[Fish of Lake Powell]

Striped Bass

Coloration is bluish-black to dark grey, or olive-green above. The sides are silvery, the belly white. Striped bass have seven to nine unbroken stripes along each side. The body is somewhat streamlined. Mouth is oblique and the lower jaw longer than the upper. The dorsal fins are clearly separated, unlike yellow bass which are joined at the base. The caudal is forked. There are generally two patches of teeth on tongue. The measure from 10 to 56 inches in lenght and weigh from 1 to over 59 pounds. The Striped Bass (Morone saxatilis) was introduced in Arizona in 1959. They are found throughout the Colorado River between Lake Powell and the Mexican border (and recently in Lake Pleasant). Stripers prefer open, clear water and spawn in spring over shallow, rocky areas. They are opportunistic feeders that will eat dead or live fish, but prefer threadfin shad. They feed in schools, creating a boiling-water effect. They can be caught on shad, anchovies , cut bait, spoons, plugs, jibs, cankbaits and streamer flies. Their meat is white, firm, flaky and excellent.

Largemouth Bass

The head is large and long. Mouth is very large and terminal with upper jaw reaching past the center of the eye in adults. The upper parts of the body and head are greenish with a silvery or brassy luster. The belly is white to yellow. There is an irregular dark band along the sides. Eyes are brown. They have a deep notch in dorsal fin. The soft dorsal fin usually has 12 to 13 rays. The measure from 10 to 28 inches in length and weigh 8 ounces to over 15 pounds. The Largemouth Bass (Micropterus salmoides) was introduced in Arizona in 1897 and found in the Colorado, Gila, lower Salt and lower Verde Rivers. They are warm water fish preferring clear water with structure and cover. Generally they move to deep water during the day and return to the shallows to feed at night. Bass spawn from March through June. They are carnivorous, eating anything that moves. Their main diet is fish, but they will also take crayfish and aquatic insects. Largemouth bass are caught on a variety of natural and artificial baits. Depending on the season, bass can be caught in shallow water with a surface lure or deep with jigs or rubber worms. Bass can be found around submerged trees, vegetation and drop-offs. The meat is mild tasting, white, flaky, firm and low in oil content.

Smallmouth Bass

The snout is long and bluntly pointed, with the lower jaw slightly longer than the upper. Smallmouth bass vary in color with habitat, but are normally bronze to brown on the back with sides lighter and the belly yellowish. There are 8 to 15 dark vertical bands on the sides. Eyes are reddish. Anterior dorsal fin has 10 spines, and is strongly joined to the soft dorsal. The anal fin has three spines. They measure 12 to 22 inches in length and weigh from 8 ounces to 7 pounds. The Smallmouth Bass (Micropterus dolomieui)was introduced in Arizona in 1921 and can be found in the Verde River, Black River, Apache Lake and Lake Powell. They prefer rocky habitats in streams and lakes with clear waters. They feed on shad and crayfish in lakes and crayfish and minnows in streams. Smallmouth bass are caught on lures resembling minnows, plastic worms and streamer flies. Live baits include minnows, hellgrammites and crayfish. The meat is similar to that of the largemouth -- mild tasting, white, flaky and low in oil.

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Brown Trout

A very hardy trout that competes well and endures marginal water qualities. It is generally golden brown with yellow underparts. During spawning, the males often have crimson spots circled with blue halos. The upper body is generally dappled with large, irregular chocolate-brown spots. The tail fin in usually unspotted or vaguely spotted. It is carnivorous and has sharper teeth than most trouts. They measure 6 to 29 inches long and weigh from 6 ounces to over 16 pounds.The Brown Trout (Salmo trutta)was introduced in Arizona in 1931 and can be found in streams and some lakes in the White Mountains and Mogollon Rim country. They are found in pools choked with woody debris. Brown trout feed on aquatic and terrestrial insects and fish. They may be caught on the same tackle and baits as rainbow trout, but are more difficult to land. They spawn in fall. The meat as a pinkish or yellowish color and tastes good.


