Whether you’re a fan of The Byrds or a student of the Biblical verses, you’ve probably heard the phrase, “To everything there is a season.”
That sentiment certainly holds true for houseboating. In fact, by the time you’re reading this, there’s a good chance that your season is coming to a close. The crowds are gone, but so are the long days, as are the bright warm mornings, the afternoon slide parties and chill-free evening cruises.
Say goodbye to the swim trunks, top-deck parties and water toys.
Say hello to your fan jerseys, leaf piles, full enclosures and … heating bills.
This unstoppable seasonal transition is a given for most houseboating climates across the nation, but not all. In a few special corners, autumn is truly houseboating’s golden hour.
Our favorite case in point might surprise you. While most lakes from Texas to the Carolinas are showered in falling leaves and falling temperatures, conditions are shaping up nicely on the Arizona-Utah border for a secondary peak season on magnificent Lake Powell.
Here at the magazine, we’ve been plying the waters of this behemoth Southwest reservoir since Houseboat launched in the summer of 1994. Almost all of our reporting has pertained to the lake’s peak season, which kicks in after Memorial Day. Like other desert lakes (and most lakes to the east as well), the hustle and bustle hits its crescendo in mid-summer and then predictably wanes after Labor Day.
Most of the waters we visit enjoy some sort of late-season twilight, but few compare to the recreational riches of late autumn that you’ll discover on Lake Powell. By early October, the sweltering desert heat of summer has given way to a balmy dry climate with daytime highs in the mid 60s and up into the 70s. The water temperature is lower, too, but possibly still warm enough for a midday dip.
The fishing is better. The lighting, prettier.
The wind slows to a crawl, and you’ll experience an almost eerie quiet on the docks and in the coves.
Get to the Point
One of our favorite launch points on this million-acre lake is Antelope Point Marina, a quick jaunt from nearby Page, Arizona. Home to some of the lake’s most eye-catching houseboat rental craft, Antelope is also a gateway to some of the lake’s best camping, fishing and kayaking adventures. Whether you venture out to set up your houseboat as a base camp or take advantage of the marina’s guide and shuttle services (or both, for that matter), you’ll find that the late season on Powell may well be its peak season.
Antelope Canyon itself has quite a fan base for visiting houseboat renters and adventurers. The canyon and surrounding areas are easily some of the most photographed areas in the country – or world, for that matter. The four-mile drive from Antelope Point is quick and easy, as is the hiking. Some houseboaters plan a visit to the canyon before or after their time on the water. Either way, most agree that Antelope Canyon is well worth the trip.
Hook, Line & Sinker
Back on the lake itself, mid to late autumn is also a great time to explore the lake’s trophy angling opportunities.
While year-round fishing is available for various species, the entire experience hits its apex in October, especially for Smallmouth Bass and Striped Bass. “Smallies” are especially active in the fall, so you can expect some incredible catch rates. Striped bass will be active as well in pursuit of shad. On a calm October or November day, it’s hard to miss the spectacle of stripers boiling on the surface as they enjoy a late-season feeding frenzy.
Both are absolutely delicious when filleted. Smallmouth have a succulent light white meat, while stripers are a bit more “fishy” tasting and might require a shot of lemon and pepper to make their flavor really pop.
If you’re an angling newbie, don’t let that dissuade you. Antelope Point has you covered thanks to expansive guide and rental services.
The marina’s seasoned fishing guides know every corner of the lake, including the haunts of all its gamefish. Stripers, largemouth, smallies, catfish – whatever your quarry, the Antelope Point guides are familiar with every species and where (and when) to find them. And don’t sweat it if you didn’t pack your own rod and reel. The marina’s store will fit you out with all the equipment and bait you could ever want. If you’d like a simpler experience right at the marina, be sure to ask about Ben’s Fishing Dock, built for easy-access, deep-water fishing by anglers of all skill levels.
Have Boat, Will Paddle
Kayaking has been growing in popularity for quite some time on Powell, and you’ll find no shortage of them for rent at Antelope Point. These addictive little watercraft are perfect for journeys of varying distances, depending on your endurance and experience. Of course, they also make perfect sidekicks for your houseboat rental. The boat style is a Sea Kayak, which is designed for you to sit on top as you paddle along.
Sea Kayak rentals come in single or double-rider configurations. Both are in high demand, even in the late season. Call 800-255-5561 for details and reservations. Note: While summer and early fall adventures pose few risks, the cooler temperatures of late fall will dictate that you have some training in cold-water situations.
Along with autumn kayaking and fishing adventures, Antelope also serves as a gateway for camping excursions, photography treks and explorations of the area’s native culture. It’s all right here, and with 2000 miles of shoreline and a million surface acres to explore, you’ll quickly discover that Lake Powell is far more than a boater’s destination. It’s a harbor for late-season adventures that can be nothing short of life-changing. For details on the myriad of recreational possibilities, call 800-255-5561 or check out the Antelope’s homepage at www.antelopepointlakepowell.com.
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