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Utah - Lake Powell Fish Report

Information compiled by Wayne Gustaveson,


Attention: Lake Powell is infested with quagga mussels. Protect other Utah waters by cleaning and draining the water from your boat before leaving Lake Powell. Your boat must be dried for 18 days before launching in another water. If you plan to launch soonet, a professional decontamination is required. Locate a decontamination station and learn about quagga mussels.

Lake Powell


Lake elevation: 3,634 feet

Water temperatures: 81–85°F

If you're shopping for the best deal on striper boils at Lake Powell, the answer is simple: the far north lake. The area from Good Hope Bay (Buoy 118) to Trachyte Canyon (Buoy 125) is the most productive. There are boils occurring every day over the length of the lake, though, so it is possible to find them anyplace and anytime. But if you asked me for a list of the top 5 boiling spots, it would look like this:

Mike and Tony caught a lot of stripers at the mouth of the San Juan using anchovies for bait.

Photo courtesy of Wayne Gustaveson.

  1. Good Hope to Trachyte
  2. San Juan–Cha Canyon to Great Bend
  3. Escalante River Arm
  4. Rincon to Forgotten Canyon
  5. Face Canyon to Rainbow Bridge

Wind, rain and sunshine are all factors that influence boiling activity. Wind tends to keep stripers from boiling, but when it stops the hungry stripers like to make up for lost time and feed very aggressively. Rain may keep anglers off the lake, but stripers can easily ignore rain because they are already wet! When the sun is shining brightly from dawn to dark, stripers choose their own best time to feed. They may start chasing shad at first light or sleep in until 8 a.m. before feeding. My plan, when looking for boils, is to head out at first light and cover a lot of water during the first three hours of daylight. If you don't see any boils, that makes it more likely that surface action will occur in the evening. Unfortunately, there are no guarantees.

I live near the number five rated boil spot on the lake, so I am reporting for that area. Other canyons uplake are better for boils and fish caught, but similar in how to find and catch them.

Today, I headed out at first light and found a breeze blowing. According to my rules, that's not good for finding surface action. When I got to the choppy water in Padre, I stopped and trolled along the east wall in the shade. The result was one smallmouth and one striper caught in 15 minutes. That is too slow for me. The wind let up a bit, so we moved to Face Canyon.

Surface feeding stripers were in the same bay where we found them last week. The boils were very quick, averaging about 25 seconds from beginning to end. If we moved close enough to the previous boil and they came back up again in casting range, then we would catch a fish. Usually we arrived at the boil with the water still trembling on top, but the fish were gone. We chased five or six quick boils, caught four fish and moved on.

At Buoy 25, we saw a quick rise now and then but never got in casting range. We didn't see or catch any fish at the mouth of West and Dove, so we went to Friendship Cove. It was calm and quiet there, but no fish. We got a report from a wave runner Captain that there had been a huge boil there at 7 a.m. We missed it.

We decided to take one look in Rock Creek and then head back. It was 10 a.m. and way too late for morning boils. The mouth of the three Rock Creeks has been a good boil spot over the years, so we went there. We were very surprised to see the biggest boil of the morning against the wall between Main Rock and Middle Rock. Then the fish came up in the middle of the bay. The next boil was on the east wall of Dry Rock. This bay was the best spot of the day and we quickly caught 20 fish on topwater lures in less than an hour.

Surface feeding stripers can come up at any time or place. The shad in their stomachs were two to three inches long, which means these fish need to boil to catch fast moving shad. They go down quickly because the surface temperature of the water is 84 degrees, which was too warm for the two- to three-pound stripers to stay on top for long. They dive quickly to deep water to cool off, and then pop back up again to eat more shad. We haven't seen stripers in the superb physical condition of those we caught today since 2016. They are fat again.

We saw many, and caught a few, smallmouth bass in the rock slide areas of Rock Creek. As the lake level declines, bass fishing will get back to normal with bass occupying habitat that is easy to find.

Fishing success is amazing! When you stick with it and keep trying, the result is a fun day of fishing, a good catch and the memorable red rock walls and blue water. I love this place!

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