Lake Powell water level is now at 3,548 MSL and has only dropped 2 feet since Aug. 26. I am grateful for those upstream reservoirs that have increased their outflow to keep Lake Powell as full as possible in these drastic times when water is scarce. Increased water releases from Flaming Gorge Reservoir on the Utah-Wyoming border have begun and will continue until October. Releases from Blue Mesa Reservoir in Colorado are scheduled to run from August to October. Navajo Lake, which spans the Colorado-New Mexico border, will ramp up releases in November and December. The releases will result in an additional drop of 4 feet in Flaming Gorge, 2 feet in Navajo and 8 feet in Blue Mesa. Hopefully, there will be a heavy snowpack this winter to refill all of the reservoirs mentioned.
Since the lake has only gone down 2 feet, there are ramps at Wahweap and Bullfrog that are still in operation. The Wahweap Auxiliary Ramp is providing boating access while waiting for the Legacy ramp to be opened for launching in the near future. Thanks to the National Park Service for keeping the old ramps going and remodeling the ancient ramps that are now reappearing as the water continues to drop.
Surface water temperature is declining, which will allow all fish in Lake Powell to increase their eating habits. Smaller fish are able to handle warm surface water down to 30 feet much better than larger adults. Adult bass, stripers and walleye are holding down at 40 feet and deeper where water is cooler. Fishing has been slow for most fish species because of the warm water and lack of forage. Shad numbers are lower than usual. As water cools in late September and October, fishing success will improve over the length of the lake.
This week expect to catch stripers on bait at the dam and in most canyons. Drop anchovies down to 20-30 feet to catch small stripers, which are the healthiest fish now. They feed not only on bait and small fish but are also able to eat plankton to keep their body in good shape. Larger stripers are holding at 40-60 feet. They are also eating anchovies regularly. Unfortunately, the larger adult fish must hold in deeper water where forage is much less abundant. These fish are still fun to catch but do not provide the same excellent table fare as do the small fish. The best striper boil report comes from Bullfrog Bay, where the smaller stripers (6-14 inches) pop up for quick boils on most days.
Bass and walleye fishing is slow. These fish are holding in deeper water to stay cool. Most anglers generally fish shallow rocky shorelines to catch bass. The secret now is to fish deeper water (25-45 feet) to target bass. Largemouth bass are feeding in open water, since brush is not at all abundant in these low-water situations.
If planning a fishing trip this fall, watch the water temperature to choose the right time. Remember that bass spawn in the spring at a temperature in the low 60s. Fishing for them in the fall is best at the same 60-65 degree range.
I wish you all a great winter with huge snowbanks that all melt at the same time in the spring and fill up the lakes, rivers and reservoirs. That would be the best Christmas gift for fishing in 2022.