Fishing on Lake Powell
Striped Bass - "Stripers"
on Lake Powell
Fish Lake Powell Striped Bass early in the season,
as they will typically become active in early March!
They usually congregate in front of moving water and
huge numbers of
are often caught off the face of the dam, near the power
plant intake between Antelope and Navajo canyons, and
near major tributaries. On the upper arms, look for
fish along the mud lines where the Colorado and San
Juan dump in run-off. Later in the season, the catches
continue to increase and the fish will move back to
the middle of the lake once spawning concludes.
Stripers can be found at 20 to 50 feet, and can be
caught by anglers jigging with chunks of anchovy. Some
fish are also taken trolling.
As soon as the Lake's water temperature nears 60, usually
in mid-April, smallmouth will shake winter dormancy,
begin to feed and come shallow to spawn. Look for them
anywhere there is clean broken rock and avoid areas
that have a lot of silt in the water. Feisty smallies
will be the most numerous fish encountered. Use soft
plastic jigs bounced along the bottom in 5 to 30 feet
of water. Most will be 8-12 inches long but some dandy
spawning fish should be caught near nests in April.
After spawning, bigger fish go deeper than the ever
present shallow smallmouth. Use bigger baits and fish
deeper strata to slip past the small ones and catch
larger fish in May and June. It is all right to keep
some of the smaller bass. There are plenty of smallmouth
bass and the average size may increase by reducing bass
Other Spring Fish on the lake
A variety of species round out a Springtime fishing
trip to Lake Powell.
Crappie will be encountered in the very limited
amount of flooded brush remaining in this low water
year. Catches will be very spotty but some anglers will
find a school and may catch a few on small brown, yellow
or chartreuse hair or plastic jigs. Try suspending a
tiny jig from a bobber and throw around brush for best
in low light, generally feeding at night. But they get
very hungry as water warms and food is scarce from April
15th to June 1st. They inhabit deep water where sunlight
is subdued by depth. Fish main channel drop offs where
shallow rock disappears into the blue depth of the deep
canyon. Bounce jigs down the vertical slope or troll
along the edge of structure. It is best to use a piece
of live night crawler to keep the quick striking fish
on the bait long enough to set the hook.
Bluegill and green sunfish will be along the
rocky shore line and in flooded trees/brush where crappie
could be expected to hit. Down size the hook to get
into some braggin' size gills which are really quite
common in Powell but definitely underutilized. A tiny
hook and a quarter inch of worm will result in some
very fine "pan" fish.
Catfish are the last of the regulars. They get
more aggressive as the other fish slow down in June
and July. Look for them on shallow gradually sloping
beaches that can accommodate a houseboat. You can even
use table scraps at dusk and invite a few to join you
Fishing below the Dam, above Lees
Warmer southern temperatures and football sized
trout make fishing in this area one of the favorites
in the region. As you wade the incredibly clear waters
casting to incredible rainbow trout, you'll marvel at
the 1,000-plus-foot tall sandstone cliffs soaring overhead.
To the fly-fisher more accustomed to a traditional
meadow or mountain stream, the Colorado River can be
initially intimidating. However, in reality, it is much
like a giant limestone river or spring creek with diverse
fishing opportunities. The gravel bars, backwaters,
eddies and main river channel offer opportunities to
fish dries, nymphs and streamers within a few hundred
Stalk rainbow trout in water only a few inches deep
or cast size #18 or #20 midge or pupae patterns to trout
feeding in deep, dark runs. It's hard to believe that
a very large trout in the massive Colorado River will
seek and eat such a tiny fly, but they do.
best bet is to run a boat upriver in the morning
and anchor along a good sand bar. Pick one that is large
enough to fish for a few hours; the best spots become
more crowded later in the day. Look for the biggest
fish to be in the prime feeding lanes. A good pair of
polarized lenses will help you to see them. Fish small
midges in red and green tones. Black midges, like the
Zebra, will hook a lot of fish as well. Make sure to
cover every inch of water so you don't miss a fish.
The strike zone can be very small and they don't want
to work very hard for food. You may want to use long
fluorocarbon leaders so you don't spook the fish.
As the hatches develop, use larger Griffith's gnats
and renegades to imitate midge clusters. After the hatch
try throwing a streamer to entice one of the larger
residents. Since the weather has been known to change
in an instant, be sure to pack some rain gear and a
change of dry clothes, just in case. Click
here to check current river flow rates from
Glen Canyon Dam.