Politics take a fishy turn at Powell

To many anglers, the lure of fall fishing at Lake Powell includes the opportunity to hook large catfish. Joey Saccomanno of Church Wells, Utah, shows off a 6-pounder, one of the six catfish he caught on a recent
pre-government shutdown trip to the San Juan Arm of Lake Powell.

Editor’s note: The on-going partial shutdown of the federal government is affecting anglers headed to Lake Powell within Glen Canyon National Recreation Area, which has been closed.

The closure has caused the cancellation of this weekend’s Bullfrog Open fishing tournament. According to one source, the cancellation will affect concessionaires — including lodging, food and fuel purchased form competitors — by as much as $100,000.

PAGE, Ariz. — Individual fish species at Lake Powell are evenly divided and are holding caucuses to decide how best to move forward from this point.

Adult stripers would like to open the gates and let more anglers come in so they can reap the rewards of anchovy chum falling from the boats in all the locations that have proven to be great feeding spots all summer long.

They revel in the free food that comes to them without effort.

Young stripers and smallmouth agree that finding plankton on their own without any assistance is the best way to feed their cohorts.

Trophy fish with big brand names really don’t care about fish politics since they can eat anything that happens to swim close by.

Largemouth bass and crappie are demanding that the lake be held at the current low level so brush can grow and provide nursery habitat for their offspring to be produced in 2014.

They receive no support from stripers, carp, catfish who are doing just fine in the current fish economy.

It’s a standoff. The fish just cannot agree on how to make the best plan to help all fish that swim in Lake Powell.

Anglers, when allowed to return to the lake after the federal government resumes normal operation, will find a big change.

As of Thursday, the lake elevation was 3,591 feet above sea level and the water temperature at Wahweap Marina was 69-72 degrees F.

Dropping water temperatures have allowed a change in feeding location and habits. The standard main channel walls are not producing as they have in the past.

Young shad have been hiding in the backs of canyons in warm water where larger stripers could not enter.  Now with temperatures near 70, game fish have free access to deep and shallow water.

Fishing is improving each day. Hopefully the political shutdown of Lake Powell will lapse so that anglers can enjoy the great rewards before water temperature drops into the 50s.

Wayne Gustaveson is the Fisheries Project Leader at Lake Powell for the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources. Lake Powell fishing information is available at http://www.wayneswords.com.


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