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: 3,609 feet
Water temperatures: 77–85°F
Fishing is good at Lake Powell, but for the best fishing go north. The water is now clearing in Good Hope Bay, all the way to Trachyte. Surface action continues, but boils are sporadic. Trolling and spooning will put more fish in your boat, but it is hard to beat the adrenaline rush provided by a school of stripers thrashing on the surface. With surface temperatures exceeding 80 degrees, it's much more likely that you'll catch juvenile stripers on top. You can catch the bigger fish in deeper water on deep trolling lures. For the very best results (and copious quantities of stripers), fish at night with a green a light near the marinas and houseboats fields.
Fishing out of Wahweap is challenging because of the warm surface temperatures and boating activity. These fish have not returned to the surface since the full moon. You can catch stripers by trolling in the shade of the main channel cliffs early in the morning. The area from buoy 25 upstream to Wetherill is the most productive. Early morning and late evening are the best times to fish. Midday is a better time for swimming and recreating.
Smallmouth bass fishing is improving, but bass are located further off shore and in deeper water than expected. The best depth to catch larger smallmouth bass is 25 feet. It is also possible to catch smallmouth trolling along the shoreline at a bottom depth of 15 to 25 feet. There are some shad along the edge of the canyons and coves, but stripers have slurped up a high percentage of larval shad already. Smallmouth are more than willing to chase shad along the shore, which makes them vulnerable to crankbaits trolled or cast in open water.
Water conditions have opened up a new event in which all can participate. There are many long, deep-channel coves that have flooded cattails, tumbleweeds and tamarisk trees. Many species of fish have moved into the weedy coves and are easy to see in the clear water. A boat, paddle board or floating device will put you in range of the fish picture show. (It's reminiscent of a nature preserve.) Bluegill are the most commonly seen fish, with many spread randomly through the weeds. School of shad swim in tight bunches of 50 to 100 fish. Not far away, a few larger bass will try to ambush the shad school. Striped bass will be lurking on the perimeter of the weeds, waiting for the opportunity to rush into the cove and chase shad. I recommend spending an hour watching the natural fish exhibit while you're camped on the lake.
Catfish are perhaps the easiest fish to catch right now. You can catch them near camp on the sandy beaches. But for best results, try the fishing in the backs of long narrow canyons like Navajo, Last Chance, and San Juan. Most of the shallow water near the end of the canyon will be very murky. Anchor in 10 to 15 feet of water in the back of the canyon and use chicken liver or similar smelly bait to catch catfish all day and all night long.
There is always some fishing activity going on at Lake Powell, even in the hottest part of summer.