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March 13, 2019 - Cold, wet and windy

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Lake Powell Fish Report – March 13, 2019

Lake Elevation: 3570

Water temperature: 47 – 53 F

By: Wayne Gustaveson http://www.wayneswords.com or see Wayneswords.net for pictures.



The snow and rain continues providing the moisture and eventually the runoff needed to allow the lake to rise back to the levels needed to have safe passage and enjoyable fishing trips over the length of the lake. Lake Powell water level is slowly declining due to the continued stormy and cool weather that we all have experienced lately. The lake has been holding near 3571 (MSL) during March, until today when if dipped down to 3570.90.  Lake level will continue to slowly decline until the runoff starts with melting snow and more rainstorms, which is good news for those planning to come to the lake this year.  We hope for a large rise in lake elevation as the weather warms.


My weekly trip was on a rare calm sunny day. The water temperature was 47 F degrees at launch and did not change much until the afternoon with a high near 53 F.  Last week I only got one bite in Navajo Canyon so this time I went all out, to the back of Last Chance.  The water was clear on the way into the canyon.  Visibility in the water was over 10 feet deep at most main channel locations.  Near the back of Last Chance, there is a distinct color change from clear to murky.  Visibility changed from 10 feet down to 2 feet.  In Navajo, the back of the canyon was muddy because there is an inflowing stream. Visibility there was only a few inches.  Last Chance only gets storm runoff so it is not as murky.  This concept is the same over the length of the lake. Canyons with inflowing streams have lower visibility.


In most years, I fish in the last arm on the right. This time that arm was very shallow due to low water levels. Striper schools in February were found on the bottom at 60 feet or deeper. After graphing for a while and not seeing any deep schools, I switched to trolling with a Lucky Craft XD pointer (Chartreuse Shad color).   It took about 20 minutes before I hooked the first striper.  It was gratifying to land that fish after being skunked the week before.  It took another 30 minutes to catch striper number 2.  It was disappointing to get one more bite and have that fish just rattle the lure but miss the hook. Two hours of trolling resulted in 2 stripers which was 200% better than experienced last week.


The water temperature increased so I switched to bass fishing. This time of year, bass fishing is better in the afternoons with warming water. There are some great bass spots in the back of Last Chance.   I went to a few of my favorite spots and fished rocky structure, sandy flats, and tumbleweed piles.  Despite my expertise, warming colored water and calm conditions, neither bass, crappie, nor bluegill responded.  I finally got the message and departed back to Wahweap.  Two hours later, I was safely off the lake.  I am sure the fish were giddy with excitement as they saw me leave, but I will be back and catching will be a lot better as the water warms into the 60s.


The best is yet to come!  Significant warming will result in much better catching results.  Watch the weather and plan future trips during calm warming periods that continue for at least 3 days.