Fishing Overview: Glen Canyon National Recreation Area

Glen Canyon National Recreation Area Highlights

  • Lake Powell straddles the Arizona-Utah border, so be sure to have the appropriate fishing license(s) for where you will be. Several species of sporting fish are abundant in Lake Powell including Bass, Crappie, Walleye, and Catfish.
  • There are five main marinas in the area: Wahweap, Bullfrog, Halls Crossing, Dangling Rope, and Antelope Pointe.
  • When the Glen Canyon Dam was completed, the Colorado River transformed from a murky river full of silt to a clear icy river ideal for trout fishing. The section of river recommended for reeling in the big numbers encompasses the 15 miles from the dam to Lees Ferry where the Paria flows into the Colorado,.
  • Below Glen Canyon Dam on the Colorado River, fishing licenses require a trout stamp and no live bait is allowed.
  • Fishing is not seasonal at Lees Ferry! Although conditions can be chilly in the winter and hot in the summer, the fishing is abundant year-round because the water temperatures and food availability are perfect for the trout.
  • One-day raft trips are offered out of Page starting at the dam, floating though the Marble Canyon Gorge and finishing at Lees Ferry's dock. This section of the Colorado River has no whitewater, so it is ideal for fishing and is safe for families.

Abundant game fish thrive in the clear waters of Lake Powell. Introduced species such as bass and crappie as well as walleye, bluegill, and catfish challenge anglers.

Fishing in the waters of Glen Canyon National Recreation Area in any manner other than hook and line (bow and arrow, crossbow, snare, gig, spear, spear gun, net, etc.) is prohibited. Chumming is allowed only for striped bass and only with anchovies. All other Arizona or Utah fishing regulations apply. Licenses may be purchased at all marinas.

Here are the fishable species that live in Lake Powell...

Striped Bass (Roccus saxatilis)
The striped bass was introduced into Lake Powell in 1974. This fish can live in both fresh- and saltwater, and can be recognized by the series of dark stripes running the length of the back and sides.

Largemouth Bass (Micropterus salmoides)
The largemouth bass has adapted to a wide variety of habitats. The body of this fish is elongated with dark green sides and a silvery belly. A broad, dark horizontal band with irregular patches extends midway on the sides.

Smallmouth Bass (Micropterus dolomieui)
This fish is similar to the largemouth bass, but it has a smaller jaw and is bronze rather than greenish in color.

Black Crappie (Promoxis nigromaculatus)
The black crappie is silver to olive in color with numerous black or dark green splotches on the sides. Vertical bars are prominent on the young only.

Walleye (Stizostedion vitreum)
Young walleye have six or seven dark saddle marks on their backs. Adults may be dark silver to dark olive-brown with brassy spots. The underside may be yellow or white. There is a black blotch on the dorsal fin and a white tip on the lower lobe of the tail.

Channel Catfish (Ictalurus punctatus)
This spotted catfish is prized both as a sport and food fish. The body is pale bluish-olive above and bluish-white below. Spots vary from a few to many.

Bluegill Sunfish (Lepomis macrochirus)
The bluegill may be light to dark blue or even bright purple. A broad area from the throat to the ear flap may be bright orange or yellow. There is a black spot on the ear flap. Bars on the sides are visible in the water only.

Endangered Fish

Anglers who hook any endangered fish must release them alive immediately. Penalties for keeping endangered fish are stiff.

Colorado Squawfish (Ptychocheilus lucius)
This minnow has an olive-green and gold back and a silvery belly. Young squawfish may resemble the roundtail chub, but the mouth of the squawfish is longer, with thick folded lips that extend past the center of its eye.

Humpback Chub (Gila cypha)
This minnow has a brown or olive-colored back and silver sides with a prominent, smoothly rounded hump behind its head, small eyes, and a long snout which overhangs its jaw.

Bonytail Chub (Gila elegans)
This minnow has a gray or olive-colored back, silver sides, and a white belly. It has large fins and a streamlined body that becomes thin in front of the tail.

Razorback Sucker (Xyrauchen texanus)
This sucker is brownish-green with a yellow to white-colored belly and has a bony hump on its back.

Published: 29 Apr 2002 | Last Updated: 15 Sep 2010
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication


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