How Did You Come Across Lake Powell in the First Place?

Chris Powell

New Member
Happy New Year!

First of all, thanks Wayne for setting this site up, and sharing your experiences--what a resource! Thank you! It’s really interesting to read how all the people on this site experience Lake Powell so differently—the truth is, you all are experts in different ways, and it’s a real education for me! Now I’m not a fisherman, which might seem strange for someone who has spent three decades on that lake, which means a lot of what I read in the fishing forums is a real mystery to me, but still very interesting of course. For me it’s all about the hikes into the side canyons…

So I often wonder how people stumbled across Lake Powell in the first place. That would be an interesting thing to know. It seems some of you were born into it, or grew up with it, or discovered it on a planned trip, but not me. I came upon it by lucky accident in my 20s. It was 1986.

Of course I knew about it growing up (born in 1963), and my dad was always interested in going there, talked about it a lot. But it never happened—he was in the Air Force and we just moved around too much. Eventually we settled in southern California. Every now and then, we’d pass through Utah, a couple of short camping trips to Zion, but that was about it.

Fast forward to when I was 23 (in August 1986), living in the LA area, and a friend of mine asks if I want to go with his older brother and a couple of others on some backroads expedition in the mountains in NW Arizona near the North Rim of the Grand Canyon, and I jumped at that. Sounded like going to the moon! It was a great truck too—a 1964 International Travelall, no luxury, but up to the task… These were the pre-GPS days when a good topo map and a lot of good guesses were all you had to find your way, and in spite of the fact these guys were experienced in general, they didn’t know that area too well, and soon enough we were lost on some dead end cattle trail, halfway down a mountain when the switchbacks ended in nothing but a long way down… and no way to turn around… stuck… No way forward, and no way back. Nothing but a steep shadeless mountainside and a lot of sagebrush ahead…

Concern, but no panic…

Stay and wait for help to come? Nobody would ever be coming that way, we were sure. Forget that. Abandon the truck? It was about 30 miles as the crow flies to St. George. A long walk, possible, but not ideal… So we did what we had to do—I walked ahead scouting the best bushwhack “path” down, and the Travelall would follow in granny low, sliding down the hill, a few yards at a time, skidding along, tearing up whatever vegetation was in the way. Tedious and scary at the same time. At a couple of points, we even got out the shovels along a narrow ledge along a steep slope and “built up” that ledge so the truck could pass—road building on the fly.

It took 12 hours to go 3 miles down that mountain, but we finally got it down there! Likely axle damage and who knows what else, but we made it down! Of course, the guy who owned the truck felt lucky just to be driving it at all, but decided (sensibly) that we’d have to avoid the more serious 4WD road for most of the rest of the trip. Which meant improvising a new trip, away from the Grand Canyon. Now I didn’t know southern Utah much at all, but these guys did, and now we were headed in a new direction—north. And so they wanted to see the places on or near Highway 12 near Boulder and beyond, places I’d never imagined existed! Highway 12 had been paved over Boulder Mountain just the year before, but we took the Burr Trail instead—wild and unpaved then, but a good road, then down the switchbacks into Capitol Reef, no one within miles in any direction. Camped a couple of nights sleeping under the truck to avoid a monsoon thunderstorm, sharing the space with a lot of red ants.

Eventually we found out way back up to Highway 24 and then on to 95 past Hanksville, working our way down the canyon of North Wash toward Hite. I had no idea what to expect ahead, but then there it was, like a mirage—Lake Powell! I’d never seen it before, and here was my introduction… What an unexpectedly great thing to see out there after harrowing days of sweat and desert in the middle of August! The lake was full that year, and it extended far up North Wash along the empty highway. It was too good to pass up. So we pulled off on a little road cut, not even a real parking area, then scrambled down to the banks of North Wash, still far from the main channel. Not a boat in sight, no cars either on Highway 95. We just set up camp right there, down near the lake shore, and jumped right in, surrounded by the walls of North Wash. Cool, deep, clear, and refreshing beyond belief. Wow. Impossible to describe what a great thing to do after a week or so of accumulated dust and grime!

Anyway, we eventually got home without any trouble, but now I had a story to tell—what a huge impression Lake Powell had left on me. I knew I’d have to come back after that, and explore everything i could. The next year, I made another camping trip to the north end, eventually came back again; in 1991, I rented a 16-foot skiff out of Halls Crossing, and worked my way into the nearby canyons… at which point my Dad was finally convinced by my stories to rent a houseboat for a serious exploratory trip in 1992, also out of Halls. Great trip. No fishing really, but a lot of ground covered…

And so almost every year since then, I’ve been back, driving from the central coast of CA. With a couple of buddies, we have rented a lot of houseboats, from every marina (including Hite), always with a changing crew, spending a lot of time in pretty much every side canyon, many by foot…and every year, I write a long photo journal or story about the trip--hundreds of pages at this point, and interesting to read back and follow the changes. It never gets boring or old. Still seems there’s a lot to see. Last year I went on my first graffiti clean-up trip--another great way to experience the place.

