LAKE POWELL: Bass Squared
No man-made lake in the Western United States has made a greater impact on sport fishing than 180-mile Lake Powell on the Colorado River in southern Utah and northern Arizona. Since Glen Canyon Dam was completed in 1965, Lake Powell has served up a smorgasbord of gamefish. In the first 20 years, the menu was largemouth bass, crappies, and walleyes. Now it’s primarily striped bass and smallmouth bass, which have proved more adaptable to the lake’s evolutionary process.
“You can plan your day around stripers in the morning and evening, and smallmouths all the rest of the day, and you will stay busy catching fish,” says Wayne Gustaveson, biologist for the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources. He urges fishermen to do the overpopulated fishery a favor and take advantage of the liberal limit of 10 smallies and no limit on stripers. Best months are April, May, June, October, and November, for all species including largemouth bass, crappies, walleyes, and bluegills. Summer’s desert heat drives fish deep.
Anglers should seek out sloping rocky points and collapsed rubble piles beneath cliffs. Use plastic-grub jigs in motor oil, green, and brown, or crankbaits in green or orange, to entice smallmouths. Deep jigging and anchovy baiting are the best tactics for stripers most of the time, but stripers will blast shad at the surface in the fall months.
It’s rough country, with few road-access points on the 1,900 miles of shoreline. Travel is by boat, with a houseboat trailing a smaller fishing boat being a practical approach.
For information, call Lake Powell Resorts and Marinas (800-528-6154; www.lakepowell.com).