Navajo-Hopi Nations,Flagstaff & Winslow News
Sat, Sept. 18

Lake Powell Fishing Report: Rivers feeding Lake Powell flow at 20 percent of normal average in May

Lake Powell water levels continue to decline, however, fish continue to be caught. (Submitted photo)

Lake Powell water levels continue to decline, however, fish continue to be caught. (Submitted photo)

Lake elevation: 3,560

Water Temperature: 66-70 Farenheit

Lake Powell water levels continue to decline every day.

One positive note is that the rate of decline has lessened. Inflowing water has slightly increased in the last two weeks, but is still less than the outflow. Rivers that feed Lake Powell are only flowing at 20 percent of average for the month of May.

Apparently, there is no end in sight. Lake level decline required the Stateline Launch Ramp at Wahweap to close this week. That means Wahweap Main ramp and Antelope Private Ramp are the only launch sites in the southern lake.Bullfrog and Halls Crossing are still operating midlake.

Water temperature is now between 65 and 70 Fahrenheit, which is the spawning trigger for Gizzard Shad and Striped Bass.

Threadfin shad spawn at 70-75 Fahrenheit. The shad spawn will provide forage for all predatory fish. Striper slurps and boils will begin in June and continue into July. For now, bait fishing will continue to be the best technique for stripers.

Bait fishing continues to be very effective over the length of the lake. Most spots mentioned in the previous fish reports are still providing substantial catches of stripers.

Those great fishing spots have some common features. Striper schools hold in deep water in the main channel and in narrow side canyons. These are spawning areas during the night but also provide limited forage during the day as stripers of all sizes feed on schools of tiny plankton holding in the upper 30 feet of water. Hungry stripers are eager to eat larger food items. Chum an area with small chunks of anchovies to energize the school.

Schooling fish are eager to eat quickly before their schoolmates arrive. When the active feeding fish slow down or move away, just chum the area again to reenergize the school. This fast bait fishing will continue until shad spawn and young shad grow large enough to entice the striper school.

On my weekly sampling trip, we targeted bass to find the habitat where they are spawning. At these very low lake levels there are tall cliffs, smooth sandstone humps and rocky points. Bass definitely prefer the rocky points. Our best bass spot was a rocky shoreline in the shade of a tall cliff wall.

We used Ned Rigs, single and double-tailed plastic grubs, and plastic tube baits.

Cast the baits as close to shore as possible, let them rest for 30 seconds and then work the bait slowly back to the boat with pauses while the bait rests on the lake bottom. Sometimes bass would smack the bait quickly, and other times we had to work the bait into deeper water before the bass attacked.

We caught smallmouth from 7-inches long up to 2 pounds. Fishing was steady in the preferred rocky habitat. We had a bonus catch of striped bass while fishing the rocky points.

Stripers were eating crayfish along the breaking edge where the shallow rocky structure quickly declined into deeper water.

Hungry walleye responded to the same plastic baits in 15-feet of water in shady, rocky coves. Walleye are hungry and tend to be in flat rocky structure. Catch a walleye and return to the same spot to catch more. Your chances of catching more walleye increases by adding a piece of night crawler to the hook of the plastic bait.

Despite the low water levels, fishing is great at Lake Powell.

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