So that’s my story...still unfolding...

...and I suppose I have my friend’s brother’s inability to read a topo map for all this…
Great Story.

My dad introduced me to Lake Powell when I was about 8 years old. Our first trip was an old school camp out on the beach. We rented a 19' power boat and managed to haul the 6 of us (2 adults and 4 kids) with all of the provisions for a week of beach camping somewhere up by Rock Creek. Surprised the boat didn't sink we had so much stuff. It was a great trip, and definitely got my Dad addicted to it (he's a big fisherman and did very well that first trip).

Years later, when I got into high school, turns out my best friend's family also had a boat and had been to Lake Powell. So our families started going to Lake Powell in the summer for vacation. We started camping, but quickly decided to rent houseboats for the comfort. Finally, my dad broke down and purchased a few weeks with a multi-tenant houseboat and we were going 3 times a year. It was on those trips I learned that my parents were actually real people, with lives and interests of their own. Who knew? No TV. No internet. No video games. We played cards and water sports to have fun. We also did a ton of hiking. Without those trips, my relationship with them may have been very different. Heck, by the time I was 17, I even convinced my parents to get a few jet skis. We were a real caravan by that point, and many times needed 2 - 3 houseboats for all of the friends and family that came with us.

Flash forward to today. I have 3 kids of my own, a ski boat, and I own a share of a houseboat docked at Wahweap. We get out a few times a year now. I guess sometimes you are born into it. My kids love the trips and see me in a very different environment than when we are home and I have to be responsible. They had no idea I could wake-board, explore/hike, and be an kid again. We still have the same rules. No TV. No internet. No video games. And what's crazy, is they don't even ask for those things when we are on the lake.

It's an amazing place, and everyone should be as lucky as I have been. Hope to hear more stories from the community.
 
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Jetskijunky

Member
A few years ago a good friend invited me to go to lake Powell. It was my first time and thought it was such an incredible place, so much to explore. On the 3 hour drive back home I thought how awesome it would be to live closer. So the next day I looked for work in the area found a job and moved closer. To pickup and move where you want is something not many people get to do but it’s great. Guess it’s just one of the best perks of being single and no kids yet.
I didn’t own any kind of boat so I would hang out and camp at Lone Rock on the weekends. I since knew there was so much more to explore on lake Powell, I looked around for a good deal on a boat. One day I rented a seadoo and I realized that’s just the ticket, I didn’t need a boat but a jetski would be more practical for me. So that’s what did!
 

Pccaptainjack

Active Member
Great Stories! It fun to hear the introduction stories that created a life long obsession for others as it has for me.

My first trip was either the summer of 1983 or 1984 when I was 8 /9 years old. My family was invited down by some friends of my fathers and we launched out of Bullfrog. I remember my mom telling me we where going on a boating trip and I really had no idea the size, scope and scale of exactly what that meant.

I remember standing in the kitchen and my mom was talking on the phone saying "over" after every sentence. I asked her what that was about and she said she was speaking to the people we where meeting and it was being relayed from the marina (or something like that). We arrived in Bullfrog and met the guy picking us up at the top of the main launch ramp. we piled in his Ski Natique and he drove us to where they where camped.

We had 2 houseboats that week, "Miss Shasta" and "Et Brocus II". I don't exactly remember the places we camped but I do know we went to Defiance house and the big Sand dune which I believe is in the back of Moki canyon at full pool.

I remember the guy who owned the Ski Natique was an incredible water skier. One morning he got up, took a shot of Tequila, got on the roof of the houseboat holding the end of a ski rope connected to the boat which his wife was driving. He jumped off the roof of the houseboat without a ski and got up barefoot! It made a huge impression on me as I am an avid water skier to this day.

I remember laying in the back of my parents Buick on the way home suffering from what I now know is post Powell depression. I decided somewhere between Bullfrog and Hanksville that someday I would have a houseboat on Lake Powell.

