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Lake Powell News


Lake Powell Fishing Report by Wayne Gustaveson 3-2-15


Lake Powell Fish Report – March 2, 2015
Lake Elevation: 3592
Water Temperature 49-53 F
By: Wayne Gustaveson

Welcome to a Happy New FISHING Year at Lake Powell. Headline news indicated that threadfin shad, the main forage fish in the lake, had a banner year in 2014. The Utah Division of Wildlife trawl shad samples in 2014 were 10 times greater than seen in the past decade. I would like to insert a picture of a big striped bass here with a huge smile on its face but I don’t have any fish that were willing to smile for the camera. Instead we will have to be satisfied with bass and stripers with a large stomach compared to the whole body profile. Lake Powell fish are coming out of winter in the best rotund condition seen in this century.

That is fantastic news for fish but has to be interpreted when it comes to angling projections. Let’s take striped bass for an example. Fat healthy stripers have lived in the back of the canyon eating shad all winter. When water warms in the springtime most anglers expect stripers to be in the main channel by Glen Canyon Dam or Moki Wall near Bullfrog.

A recent poll of stripers, conducted by me, found that most fish interviewed said they would choose to stay in the back of the canyon rather than heading to the dam in the spring because there was more food in the canyon than the main channel. When asked about spawning they indicated they could spawn in the canyon near food and did not have to run to the channel. Sample size was small but consistent. My prediction is that fishing will be much better in the canyons with reaction type shad imitating lures than in the main channel with anchovy bait.

Further questioning teased out another fact. Most stripers were in spawning condition this spring because of the great food resources. Therefore, when spawning time comes in May, the majority of adult fish indicated they would not feed during the spawning season but spend time finding a mate and spawning habitat. Younger fish and precocious teens said they would keep chasing shad no matter what. Luckily it was found that adult striper fishing would improve dramatically after the spawn in June as older fish said they would feed on the surface often if shad numbers were strong again in 2015.

Smallmouth and largemouth bass were not interviewed so the same old traditions should be expected. When water warms in March and April male bass will head to the shallows to build nests. If the runoff is small or significantly delayed by cool weather, bass nests can be seen and fish readily caught from shallow nests. If fast rising water covers the nests and makes them harder to find, male bass will still be quick to bite when a plastic bait threatens to enter a bass nest.

All bass have benefited from the abundant shad food resource. They are in prime condition. Both large and smallmouth bass may produce personal best size fish for lucky anglers this spring. Habitat is limited by low water levels so largemouth bass will be found near submerged brush piles. Look for old tumbleweed piles or cattail clumps that were displaced by flood waters. These areas are not common but could be a bass bonanza when found. Some crappie will be found in the same locations.

Walleye are present in large numbers in the northern lake. They will be a worthy target fish in May and June. If stripers are being stubborn during this time make sure to have some walleye baits and worms along to save the trip.

Catfish are fat and sassy as well. They will be easy to catch on a sandy beach near camp.

It looks like a great fishing year. My prediction is that calm, good weather periods extending for 3-5 days in March and April will be the best spring fishing periods for a variety of fish with largemouth the main target and smallmouth a close second. Walleye will be the best target fish in May. Striped bass will be consistent throughout the spring season but location will be the key to finding them. Look in the backs of canyons near shad schools for best results. Bait will work better for night fishing while shad lures will be the best method in daylight hours.

Plan your trip now. It’s going to be a great year for fishing success.


Lake Powell Fishing Forecast Fishing Report – Capt. Bill 2-7-15


Ron Larson’s “Vistas & Visions of the Colorado Plateau” tonight @ the Powell Museum, reception 6p-8p. Don’t miss the grand opening @ 6 N. Lake Powell Blvd

Lake Powell Elevation: 3593.31

Stripers on long range full day trips are best bet this early spring. Jig-Troll-Spin-Fly. With warmer winter we should see our fishing bust out strong this spring. This week temps in he 60’s.


Map of projected spawning this Spring:

Glen Canyon Report:

This notification confirms that the release volume from Glen Canyon Dam for February 2015 will be 600,000 acre-feet.  Hourly and daily average releases from Glen Canyon Dam for February 2015 will be scheduled through Western Area Power Administration to be consistent with the Glen Canyon Dam Operating Criteria (Federal Register, Volume 62, No. 41, March 3, 1997) and to also achieve, as nearly as is practicable, this monthly volume.  Hourly releases during February 2015 are anticipated to fluctuate between approximately 6,500 cfs in the nighttime and approximately 12,500 cfs in the daytime.

