Outdoors With Bubba
By Jerry "Bubba" Puckett

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Photo by Jerry Puckett

Fish, RV In The Gateway To Canyon Country

Greetings from the sunny shores of Lake Powell! I don’t want to spin too much of a yarn here, but in good conscience and since we’re now brand-new best friends, I feel I must confess to withholding a rather closely guarded secret.

Page, Ariz., and Lake Powell are a fisherman’s dream come true, the gateway to Canyon Country, and a veritable RVers’ paradise (that oughta get the Chamber and Tourism Board off my case).

Fish Of A Lifetime

Both Arizona Game & Fish and Utah Division of Wildlife agree wholeheartedly on this subject — the fishing forecast for Lake Powell is especially good this year for striped bass, smallmouth bass, walleye, and largemouth bass. Both agencies suggest that you start planning now to take full advantage of some great spring-season fishing, but don’t forget to get a Lake Powell stamp for your license!

Last year, the Salt Lake City-based team of brothers Dan and Mike Porter made a late-spring trip to Powell. After launching at Bullfrog, they headed south in keeping with their game plan, which called for striper trolling in the lower basins.

After slow-cruising a couple of likely canyons, they eventually made camp for the night in Dry Rock Creek Canyon.

Dawn the next morning saw the brothers trolling leaded line and deep-diving crankbaits, and their early rise paid dividends – a 6-pounder on their first swing and a true monster on the second pass of the morning. Dan was afraid he’d snagged his lure until he looked at the depth finder – it was 113 feet deep!

The huge striper stayed down deep, bulldogging it, for about 20 minutes before coming up to make a run at the bow of the boat. Dan madly reeled in slack line and then applied some serious pressure to the fish, and the big striper rolled beside the boat.

Luckily, Mike was ready, slipped the net under the fish, reared back, and WHANG — the net broke!

After a couple of anxious moments, they managed to hoist the monster into the boat, but when they unhooked the beast, they noticed one treble hook was completely gone, and the other was hanging by one bare strand of split-ring wire. This fish story was one coil of split-ring wire from never being told!

At Dangling Rope Marina, the trophy measured 42 inches long and 27 around, putting it in the 40-pound range. The duo made a hasty decision — grab the cooler, out with the groceries, in with the fish, and set a course for Page to get an official weight.
Wayne Gustaveson, Utah Division of Wildlife biologist met the group at Wahweap and weighed the fish at Bashas' Grocery — 38.5 pounds.

The age-old rule of thumb is that trophy stripers weigh about 1 pound per inch of length — the Porter’s striper probably weighed 42 pounds before the spawn. The current lake record is 48 pounds — theirs was a bit shy of that but a nice fish and a trophy to be treasured.

By the way, total fishing time for the Porter’s two-day fishing trip was 20 minutes! For updated Powell fishing info, do what the Porter brothers did; visit Gustaveson’s Web site – www.wayneswords.com

Gateway To Canyon Country

Like many others, I fell in love with Lake Powell Country as a result of accepting a fishing trip invitation from a friend. At the time, I was a New Mexico resident and had actually never heard of Lake Powell, but that first trip set the hook into this country boy for life.

I’ve spent nearly three decades now learning there is much more to love about this country than a fish on the end of my line.

One of Lake Powell’s attractions has always been the area’s proximity to so many cool things to see and do. There’s no better way to take advantage of that fact than by going the RV route and making Page, Ariz., your base of operations, whether for a couple of days or a couple of weeks.

While in the Page area, you might consider a half-day tour boat cruise to Rainbow Bridge National Monument, a guided dam tour of Glen Canyon Dam and power- generating station, or even a half-day smooth-water float trip down the breathtaking Colorado River. For landlubbers, there are four-wheel-drive slot canyon and photography tours, or golf at Lake Powell National, Page’s four-star-rated championship course.

While in the area savvy RVers usually plan to make a couple of day trips to nearby attractions using Page as their central hub. Top-rated destinations include Grand Canyon North Rim (114 miles), Grand Canyon South Rim (110), historic Lee’s Ferry and Lonely Dell Ranch (43), Monument Valley (120), and Zion National Park (115).

Expand your circle a bit, and you can include Bryce Canyon (133) and Canyon de Chelly (168) in your day trip discovery tour.

A Monument Valley day trip is a perfect example: Depart Page after an early breakfast for a two-hour drive to Monument Valley and a half-day four-wheel-drive tour. Top that off with a late lunch of Navajo tacos at historic Goulding’s Trading Post there in Monument Valley and a quick tour through their movie museum, which contains memorabilia dating back to early westerns filmed there in the 1930s.

On your return trip, plan a stop at the World War II Navajo Code Talkers exhibit and Navajo Cultural Center in Kayenta, Ariz.

Be warned: Day-tripping is an addictive behavior pattern – once you start, you’ll soon be discovering even more suitable destinations to add to your day-trip menu. Did I forget to mention the Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument, Kodachrome Basin, the movie set at Paria, the condor viewing in the Vermillion Cliffs Wilderness Area, and the Navajo National Monument? Oh well, see you there!

Where To Camp

While much of Glen Canyon National Recreation Area’s highway-accessible facilities are day-use only, RV and tent camping visitors to Lake Powell in the Page/Wahweap area have several options from which to choose.

Lone Rock Beach – Whether for day use or a two-week stay, Lone Rock Beach offers awesome lake-side camping for tent campers and self-contained RVers. Maintained restroom facilities are available on-site.

Most of the beach directly adjacent to the paved entrance roadway is safely accessible for motorhomes and vehicles pulling trailers. Care should be exercised when venturing into sandy areas off the normally traveled routes. (928) 608-6200 www.nps.gov/glca/index.htm

Wahweap Campground And RV Park – A brand-new lake-side facility is now available in the Wahweap Marina area, offering full hook-ups, onsite store, restrooms, showers, coin-op laundry and full use of facilities including watercraft rentals, boat tours, dinner cruises, restaurant, lounge, pizzeria, and gift shop at nearby Lake Powell Resort (formerly Wahweap Lodge). (928) 645-1059


Page Lake Powell Campground – This is a full-service campground that offers over 120 full hook-up sites, tent sites, on-site store, dump station, propane, indoor pool, laundry and showers. Located one mile from downtown Page and only seven miles from the new Antelope Point Marina. (928) 645-3374 www.pagelakepowellcampground.com

For reservations or more info on visiting the Page-Lake Powell area, contact the Page-Lake Powell Tourism Bureau: (928) 660-3405 or visit www.pagelakepowelltourism.com