LESS FERRY FISHING REPORT
By: Terry Gunn
August 22, 2012
Recent Fish rating
LESS FERRY FISHING REPORT
By: Terry Gunn
August 21, 2012
Recent Fish rating
Upriver: 6.5 to 8.5
Walk-In: 5 to 8.5
Spin-Fishing: 5 to 8
Key: 1 = Go fish somewhere else 10 = Rent a helicopter and get here now!
Today’s Weather: Sunny, Low 69 High 93.
Upriver: 1 to 2 No Crowds during the week & 2 to 3 on the weekends
Walk In: 1 Nobody here during the week & 1 to 2 on the weekends
Key: 1 = Sleep late and fish where you want. 10 = Very crowded, get up early
Fly Fishing Up-River:
Our monsoon season has been active for the past 60 days and the river valley is actually green. The Paria River has flash flooded 3 times in the past 4 days (go to our Facebook page for a video http://www.facebook.com/leesferryanglers) which has turned the river to chocolate milk below Lees Ferry. Water Holes Canyon which enters the river directly across from 4 mile bar also flash flooded and brought a tremendous amount of sand into the river. In the long term this is probably good for the river considering that this is likely an input of nutrients.
The fishing this summer was good. I rate the July cicada hatch a 3 on a scale of 10; the hatch was early, of short duration and not as many bugs as some years. It is different every year and we’ll see what next year’s hatch is like. Recent fishing has been all about streamers; I would say that the streamer fishing the last couple of weeks has been as good as I have ever seen it. We are also doing well with nymphs, both wading and drifting from the boat.
Conditions are getting ready to change on September 1 when the water flows are going to drop to 8,000 cfs constant for all of September and October. This is the last year of a multi-year experiment where the water flows have been held steady for these 2 months. I’m not really sure what this is going to do to the fishing but it will be perfect wading water for both upriver and the walk-in section. If we get some good midge hatches the fishing should be good. Since the conditions are changing and we have no real way of predicting how the fish are going to react to the change we are going to resume regular fishing reports posted on our website so be sure to check back in September for regular fishing updates.
Overall the fish population is the highest that it has been in years. The trout fishing at Lees Ferry continues to be better than we have seen in many years. The AZ Game and Fish department has confirmed through creel surveys that fishing is better than it has been in more than a decade. The Trout are in superb condition, growing fast, and we are seeing fish of all sizes in the system which is indicative of a very healthy fishery and should continue that way for the foreseeable future.
Walk In Fly Fishing Report, By Dean Wyndam:
Well the fishing has been really great the past few weeks. The upper boulder field is where most of the anglers have been catching good numbers of fish. That being said, I cannot believe that more fishermen are not up here fishing. Today I fished the walk in and counted TWO people other than me fishing. The weather has been decent with the temps moderating up to the low 90’s. We have had some rain but most of the moisture has been in the upper plateau areas. Most days we have had clouds in the afternoon and the midge hatches have been amazing. The fish have been cooperating well by being active from first light until about 11 am and then on and off until picking up again around 5 pm. My suggestion is for you to fish as early as possible until 10 am and then find a place to get a cool drink and take a nap. Then fish again at 5 pm until dark.
The upper boulder field has really great numbers of fish. Yes, some of them are small but be patient there are larger fish there also. Almost everything is working in the boulder field. Small tan or brown dry flies have been very productive. A wine colored San Juan worm with a midge has been working well also. For the streamer fisherman, black wooly buggers have been really the hot ticket, especially in the afternoon. Remember that the boulder field has lots of great holding water but caution needs to be taken when wading due to deep holes and lots of rocks. If you have a wading staff brings it.
The area by the big rock is still fishing well but not as good as last month. There are fish in good numbers here but they have been really picky about what they want to eat. Streamers in the afternoon have been the most productive fly in this area lately. Midges with San Juan worms have been working in the morning and late afternoon.