I went to Powell a few more times in my teens, then in my twenties a group of friends would rent a houseboat every year. I finally saved enough money and for my 30th birthday I bought a 1/4 share in a houseboat in Bullfrog. When I went down to Bullfrog to look at the boat I bought walking down the slips I noticed "Et Brocus II" still floating and sitting in a slip. It was fun to see the Houseboat that started it all still being used. I owned that boat for 10 years and decided I needed an upgrade for my 40th bday and bought a 1/3 share in a boat at Antelope point. I feel very fortunate that I am able to make 5 or 6 trips a year to powell and it definitely feeds the soul. Even after all these years I am still obsessed. Every morning I get up the first thing I do before looking at any work emails is look at the water database, look at boat trader and KSL.com at the houseboats for sale (not that I need a new one, I just like looking at them). I search Vimeo and YouTube daily for new videos posted about Lake Powell. I am also constantly looking at the lake on Google earth studying every inch of the lake.

Cheers to many more great years on the lake
 

JFRCalifornia

Well-Known Member
Great Stories! It fun to hear the introduction stories that created a life long obsession for others as it has for me.

My first trip was either the summer of 1983 or 1984 when I was 8 /9 years old. My family was invited down by some friends of my fathers and we launched out of Bullfrog. I remember my mom telling me we where going on a boating trip and I really had no idea the size, scope and scale of exactly what that meant.

I remember standing in the kitchen and my mom was talking on the phone saying "over" after every sentence. I asked her what that was about and she said she was speaking to the people we where meeting and it was being relayed from the marina (or something like that). We arrived in Bullfrog and met the guy picking us up at the top of the main launch ramp. we piled in his Ski Natique and he drove us to where they where camped.

We had 2 houseboats that week, "Miss Shasta" and "Et Brocus II". I don't exactly remember the places we camped but I do know we went to Defiance house and the big Sand dune which I believe is in the back of Moki canyon at full pool.

I remember the guy who owned the Ski Natique was an incredible water skier. One morning he got up, took a shot of Tequila, got on the roof of the houseboat holding the end of a ski rope connected to the boat which his wife was driving. He jumped off the roof of the houseboat without a ski and got up barefoot! It made a huge impression on me as I am an avid water skier to this day.

I remember laying in the back of my parents Buick on the way home suffering from what I now know is post Powell depression. I decided somewhere between Bullfrog and Hanksville that someday I would have a houseboat on Lake Powell.

I went to Powell a few more times in my teens, then in my twenties a group of friends would rent a houseboat every year. I finally saved enough money and for my 30th birthday I bought a 1/4 share in a houseboat in Bullfrog. When I went down to Bullfrog to look at the boat I bought walking down the slips I noticed "Et Brocus II" still floating and sitting in a slip. It was fun to see the Houseboat that started it all still being used. I owned that boat for 10 years and decided I needed an upgrade for my 40th bday and bought a 1/3 share in a boat at Antelope point. I feel very fortunate that I am able to make 5 or 6 trips a year to powell and it definitely feeds the soul. Even after all these years I am still obsessed. Every morning I get up the first thing I do before looking at any work emails is look at the water database, look at boat trader and KSL.com at the houseboats for sale (not that I need a new one, I just like looking at them). I search Vimeo and YouTube daily for new videos posted about Lake Powell. I am also constantly looking at the lake on Google earth studying every inch of the lake.

Cheers to many more great years on the lake
Great story. I think you accurately captured the nature of collective ritual obsession shared by this group! Especially the relative importance you place on checking work emails and the water database...
 

CJR

Member
First time was in '86 with a new Sea Ray 19'. We found Lone Rock beach a day after Labor Day. Could not have been more than 5 motorhomes on the whole beach. What a deal, where else in the world could you camp and have the boat in the water next to you, for free. Better yet met Wayne at Sandhill acouple years ago.
 

Hermine Tippel

Active Member
Happy New Year!

First of all, thanks Wayne for setting this site up, and sharing your experiences--what a resource! Thank you! It’s really interesting to read how all the people on this site experience Lake Powell so differently—the truth is, you all are experts in different ways, and it’s a real education for me! Now I’m not a fisherman, which might seem strange for someone who has spent three decades on that lake, which means a lot of what I read in the fishing forums is a real mystery to me, but still very interesting of course. For me it’s all about the hikes into the side canyons…

So I often wonder how people stumbled across Lake Powell in the first place. That would be an interesting thing to know. It seems some of you were born into it, or grew up with it, or discovered it on a planned trip, but not me. I came upon it by lucky accident in my 20s. It was 1986.

Of course I knew about it growing up (born in 1963), and my dad was always interested in going there, talked about it a lot. But it never happened—he was in the Air Force and we just moved around too much. Eventually we settled in southern California. Every now and then, we’d pass through Utah, a couple of short camping trips to Zion, but that was about it.

