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: 3,606 feet

Water temperatures: 69-72°F

Each November we conduct our annual gillnet sampling to assess adult fish population strength, numbers and health. Since we will be on the lake for two weeks, today's fishing report will be the last of the season. Sporadic reports will be sent out randomly when something unusual happens, like when trophy fish are caught. For current fishing information over the winter, visit The next regular weekly fishing report will be published here the first week of March 2016.

Wayne Gustaveson examines a typical striped bass and finds it to be in great shape. The Lake Powell fishery was very healthy and fishing success was terrific in 2015.
Photo courtesy of Wayne Gustaveson

Stripers are hiding in deep water today. They must not like the bright, full moonlight. There is a band of adult stripers and gizzard shad suspended at the preferred temperature at 40 feet. Trolling with down riggers works along the 40-foot thermal barrier this week. The best report came from trolling Kastmasters in the main channel at 40 feet near Halls Marina and in the channel upstream from Slick Canyon. The Slick Rock report included speed reeling spoons between 40 and 80 feet for quick striper hookups.

Young-of-year stripers (6–10 inches) are in the backs of canyons in shallow water. They eat plankton, shad and sunfish and you can catch them by jigging small spoons in 15–30 feet of water. We've seen shad schools feeding on the surface during early mornings and late evenings. Small spoons cast into or near the shad schools will be clobbered by the many small stripers that stalk these schools. When you see shad on top, remember that game fish can be caught nearby.

Bass continue to be the most productive target. Smallmouth and largemouth bass can be found in 15–25 feet of water. The most effective technique is dropshot fishing with plastic grubs and swim baits. Casting crankbaits is not as good now as it was a week ago. Fish slow and deep while maintaining bottom contact for the opportunity to catch some really nice smallmouth bass. Largemouth bass are now being caught more often in the same areas, particularly where aquatic weeds are growing on the bottom.

These fishing patterns will hold up during November and December. Dropping water temperature adds the possibility of catching walleye and crappie in shallow water using the same techniques favored in springtime.

In summary, the fishery is in awesome shape. Stripers continue to put on weight and are increasing in number. Shad forage is still high going into the winter season. Adult stripers, which weighed 3–4 pounds this spring, produced a huge crop of young-of-year stripers. These adults will weigh 4–5 pounds in the spring and produce another bumper crop of young stripers. If shad have a good spawn in 2016 then stripers will grow to even larger proportions. Expect fishing success in spring 2016 to be of epic proportions.

Bass numbers are high. Largemouth bass need the lake to come up next spring and cover brush along the shoreline before that population can excel. Smallmouth bass are doing very well. They need more forage from shad, sunfish and crayfish. Anglers can help increase size of smallmouth bass by harvesting 9- to 12-inch fish while releasing larger bass. There is intense competition for forage among smallmouth, and you can help reduce that competition by keeping more bass. Smallmouth are great fish to eat. Keep more bass to make the average size of fish grow larger.

Walleye numbers are very high in the northern lake. Plan a walleye trip to Good Hope Bay in May to and see if you can catch 50–100 fish per day it's very possible.

Thanks for fishing at Lake Powell in 2015 — one of the most amazing fisheries in the world.

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