Lake Powell Report

Lake Powell

by Arizona Game & Fish Department

Report courtesy of Water temperature at Wahweap Bay was 71 F on 5/19/2024, lake elevation was at 3,562.74 msl (and rising). What month offers the best overall fishing experience at Lake Powell? (By Dan Keller, Utah Division of Wildlife Resources biologist). Well, that’s a loaded question, perhaps similar to asking the best holiday or pizza topping…no doubt there are many “right” answers to such questions and it’s all about individual preferences. With that disclaimer, in my opinion, May is the overall best month to fish Lake Powell. I could fill pages with the reasons why, however I will try to concisely summarize my thoughts. 

Where to start... how about weather. I’m not a “fair weather” fisherman, however, it sure is nice to catch fish in comfort, May at Lake Powell provides “Goldilocks weather” with warm afternoons perfect for reaching your quota of sunshine without sweltering heat, yet the nights cool down to a perfect temperature for camping out. You can certainly enjoy this weather pattern again in the fall, and fish are extra hungry in the fall, fight hard, so one would be justified preferring September, October, even November. However, for me the event that tips the scale in favor of May is the SPRING SPAWN.

By early May, water temperatures are consistently in the 60-degree range, kicking the spawn into high gear. The biggest bass often move onto shallow flats earlier when water reaches mid 50s, so April is surely a strong contender for the best month if you prefer larger bass over high catch rates. Spring spawn guarantees bass will be found in shallow water and can be caught using many techniques, including soft plastics, cranks, spinner baits, and more. Smallmouth bass, largemouth bass, and crappie will all be close to their spawning bed. The depth of the bed will vary based on water clarity, available habitat, and even lake level rise since a male bass or crappie marked his territory by constructing a circular depression on the lake bottom, known as a bed or nest. 

Finding fish in the spring is easy using a Curly Tail, Ned Rig, craw jig, Senko (really anything you can effectively fish along the bottom). Start by casting right up to shore and work back to the boat until you find the depth fish are at. Often, you can see beds from a distance or a patrolling bass, when you do, don’t get too close, make long casts to reach them. 

On a recent fishing trip to Warm Creek (April 29), we did well using a 5-inch Yamamoto Senko hooked wacky and casting shallow. We only had a few hours and fishing wasn’t fast, but the bass we caught were very healthy. The key is to locate a flat rock shelf or gradual slope, look for vegetation sticking up from the water near the shoreline, again make long casts to search the flat from a distance. 

When retrieving a soft plastic bait slowly along the bottom, bass will pick up the bait when it gets too close to their bed. Spring fishing provides high catch rates: 50- to 100-fish days are common. Keep fish within the legal limit you wish to eat and release the others to complete the spawn. 

Smallmouth bass are plentiful, this is why the limit is set at 20. Angler surveys in the past have shown that increased harvest of smallmouth bass effectively increased the population’s average length and condition. 

Walleye are regularly caught shallow during May, often accidently by bass anglers. This is always a welcome surprise. After you catch one walleye, you can quickly switch tactics and catch more. Many of my most productive walleye trips have been in May. Rather than repeating information, here is a link to a walleye report from last May, also a link to Walleye Fishing Tips Wayne put together that has great information. 

May isn't the BEST month to target striped bass; most would agree that happens in early summer when "Slurps" begin and continues into late summer/fall with striper "boils", or could be targeting them with spoons in deep water during the coldest months of the year (again individual preference!). However, recent reports have indicated success catching striped bass by trolling lures that run 15-30 feet.

Maybe I convinced you May is the best month to fish Lake Powell, maybe not, and that’s just fine. I often say the best time to go fishing is whenever you can, and if you can make it to Lake Powell this May, you will be set up for success. If not, you will find year-round fishing opportunities at Lake Powell to look forward to.

More Reports

Arizona Game & Fish Department Reports
for Sunday, May 26th
Woodland Reservoir: Fishing is fair
Silver Creek AZ: Fishing is rated good
Show Low Lake: Fishing is great for bluegill and trouT
Greer Lakes: Fishing is fair, very weedy this spring
Big Lake: Big Lake has had a good start to the 2024 season
Becker Lake: Fishing is rated fair
Knoll Lake: Road access (FR300) to Knoll Lake is now open

Arizona Game & Fish Department Reports
for Monday, April 29th

Kaibab Lake: Kaibab Lake Report
Cataract Lake: The lake is full
City Reservoir: The road into City Reservoir is now open
Dogtown Lake: Dogtown Lake Report
Santa Fe Lake: The lake is full and spilling over
Whitehorse Lake: Whitehorse Lake Report
Upper & Lower Lake Mary: Upper and Lower Lake Mary Report
Francis Short Pond: The city has repaired and installed a new aeration system
Ashurst Lake: Ashurst Lake is reportedly fishing well
Kinnikinick Lake: Kinnikinick Report
Lake Pleasant: Lake Pleasant Fishing Report
Saguaro Lake: Saguaro Lake Report
Bartlett Lake: Bartlett Lake Report
Blue Ridge Reservoir: Blue Ridge Reservoir Report
Alamo Lake: Bead fishing should be picking up
Lake Havasu: Lake Havasu Fishing Report