Fast forward to when I was 23 (in August 1986), living in the LA area, and a friend of mine asks if I want to go with his older brother and a couple of others on some backroads expedition in the mountains in NW Arizona near the North Rim of the Grand Canyon, and I jumped at that. Sounded like going to the moon! It was a great truck too—a 1964 International Travelall, no luxury, but up to the task… These were the pre-GPS days when a good topo map and a lot of good guesses were all you had to find your way, and in spite of the fact these guys were experienced in general, they didn’t know that area too well, and soon enough we were lost on some dead end cattle trail, halfway down a mountain when the switchbacks ended in nothing but a long way down… and no way to turn around… stuck… No way forward, and no way back. Nothing but a steep shadeless mountainside and a lot of sagebrush ahead…

Concern, but no panic…

Stay and wait for help to come? Nobody would ever be coming that way, we were sure. Forget that. Abandon the truck? It was about 30 miles as the crow flies to St. George. A long walk, possible, but not ideal… So we did what we had to do—I walked ahead scouting the best bushwhack “path” down, and the Travelall would follow in granny low, sliding down the hill, a few yards at a time, skidding along, tearing up whatever vegetation was in the way. Tedious and scary at the same time. At a couple of points, we even got out the shovels along a narrow ledge along a steep slope and “built up” that ledge so the truck could pass—road building on the fly.

It took 12 hours to go 3 miles down that mountain, but we finally got it down there! Likely axle damage and who knows what else, but we made it down! Of course, the guy who owned the truck felt lucky just to be driving it at all, but decided (sensibly) that we’d have to avoid the more serious 4WD road for most of the rest of the trip. Which meant improvising a new trip, away from the Grand Canyon. Now I didn’t know southern Utah much at all, but these guys did, and now we were headed in a new direction—north. And so they wanted to see the places on or near Highway 12 near Boulder and beyond, places I’d never imagined existed! Highway 12 had been paved over Boulder Mountain just the year before, but we took the Burr Trail instead—wild and unpaved then, but a good road, then down the switchbacks into Capitol Reef, no one within miles in any direction. Camped a couple of nights sleeping under the truck to avoid a monsoon thunderstorm, sharing the space with a lot of red ants.

Eventually we found out way back up to Highway 24 and then on to 95 past Hanksville, working our way down the canyon of North Wash toward Hite. I had no idea what to expect ahead, but then there it was, like a mirage—Lake Powell! I’d never seen it before, and here was my introduction… What an unexpectedly great thing to see out there after harrowing days of sweat and desert in the middle of August! The lake was full that year, and it extended far up North Wash along the empty highway. It was too good to pass up. So we pulled off on a little road cut, not even a real parking area, then scrambled down to the banks of North Wash, still far from the main channel. Not a boat in sight, no cars either on Highway 95. We just set up camp right there, down near the lake shore, and jumped right in, surrounded by the walls of North Wash. Cool, deep, clear, and refreshing beyond belief. Wow. Impossible to describe what a great thing to do after a week or so of accumulated dust and grime!

Anyway, we eventually got home without any trouble, but now I had a story to tell—what a huge impression Lake Powell had left on me. I knew I’d have to come back after that, and explore everything i could. The next year, I made another camping trip to the north end, eventually came back again; in 1991, I rented a 16-foot skiff out of Halls Crossing, and worked my way into the nearby canyons… at which point my Dad was finally convinced by my stories to rent a houseboat for a serious exploratory trip in 1992, also out of Halls. Great trip. No fishing really, but a lot of ground covered…

And so almost every year since then, I’ve been back, driving from the central coast of CA. With a couple of buddies, we have rented a lot of houseboats, from every marina (including Hite), always with a changing crew, spending a lot of time in pretty much every side canyon, many by foot…and every year, I write a long photo journal or story about the trip--hundreds of pages at this point, and interesting to read back and follow the changes. It never gets boring or old. Still seems there’s a lot to see. Last year I went on my first graffiti clean-up trip--another great way to experience the place.

So that’s my story...still unfolding...

