Lake Powell report
Information compiled by Wayne Gustaveson, www.wayneswords.com
Attention: Quagga mussels have been detected at Lake Powell. Protect other Utah waters by cleaning and draining the water from your boat before leaving Lake Powell. Your boat must be dried for 18 days before you can launch in another water. If you plan to launch sooner than that, a professional decontamination is required. Learn more about these destructive mussels.
Lake elevation: 3,605 feet
Water temperatures: 75–79°F
Fishing is improving over the length of the lake. Anglers are seeing more striper boils each day and are catching bass with more regularity.
Last week, striper boils were confined to a few specific spots. Now, you can see boils almost daily. The best locations in the southern lake include the main channel near the mouth of Navajo Canyon, Gunsight Canyon main channel, Last Chance coves (about half way up the canyon) and main channel from West Canyon to Wetherill. These boils follow the lakewide pattern, so they are most active during the first two hours of the morning and the last hour of the evening. Stripers come up quickly to feed and then go down to regroup before surfacing again. This week the boils moved closer to the walls as stripers try to corral shad and trap them where there's no escape, which makes feeding easier for the predators.
At mid-lake, the best spots are in the San Juan near the mouth and then again from Cha Canyon bay to Neskahi bay. Here the boils are up a bit longer, but the best time is still early morning and late evening.
In the northern lake, the best action is from the Horn to Trachyte Canyon. Again, early and late are the best times to find surface feeding fish.
You can still catch fish during the rest of the day. It takes a bit more work than stopping near a boil, but in the end you can catch more fish deep than on the surface. To start, chase a boil and then start trolling when it ends, graphing the bottom structure. Graphing does not work well in the main channel since the bottom depth is greater than 100 feet. But in the backs of canyons and coves, you can spot suspended shad schools surrounded by other fish traces. Toss out a floating marker and continue to troll, hoping for a bite. If you don't catch fish trolling, return to the marker and drop spoons, bucktail jigs or plastic grubs to the bottom. With the tremendous number of shad available, the game fish are schooling near large shad schools. It is possible to catch both bass and stripers under shad schools. Bass will be in large groups, rather than randomly scattered along the shoreline.
On some days, trolling mid-range lures like Shad Raps or Pointers is the best option. On other days, the Kastmaster may be the best bet. Keep changing lures until the favored pattern for the day is discovered. Try trolling or fishing the bottom in the likely spots you see on the graph. The choice is up to the fish and as anglers we have to respond to what the fish are doing if we want a successful catch.
It is gratifying to see the fisheries respond to the improved habitat and forage. Over the last two years, the lake level declined, brush was eliminated and the fish populations downsized. But now a new younger generation of bass and stripers is responding to the resurgence in lake conditions. There is brush in the shallow water, shad are at a 10-year peak, and young game fish are growing fast while enjoying the luxury.
Fishing is more challenging in these ideal conditions when fish do not have to work to eat, but that also makes catching fish very rewarding. Do not just use the same old techniques in the same comfort zone that you've used over the years. Try using a variety of lures and fishing techniques to find what the fish want. You will be surprised by your reward at the end of the day.