We anticipate the release volume for March 2015 will be 650,000 acre-feet with fluctuations between approximately 7,000 cfs and 13,000 cfs.  The anticipated release volume for April 2015 is 600 kaf.  This will be confirmed in a subsequent notification toward the end of February.

This notification supersedes all previously issued notifications and is current until a new notification is issued.  All times identified in this notification are local time (Mountain Standard Time) and not hour ending.

If there are any concerns or questions regarding these operations, I can be reached at 801-524-3635.  Your cooperation is greatly appreciated.


Katrina Grantz

Hydraulic Engineer/Glen Canyon Dam

Upper Colorado Region

Bureau of Reclamation





Lake Powell Fishing Report – by Capt. Bill McBurney 1-19-15

Either fly The lake has very little traffic and you can explore “hunt” the backs of all the coves and canyons.  The chance for a “whopper” has increased.  The catch can be “nil” at times but for me it’s the hunt and the quiet and a lot more wildlife and sight seeing too.

Fly fishing, trolling and structure casting are the few of many approaches with bait fishing starting usually in the spring.  Take advantage of our 10% off early booking for Spring today.  Just mention “spring discount”.

To book today

Tight lines,

Capt. Bill McBurney


Lake Powell Fishing Report Spring Forecast by Capt. Bill

Winter at Lake Powell  Picture by Gale Yellowhair

Winter at Lake Powell
Picture by Gale Yellowhair

Dear Anglers,

Positive feed back from our fishing biologist which is very promising with the abundance of bait fish this Winter.  Whatever style of angling, beginner, semi pro-fly fishermen, bait cast, spin or trolling Spring should provide great angling opportunities.  Our newest boat a 26′ triton that cruises 25knots is rigged for that Spring Lake Powell trip of a lifetime.

Current Winter angling is a 50/50 proposition but offers an experience like no other with little or zero boat traffico n the water (weather permitting of course)

Tight lines,

Capt. Bill


Lake Powell Fishing 12-12-14

Clipart Illustration of Santa Holding A Red Christmas Stocking On A Fishing Pole Hook



It’s that time of year again for gift giving.  Why not give your angler a gift that will make a memory.  Give them a Gift Certificate for fishing Lake Powell 2015.  Whether fly or spin they will remember this gift forever.  You design on day(s), 1/2 day or full day and they can call and book the dates that work best for them.  We will send you a Holiday Gift Certificate for you to give to that special person(s).

To “thank you” our Customers we are offering a $25 off  for 1/2 day and $50 off full day for any Gift Certificate purchased from September 20, 2014 through December 25, 2014.  All Gift Certficates are non-refundable and you will have 1 year to use from purchase date.

Give your Angler a memory that will last a lifetime Fishing Lake Powell.

Book Now to get your Gift Certificate

Call: 928-606-5829


Happy Holidays

Capt. Bill & Judy McBurney


Winter Fishing Lake Powell with Capt. Bill 11-23-14




winter fishing-1

Winter 2014 Fly Rod Fishing Lake Powell

Winter fly fishing can be rewarding on Powell but it takes work and perseverance with the patience of finicky trout in shallow water. There is no chumming in the winter and the different water levels of each season make for an interesting hunt to land a striper on a fly. I look forward to the challenge every year for myself as winter provides few clients but the few who do give it a go have a fantastic trip on the pristine lake with no winter traffic to cloud there day. If passing this way and thinking you want to catch little trout on the river ” which is a unique trip in its self ” maybe you should try a salt water experience to satisfy that chance at a quarry that has snapped two of my 7 & 8 wt. fly rods this month alone ! .

Our Black Friday Special?  Check out a discount for Gift Certificates for our Anglers for fishing Lake Powell


Happy Thanksgiving


Capt. Bill


Lake Powell Fishing Report by Wayne Gustavenson 10-29-14

October 29, 2014
Lake Elevation: 3605
Water Temperature 65-69 F
By: Wayne Gustaveson
Striped bass annual migration is now almost complete. Fish movement begins in the spring as stripers react to warming water by leaving the backs of the canyons and heading toward the main channel to spawn. Then in summer they pursue forage in open water wherever they can find it whether on the surface or at great depths. As temperature declines in fall stripers move toward the backs of canyons where they will spend the winter with shad schools that descend to 60-90 feet where water temperature is cold but stable. 
Threadfin shad must be in deep water to survive cold winter temperatures that are near their thermal tolerance level. Rapid warming or cooling can be lethal to these warm water forage fish once acclimated to cold water ranging from 45-50 F.

Stripers make one stop before going deep in the winter. At the beginning of October shad were in open water but have recently moved into shallow coves to escape relentless striper predation. Shad hope that they can find shallow water where a three-inch fish can swim but a 3-pound striper cannot without hitting bottom.

