Report by: Terry Gunn
March 4, 2012
Recent Fish rating
Upriver: 5 to 7.5
Walk-In: 5 to 8.0
Key: 1 = Go fish somewhere else 10 = Rent a helicopter and get here now!
Today’s Weather: Sunny, Low 36 High 63
The weather last week was cold and windy. The forecast for the coming week is for sunny and warmer weather into the 70′s!
Upriver: 1 No Crowds during the week & 3 on the weekends
Walk In: 1 Nobody here during the week & 3 on the weekends
Key: 1 = Sleep late and fish where you want. 10 = Very crowded, get up early
Fishing upriver has been OK the last few of days; however, the recent weather has been unseasonably cold and windy and has not been conducive to great fishing conditions and that is reflected in the lower fish rating.
New water flows began March 1 and the river is running 7,000cfs to 13,000cfs; the good news is that the water is slowly and steadily rising throughout the day and not dropping until late in the evening. This flow is very different from the flows in February which were rising and then dropping at noon and then rising again after 5 PM. The current flows are better for fishing as fish are much happier with rising water than falling water. These new flows have really opened up the river creating an abundance of wading opportunities. To help put the current flow levels into perspective, they are approximately four vertical feet lower than the flows that we saw last year…the river is finally back to normal.
The most important news is that the sun is moving higher in the sky and sunlight is really starting to shine through much of the canyon. The prolific spring midge hatches are sure to follow and should start any day now that the air is warming and the weather is forecast to be stable the next week.
The spawn is very weak this year. I figure that this is a “compensatory response” due to the fact that the spawn and recruitment has been so successful the past couple of years. This is a natural response by the fish and I have seen it many times over the years and next year will likely be different.
Using a dry fly with a dropper such as a Zebra Midge or Glo-bug has had some success depending on the water one is fishing. The dry dropper rig has been most productive in the shallower water. As the weather continues to warm up our midge hatches will only get better which should turn the fishing on in the riffles also the back eddies. Another option as the fish move into the shallows is using a double tiny rig as described on our website.
Although the water has come down another option is fishing a small streamer or wooly bugger. With these lower flows a person can wade and continue to fish streamers. The better streamer areas tend to be where the riffles drop off into slower deeper pools. Emphasizing the swing then stripping the fly up the seam has produced some good fish. The key to successful streamer fishing is varying the strip retrieve. When streamer fishing, we highly recommend a Teeny 130 or 200 grain sinking tip or a similar line. The reason for the Teeny is that the sinking tip is twenty feet which allows the streamer to cover more water effectively especially the deeper drop offs.
Walk-In Report: By Dean Windham
This area of the river has been fishing consistently good. There have been days that the walk-in fishing is almost as good as upriver. Fly fishing is doing better than spin fishing right now. The flow fluctuation has been happening long enough that the fish have become used to the flow schedule. So the routine has been great fishing early in the morning as the water rises then off and on the rest of the day.
The upper area in the walk-in has been producing fish but they seem to be smaller than those found in the lower section. If you fish the upper boulder field, try just above the boulders where the water is calmer and deeper. But do be careful if you are wading, it can get deep here quickly. Fishing in the boulder field is good in the pocket waters near boulders or in some of the seam areas.
At the area just above the big boulder the river makes a right had turn there are several seams. Work these seams from the inside out and you will find lots of fish. The morning is the best time to fish here but in the late morning and afternoon, fishing below the big boulder will be productive. Below the big boulder you will find the seams are closer to the shore and you don’t need long casts or drifts; this helps when the wind is blowing.
Midges have been the choice here. Using a midge upper with a midge dropper has been working well the past few days. Again be aware of the flows and constantly adjust your weight to get the fly down to the fish.
The area where the Paria River enters the Colorado River has been producing very nice fish and in good numbers. Mornings are best but mid-afternoons have been good also. Midges, San Juan worms, and scuds have all been working at different times so don’t be afraid to try something different. Here the drifts can be difficult so always think about adjusting your weight if you are not getting takes. This area has several seams that are easily reached by wading and long dead drifts work very well here.
So the walk-in for fly fishing would be a steady 8 for the past week and with the increasing sunlight it will only get better.
Spin fishing the walk-in:
Spin fishing has not been as good as fly fishing the past few weeks. The river flows are fluctuating and these flow changes appear to make the fish take the spinner only at certain times of the days. The feeding habits have been changing on a daily basis so I can’t give a specific time but mid-day has been when I have had the best luck. Gold is the color and it works with kastmasters or panther martin size 1/4 oz. or size 6. Jigs and bouncing glo-bugs work well at times if you can get the lure down to where the fish are. There is a lot of moss in the water due to the fluctuating flows so you will have to clean off the moss every other cast or so.
