The lowering of the waters at Lake Powell to mid-1970s level has released a flood of rumors.
The two most repeated are:1. The lake level is too low to boat, and . . .
2. It's impossible to launch a boat because the receding water has run off the end of the ramps.
Boats are being launched, daily, at the four main marinas and aside from a dry canyon here and there, boating is encountering no more than the usual barriers.
The lake level is currently 75 feet below the full mark hit in the mid-1980s. Or, about 20 feet below what it was one year ago.
Ernie Gnauck, general manger of the lake properties for ARA Leisure Services, pointed out that the lake level may be 75 feet down, "but it's still 300 feet deep out in the main channel. It's the question of whether the lake is 75-feet empty, or 300-feet full.
"But people hear the lake is down 75 feet and relate that to other lakes. With that much water gone they think Lake Powell must be dry. But, Lake Powell isn't like any other lake."
Boaters at Bullfrog Marina will, in fact, find launching easier and quicker this year. A new addition to the launch ramp, which doubles the width, is nearly complete.
According to Dean Crane, Bullfrog manger, as many as eight to 10 boats will be able to be launched at one time on the new ramp.
The ramp at Hite has also been improved to allow easier launching during low-water conditions.
Boaters begin their annual assault on the lake in mid-May. Memorial Day (May 27) has traditionally been one of the busiest of the season. Boaters have complained in the past of having to wait hours to launch a craft.
Crane said the addition to the ramp should greatly reduce the waiting time.
He also noted that construction on the new visitors center at Bullfrog has begun. The center will be built with "Set Aside" funds raised by the lake concessionaire.
The new facility, reported Riley Mitchell, with the National Park Service, will hold, among other things, an exhibit on lake history and geology, a clinic and a holding cell. It will also include an exhibit intended to represent a "slot canyon." This is a narrow canyon, many times only a few feet wide, with high walls.
Mitchell said the new center should be open by late September. This will be followed by plans for self-guided nature hikes and exhibits in the Bullfrog area.
"We hope it is something that people will want to visit . . . Where we will be able to give them an idea of what Glen Canyon (Recreation Area) is really about," she added.
Early reports on the lake level indicate a rise. Figures vary from a few feet to more than 20 feet. It all depends, noted one source, on how much rain or snow falls in Colorado the next few weeks, and then on how rapidly the snow melts.
The very makeup of the lake presents many natural hazards. It did when it was full, and it does now. It's just that those obstacles that were visible a few years ago are now more out of the water and those that were covered are now visible.
"People had to be careful where they boated when the lake was full and they must be careful now," added Gnauck.
Fishermen will find improved conditions this spring for striped bass. A good shad hatch last fall has allowed the bass to rebound this spring, albeit a little late.
Wayne Gustaveson, Lake Powell project leader for the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources, said the series of spring storms has delayed the start of the annual striper run.
He believes fishing should start picking up next week. Because of the late start he does feel that the good fishing might last well into June this year, especially at the upper end of the lake from Bullfrog to Hite.
Those interested in Lake Powell fishing can now call a toll-free number to receive the latest fishing reports - 1-800-695-FISH (3474).