Nestled between the Arizona and Utah borders, Lake Powell is the country’s second-largest man-made reservoir, behind Lake Mead. It was created by the Glen Canyon Dam–yes, the same dam responsible for such famous trout spots as Horseshoe Bend and Lee’s Ferry. The Western states received more rain and snow this winter than in many years past, so the water level is quickly rising. While rising rivers usually mean worse fishing, it’s the contrary for Lake Powell. The air and water temperatures are also quickly rising, activating the fish to get moving and feeding.
During high water, tumbleweeds and other structure become spawning habitat. Keep an eye out for these types of structures. Rocky shelves are a perfect place for smallmouth bass to wait for their next meal. Good fly choices include May’s Clearwater Crayfish, Tungsten Conehead Woolly Bugger in green, and baitfish patterns–but strip them slowly. The visibility in the water is well over 10 feet, so it’s easy to keep track of your fly, as well as what’s behind or below it.
Set your alarm for an early start in tMay and June, as the afternoons will blow you away, literally. Our Saturday afternoon featured 20 m.p.h. wind gusts. Luckily, the boat was tied up tight to the shore, and we were able to jump below some rock structures to get out of the wind and make good casts.
Water temperatures in the mid-60s, more sunshine, inflowing water, and spring weather lets you target just about any species right now–including largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, carp, catfish, and walleyes–making for some incredible fishing right now. So much so that the same day another person fishing along Waheap Bay was able to net a 6.1lb 21 inch long smallmouth bass and released it for you to catch when you show up.
Chuck Coolidge lives in Phoenix, Arizona, and travels a lot to feed his fly-fishing passion.