to changing weather systems. Dedicated Hunter Caleb Greenwood surveyed 20 anglers on April 15, but counted only three trout among them. Inclement and windy conditions prevailed that day. Last Sunday, Tom Ogden fished the west side from a float tube and reported slower fishing than a week earlier. Most of his catch ranged from 14-18 inches. Tom said 50 percent were rainbows, 25 percent were cutts, and 25 percent were tigers. Tom recommends a size 8-10 dark wooly bugger. Last weekend, Todd Munford fished the reservoir and described fishing as good. He suggests fishing in the morning as the best time to fish. Todd remarked that drifting or slow-trolling a nightcrawler with split shot was effective. Todd also tried anchoring in 10-15 feet of water along the east side and had good luck with orange PowerBait, a nightcrawler/marshmallow combination, or salmon eggs. By the end of the day, Todd has caught and released over 60 trout. Rainbows ranged between 12-20 inches. His best was a 20-inch, three pound bow. For fly fishermen, Todd recommends an olive/brown leech or wooly bugger pattern on sinking line.