The upper walk-in area is not really very good for spinners as the water is low and there are many underwater obstacles such as rocks and branches. The area at and below the large boulder fishes very well and has some nice seams out about 20-30 feet from shore. There are some really fat fish holding in these seams that will take spinners or drifted jigs and glo bugs. The trick here is to keep moving and change your lure or color of your lure often.
The lower area where the Paria River enters the Colorado River has been hit or miss. At times this area is very good but lately this area has been off somewhat.
If you do fish this area you will need to have patience and be very cautious due to all of the silt. Always be aware of the rising flows and enjoy all of the great scenery.
I would rate the spin fishing at a 6.5 to 7.
Spin Fishing Up River:
Spin fishing is good! It’s all about bouncing Glo bugs, San Juan Worms and Scuds off the bottom. You can also try fishing with gold Kastmasters, black and gold Panther Martins #5s or Rapalas in Perch or trout. Also definitely don’t forget about the marabou jig, this one has been working great and has been very reliable.
• If you have some news you would like to report about fishing lees ferry, the walk-in section or up river please e-mail your report to: email@example.com Attn. Lees Ferry Fishing Report
• We would be happy to have your input, and pass it along.
For details on Lake Powell conditions and snow-pack, go here: http://lakepowell.water-data.com/
For a real time graphic view of water releases and ramp rates go here: http://waterdata.usgs.gov/az/nwis/uv?09380000
The AZ Game and Fish Department has detected whirling disease in a very small percentage of Lees Ferry trout that were collected for a random sampling. More recent samplings have turned up no sign of the disease, which may mean that it was a “one time” exposure, where the disease was not established or that the disease is present but at a very low prevalence. Anglers should still use caution in cleaning their equipment both before and after they have fished here or in other waters. For more information visit: http://www.whirling-disease.org
Lees Ferry Anglers Fly Shop maintains a large inventory of Abel, Sage, Winston, Temple Fork, Tibor, Galvin, Orvis, Simms, Patagonia, Scientific Anglers Mastery, Ex Officio, William Joseph, Fish Pond and Rio among others. We have been one of the largest fly tackle retailers in the southwest U.S. and we are Arizona’s oldest fly shop. We guarantee our prices to be the same or lower than any other fly shop or retail store. We offer free shipping on all orders over $100 and no sales tax on out of state sales. Call us for the best advice!
GIFT CERTIFICATES AVAILABLE!!
PATAGONIA- Women’s Stretch Jacket was $315.00 now $175.00
Call for all current sale items as they change quickly.
Cliff Dwellers Lodge:
Our lodge has rooms with cable TV (20 channels), in-room coffee, and the basic amenities. Choices of rooms are ONE king-size bed, TWO doubles and TWO queen-size beds. Also our group unit we call the HOUSE, sleeps six with two baths, dining area, kitchen, patio with a view, and cable TV. Rates vary with season. We are excited about the winter season and have some great “black board” specials planned. Patio dining is available. (Enclosed in the winter months)
Meet the Guides:
THE GUIDES AND STAFF OF LEES FERRY ANGLERS have thousands of days on this water, and over 100 years combined fish-guiding experience. Captain’s Terry Gunn, Jeff English, Skip Dixon, Natalie Jensen, Tyson Warren and Tyler Smith make up our guiding staff. Lees Ferry Anglers is proud of our fly-fishing guide team! Wendy Gunn, Ted Welling, Tyler Smith, Dean Windham and Andy Vincent work in the fly shop. We strive to provide you with the best customer service in the industry. All of our prices in our shop are the same or less than any of the Big Box stores and we really do appreciate your business.
A note from one of our customers:
My name is Bill and I had the opportunity to fish Lee’s Ferry a few weeks ago while on vacation. My wife and I stopped by your shop to buy a fishing license and talk about the fishing. The salesman behind the counter was a great help, I wish I could remember his name. He suggested a lure, size and color, that I bought. And told me a good place to go fishing in the walk in area. He also told me the best time to be there on the water. He was right on. I caught several nice trout the largest being about 16 inches all released. The fishing was good, the scenery was assume, the weather was COLD and WET. I was not dressed for it.
The best part I looked up river and there was the salesman from behind the counter fishing about 50 yards from me, with a friendly wave.
Can’t wait to come back.