The area by where the Paria River enters the Colorado is in a state of change. Due to the rains on the upper plateau area there is lots of silt being put In the Colorado River. The river below the Paria riffle is very silty and red colored. However, the area just out from the confluence is still very clear and is being scoured clean from the silt daily. New holes are being formed that will make good holding areas during the afternoon. Fish have not been as active during the morning in this area. That should change as soon as the deeper holes are scoured out. This area is also hazardous for wading due to the heavy deposit of silt. It can be almost like quicksand. So it is better to walk in from the parking lot on the main Lees Ferry road. DO NOT ATTEMPT TO WADE the Paria River.
The water flows are changing to 8,000 cfs constant on September 1. This is going to be great for the walk-in fishing.
So I would rate the fishing at a steady 8 for this week. So if you have a few days to fish come on up and catch some wonderful rainbows. Hope to see you on the water.
Walk in Spin Fishing Report:
The higher flows have improved the walk in for spin fishing. All areas are producing good numbers of larger fish on a daily basis. Kastmaster in the gold color is the most productive lure. The silver Kastmaster also works but not as well as gold. Panther Martins #6 in a gold blade with a black body have been working well also. The spin fishing pressure has been very light due to the lower flows of the spring and now the higher flows have been giving us some larger fat fish. I fished the walk in from the bottom to the top two days ago and did not see another person spin fishing. In an hour and a half I caught 12 fish with the largest at 17 inches and the smallest at 8 to 10 inches. I have also been using fluorocarbon line and I like the way the lure sinks quickly through the water column. I have been using 4 lb. diameter test.
The upper boulder area from the river boat beach area down river to the big boulder has been really fun to fish with a Kastmaster. The boulder area has some really deep holes and lots of transition water where larger fish can be caught.
The area from the large boulder to the Paria River has not been as productive as in the past. I have tried several different set ups but the bite just appears to be more difficult right now.
At the area where the Paria River enters the Colorado anglers have been catching nice size fish later in the day. As the water comes up the big fish move in closer to shore and are easier to catch. Be cautious if you are wading in this area as the Paria is dumping large amounts of silt into the river making areas that are soft and mucky. A wading staff is helpful but walking in from the main Lees Ferry road would be the safer bet.
Whirling disease detected for 2nd time at Lees Ferry.
This is the 2nd time that WD has been detected at Lees Ferry. The first detection was in 2007; this was the year that Lake Powell dropped to its lowest level and as a result, the discharge temperatures from the dam were more than 60 degrees. This past year the discharge temperatures increased again, this time it was a result of the huge inflows into the lake which caused another 60 degree discharge. There has always been the thought that it was our cold water that prevented Lees Ferry from being infected with WD and I find it an interesting coincidence that both detections were made during periods of warm water. Water temps returned to normal (48 degrees) last December.
Like the Green and San Juan, I’m not expecting this WD detection to have an impact on the Lees Ferry fishery. The one thing that it should impact is our awareness to make sure that we all take the necessary steps to clean our gear so that WD is not spread to other waters in AZ or elsewhere.
Here is some great info: http://www.tu.org/whirling-disease
PRESS RELEASE FROM THE ARIZONA GAME and FISH DEPARTMENT
PHOENIX – The parasite known to cause whirling disease – that can affect trout but is not harmful to humans – has been reconfirmed at the renowned Lees Ferry fishery within Glen Canyon National Recreation Area in northern Arizona, advised Arizona Game and Fish Department officials.
“Although the parasite has been confirmed in fish samples from Lees Ferry, to date no trout have displayed any disease symptoms such as the classic whirling motion,” said Fisheries Chief Kirk Young. “In fact, just the opposite is true; the Ferry is currently providing some of its best fishing in more than a decade.”
Young emphasized that there are no human health implications for this fish parasite.
Whirling disease is caused by a microscopic parasite that damages cartilage and compromises the nervous system of trout and other salmonids, but no other fish species. The disease takes its name because it can cause fish to swim in an uncontrolled whirling motion.