...and I suppose I have my friend’s brother’s inability to read a topo map for all this…
Our first vacation on Lake Powell started in August of 1992 out of Hite. We had flown from NJ to Las Vegas, rented a car there and embarked on a spectacular drive to Hite Marina where we had rented the smallest houseboat and cheapest ever!!!!!Hite and it's surroundings were a great introduction to Lake Powell. We moved to Colorado and from there the visits to Lake Powell with children and dogs continued.
We rented another boat out of Hite one more time, then got and quickly sold a time share on a large houseboat (disaster), then bought a 38' houseboat and the rest is history. We were totally hooked. Our 65th vacation on Lake Powell is coming up in April. We have graduated from grandkids in diapers to now bringing boyfriends and girlfriends and more dogs!!!!!!We are shooting for many more trips. Last September we returned to Hite on the way to Bullfrog and were so happy to see water had reached up to Hite again.
Lake Powell is a true Oasis,. Nightmarish storms, running over submerged white whales etc. not withstanding!!!!!!
Hermine Tippel
Oma's Haven
 

birdsnest

Well-Known Member
Our first vacation on Lake Powell started in August of 1992 out of Hite. We had flown from NJ to Las Vegas, rented a car there and embarked on a spectacular drive to Hite Marina where we had rented the smallest houseboat and cheapest ever!!!!!Hite and it's surroundings were a great introduction to Lake Powell. We moved to Colorado and from there the visits to Lake Powell with children and dogs continued.
We rented another boat out of Hite one more time, then got and quickly sold a time share on a large houseboat (disaster), then bought a 38' houseboat and the rest is history. We were totally hooked. Our 65th vacation on Lake Powell is coming up in April. We have graduated from grandkids in diapers to now bringing boyfriends and girlfriends and more dogs!!!!!!We are shooting for many more trips. Last September we returned to Hite on the way to Bullfrog and were so happy to see water had reached up to Hite again.
Lake Powell is a true Oasis,. Nightmarish storms, running over submerged white whales etc. not withstanding!!!!!!
Hermine Tippel
Oma's Haven
65th vacation on Powell is like saying you've been married for 50 years. How lucky you are. And I know it's more than luck.
 

wayne gustaveson

Moderator
Staff member
65th vacation on Powell is like saying you've been married for 50 years. How lucky you are. And I know it's more than luck.
I concur. I have been married for 52 years in March 2020 and spent 44 of those years working at Lake Powell. I have a wonderful wife, great life and like to manage Lake Powell for a living.

The only downside is that its cloudy and cold today when I wanted to go check on stripers and see what has changed since last week. On Well! the sun will come back out tomorrow or Wednesday. I really want to check physical condition on these fish and see if that places them in first place for best fish condition since the 1980s.
 

randyt

Member
While on the subject of stories, I am going to throw another one at everyone. The details are not Pete K. style but you will get the jist.

Lake Powell Fishing Trip 1981

This was my first trip to Lake Powell and I thought then as I do now that it is the prettiest lake in the world. There were wonders that I could not imagine. I knew nothing of rising water, Yamamato grubs, smallmouth, stripers, fluorocarbon line, Wayne G., narrows, fish finders, jigging or for that matter where the heck Lake Powell was. I was in my second winter at Pinewood, Arizona (1981) and still not adjusted to the cold weather. By the way I was the golf pro at Pinewood Country Club and came from sunny Tucson.

One cold spring afternoon in O’Fennel’s Tavern in Pinewood there were a few of us drinking and talking about fishing Ashurst Lake south of Flagstaff for trout and northerns at Lake Mary. Pinewood is 17 miles south of Flagstaff and yes we were waiting for the ice to come off the lakes. Richard Elliot walked in and said he was caught up. Richard owned an excavating business, a boat and drank a lot of regular Coors. Dan Bright, Bob Bailey, Richard and one other fisherman decided to make a trip to Lake Powell. Maybe someone will read this story and remind me of who our fifth person was. In any case it was decided we would leave the next afternoon after getting wives and kids used to the fact that we were going no matter what and gathering up every waterdog within 40 miles. I remember 30 dozen or some such ridiculous number.

Let me digress for a second and remind everyone that Pinewood was rural in those days and still is to some extent. All the money was made in the summer with the tourist traffic. In the summer a drive to Las Vegas was not unusual but that is another story. This means we all scraped some money together for the trip.

I do remember it being the first week of April and we were in a howling snow storm. True to fisherman form we loaded our gear into Richard’s boat and Dan’s boat and left about noon. We arrived at the lake about 2:30 and went straight to Kmart. I will never forget spending over $300 for food and this was after we already had cleaned out O’Fennels of beer and assorted whiskey from Don’s secret stash. With high hopes we headed to the Wahweap Marina and saw nothing but 3 to 4 foot whitecaps. It was decided after much deliberation (five minutes) the first night was going to be in the lodge. Definitely not in the budget. We did put the hurt on the libations that night.

