Lake Powell water level is now 3,535, which means the lake has risen 13 lucky feet since the runoff began. The lake will continue to rise for at least another week and hopefully much more.
Last week I headed out very early to get up lake before the boat traffic and wakes increased. It was a good move because I was able to see many fish splashing along the shore. As I slowed down and took time to identify these fish, I was surprised to confirm that carp were again spawning along the shoreline and in open water near shallow areas. Carp have been spawning since May 2022, but spawning season is still here, and the carp are really active. In a previous report, we found carp spawning on the surface and were able to catch stripers and smallmouth bass in the Buoy 25 cove right under the spawning carp. I thought at the time that the sport fish must be feeding on carp eggs, but I was not able to confirm that. Last week, I made it a greater effort to confirm that suspicion.
Since carp were spawning in open water, we deployed shallow running trolling lures and targeted the 10-to-20-foot-deep areas along the shoreline. These carp were very rambunctious, and it was easy to always be heading toward another surface splashing spawning carp school. The results were quick as our shallow running crankbaits and rattletraps were immediately hammered by stripers ranging from 1-3 pounds. Sometimes we saw a large school of fish on the graph. We then stopped trolling and cast lures and let them fall to the shallow bottom before quickly reeling up through the striper school. Schooling stripers were quick to respond to our lures. It was an amazingly successful morning of fishing and catching as we put over 60 stripers and a few bass into the ice chest in just over 2.5 hours of fishing.
My thought was that the stripers and bass were under the spawning carp schools and eating carp eggs as they sank into shallow water. I was able to confirm that back at the fish cleaning station as I dissected the stomachs to find what they were eating. If you open the stomach and find orange and yellow fluid, it means the carp eggs were crushed. However, in some stomachs the egg mass was whole, and it was easy to tell that stripers were following carp around in open water and eating carp eggs as they slowly sank toward the bottom. I am not sure how much longer carp will spawn, but if you see many active carp schools thrashing and splashing along the lake surface and swimming so close together that they touch each other, it is possible to catch a whole bunch of fish in a short time by casting and trolling.
Carp spawning continues for at least another week and extends from the dam to Good Hope Bay. It may be possible to find actively spawning schools marking the spot where actively feeding stripers and bass are gorging on carp eggs. Lake Powell is an amazing place to find so many different ways to harvest the wide variety of species swimming in this beautiful lake with amazing scenery. ENJOY YOUR TRIP!