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Utah Travel Headlines

Friday, January 13, 2006

Lake Powell – Bigger and Better

Several positive factors promise to make the upcoming season at Lake Powell one of the best ever. The lake’s level is good now and there has been abundant snowfall in the drainages that feed into the reservoir, so boating conditions will be excellent. And fishing will be spectacular, thanks to an improving food source for the lake’s game fish.

Start making arrangements now if you want to take a houseboat vacation on the big lake this summer. Houseboats will book faster than normal as people become aware of the great conditions at the lake.

Last year’s tremendous inflows raised the lake’s level by some 50 feet, eliminating virtually all of the problems caused during the previous years of drought. The lake level normally drops during the winter and early spring, but it has not dropped much this year. It looks like inflows will be above normal again this season and so the water level will continue to rise. Launch ramps will be in excellent shape and canyons that have not be boatable for some time will again be flooded by lake water.

This link goes to a snowpack report for the drainages above the lake.

Striped bass, smallmouth, largemouth, walleye and other sportfish are plentiful and fat – and getting fatter every day. This summer will bring excellent fishing – perhaps the best ever. The lake normally provides good fishing; now it may evolve into one of the best waters in the US for the species named above, thanks to the accidentally introduction of a new forage fish.

The sportfish in Lake Powell are fierce predators and fishing has been cyclic. The sportfish populations would grow until the predators overrun their prey, then populations of all species would decline until the forage fish have a chance to recover. But a few years ago gizzard shad were accidentally introduced into the San Juan River and they have made their way downstream into Lake Powell. Gizzard shad are prolific reproducers and the adults grow large enough that predators do not annihilate them. As a result, there is plenty of forage in the lake and the sport fish are growing fat.

This newspaper article describes the changing ecology at the lake.

Utah Division of Wildlife Resources biologists who manage the Lake Powell fishery expect exceptional fishing this year. Here is their spring forecast.

Yes, it is time to start planning a trip to Powell.


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