The next morning dawned bright, cold and clear with the wind still blowing. We waited it out until noon and said “What the heck, let’s go”. We did use Castle Rock Cut and proceeded up the lake. The wind died as we crossed Padre and headed toward our destination. The destination was Llewelleyn Canyon and Cottonwood Cove. Being a Texas boy, bass fishing was a Lucky 13 topwater and minnow in a lake that was not over 12 feet deep and as muddy as the water coming out of the San Juan in the spring. The color and clarity of the water was mind boggling. Let me remind you there was no boat traffic and Dangling Rope marina was at Rainbow bridge or whatever and the boats had been in storage all winter.

Since I was the rookie on the lake we motored into Rainbow and took a gander at the bridge. It was truly a sight to behold but my mind was on fishing. The marina was open but barely. We bought gas and ice and were on our way. Right before the San Juan junction Richard stopped at a cut in the rocks threw out a dog and was hooked up within a minute. I did the same. Largemouth bass each about 3 pounds. Wow! I still fish this cut on every trip if I get close and always catch a smallmouth or two.

We motored up to Cottonwood and found an almost island and unloaded the gear. I guess we were home for the duration. The first night was a cold one but we fought off the cold with a lot of JD, no ice, no coke. The fire was burning and we were on Lake Powell anticipating a great day of fishing. I could not wait to get going in the morning but the coleman was fired up and coffee was brewing. I had my customary Dr. Pepper the gang loaded up on coffee.

We split up the waterdogs with Dan taking two others and Richard and I going in his boat. Richard’s boat was more of a cruiser with a cabin down below and not an ideal fishing vessel. The day was warm and we were in short sleeves by 10:00am. The fishing was incredible. At every cave and I still to this day think they are cool, there seemed to be a bass. The water was so clear we would pull the bait away from a small bass and wait for a larger one. We viewed Indian ruins in the back of canyons. I did not know the name of them at that time. I knew this was something I would do again and again given a way to do it. I remember loading the fish baskets with largemouth and culling to the limit. We met Dan and boys back at the island around 1:00pm and they had equally great success. Bob pulled out a fish I was not familiar with. We figured out it was a walleye and they had actually caught 2 both around 7 pounds. We cleaned fish, ate lunch, and discussed how long the waterdogs were going to last.

Not wanting to waste such a great day we did the afternoon trip. Fishing continued to be great and the beer was cold. By this time we were keeping all waterdogs that were dead or injured. The bait was going fast. Richard and I caught a huge bass, over 5 pounds but in our excitement in returning to camp the fish basket was still in the water with no fish. Not a good thing.

The evening dinner was fish in tin foil, cold beer and beans on the coleman. Does it get any better?

The next morning Dan and the boys left early and left Richard and I to raven proof the camp. We headed out and decided to go to the Escalante. Did I mention we gouged the prop on the way to the Escalante? As usual there were no tools on the boat, we took them out to make room. So we idled over to a nearby bank and took a look at the damage. It was not good. With a leatherman and a pair of pliers we changed the prop. It did take some time. This was my first prop change and not to be my last but I always have tools. We continued to the Escalante and again caught bass all over. We went up some canyons for what seemed miles just to do it. Lake Powell was an awesome place for sure. The wind was picking up so we headed back to camp. The wind began blowing so hard we could not get the coleman to stay lit. We powered down some jerky and rolled into the sleeping bags sand and all hoping the next day would dawn calm.

The next morning was great so we did some power fishing using the last of the waterdogs. Our plan was to morning fish and head in around noon. The wind was going to be a challenge with low gas. We made it to Rainbow marina filled with gas and made the run. The trip really was not too bad until we made the turn past Rock Creek. Yes we made it and this was not the only trip I have had to battle the Powell winds. The boats were unloaded and we headed back to Pinewood.

In reflecting back to that trip so many years ago, the Indian ruins were in much better shape and we only keyed on largemouth. We did know that stripers had been stocked and were being caught near the dam but it was not a big deal. I watch the weather much more carefully and plan around good fishing via Wayne’s Words. I have a houseboat for an island. I use plastic instead of live bait and I know how deep the water is. The beauty of Lake Powell has changed little and I enjoy it more now than when I was younger. I know it is something few people get to see or enjoy. I cannot wait until my spring trip with the gang to the San Juan. Yes I will fish the little cut on the way up. Richard has since retired to Sedona, Dan is still in charge of Pinewood maintenance, Bob may still be pounding nails and the mystery fisherman still eludes me.
 

PBH

Well-Known Member
My grandfather helped engineer highway 89 from Kanab to Page.
My parents moved to Bullfrog in the early 70's along with my oldest brother. My next oldest brother was born while they lived in Bullfrog.
After a time in Bullfrog my father moved the family to Page. Me and my next younger brother were both born in Page -- while dad was pulling nets on the lake! I met Wayne in 1976 - although I don't remember the first meeting.
My oldest brother was always causing trouble at the workshop at Stateline. He's still giving Wayne grief to this day.

