By: Terry Gunn
Recent Fish Rating
Upriver: 3.5 to 6
Walk-In: 3.5 to 6
Spin-Fishing: 5 to 7.5
Key: 1 = Go fish somewhere else 10 = Rent a helicopter and get here now!
Today’s Weather: Sunny, Low 38 High 59.
Crowd Rating: Upriver: 1-2 No Crowds during the week and 2 on the weekends
Walk In: 1 during the week and 2 on the weekends
Key: 1 = Sleep late and fish where you want. 10 = Very crowded, get up early
Fly Fishing Up-River:
Since Nov.1, water flows have fluctuated between 5,500 to 8,000-cfs daily as part of the upcoming experimental high flow event.
Beginning on 11/11 they will be conducting another HFE or artificial flood. A fall flood in no way mimics a natural flood event. That said, I feel that for the first time, Lees Ferry should benefit from this high flow experiment. This past summer we had huge inflows (flash floods) of sand from side channels that brought in thousands of tons of sand that covered several miles of river bottom. This sand essentially covers up and smothers the aquatic vegetation and invertebrates. This high flow event will move this sand downriver and I’m sure we’ll see some new sandbars in the Glen Canyon reach of river. The upside is that this sand should be relocated and the river bottom cleared to make way for a recolonization of the aquatic food base. Additionally, this high flow will stir up considerable amounts of nutrients and food. Fish will have lots to eat.
Last year, after the high flow event, the fishing was incredibly good. The fish were in a feeding frenzy because of all the food that was stirred up and relocated. The important thing to consider is that the location and feeding behavior of the fish will change for a while post flood. Look for fish on the inside of bends where the food (scuds and worms) has been deposited.
The good news is that there is a tremendous amount of monitoring of the food base, fish population, and fish movement surrounding this experiment. This is the first time that this level of scientific monitoring has been included with an experimental flow and will include detailed pre- and post-data collection of food base species and abundance along with measuring the time for biomass recovery. We have been promised that if the aquatic food base or trout populations are harmed that there will changes in the flows going forward.
Here are the details of the HFE Event that begins Nov. 11 and continues through the 16th.
Peak release = ~34,100 cfs (instead of 37,200 cfs, a 3,100 cfs decrease from last years HFE)
• Begin ramp-up from 8,000 cfs at 9 a.m. on Nov. 11 (Monday)
• Reach power plant capacity at approximately 1 p.m. on Nov.11
• Open bypass tubes at approximately 2 p.m. Nov. 11
• Reach full bypass at 8 p.m. on Nov. 11
• Begin ramp-down from bypass at 8 p.m. on Nov. 15 (Friday)
• Complete HFE (back to 8,000 cfs) at 3 p.m. on Nov. 16 (Saturday)
Recent Fly Fishing Upriver:
Recent fishing has been good, but not great. This is the time of year when the midge hatches decline and the larger fish move into the deeper water looking for bigger food items. We are still picking fish up in the riffles using the normal midge rigs. Some of the best fishing has been with streamers fished with a sinking tip line. A 20-foot, 200 grain line is my flyline of choice. The best way to fish a streamer is to anchor a boat in a riffle and cast directly across the current and let the fly swing downstream. As the fly begins to swing, one should begin stripping the line with slow and short strips. When the fly finishes the swing and is directly behind the boat, you can increase the speed of the strip to keep the fly off the bottom. Lees Ferry fish do not usually like a fast or long strip. I like to describe the stripping action as “slowly swimming the streamer.”
Walk –in fishing report 11-07-13 By Dean Windam
The walk-in fishing has been up and down the past week. With the low flows wading has been easier and sight fishing has been working. It appears that on some days you can’t miss getting good numbers of fish and on others it has proven to be more of a challenge. The low flows may have something to do with this as there is not as much food in the water and the fish have more time to look at the fly. The past few days the fishing has been more consistent with reports of some nice fish being caught. Nymphing has been the preferred technique with san juan worms, glo bugs and midges being the most successful flies. Streamers have also been working in the afternoon with a sinking tip line.
The area from the big boulder to the Paria River has been fishing very well all day. In the afternoon the area just above the big boulder has been fish well with buggers. At the confluence of the Paria River and the Colorado River fishing is good but wading can be dangerous in this area so caution is required and a wading staff is suggested.
Spin Fishing Walk-in 11-07-13
Spin fishing has been difficult with the low flows due to all of the rocks and debris in the water. The afternoon has been better with the higher water levels. From the top of the boulder field to half a mile above to boat docks is the best area for spin fishing. ¼ oz. Kastmasters and panther martins always work well here at the Ferry. Gold is the best color for the most consistent bite. When spin fishing here think of the lure more as a jig and bounce and twitch it as close to the bottom as you can to get some really strong takes. Also remember to use 4 lb. test line in order to get a long cast.
For details on Lake Powell conditions and snow-pack, go to: http://lakepowell.water-data.com/
For a real time graphic view of water releases and ramp rates go to: http://waterdata.usgs.gov/az/nwis/uv?09380000
Whirling disease detected for second time at Lees Ferry.
This is the second time that WD has been detected at Lees Ferry. The first detection was in 2007; that 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!
Cliff Dwellers Lodge:
Winter hotel special:
December 1, 2013 through February 13, 2014
Rooms are $50 per night plus tax for one or two people
Our lodge has rooms with cable TV (20 channels), in-room coffee and refrigerators, 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.
As for dining, we are excited about the winter season and have some great “blackboard” 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. Captains Terry Gunn, Jeff English, Skip Dixon, Natalie Jensen, Tyson Warren, Dale Gauthier, and TJ Carrington make up our guiding staff. Lees Ferry Anglers is proud of our fly-fishing guide team!