Lake Powell Boating Season Begins, Invasive Species Prompts Warnings
|LakePowell - photo by Dave Webb
The water is starting to warm at Lake Powell and so boating activity is picking up. The water is still too cold for skiing or other water sports but this is an ideal time to explore the lake and enjoy the scenery, in relative solitude.
People do ski and wakeboard at the lake during spring but most wear wet or dry suites. It will be late My or June before most people are comfortable spending much time in the water wearing just swim suites.
Memorial Day Weekend kicks off the tourist season. On that weekend the major marinas will be zoos, with heavy traffic on the launch ramps, in the nearby bays and the lake's channel. If you plan to boat at that time you should launch early and get away from the marinas as quickly as possible.
Fishing is picking up right now. Action for striped bass, smallmouth bass and largemouth bass will become good in early April and will be red hot in May.
Quagga mussel larva have been found at various spots around the lake and they are a big concern to water managers. Boats that operate at the lake need to be inspected, cleaned and dried.
Utah's Division of Wildlife Resources provided this news release about the mussels.
Microscopic Invasive Mussels Found at Lake Powell
Boaters must be more diligent in decontaminating their boats.
In 2012, the National Park Service collected water samples from multiple locations in Lake
Powell. A few of those samples tested positive for the presence of microscopic, larval-stage quagga
mussels (called veligers). No adult mussels have been found in the lake. This discovery prompted
the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources (DWR) to change Lake Powell’s mussel status from
Undetected to Detected.
Individuals who boat at Lake Powell often travel to other Utah water bodies. Boaters need to be exceptionally careful in decontaminating their boats after they visit the lake.
What this means for boaters
If you are a boater who likes to visit Lake Powell, this means you will need to be more diligent in
cleaning, draining and drying your boat, especially if you plan to boat in other Utah waters.
What this doesn’t mean for boaters
While unfortunate, this news does not necessarily mean that Lake Powell has an established
population of quagga mussels. It does not mean that you shouldn’t boat in Lake Powell. We
encourage you to boat at Lake Powell — it is a wonderful place!
What you need to do
1. Enjoy Lake Powell!
2. After removing your boat from the lake, pull out the drain plug and pump out your ballast
tanks/livewells. Lake Powell’s water is now a serious threat to other Utah waterbodies.
Removing this water greatly reduces the threat.
3. Wipe down the outside of your boat.
4. When you arrive home, spread out all equipment and toys that were in the water and allow
them to dry for seven days. This includes skis, wakeboards, life vests, anchors, ropes and
water toys. Open all compartments to allow your boat to dry out. The veligers found in Lake
Powell cannot survive without water for seven days in the summer.
5. If you plan on boating before your seven-day dry time has expired, contact your nearest
DWR regional office and ask for a professional decontamination. Employees will be happy to
help you. If you delay professional decontamination until you arrive at the ramp of your next
water, there might be a long wait before you can decontaminate and launch.
6. If you are traveling on I-15 or across U.S. Highway 6, you can arrange decontamination at
the DWR’s Cedar City office (435-865-6100) or Price office (435-613-3700) on your way
Why is decontamination a priority?
It is critically important to protect all Utah waterbodies from invasive species. If our recreation
areas become infested, access to your favorite lake or reservoir could be severely restricted. We
don’t want to see this happen, so we want to work with you — the boaters — to help keep Utah’s
waters clean and open for everyone.
For more information on invasive mussel monitoring at Lake Powell, visit