Dad packed us up and moved to Cedar in 1978.
We still visit Powell. I love hearing my father's stories about Lake Powell - about fishing the river and hiking "the chains", about exploring the Waterpocket Fold, about new lake-level high's, about spending nights waiting out storms in an alcove up the San Juan, about figuring out how to keep stripers alive with hay bales, and exploding campfires burning holes in the seats of the new boat with the Director showing up the next day. I love looking at pictures from those days.

~1978
Wayne and Dad


Grandpa


Me, Stuart, Richard
 

Pegasus

Well-Known Member
My grandfather helped engineer highway 89 from Kanab to Page.
My parents moved to Bullfrog in the early 70's along with my oldest brother. My next oldest brother was born while they lived in Bullfrog.
After a time in Bullfrog my father moved the family to Page. Me and my next younger brother were both born in Page -- while dad was pulling nets on the lake! I met Wayne in 1976 - although I don't remember the first meeting.
My oldest brother was always causing trouble at the workshop at Stateline. He's still giving Wayne grief to this day.

Dad packed us up and moved to Cedar in 1978.
We still visit Powell. I love hearing my father's stories about Lake Powell - about fishing the river and hiking "the chains", about exploring the Waterpocket Fold, about new lake-level high's, about spending nights waiting out storms in an alcove up the San Juan, about figuring out how to keep stripers alive with hay bales, and exploding campfires burning holes in the seats of the new boat with the Director showing up the next day. I love looking at pictures from those days.

~1978
Wayne and Dad


Grandpa


Me, Stuart, Richard
Great story. Those fish are HUGE!! Trout? Yes - Rainbow Trout WG
 
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JFRCalifornia

Well-Known Member
My grandfather helped engineer highway 89 from Kanab to Page.
My parents moved to Bullfrog in the early 70's along with my oldest brother. My next oldest brother was born while they lived in Bullfrog.
After a time in Bullfrog my father moved the family to Page. Me and my next younger brother were both born in Page -- while dad was pulling nets on the lake! I met Wayne in 1976 - although I don't remember the first meeting.
My oldest brother was always causing trouble at the workshop at Stateline. He's still giving Wayne grief to this day.

Dad packed us up and moved to Cedar in 1978.
We still visit Powell. I love hearing my father's stories about Lake Powell - about fishing the river and hiking "the chains", about exploring the Waterpocket Fold, about new lake-level high's, about spending nights waiting out storms in an alcove up the San Juan, about figuring out how to keep stripers alive with hay bales, and exploding campfires burning holes in the seats of the new boat with the Director showing up the next day. I love looking at pictures from those days.

~1978
Wayne and Dad


Grandpa


Me, Stuart, Richard
This story might win the prize. But I’m not sure what the prize is.
 

wayne gustaveson

Moderator
Staff member
My grandfather helped engineer highway 89 from Kanab to Page.
My parents moved to Bullfrog in the early 70's along with my oldest brother. My next oldest brother was born while they lived in Bullfrog.
After a time in Bullfrog my father moved the family to Page. Me and my next younger brother were both born in Page -- while dad was pulling nets on the lake! I met Wayne in 1976 - although I don't remember the first meeting.
My oldest brother was always causing trouble at the workshop at Stateline. He's still giving Wayne grief to this day.

Dad packed us up and moved to Cedar in 1978.
We still visit Powell. I love hearing my father's stories about Lake Powell - about fishing the river and hiking "the chains", about exploring the Waterpocket Fold, about new lake-level high's, about spending nights waiting out storms in an alcove up the San Juan, about figuring out how to keep stripers alive with hay bales, and exploding campfires burning holes in the seats of the new boat with the Director showing up the next day. I love looking at pictures from those days.

~1978
Wayne and Dad


Grandpa


Me, Stuart, Richard
This is a special story to me. We are holding an average stringer of trout caught every trip to Lees Ferry on the Colorado River below Lake Powell. In the 70's the trout were huge and fishing pressure was light. Dale Hepworth and I bought a small boat, launched at Lees Ferry and caught 4 to 5-pound trout every trip. Some times we would catch a big one ;) . My biggest was 10 pounds and, my boss Dale, caught them even bigger. But his dad caught the biggest one seen in that picture - closer to 20 pounds!

Fishing success declined in the 80s when the great fishing was highlighted in National Geographic Magazine. Before that story, we passed maybe 4 other boats on a normal fishing trip from Lees Ferry to the dam. After the story we had to get in line to fish a riffle behind a dozen other boats. It is a great memory. Trout in the Colorado River today are about 14-16 inches.

