Lake Powell was formed by the completion of the Glen Canyon Dam on the Colorado River in 1966. The lake is a maze of never-ending, deep canyons with thousands of miles of coastline. You could spend a lifetime at Lake Powell and never see the whole lake. The majority of the lake goes into Utah, the southern reaches of the lake in Arizona. Many people from around the world visit Lake Powell for site seeing, wake boarding, house-boating, hiking, kayaking and world-class-fishing. This article will give you a quick overview of the fishing.
Elevation: 3652 GPS:37.000222 -111.487125 Phone NPS:(928) 608-6200
Reports and Updates
New Personal Watercraft regulation will go into effect on 1-1-2013 which requires personal watercraft operating on Lake Powell to meet 2006 emission standards established by the Environmental Protection Agency 11-25-2012.
A consumption advisory for was posted from the Utah Division of Wildlife. Striped bass tested south of Dangling Rope should not be consumed more than once a month in servings of more than 8 oz by women and kids due to high levels of mercury. This is documented as the first consumption advisory for Lake Powell10-25-2012.
Unfortunately microscopic Quagga mussel larvae have been detected in a recent test at Lake Powell. The test they used kills the larva during the process, so they are unsure if the larva was alive before or after the test. 10-31-2012
Fishing Lake Powell
If you're looking for a scenic fishing getaway, Lake Powell is the spot. In addition, Lake Powell is famous for striped bass fishing. Along with striped bass, you can catch smallmouth bass, largemouth bass, white and black crappie, channel catfish, walleye, tiger musky, carp and gizzard shad. I generally go anytime between March and September although striper fishing is good in the winter as well.
If you fish Lake Powell, give yourself at least four days to get to the back of the lake, the true wilderness. You haven’t seen Lake Powell until you have gone out of the Wahweap bay area into the canyons. The lake is big enough that you can find a spot with no other boats in sight, hear no other motors and find your own private beach. You may consider taking the back way into the lake through Utah and launching at Hite. If you do not have a boat that can make it 30 miles, this would be a good idea. You may also consider going out with a Lake Powell Guide if you do not have enough time to learn the lake.
Wayne Gustavson writes a weekly fishing report for Lake Powell,"Waynes Words" that you can pick up in the local paper or view on line to get up to date information about the lake levels and conditions. http://www.wayneswords.com
There is a bait shop in Page called "Stix" that sells Lake Powell fishing Maps, has the Lake Powell fishing report posted and is also a great place to stock up on jigs and beverages.
This Lake Powell can chew up small boats. Lake Powell gets windy mid day, especially in the summer producing larger waves. These waves are best handled by a 16 Ft. plus boat. Sure you can take kayaks and small boats out, but be cautions of taking them in the channel during windy or stormy conditions. The lake has narrow canyons that magnify the wakes of passing boats as thy ricochet off the walls.
Be sure and bring an extra propeller. Lake Powell is too large to put a buoy at every protruding rock. Keep your eyes peeled for rocks that sit less than a couple feet below the water. You will literally find spots in the middle of the lake you can stand on. These are usually good smallmouth spots but a hazard for boats. Some of the marinas rent fishing boats too.
Rules and Regulations
If you go fishing at Lake Powell and already have an Arizona fishing license, you will need to buy a Lake-Powell-stamp to add to your fishing licenses that cost about eight dollars.You may check with them if a one day Lake Powell fishing license is available. If you're heading up through Page, you can pick this stamp up at the Wal-Mart in town. I would recommend buying a two pole stamp as well if you're going fishing for stripers. You’re going to pay to access the lake as well, about fifteen dollars at every entry point.
If you are launching a boat, you are going to get inspected and questioned about the possible position of Quagga Mussels. Once the park service inspects your watercraft they will give you a "mussel free" flyer to hang from your dash. Lake Powell is under the threat along with many other Arizona waters from being infected by the invasive species of Quagga Mussels. Make sure you drain your live wells and understand how to prevent the spread.
Lake Powell Striped Bass
If you like catching big fish, gear up for stripers. There are tournaments and contest every year at Lake Powell for big Stripers. Be prepared to head far back to the North-Eastern side of the lake if you want to have higher catch rates and bigger catches. Many do find spots in the Page/Wahweap area they catch stripers on the norm but from local feedback, the further you move up lake, the better. When I say “up lake”, I mean as far as the San Juan River. Anchovies work well for bait. Another method is to find the feeding boils on the top of the water and throw top-water lures into them. Once you find a school, you can chum the water and work a spoon.
Lake Powell Smallmouth Bass
If you can't catch a smallmouth bass as Lake Powell, you’re doing something really wrong. This seems to be the most prevalent fish at the lake. If you're fishing for largemouth, expect a few surprise smallmouths on your line. Gary Yamamoto Custom Baits is headquartered in Lake Powell and they also make one of the best smallmouth gigs around. Read more about how to catch smallmouth bass at Lake Powell. This video below and the image to the right show a Yamamoto 5" D/T H-GRUB CHART W/LG GRN&CHART or hulu grub. This color works great at Powell.
Lake Powell Largemouth Bass
The fish the guy is holding in the red on the top banner of this web site was caught at Lake Powell. This was a six pound largemouth bass caught off shore near the Wahweap tour boat dock with a stick-bait in April. Generally if you pull a largemouth out of Powell it's going to be good size. It's hard to separately target smallmouth and largemouth sometimes. Seems the smallmouth go after everything from spinners, crank-baits and top-water.
I fish top-water lures for largemouth at Powell from spring to fall. The best and only time is early morning when the water is like glass. Rainbow colored top waters seem to work well and white Super Spooks. Fly fishing for largemouth bass at Lake Powell seems to be popular as well. Some of the local guides offer it.
The image to the right is the same guy (Koltin) holding a three pound largemouth caught off shore near the dam.
Lake Powell Walleye
Walleye generally are found deep on the bottom in rocky areas. Their eyes are sensitive to light so they stay out of it. The best way to locate walleye if you are fishing for them specifically is to troll deep-divers on rocky shorelines. Spoons work well as well if you know where they're at. There are also other walleye jigs on the market that seem to make vibrations they react to.
Directions to Lake Powell Arizona
There are different parts of Lake Powell to visit so directions depend on what part of the lake you will be visiting. The most popular destination is Wahweap and Antelope Marina in Page. To get to Page from Phoenix you take the I17 to Flagstaff and then 89 north to Page. It's about a two hour drive to Flag and then another 2 hour drive to Page. There's alternated routes to get to the back side of the lake from the southeast corner of Utah if you decide to visit Halls Crossing or Dangling Rope. If you have the time to drive to the back side and you do no need many accommodations, you can enjoy world class fishing without the crowd.