The body is pale, bluish-olive above and bluish-white below. They usually have spots but lose them when they get older. Both dorsal and pectoral fins have strong, sharp spines. The mouth is short, wide and horizontal with chin and barbels. They measure 10 to 39 inches in length and weigh 12 ounces to over 35 pounds. The Channel Catfish (Ictalurus punctatus) was introduced in Arizona in 1903 and can be found in most warmwater lakes and rivers. They inhabit deeper stretches of rivers and streams. They spawn from April through early June. Channel catfish will eat just about anything. Effective baits are waterdogs, liver, blood bait, shad, shrimp, anchovies, stink bait, minnows and worms. The whiskers are harmless to touch, but the dorsal fin and pectoral fins have a sharp spine which can inflict a painful wound. The meat is white, tender and sweet.

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Prominent canine teeth distinguish this big perch from its smaller family member, the yellow perch. The color is brassy-olive buff, sometimes shading to yellowish on the sides and white underneath. There is a large, dark blotch at the rear base of the first dorsal fin and the lower lobe of the tail is white-tipped. They measure 12 to 29 inches in length and weigh from 10 ounces to over 12 pounds. The Walleye (Stizostedion vitreum) was introduced in Arizona in 1957 and can be found in Lake Powell, Saguaro Lake, Canyon Lake, Apache Lake, Lake Mary, Show Low Lake and Fool's Hollow Lake. They are bottom-oriented fish, due to their sensitivity to light. Walleye prefer deep water during the day and shallow waters at night. They spawn in spring in relatively shallow water over clean gravel or rocky bottoms. They prefer fish but will eat crayfish or worms. In Arizona, their main diet is threadfin shad. Best angling is early in the morning, late in the evening or at night. Lures and baits include minnows, nightcrawlers, jigs, spinners and minnow plugs. The meat is considered one of the best tasting available.


The black crappie has two closely joined dorsal fins. Black crappie are silver-olive with numerous black or green splotches on the sides. Vertical bands in the young disappear in adulthood. The body is compressed or flat. The sides are light, iridescent green to silvery. Belly is silvery to white. Pelvic fins are opaque with some black on the tips of the membranes, and pectoral fins are dusky and transparent. There are 7 or 8 spines on the dorsal fin. They measure 6 to 12 inches in length and weigh from 3 ounces to over four pounds. The Black Crappie (pomoxis nigromaculatus) was introduced in Arizona in 1905 and can be found in most of Arizona's major warmwater reservoirs. They are fairly abundant in Lake Powell. They are attracted to submerged bush and trees and generally travel in schools. Spawning occurs in open water, typically over mud, sand or gravel bottoms. Males guard the nest and young. They are insect and plankton eaters until they reach four to five inches and then switch to a fish diet. In Arizona, threadfin shad are their main diet. Effective bait and lures are minnow, small jibs, silver spoons, spinners and flies fished along shorelines around submerged brush piles and fallen trees. The meat is white, fine textured and tasty. For both Utah and Arizona, the limit at Lake Powell is 20 crappie.


Carp have an olive-yellow back with yellowish gold sides. Sales on the back and upper sides are dark-edged, with a dark spot at the base. Two barbels are located at each corner of the mouth on the upper jaw. Large adults have reddish-oragne anal and tail fin. They measure 10 to 43 inches in length and weigh from 1 pound to 42 pounds. The Carp (cyprinus carpio) was introduced in Arizona in 1880 and can be found in all reservoirs, rivers, streams and ponds below 4,000 feet. They spawn in shallow water from March through July. Carp eat clams, zooplankton, insects, crawfish and plants. Use little or no weight to catch one. The meat is considered excellent eating and is firm. There is a row of cartilage type bone in each fillet that should be removed prior to cooking.

Northern Pike

Northern Pike have dusky olive-green back and sides with rows of light oval spots . Dorsal, anal and tail fin have round to oblong dakened spots. The have large canine teeth. The cheeks are completely scaled, but only the upper half of the gill cover is scaled. They measure from 12 to 47 inches in length and weigh from 8 ounces to 24 pounds. The Northern Pike (Esox lucius) was introduced in Arizona in 1965 and can be found in Lake Mary, Mormon Lake, Stoneman Lake and Long Lake. They prefer shallow water and areas congested with aquatic weeds. They spawn just after the ices thaws by scattering their eggs over the bottom or onto vegetation. They eat fish but will also take frogs, crayfish, waterdogs, ducks, birds and mice. Use large spoons, spinners, plugs or waterdogs to catch one. Use a wire leader to prevent the line from being cut. They have an excellent flavor, but each fillet has a row of bones that should be removed.

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