I also got distracted by striped bass in Lake Powell from 1978 to the present day. In 1978, I became the Project Leader at Lake Powell. I discovered striper spawning in Lake Powell in 1979. My passion became stripers as I discovered their first spawning event in the lake at the mouth of Antelope Canyon.

Dale Hepworth was my supervisor from the Cedar City office for many years. When he retired, his son Richard took over as my supervisor. He is one of the 3 small boys pictured holding that big fish. Both Hepworth's were great supervisors and they still put up with me to this day.
 

Wyrman

Active Member
I was born and raised in Phoenix. My parents boated quite a bit, but never Lake Powell. I ended up in Washington State, and some cousins ended up in New Mexico. We've been to Powell twice now, kind of used it as a get together.
One of my cousins has been 4 or 5 times before, and he has some good stories about the good ol days. He said they boated under Rainbow Bridge back sometime in the 80's.
 

Mtkruzr

Member
Back in the day my dad was a pilot with United Air Lines so many of our vacations were road trips to check out the places he’d seen so many times by air. He had watched the dam being constructed and the lake begin to fill. In 1964, if memory serves, our family of four and two exchange students from Europe toured the Southwest. Of course Page and Powell were on the itinerary. It was overcast, windy and cold in April. I was 11 and can remember seeing about 200 feet of canyon wall on the lake side of the dam and was just awestruck by the immensity of just, well, everything; the bridge, the dam, the canyon walls, the cliffs, just everything. I brought a fist-sized chunk or the reddest sandstone I could find home and put it in my rock collection.
Fast forward three years and we were on our first boat-camping trip in the Gunsight area. There was nobody, I mean no one, zilch, nada there. I was in heaven. We skied glass for days and fished. I used a rudimentary lipped crank walking the shoreline and caught exclusively largemouth every 20 or 30 yards, like money. Needless to say I’m still boat camping at Lake Powell.
 
My first trip was in 1969 (I think), which would put me at 9 years old. Our family took our 15' West Bend fiberglass runabout with a 50 hp Johnson and put in at the original Hite Marina (somewhere across the lake from it's present location). We tent camped somewhere on the East side of the lake, and ran up and down lake for a few miles each day. Dad wasn't much of a bass fisherman, so we mostly fished for trout and catfish. I don't recall the fishing as being all that great on that trip, but can still remember how small the lake and the geography made me feel. My brothers and I learned to water ski on that trip.

It would be another 3 or 4 years ('72, '73?) before I made it back to Powell. That 2nd trip was with a group of youth from my church, and we went cliff jumping while we were in Page, helping out one of the churches there in town.

Life kinda got in the way for me, and it wouldn't be until 1991 that I got back to the 'Greatest Lake on Earth'. My best friend Pastors a church in North Salt Lake, and one of the Old Guys in the church we grew up in owned a houseboat at Powell and offered to take the guys from his (small at the time) church for a half-week Men's "Bible-Study" and fishing trip. Oddly, he could only get a few of his guys to sign up. I had just moved back to the Murray area from Minnesota and he called me and asked if I would like to go. Clearly one of the dumbest questions I've ever been asked. Of course I said yes, and asked if I could ask my Dad to come along as well. Dad had suffered heart failure and was starting to decline physically. I hoped it would be a great time for us to spend some time doing what Dad loved to do best. As it turns out, it was our last fishing trip together.

Fast forward to the present. I now live in the Seattle area, but because I was a charter member of the 'Abundant Life Annual Men's Bible Study and Fishing Trip', I have a standing place reserved on the House Boat. My buddy just emailed me the dates for this year - it will be our 30th, and I've only missed a couple, even though I've moved from SLC to Florida, back to SLC, and from SLC to Washington. I've been here for over 20 years, and I hope I'm done moving, but I plan to keep my spot on the HB for as long as they'll let me. The Church is much larger now, and we've had as many as 24 guys attend. The trip is truly the highlight of the year for me, personally. I was blessed to be able to take my son with me one year. He had a blast. The fishing is sometimes fantastic, other times (like '19), kinda slow, but usually at least good - but the chance to spend time on the water with good friends, away from all of the chaos of the day to day in such a beautiful place is truly the greatest blessing.

I found Wayne's Words about 3 or 4 years ago. It is my 'go-to' site for getting me through the dreary Western Washington winters. I don't post very often, mostly just read what you all have to share, and dream about my next chance to be there on the Lake.

Thanks Wayne, and all you Wordlings, for sharing your stories and your knowledge of the Lake.
 
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