Lake Powell is rising and fishing steadily improving

Mike Wall of Tempe, Ariz., hooked this 30-pound striped bass last week while trolling a Lucky Craft pointer in the back of Last Chance Canyon. Wall said the fish dragged the boat for about 10 minutes before Wall even saw the fish. It’s likely the largest fish caught this year at Lake Powell.



Lake Elevation: 3,620 msl
Water Temperature 58-66 F

PAGE, Ariz. – Lake Powell is changing fast. Water level is rising a foot per week but the fill rate will increase dramatically over the next few weeks. Bass and crappie are in the middle of the spawn.  Stripers are wandering looking for food and thinking about spawning.  While fishing success is excellent there are a few things to know to help put you in the right spot to participate in catching fish this week.

Fishing for bass is the most dependable strategy. It is not necessary to arrive early. Fishing improves steadily throughout the day as water warms. Fishing is much better when water temperature is in the 60s and not so good when it cools back into the 50s. Afternoon fishing is better than in the morning.

Both large and smallmouth bass are spawning and very active. Smallmouth will be on the shallow (2-3 feet) edge of a rock shelf.  The nest will often be visible, in open water but often near a drop off or edge of structure. Cast near the breaking edge of a shallow flat, in the back of the canyon, or side of the main channel, or on the rocky shoreline.

Pursuing smallmouth bass is the simplest and most productive fishing opportunity with guaranteed results. A simple rig with a double tailed plastic grub, tube or plastic worm on an eight to quarter ounce lead head works well.  Topwater baits are working when water is warm.  Use your favorite smallmouth bass bait for best success.

Largemouth bass are bigger fish but catching them requires fishing in brush. Their nests are often between the shore and the tree line. It may be necessary to poke the nose of the boat through the trees to make a cast. There may be some spots where walking the shoreline works better than fishing from the boat.  Use weedless baits like spinnerbaits or weedless rigged plastic.

The best bait this past week has been the weightless senko in shades of green.  The slow sinking action is exactly what bass are looking for as they rest under tree limbs in brush thickets. Patience is a virtue while waiting for the bait to work its way through the limbs to the fish. Use heavy line to negotiate the retrieval of hooked fish from the brushy sanctuary. Braided line with a fluorocarbon leader has proven effective for some.

Crappie are hanging like ornaments in the trees with the largemouth. Stealthily approach the thickest brush and drop a small plastic curly tail or marabou jig into and around the limbs. Crappie will often be hiding 3-5 feet below the surface. They can often be seen taking the bait in the clear water of the main lake.

Walleye are starting to hit very well now with catching success better in the upper lake. One effective method is to troll the steep canyon walls of the main canyon with 3-4 inch long medium diving bait. Troll over each long point that enters the channel. The most effective depth for hooking walleye is 12-15 feet. It is best if the trolled lure bumps bottom at 12 feet.  Walleye can also be spooned off the bottom or captured on gravel points with a slow moving worm harness.

With all the glowing fish activity reported above it makes it less painful to say that striped bass are extremely difficult to catch right now. The trolling pattern has faltered over much of the lake.  There was some success reported at the mouth of Red Canyon over the weekend. Since then trolling and jigging has been unproductive through most of the lake. It will change quickly but right now it seems better to chase the other species.


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