Receding waters and rising waste at Lake Powell aren't expected to discourage visitors from heading to the popular lake.

In fact, officials at Glen Canyon National Recreation Area predict tourism in 1990 could surpass 1988's record numbers.According to park officials and concessionaires, rooms, rental houseboats and power boats have been reserved for months as more than 3.5 million visitors gravitate to the breathtaking park and its man-made lake to hike, camp, boat, swim, ski and fish.

Harold Johnson, the park's fishing pro, said March 15 through May is the best time to haul out the fishing tackle. Ditto for October and the first part of November.

"In the spring they are spawning and in the fall, the fish are surface feeding," said Johnson, director of public relations for ARA Leisure Services. "For a person who likes action - as a lure fisherman - fall's a great time to get with it. Spring fishing is easier because the fish are all up in shallow water to spawn."

During the spawn, bass - smallmouth and largemouth - are more aggressive and more likely to strike at a passing lure. They go into what Johnson calls "an eating frenzy." As the waters begin to warm up, the fish move into deeper waters and are not as accessible to baits and lures.

Gone are days when real fishermen were coming ashore with 5-pound rainbow trout and tall tales about their expeditions.

Today Powell is most famous for its striped bass, found throughout the lake. Fishing is also good for catfish, crappie, bluegill and carp.

Some of the best fishing has traditionally been around the Glen Canyon Dam and south of Bullfrog Marina along Moqui Wall. At one point Johnson figured that more than 3,000 fish per day were being caught near the dam.

Access to the upstream face of the dam is open through May 31.

A line of buoys installed as a safety precaution in 1983 by the Bureau of Reclamation have been removed to help anglers reduce the number of adult striped bass before spawning occurs.

There's other good news.

To also help reduce fish populations, wildlife officials have doubled the daily striped bass possession limits to 20 fish.

And you could get your limit. Johnson said that fishing in the area of the dam has been excellent. Best success has come from using anchovies on a No. 6 hook in about 40 feet of water.

But fishermen who leave Powell without a string of big ones probably won't complain - much.

"The good thing about Lake Powell is that if the fishing is down a little, it is so pretty out there that you are not going to care anyway," Johnson said.



Boaters warned to use caution

Because of the lower-than-normal water level, boaters are advised to use extra caution on Lake Powell - especially after leaving the main channels. There are many rock hazards near or just below the surface of the water.

Some hazards in the channels are marked by white and orange hazard buoys. Outside the main channel, however, the hazards are not marked.

To avoid the hazards, boaters are advised to slow down and proceed with extreme caution. Having someone on the boat keep a lookout for rock hazards and not "cutting corners" when approaching the main channel buoy markers are other safety precautions.