This is what we found yesterday as we searched open water for striper schools and then moved to the backs of canyons to find where stripers 
have gone. We looked in Padre Bay canyons and found a few stripers 
left in front of Gunsight Butte. Large schools were found at the beginning of the month but now only one small school was seen. We did catch fish from that school by spooning quickly when the fish were graphed. We stayed over the school long enough to catch a dozen
2-3 pound stripers before the fish departed.

Next we looked for other schools seen previously in deep water from Gregory Butte to Gunsight without finding any fish. Then we went to the backs of canyons to see if shad were trapped in shallow coves. 
Most canyons were fishless while others harbored shad. Shallow shad schools were guarded by stripers, largemouth and smallmouth bass.

Once a shallow school was found it was easy to catch husky fish of all species by casting shallow and mid depth crankbaits in 12-15 feet 
of water. When we pulled out further to 30 or 40 feet we found 
striper schools holding waiting for shad to try to escape from the their coves. These schools were more than willing to hit spoons.

The successful lake wide pattern is to find shad schools trapped in the back of short U-shaped canyons near the man channel. Long winding canyons are not usually as productive. Try to stay within casting distance of the shad school but do not scare shad out into open water where the shad will then flee to another sanctuary cove. Work the cove with shad imitating crankbaits for best results. Our best lure was a Lucky Craft Bevy Shad in shad color. Look further out for striper schools that really like spoons right now.

Coves with no trapped shad also had no predators. It is possible to run quickly to the back of many coves before finding the shad school. The school we saw contained thousands of shad and covered perhaps a length of 20 yards of shallow water from the front of the school to the back with a width of 20 feet. Find shad now in the southern lake and fishing success will follow. There are more shad schools in the northern lake so it may be more challenging there. In either case the best catching action is now in the very back of the canyon from a bottom depth of 40 feet to the shallow end of the cove.

This is the last regular fish report of the year. We head out on the lake for the next three weeks to sample with gill nets to document population size and fish health. Updates will be found on throughout the winter.

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From Bureau of Reclamation 10-29-14

October 29, 2014


The DOI Glen Canyon Leadership Team has directed Reclamation to carry out a High Flow Experiment from Glen Canyon Dam November 10-15, 2014.  This notification describes the operations of Glen Canyon Dam in November for the days prior to, during, and after the High Flow Experiment.


Beginning on November 1, 2014, and through November 9, 2014, the releases from Glen Canyon Dam will total approximately 16,736 acre-feet per day.   Hourly and daily average releases from Glen Canyon Dam for November 1-9 will be scheduled through Western Area Power Administration to be consistent with the Glen Canyon Dam Operating Criteria (Federal Register, Volume 62, No. 41, March 3, 1997) and to also achieve, as nearly as is practicable, this daily release volume.  Releases are anticipated to fluctuate between approximately 9,000 cfs during the daytime hours and 6,500 cfs during the nighttime hours of midnight to 5:00 a.m..


During November 10-15, releases from Glen Canyon Dam will be made according to the hourly schedule described in the file attached to this notification.  This schedule will be followed during the High Flow Experiment and shows the average hourly releases from Glen Canyon Dam that should occur during the High Flow Experiment.  Note that the schedule shows power plant capacity releases of approximately 22,500 cfs.  It is understood that the actual plant capacity with seven units running and 40 MW of system regulation may be slightly more or less than this estimate.


During all days of November, including during the High Flow Experiment, 40 MW of system regulation will be maintained at Glen Canyon Dam.  During the High Flow Experiment, the required 27 MW of system reserves will not be maintained by Glen Canyon Dam and will be moved to other CRSP generation facilities.  During the days prior to, and after the High Flow Experiment, the required 27 MW of system reserves will be maintained at Glen Canyon Dam.


After the High Flow Experiment, releases will return to a daily total of approximately 16,736 acre-feet per day.   Beginning November 15, 2014 at 1400 hours, hourly and daily average releases from Glen Canyon Dam will resume being scheduled through Western Area Power Administration to be consistent with the Glen Canyon Dam Operating Criteria (Federal Register, Volume 62, No. 41, March 3, 1997) and to also achieve, as nearly as is practicable, this daily release volume.  Releases are anticipated to fluctuate between approximately 9,000 cfs during the daytime hours and 6,500 cfs during the nighttime hours of midnight to 5:00 a.m.  The scheduled release volume for November 2014 including the High Flow Experiment is approximately 770,000 acre-feet.


