By Doug Miller
Grand Junction, CO, Colorado
May 6, 2008
Lake Powell (bluegill, brown trout, channel catfish, crappie, largemouth bass, northern pike, smallmouth bass, rainbow trout, striped bass, walleye) — Powell is rising 2-4 inches per day. Bass fishing is turned on and will peak in the next two weeks. Stripers are being found consistently below Bull Frog, walleye fishing is good North of Bullfrog and Halls. Crappies are very aggressive now and will attack anything that moves close to their nests. Bluegill fishing is the same.
Starvation (walleye, perch, smallmouth bass, brown trout) — Ice-free and full. This is the time of year to target the big browns. Walleye, perch and smallmouth bass generally start hitting full steam the first week of June on. One of the best and underutilized fisheries close to home.
Yuba (channel catfish, northern pike, rainbows, walleye, yellow perch) — Open water and is starting to pick up. This is one of those lakes where you want to keep all walleye.
Pelican (largemouth bass, bluegill, green sunfish) — Water temps are in the mid-50s. An average of 20-30 bass per day on buzz baits is normal. This lake has the largest concentration of plate-sized bluegills in the world. There is nothing like it on the planet. You can catch big bull gills by the hundreds until your arms hurt. They are gearing up on nests and should be taking off any day now.
Flaming Gorge (browns, kokanee, mackinaw, splake, smallmouth bass, rainbows, burbot) — Ice is as good as gone. Overpopulated with smaller lake trout under 28 inches. Do your part and harvest and eat your limit to keep them in check. Perfect eating size. Smallmouth will not be active for a few weeks until the water warms. Rainbows and browns are easy catches and will hit anything that hits the water. Burbot, arguably the ugliest fish on the planet, are also the best eating. They are called “poor man’s lobster” and are some of the best eating fish around. Do your part and keep and eat everything you can to keep them in check.
Brown River (brook, brown, bullhead catfish, channel cats, crappie, cutthroat, green sunfish, largemouth bass, rainbows, walleye, whitefish, yellow perch) — This is one of the few that is fishing well if you are inclined to make the trip. A wonderful diverse fishery that has it all.
Highline — Full, but murky. Stockers are hitting all typical baits and some reports of largemouth action is picking up. Catfish are starting to hit on cut baits, and there are plenty of small crappie to be had.
Connected/local ponds — Fishing well for largemouth bass as well as the other local ponds. You can now get them with anything from buzz baits to finesse lures. They are flat out eating now. Blue gills are also easy catches now to take your kids out for some fun, but large-size edible fish are far and few between. Remember to use good ethics on largemouth bass and return them safely since we have such a delicate LMB fishery on the Western Slope. These brood fish will make the difference of us having years of enjoyment and self sustaining populations for years to come.
Crawford — Stocker bows are hitting well. Bass fishing is picking up, and crappie fishing is hot, but there is still not much size to them. Catfish are starting to move shallow to nest. Also plenty of perch, but are not turned on yet with the cool water right now. Do your part and harvest and eat as many panfish as possible to thin out these stunted populations of fish and get these in check. Lack of predation has caused an explosion of stunted fish. If you’re not going to eat that pike, let it go and let them do their job.
Rifle Gap — Walleye and pike action is still virtually nonexistent. Perch fishing is still on the slow side as well with cooler than normal water temperatures. Crappie fishing is starting to taper off, and it will be soon when they will move out and suspend. A few large holdover browns are being had as well as all the rainbows you can shake a stick at. Thirty to 50 catches a day are not uncommon with the rainbows. Smallmouth bass should be starting to hit in the next week or so as well. The hotter the weather the faster the fishing will pick up. When perch start to feed do your part and catch and clean as many as possible. Perch are the number one predator of walleye fry in this lake along with the stocker rainbows. Let’s do our part and let the pike do their part to keep these perch in check so this lake doesn’t turn out to be like Crawford’s pan fish explosion of stunted fish.
Harvey Gap —Full pool and cold. Water temp still in the mid-40s. Crappies are starting to show up along with some bluegill and green sunfish. A few catfish are to be had. Pike are still in lock jaw mode. A relentless mission of anglers culling and eating the small pan fish over the years has turned Harvey into a great pan fishery both in size and numbers.
Blue Mesa — Ice is off and the best Mackinaw fishing is to be had. They are now accessible in the shallows and now is the time to get after them while the getting is good. Every week they will start moving a little deeper but fishing should be great the next four weeks. Be careful with mortality on the large “inedible” ones and try not to get any deep hook sets and get them back in the water as soon as possible. The macks will hit large spoons, gitzits, jigs, swim baits, crank baits and large flatfish regularly this time of year. Tipping with a piece of sucker meat or bait fish smelly jelly will increase your catch. This is also a good time to capitalize on the larger browns.
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