Lake Powell report

Information compiled by Wayne Gustaveson,

Attention: Lake Powell is infested with quagga mussels. 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 launching in another water. If you plan to launch soonet, a professional decontamination is required. Locate a decontamination station and learn about quagga mussels.

Lake Powell


Lake elevation: 3,611 feet

Water temperatures: 73–76°F

My weekly fishing trip began in perfect fashion. We stopped and trolled at Padre Butte, hoping to catch a walleye. We deployed our lures and trolled for 50 yards before both rods hit hungry fish. My partner caught a smallmouth bass and I caught a 14-inch walleye. This seemed like the perfect start to a perfect day. Within a few minutes, however, the wind picked up and conditions changed.

Our plan was to chase slurping stripers from Padre Bay to Rock Creek. We saw a lot of stripers slurping shad near the surface, but they were usually gone before we could get in range to make a decent cast. Surprisingly, the best slurp was on the return trip in the main channel where boat wakes were stirring up the water into two foot waves. This school of stripers stayed up long enough to make a decent cast and catch some fish. Bullfrog anglers reported identical fishing: quick slurps and no fish caught. Striper slurps are still going strong in calm water. When it's calm, it's much easier to see the surface disturbance, approach quickly and make a good cast. This will continue until the rapidly growing larval shad are big enough to swim fast. Then, the stripers will boil as they round up the shad school and attack. That will happen in July and August.

When we gathered fishing reports at the end of the day, it was obvious that anglers using bait along the canyon walls caught more and larger stripers than we did. The average catch for anglers using bait was 10 to 20 stripers. Bait fishing was good in Antelope, Navajo, Labyrinth Wall and Rock Creek. In the northern lake, Moki Wall and the cove just upstream from the mouth of Moki were good bait spots. Night fishing under green lights in Bullfrog Bay is the best way to catch a large number of stripers.

Another hot ticket in the northern lake is chasing slurps in Red Canyon or the Good Hope Bay area. Anglers catch more stripers, shad and fish there. If I had a day to fish up north, I would go to Good Hope Bay.

Smallmouth bass are the best fish to target and catch right now. They really like topwater lures at first light in the morning, lake wide. After the sun comes up, switch to plastic shad-shaped worms on a drop shot rig. Fish those rigs from 10 to 15 feet early and switch to 17 to 22 feet later in the day. The best habitat is submerged ledges, scattered boulder-sized rocks or even muddy points where crayfish gather. Smallmouth bass will hit plastic baits all day long. Bass caught this week ranged from small to 3.5 pounds. Kids fishing for the first time will be able to catch both bass and stripers by using these techniques.

You can still catch walleye by trolling and casting early and late and under muddy colored water during the day. Bluegill and green sunfish are still holding at nest sites where a few stick ups or tumbleweeds are submerged. Channel catfish are spawning and active day and night in the backs of the canyons from 10 to 29 feet on a sandy bottom.