March 4, 2020 - Can't wait any longer - Fishing season has started!

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wayne gustaveson

Staff member
Lake Powell Fish Report

March 4, 2020
Lake Elevation 3602

Water Temperature 47 F

It has been a very interesting winter at Lake Powell. It is normal to catch stripers in deep water on spoons. They hang out near the bottom in large schools. The big difference this year is that stripers are amazingly fat and healthy. Last spring the water rose over 50 feet in the reservoir. The summer heat did not come until the end of July. The result was a tremendously large shad population lakewide despite the presence of quagga mussels. Stripers and other fish species really enjoyed the shad smorgasbord and grew a bit longer but the biggest difference was the girth of stripers increased to the most robust size since they have been in the lake.
Fat Male striped bass

All Lake Powell fish species are fat. Young largemouth bass and crappie produced in 2019, survived in large numbers due to the vast amount of brush covered by rising lake water. The large shad population provided the needed food for great growth and survival.

Smallmouth bass grew fast and strong. Their feeding habits changed with the abundant shad supply. Surprisingly, smallmouth left the shallow, rocky shoreline and chased shad in deeper water. The result was larger smallmouth bass with fat bellies.


Walleye always enjoy eating shad so they grew right along with the other fish. Walleye are still more abundant in the northern lake but the population increased in size and numbers over the length of Lake Powell. Walleye will spawn during March and may be harder to find. They will rejoin the fish-catching party during April and May.

The upcoming fishing season will be unprecedented. All species are fat and healthy. That may lead to some major differences in what to expect. Stripers may stay in the backs of canyons instead of running to the main channel. Smallmouth may be in deep water instead of along the rocky shore. Size of young largemouth bass and crappie may be too small for a plentiful harvest, but older fish will be in brushy coves.

The report summary is that fishing results will be different this year due to the positive changes in fish health. It will be fun to chase after these fish and try to discover what they want and how to catch them successfully. It may be more challenging to catch all species of fish in large numbers. Expect the reward of big, fat, individuals instead of a long stringer of fish. These conditions will likely change in April and May as spawning occurs. Another huge shad spawn and lake rise would lead to the best fishery in the world. This will be an interesting year!

On our last fishing trip we went to the back of the canyon, started graphing in 70 feet of water, and saw no schools where they were found over most of the winter. Then as we trolled all the way to the end of the canyon, we caught a striper on a bright orange and red deep diving lure. Then as we dropped spoons in 25 feet of water, more stripers appeared under the boat. We caught 5 incredibly fat stripers before the school left. We found two more schools as we trolled and spooned ending up with 14 trophy stripers before heading home. One fat fish is equal to 10 slender fish that we normally find in early spring. It is going to be a great year for fishing in Lake Powell.IMG_1897.JPG
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