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Camping at the Country’s Second Largest Artificial Reservoir with Emmanuel Williams

You can usually find Salt Life Team Member Emmanuel Williams zipping around off the South Florida Coast in a Sea Doo. An avid angler, Emmanuel spends his days targeting pelagic fish like tuna, mahi, wahoo, and sailfish. But his latest adventure was something else entirely: a four-night camping trip at Lake Powell, the immense man-made reservoir that straddles the Utah-Arizona border. 


Lake Powell sits on the Colorado River, which carves its way through striking red desert terrain and is a major water source for the Great Basin. And although it’s at the heart of the water crisis that Western states are currently grappling with, Lake Powell is still full enough to be the destination for anglers in the landlocked states of the Southwest. And it’s teeming with fish!


For Emmanuel, the experience of freshwater fishing in the desert and camping beneath the stars was an altogether different experience from the offshore adventures he’s used to. Emmanuel sat down with us recently to share the details of his desert camping trip.

Sea Doo Fishing in Lake Powell

Emmanuel got in touch with Bob Reed at Up Lake Adventures, which offers Sea Doo fishing tours of Lake Powell. Emmanuel’s used to riding his Sea Doo on the open water, but the slot canyons on Lake Powell are made to be explored on a water scooter. Bob and Emmanuel had no trouble finding great spots. ”We looked for rocky structure and dropoffs–places that looked ‘fishy’, put our baits in, and caught tons of largemouth bass and smallmouth bass.” 


The pair also used irons to drop the baits down to about 70 feet, where their fish finder showed what looked to be thousands of striped bass. “They were loaded up, just everywhere,” says Emmanuel. “Non-stop striper bite, non-stop for hours.” They also managed to hook a walleye. Not bad for a man-made reservoir!

Camping in Glen Canyon

During his fishing trip, Emmanuel spent his nights camping in Glen Canyon National Recreation Area. Similar to the Grand Canyon, Glen Canyon was carved into the landscape by the mighty Colorado River. And it’s the perfect place to set up a tent and spend a few nights beneath the stars. 


Being a Floridian, Emmanuel was extra susceptible to the cold desert nights. But he managed to stay warm around the campfire, and the promise of a great day of fishing was enough to help him weather the cold each morning. 


Bob treats his clients to what he calls “Lake Powell Lasagna,” so there was no need to clean and cook what they caught—all of their fish went right back into the water. That said, it’s perfectly legal to catch your dinner on Lake Powell!

Final Thoughts

Here at Salt Life, we love any kind of adventure that gets you out on the water. The vast, open landscape of the desert offers an unforgettable backdrop for a fishing trip, and we’re grateful to Emmanuel for sharing the details of his trip with us. You can follow along on all of Emmanuel’s adventures by following him on Instagram @emmanuelw_ and TikTok @EmanBelongsOutdoors. To hear more about the most awe-inspiring trips that the planet has to offer, subscribe to Salt Life’s Above and Below podcast on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, or wherever you get your podcasts. Stay salty!