The release volume for December is expected to be approximately 865,000 acre-feet with daily fluctuations between approximately 9,500 and 17,500 cfs.  The release volume for January is expected to be about 865,000 acre-feet.  Releases for December and January will be confirmed with a subsequent notification toward the end of November.


This notification supersedes all previously issued notifications and is current until a new notification is issued.  All times identified in this notification and attached schedule are local time (MST).


If there are any concerns or questions regarding these operations, I can be reached at 801-524-3635.  Your cooperation is greatly appreciated.


Thank you,

Katrina Grantz


Katrina Grantz

Hydraulic Engineer/Glen Canyon Dam

Upper Colorado Region

Bureau of Reclamation

(801) 524-3635


Lake Powell Fishing Report by Wayne Gusatveson



Photo caption: Brian Myers found bass fishing good for his angling group in Good Hope Bay. Here is a light colored largemouth bass which looks much like a smallmouth bass. These fish species are currently hard to tell apart when they come from murky water. Bass fishing is good now while stripers are being more selective. This is a picture also of the “graph” to illustrate striper feeding.

Lake Powell Fishing Report October 17, 2014

Lake Elevation: 3606

Water Temperature 70-74 F

By: Wayne Gustaveson

My week was spent from the mouth of San Juan to Rincon with a side trip up the Escalante Arm. Striper fishing was tough with no boils seen and only 3 fish caught all week. Bass fishing saved the day. The main channel bass pattern was consistent. At the corners and edges of the channel there are a few shallow slick rock islands protruding from the water. These beautiful rock formations harbored good numbers of smallmouth bass that could be consistently caught casting and trolling with shad colored lipless vibrating lures. It is likely that bass were running shad schools into the shallow bays and trapping them against the rocks where feeding was intense. The rocks guarding the mouth of the San Juan were a good example of the rocky habitat that provides especially good fishing. Fishing in the backs of canyons was slow for stripers but again smallmouth bass were active in 12-25 feet of water in most canyons.

Upon returning there were many fish reports waiting. Fishing has been challenging since full moon but is now slowly improving. The key is to find locations where fish are active and avoid the quiet spots. The best spots this week were on the San Juan Arm from Cha to Neskahi, and the mouth of Rock Creek to Gregory Butte. There were no fresh reports from the northern lake except to say that fishing is improving after full moon. Fishing at Bullfrog was slow with the best spot in Halls Bay.

There is more action in the southern lake. The best plan of attack is to head out early and look for striper splashes as they feed individually and in small groups from Wahweap to Rock Creek. If the surface action continues then stripers can be caught in quick small boils. The real action comes when the school dives and can be found on the graph. Spooning over holding schools at 40-60 feet is the very best fishing technique now to catch big numbers of stripers. Stripers were recently spooned up at the mouth of Rock Creek where small surface disturbances were seen. The school was found where bottom depth was 60 feet. It is really tough to find suspended schools where bottom depth exceeds 100 feet. Look for boils but the best work is done in deep water with spoons. Bucktail jigs, hyper stripers and similar lures that can be fished at various depths in the water column and then retrieved from the bottom to the location favored by suspended fish may be the best technique for catching fish in these challenging high-forage conditions.


 Tips for Graph Use: Those new to using a graph to locate fish commonly turn on the fish ID which shows computer generated fish pictures on the graph. Fishing is not a video game. Actual fish are best seen by using raw data. This can best be tested on cliff walls and at the mouth of canyons. Here the sonar sound bounces of the cliff wall then the bottom before returning to the graph. The fish ID shows these “bounces” as fish when they are not. Learn to use the graph in open water where bottom depth is between 40 and 60 feet. Look for individual fish and schools where the bottom is distinct for best results. Graphing in the main channel only works when the graph is zoomed in to show a selected area. Choose the depth where most fish traces are seen for best results. Fishing is slower than usual but warm days and cool nights are very comfortable. The Lake Powell scenery is even better than ever in these late summer days.


Fishing Report October 8, 2014 with Capt. Bill

Richard Hargis



Fly Fishing 10/8/14 with Richard Hargis from Utah

The days scenario fishing Powell is a 50/50 possibility for Stripers. If you hit the schools on top then two people can bag 10 to 20 fish in and hour fishing conventional. Fly fisherman can cut that equation in half. The fish are fat and strong with 1 1/2 inch fillets for the table. The rest of the day would be looking for small mouth unless where presented with another boil of course the hopefully a few more Stripers.

That’s the first 50% ! the second is hitting a dud on the top water and it’s a day of Small Mouth but it’s a beautiful time to get that fall weather fish with winter around the corner and don’t forget a good day fishing is better that a good day at the office and the catching is the bonus.

March 2015
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