Change keeps coming as water warms at Lake Powell

Mark Gustaveson of Page, Ariz., assisted his nephew Cooper Sparks, 6, as he caught his first striper from Lake Powell. Fishing is fast for hungry stripers in the main channel near Glen Canyon Dam.



Lake Elevation: 3,611 asl

Water Temperature: 55 – 60 degrees F

PAGE, Ariz. – Typical April weather at Lake Powell has everyone confused. The only constant is change. Balmy delightful mornings are often followed by windy afternoons. Despite the uncertainty, early morning water temperature now exceeds 55 degrees. That allows warming to reach the magical 60 degree range by afternoon. Warmwater fish respond to warming with renewed activity and vigor. Spiking temperatures trigger hormone release, forcing bass and crappie into spawning mode. Subsequent cooling pulls bass back out of the shallows as they sulk in deeper water near spawning flats waiting for the next warm period. These bass can still be caught by fishing slightly deeper water adjacent to spawning flats.

Spawning is in full gear in some lake locations. Fishing success was hot last weekend on the San Juan but then faltered with the recent cold front. The next warming trend will bring that same fishing success to most of Lake Powell. Find water temperature exceeding 65 degrees and fishing should be super. Look in the backs of canyons for best success this week. Murky colored water heats up faster than clear water and provides comfortable habitat in unsettled times. Bass are stacked up in these comfort zones so keep searching until the hot spot is located.

It may be best to avoid the Hite area as inflow has now increased to over 59,000 acre feet per day. Cold inflowing water reduces temperature and water clarity and deposits debris in the lake making navigation difficult. Fishing in the backs of canyons without the influence of river current is a better plan when fishing near Hite. The mud line, where inflowing sediment settles out of main channel flow, is found near Castle Butte in Good Hope Bay and near Spencers Camp on the San Juan.

Striper fishing is still red hot in the southern lake as hungry fish prowl along steep canyon walls from Navajo Canyon to Glen Canyon Dam. Most anglers are catching 30 plus fish per trip while fishing anchovy bait over shallow ledges protruding from steep cliffs along the edge of the main channel. Stripers return to spots where the school found food in the form of chummed bait on a previous trip. Take lots of bait and chum often to excite a school of stripers into activity under your boat. Chum a spot and return to fish it later in the day. The reward is a memorable fishing trip. Catch and keep as many stripers as possible. Stripers in the channel are excess fish that should be harvested to help balance populations of predator and prey fish as new generations of each are produced this spring.

Striper fishing will improve in the Bullfrog/Halls area with the next warming trend. Anglers coming this weekend will have improved catches of stripers along the canyon walls from Moki to Halls Creek to compliment fish now caught trolling in the backs on the canyons. Expect to catch fish on bait at the mouth of Lake Canyon, Hansen Creek, and Knowles.


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