Lees Ferry Fishing Report 4/9/14

March 21st, 2014

By: Terry Gunn

4/9/14

Recent Fish Rating

Upriver: 5 to 7.5

Walk-In: 5 to 6.5

Spin-Fishing: 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 3 on the weekends

Key: 1 = Sleep late and fish where you want. 10 = Very crowded, get up early

Fly Fishing Up-River:

Visit www.leesferry.com for reports and updates.

The best part of spring is the prolific midge hatches occurring as the days warm, the sun rises higher in the sky and sunlight returns to the canyon. The fishing has really turned on and is going to get better as the midge hatches increase in magnitude, duration, and frequency. The weather has been perfect with cool mornings and warm afternoons the norm.

We have also been seeing many larger fish this spring. I would say that the average fish are overall larger than they have been in the past few years. We have also been seeing – and occasionally catching – some really husky fish that are very strong. Overall, fish condition is good and will continue as they get more food from the midge hatches this spring and the higher “feeding flows” in the summer.

The spawn has been a so-so event this winter which is normal when our fish population is good. The AZ Game and Fish Department has concluded that the current catch rates and trout population are higher than they have been in 20 years. I agree with that and predict that this spring and summer will be the best fishing that we have seen since the 1990s.

Current water flows are just about perfect for wading and will remain at this level through May and possibly June. The flows are lower than normal due to the low levels in Lake Powell. However, current snowpack conditions are good with 115% of normal. This means Lake Powell will rise this year. Low water + big midge hatches = great fishing!

The fish are already moving into the shallow water above riffles to feed on the midges and I would say that the fishing is currently better than it normally is this time of year.

Walk-In Fishing: By Dean Windha

Walk-in Fishing Report  04/09/14

The walk-in area has really came alive the last 10 days or so.   Good numbers of fish are being reported from the boulder field down to the Paria riffle.  The weather has been really warm with just a couple of wind days last month.  All-in-all, a great start to spring at the Ferry.

Midges are working really well with the zebra midge being the favorite right now.  San Juan worms and glo bugs are also working well.  Nymphing is the rig of choice at this time; however, streamers worked well, especially in the lower water on Saturday and Sunday.

There have been reports that the boulder field is a great place for some dry dropper action.  The afternoon and early evening has been a good time to fish in this area.  Fish are holding in the usual areas of slack water close to the faster riffles.  On the weekends, when the water is low and you can wade out the point just above the big rock, nymphs or streamers are both productive.

Be careful when wading in the boulder field; a wading staff is most helpful here.

The area by the big rock is starting to turn-on as the fish move in.  Nymphing is the rig that is working great in this part of the river.  Zebra midges with a San Juan worm in the morning and a midge with a glo bug or scud in the afternoon are very good options.  The transition water below the big rock where the water slows is always a great place to fish.  Fish close to shore and work your way out making sure to fish all of the seams.   This is where fish are holding.

The area where the Paria River comes into the Colorado has also been fishing well.   Midges and bead head nymphs have really been the ticket here.  Remember to not wade out very far as you will be stepping on fish if you get out into the river.  Fish above the confluence and out from the silt line and you will do well.  Remember to watch the bubbles in the river.  If your indicator is moving about the speed of the bubbles you are pretty close to what you need.  If you are fast then you will need to add more weight or add length to your rig.  If your indicator is slow you will need to shorten it or remove weight.

One word of caution about wading in the area of the Paria River: There are areas that are soft silt and act like quick sand.  If you get stuck in this area you may lose a boot or get water in your waders.  Always fish with a partner and use a wading staff here.

I would rate the walk-in at 6.5 this week and expect it to be even better next week.

Walk-in Spin Fishing Report 04/08/14

With the low flow, spin-fishing can be difficult.  The best time to spin-fish is when the water is at its peak for the day.  This is about mid-day except on weekends when the water does not rise much.  Evenings have been good at the Paria beach area and in the area just below the boat dock.

Kastmasters and Panther Martins are the lures that work in the walk-in.  Gold is the color that works well here at the Ferry.   Keep in mind that you need to think of the spinners as a jig not a traditional spinner and you will have better luck than if you use the traditional spinner techniques.

