Lake Powell report

Information compiled by Wayne Gustaveson,

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.

Waterbody Report
Lake Powell

Lake elevation: 3,605 feet

Water temperatures: 74–76°F

I predicted last week that surface action would return and make striper boil fishing as good as it was two weeks ago. And that stripers would then move into the canyons and coves where shad have found safe refuge. Last weeked, striper boil reports from the southern lake were the best of the year so far.

Striper boils have erupted as shad are moving out of the protection of warm water in the backs of canyons and coves.
Photo courtesy of Wayne Gustaveson

Stripers are moving into the coves where shad have been hiding for much of the summer. Boils in the coves and along the shore have replaced the open water boils in the main channel. These are the fall changes that we have been waiting for.

On Saturday morning, we were graphing for striper schools when we saw a few splashes and headed in their direction. I marked the spot where a potential spooning school was holding before I chased the topwater fish. In the back of Warm Creek Cottonwood, we saw large shad schools (perhaps 20 yards long) move into open water with individual stripers and bass chasing along the side of the school. Both bass and stripers hit surface lures that were cast near the shad school.

The surface water temperature was above 75°F, which was still too warm for adult stripers to stay on the surface for longer periods of time. Despite the exciting surface activity, the best fishing came from dropping spoons to 25 to 55 feet near the small boils. We chased the topwater schools along the shore and into coves and then back out into the bay where the shad schools were leading them. We caught some topwater fish and more deep fish. Surprisingly, the last topwater fish we saw was within a few yards of where we dropped our marker first thing in the morning. We then spooned up more stripers. At the end, we counted 40 stripers in our cooler.

On Sunday, boil reports began to pour in from Padre Bay, Last Chance and Rock Creek. Most anglers were catching 20 to 50 stripers on surface lures from boils. Fantastic fall fishing has arrived. Unfortunately, it will be short lived as a cold windy front will blow through early in the week. As soon as the wind quits, though, the cooler water will make boils bigger and stronger by allowing more adult stripers to hit the surface. Expect this change by October 9. The great surface fishing will continue until the next full moon and perhaps longer. These predictions are for the whole lake: both north and south.

Bass fishing is excellent. There are active smallmouth bass following the striper lead as shad schools swim in open water. As the lake level continues to decline and the water temperature drops, shad are being forced out of the backs of canyons. Bass fishing will get better when the water temperature reaches the 62 to 65°F mark in late October or early November.

This is a great time to be on the lake. Fishing is fantastic. The nights are cool and the days are warm and calm.

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