By: Katy McClenathan
September 5, 2012
Recent Fish rating
Upriver: 8.5 to 9
Walk-In: 8.5 to 9
Spin-Fishing: 6 to 8
Key: 1 = Go fish somewhere else 10 = Rent a helicopter and get here now!
Today’s Weather: Sunny, Low 68 High 96. Occasional afternoon monsoons
Upriver: 1-2 No Crowds during the week & 3 on the weekends
Walk In: 2-3 during the week and 5 on the weekends
Key: 1 = Sleep late and fish where you want. 10 = Very crowded, get up early
Fly Fishing Up-River:
This is a great time of year here at the Ferry. Afternoon monsoons provide us with cooler weather and even cooler nights. Because of the monsoons in the area, the Paria River has flashed a few more times so if you notice a murky colored Colorado River as you cross over Navajo Bridge, don’t be surprised. It is still running clear above the Paria, though, so these flashes haven’t affected anything above it too drastically.
Starting at the end of August, the fishing has been tremendous. Glen Canyon Dam has dropped the flows to a steady 8,000cfs. The flows had been previously fluctuating between 10,000 and 18,000cfs so they have dropped significantly. If you are taking a boat up river just be aware of the gravel bars and very aware of your prop.
These low flows are so far great for fishing. Dropping the volume of water likely condenses the fish into smaller areas of water. As with the previous months, we are definitely seeing an increase in the amount of large fish being caught. The fish are longer, fatter and in general just healthier. It is not unusual to catch more than a handful of 18-20 inch fish a day, however, there are days when the larger fish just don’t want to eat and every small fish in the river appears ravenous.
The low flows also provide us with more wading spots, which is one of the most effective ways to fish the Colorado River. To get up to date information on the fishing up river, I have interviewed a couple of our guides that make daily trips up-river and have the inside information on the river:
• Skip Dixon’s advice was, “Don’t walk through the fish”. He is basically saying that the fish can be in very close and even though the water is low to fish your way out. Start working from the bank out and don’t just walk out to where you may think they will be. Fish all the way out to where you feel comfortable.
• Jared Nelson says, “I’m using a dry dropper a lot… If I am nymphing, I’m using a lot of zebra midges and scuds and I make sure that I don’t have very much weight on because the water is low and you can always add more weight if you need it …Also, I find that at the walk-in that longer line with less weight is the way to be”.
These guides are coming into the shop at the end of every trip and giving the shop staff the low down on exactly what is working up river, so make sure you stop on in so that we can pass that information on to you. It changes daily and we are more than happy to let you know what is working.
Fly Fishing at the Walk-In:
The walk-in has seen some of the best fishing this year. With the lower flows, the larger fish have moved back into the shallows. The lower flows have changed the terrain of the walk in slightly so you have to walk farther out to reach the water but it is shallower and thus easier to reach the fish.
If you are up for some slightly harder wading, try the upper boulder field. There is some pocket water that works well with nymphing but use lighter split shot so you are not scraping bottom the whole time. Like Jared says, less weight and longer line is the way to be.
If you are fishing from the big rock down, follow Skips advice and fish your way out. In the seam water you never know how close in those fish may be so better your odds by fishing the whole way out. A streamer or two is always worth a try from the big rock down to the Paria River.
Although fishing near the confluence of the Paria River is usually extremely good fishing, we recommend staying away from this area if you are not a confident wader. There is a lot of silt and sediment coming in and it can a lot like quick sand so be careful.
If you stop in the shop, we can review a map of the walk in and show you exactly where to go and what to use to increase your odds of catching those elusive rainbows. It always helps to know the water before you fish it and our enigmatic shop staff is always happy to help.
Spin Fishing up River:
Even though the flows are lower, fishing up river has been incredible. Spin fishing has been producing both number and high quality, sizeable rainbows. Over the Labor Day weekend we had numerous clients taking their boats up river and coming back with great reports and even better fish stories, which by the way we absolutely love hearing in the shop. Nothing makes us happier than a satisfied fisherman.
Anyways here are some tips as to what to do straight from a guide:
• Kevin Campbell says, “What has been working well for me is gold lures over big, expansive flats and jigs adjacent to the grass line”.
Guides have also been drifting large glo-bugs with the lead and tubing technique. I would recommend trying some different things out there, like Kevin says. If one thing isn’t working, switch it up. The fish are always there you just have to make sure to get the lures in their face to make sure they have the opportunity to hit it.
Spin Fishing at the Walk-In:
Because of the Paria River running so muddy, we recommend staying away from that area of the walk in because the fishing just hasn’t been that great down there. The area from the big rock down to just above the Paria has been pretty good. Look for the deep seams to pinpoint where the fish are.
Also try anywhere from below the boat ramp to the upper boulder field and if you are comfortable with wading and spin fishing, give it a try. In this section it is effective to walk out to the fish if you are not catching them from the shore line. Everyone has been fishing the lower sections of this area so there has been smaller traffic through here.
Dean Windham, an associate in the shop, recommends gold lures especially those with flash tape. You can also try using glo-bugs to change things up. If you have any spin fishing questions, Dean is our go to guy and you can often him out on the water learning new things about these Colorado River trout.
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
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.
Fishing here this year has been off the charts good and most all the fish that we are catching are in prime+ condition.
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.”
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!!
SAGE VANTAGE- 9’ 6wt 4 piece rod was $250.00 now $175.00
SAGE TXL- 7’10” 0wt 3 piece rod was $560.00 now $295.00
SAGE ZXL- 9’ 5wt 4 piece rod was $695.00 now $425.00
SAGE ZXL- 8’6” 3wt 4 piece rod was $695.00 now $425.00
SAGE ZXL- 8’6” 4wt 4 piece rod was $695.00 now $425.00
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, 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 Katy McClenathan 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.