Lake Powell starting to rise, look for striper boils soon

Special to The Sentinel
Frank Perkins of Salt Lake City, Utah, shows off the good-sized largemouth bass he caught recently while fishing in Lake Powell’s picturesque Dungeon Canyon. Runoff is making the lake come up fast but largemouth bass fishing is still good. Anglers can expect stripers to start boiling next week.

Lake Elevation: 3,630 msl

Water Temperature 72-78 F

PAGE, Ariz. — Lake Powell rose 4 feet since last week’s report seven days ago. Daily inflow is currently near 74,000 acre feet per day.  Water temperature went right through the upper 60s on its way to 80 F.

The water temperature spike was exactly what striped bass were waiting for. They spawned last week from June 2-5 in Padre Bay. Spawning in most lake locations probably occurred at about the same time but local differences in wind, and water temperature may have allowed spawning to happen a week sooner or later at individual locations.  Spawning by stripers ascending the Colorado River will occur next week as water warms and fish swim to Cataract Canyon to lay eggs. These eggs roll and tumble in violent current for two days. Hatching occurs as eggs reach the calm lake inflow. Here they survive on small plankton until large enough to eat fish.

There have been no reports of anglers finding a school of spawning stripers and catching trophy fish. It looks like the spawning discovery was more of an academic exercise. But it was fun and rewarding to track the school and determine spawning duration.

Another sampling event has much more interest to anglers.  Larval shad tows indicate good numbers of young shad are being hatched in the backs of most canyons. It will be only a matter of days until these young shad are discovered by stripers just set free from “spawning prison”.  Mature stripers have not eaten hardly anything for over a month while waiting to spawn. They are now free to go find food. Expect stripers to move toward the surface where larval shad reside.

Expect young stripers to be the first to start “slurping” planktonic larval shad. It will take the adult stripers another week or two to find small shad. Shad grow an inch a month. When shad get more girth to go with their 2-inch length, boils will being.  Might as well tie on a surface lure now. You will need it for the next 5 months.

Smallmouth bass fishing is still excellent. Small bass are on most rock structure in the main channel and canyon. Use single tail grubs and senkos for steady action.

Largemouth bass are in the row of brush just recently covered by rising water. Use weightless senkos, double-tail grubs and spinnerbaits to work the brush line.

Walleye are in murky cuts where bottom depth is 15-25 feet. Use live worms or plastic baits slowly crawled along the bottom to entice an attack from these ambush feeders.

Sunfish/bluegill are building nests in shallow water and are susceptible to surface lures and popping bugs.  Unfortunately, rapidly rising water makes them hard to find.

Catfish spawning is just beginning. These bottom dwellers will be seen in shallow water for the next two weeks as they seek out nest sites and partners.

Carp have begun to spawn as well.  That splashing on the surface this week will likely be carp.  Next week it might be stripers!


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