This is the second detection of the whirling disease parasite in trout at the Ferry; the first was in 2007. While the parasite was detected in 2007, it did not become established in the trout population and until now was absent from annual samples taken since then.
“It’s pretty clear from the recent tests that this parasite is back again in the trout population at the Ferry,” Young said. “What we don’t know is how the parasite got to the Ferry, nor do we know how it may manifest itself.”
There have been no fish die offs detected due to the whirling disease parasite at Lees Ferry. “Its presence can, but does not always cause significant trout population losses and typically affects young or immature trout the most,” Young advised.
The whirling disease parasite is found at hundreds of waters in 25 states across the nation, including Colorado, New Mexico and Nevada. “We have been very fortunate in Arizona – we don’t have this parasite showing up anywhere else in Arizona. We want to keep it that way,” Young said.
It’s critical to have the conscientious cooperation of boaters, anglers and other recreational users along this stretch of the Colorado River and at other waters as well.
“The life cycle of this parasite, which involves both trout and tubifex worms along with microscopic spores, results in this parasite being readily transportable unless anglers and boaters are conscientious about cleaning and decontaminating their equipment,” Young said.
Anglers and boaters are asked to:
* Never transport live fish from one body of water to another – anywhere, not just from the Ferry;
* Do not dispose of fish heads, skeletons or entrails in any body of water, this can spread the disease-causing parasites;
* Do not discard entrails or heads of fish down a garbage disposal. The whirling disease parasite can survive most water treatment plants and infect areas downstream;
* Carefully clean mud and vegetation from all equipment, such as boats, trailers, waders, boots, float tubes and fins. Rinse all mud and debris from equipment and wading gear, and drain water from boats before leaving the area where you’ve been fishing;
* Drain and dry boat bilges, live wells, and lower units.
BEFORE using waders, wading shoes, or fishing gear at another waterway, clean equipment with one of the following:
* Saturate waders and other gear with full-strength “Commercial Solutions Formula 409® Cleaner Degreaser Disinfectant” or “Formula 409® All Purpose Cleaner Antibacterial Kitchen Lemon Fresh” or other cleaners, that contain at least 0.3 percent of the quaternary ammonium compound alkyl dimethyl benzyl ammonium chloride for at least 10 minutes or,
* Dip, wipe, or spray waders and other gear with 50-percent bleach solution (one part household chlorine bleach to one part water) or,
* Soak waders and other gear for 10 minutes in a 10-percent bleach solution (one part household chlorine bleach to nine parts water) or,
* Pour boiling water (at least 200°F) over your gear and allow to cool.
“The spores of the whirling disease parasite are known to adhere to these kinds of materials and can potentially be carried on gear from one water to another,” Young advised.
Young added that there are also other reasons to clean and decontaminate equipment and boats.
“We have a long list of potential invasive species from New Zealand mudsnails, rock snot, to invasive mussels that can be spread from one body of water to another if simple precautions are not taken. Please make it a habit to Clean, Drain, and Dry, and don’t give any of these invaders a free ride to a new water.”
Spin Fishing Up River:
Spin fishing is just OK. The reason that it has slowed down is due to the fact there is so much algae floating in the river that it is difficult to get a good drift.
• 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: firstname.lastname@example.org Attn. Lees Ferry Fishing Report
• We would be happy to have your input, and pass it along.
Here is a report form one of our customers.
Subject: [Cliff Dwellers Lodge] Fishing
Last Tuesday I had the opportunity to fish with my wife on the boat and Skip as the guide and I just wanted to tell you that we enjoyed the day so much that it’s all I have talked about for nearly a week. Skip was a great teacher and I enjoyed the day so much with the beauty of the river and I am trying to talk some guys to coming out and fishing a couple of days. It was great and to catch fish on top of that what a deal!
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
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!!
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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, Tyler Smith, Kevin Campbell, Dale Gauthier, and Jared Nelson make up our guiding staff. Lees Ferry Anglers is proud of our fly-fishing guide team! Wendy Gunn, Dean Windham, Andy Vincent and Katie McClenathen 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.