Fishing reaches its spring peak at Lake Powell

Brian Barsness of Duck Creek Village, Utah, and Page, Ariz., spends as much time as possible fishing with his dad in Lake Powell. Last weekend the 12-year old angler caught both big largemouth and smallmouth bass in the southern end of the lake. 

Lake Elevation: 3,616 asl                
Water Temperature: 59 – 68 degrees F

PAGE, Ariz. — Water level at Lake Powell is rising 2 feet per week now but that will soon grow to 4-5 feet per week. Runoff is coming at high levels and will continue to run strong from now though July. Expect to see the lake rise to the highest level in this decade by mid summer.

The Castle Rock Cut is now open to all boats. This short cut on the southern end saves boaters headed uplake much time and gas.

Anglers are having great success over the length of the lake. At Wahweap the fish cleaning station looks like a rock concert each afternoon with anglers standing in line to process hundreds of striped bass. These hungry fish are caught on cut anchovy bait and scented plastic lures fished in the main channel from the dam to many locations upstream. Some of the most consistent spots are Buoy 1, Buoy 3, Power plant intake, Navajo Canyon (points protruding into channel), Gunsight, Last Chance Rock Creek, Forbidding Canyon (first canyon on the left).

The million dollar fish contest is in full swing as 15 tagged stripers continue to swim waiting to be captured and turned in for prizes. The first tagged fish was captured on May 16 in the main channel near Buoy 3.

Walleye are garnering much attention. These fish are hard to catch most of the time but are vulnerable in May due to warming water and low forage conditions. Trolling black and white Wally diver crank baits is very effective in 8-15 feet of water in colored water near the back of the canyon or on wind washed banks and coves.

Largemouth spawning is complete but large bass still frequent the brush piles. It helps that the rising lake is covering much more brush allowing more largemouth habitat to get wet. Look for largemouth in any thick brush pile. Use weedless lures that can be retrieved in brush for best results.

Smallmouth are very active now with fish of all sizes found along rocky points, ledges and terraces. Plastic tubes and grubs are preferred baits fished along the bottom in 3 to 30 feet of water.

Crappie are in the thickest brush found in the backs of the canyons. Pull the boat into the thicket and drop a crappie jig straight down through the limbs to contact hungry crappie just completing the spawning act.

The beauty of fishing in May is the ability to use one lure, such as a plastic grub or tube, and catch largemouth, smallmouth, crappie, walleye, stripers, sunfish and catfish along one shoreline expanse. Fishing is at its spring peak. Shad are now spawning which will provide more food for the myriad of predators that now swim in the largest reservoir in the West. If fishing is on the list of things to do this year, now would be a good time to make that excursion to Lake Powell.


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