I would rate the walk-in spin fishing at a 5 for this week.

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Fish Behavior 101.  Some thoughts on why fish eat and why they don’t.

Any man who claims to understand fish is a fool. – T G

Fish are weird; there is just no getting around it. One day they are jumping in the boat, the next they are nowhere to be found. Some people say that this is what keeps bringing us back to the stream, that this uncertainty we call “fishing” makes us more competitive. After all these years I do understand a little about fish and I would like to share some ideas on why fish are happy one day and not the next.

First and foremost, the fish have to be present in the area of water that you are fishing.

Fish are not always going to be in the same spot. This is especially true at Lees Ferry where you have water that fluctuates on a daily and monthly basis. A spot that is stacked with fish at one flow may be a “fish desert” at another level.

FOOD and SHELTER

The two things that determine the location of fish are food and shelter.

If there is no food present there is no reason for a fish to be in a specific location. However, if you find the highest concentration of food, you will always find the highest concentration of fish, assuming that this concentration of food has been present long enough for the fish to locate it.

At Lees Ferry, we have two different major feeding plots (each with hundreds of sub-plots). The first is PROLIFIC MIDGE HATCHES. Midges hatch throughout the year; however, by far the largest hatches occur in the spring. The lifecycle of a midge is very similar to a butterfly; the adult midge’s sole purpose is to make babies. In a nutshell, this is how it works – the adult midge mates with other midges in a swarm, then the female lands on the water to lay the fertilized eggs.  She stays on the water for second or so then flies off the water and then lands again to lay more eggs (this is a survival mechanism which helps protect her from being eaten by a fish). The eggs slowly sink and eventually hatch into larvae (think of a tiny caterpillar); the midge lives as larvae for a long time, living in the algae and mud. Then, though some miracle of nature, the midge larvae get a call to pupate in mass, (think of a butterfly chrysalis). As they pupate, the midge, encased in a hard protective husk, slowly floats to the surface. The size and color of the midge pupae varies with the specie and with 50 different species of midges inhabiting Lees Ferry we have a large variety of sizes and colors of pupae. When the pupae reaches the surface, the midge hatches through the husk and the adult midge crawls out, dries his wings and flies off to repeat the entire process.

Fish do feed on adult midges, but mostly on the carcasses of dead midges that accumulate in back-eddies. The importance of a midge as a food source occurs in the emerging stage. When midges hatch they often do so in mass numbers and for long durations. The fish know this is happening and move into the riffles to feed on the emerging midges.

WHY DO FISH MOVE INTO RIFFLES TO FEED ON MIDGES?

Midge pupae are small, anywhere from a size #18 to #30. It takes a lot of midges to sustain a Lees Ferry trout; however, if you were to measure the midges as a percentage of total biomass, they far exceed all other food sources combined. Riffles are areas of river where the water transitions from very shallow to slowly deeper water. Do not confuse “points” with riffles, they look similar, however, the water on “points” transitions from shallow to deep in a short area.  Fish move into the shallowest part of the riffles to feed on the CONCENTRATED MIDGES. Imagine if you had a thousand midges in a column of water that was 3-feet deep versus 6-inches deep, the midges are going to be much more concentrated in the 6-inch deep water. This is why we often tell people that they are wading in areas that they should be fishing.

The other kicker to midge hatches is water volume.  As the water flow increases, the midge hatches decrease. This is something that I do not understand, but I know it to be true. So, the best midge fishing is always in lower water flows. If I were to put a number to it I would say the best midge fishing is in water less than 14,000-cfs. This is why in the spring, (March, April and May) some of our best fishing is on the weekends when the water is at the lowest level of the week. We often see good midge hatches in September and October, but not the mass swarms that happen in the spring.

The other situation that makes fish eat at Lees Ferry is HIGH WATER FLOWS. Anytime the water flows are high (above 16,000-cfs) food is dislodged, moved around, and transported by the current. Here we are talking about WORMS and SCUDS. High water flows normally occur four months each year, the two hottest months – July and August – and the two coldest months, December and January … this is all about electrical demand and high demand equals high flows. There are exceptions and high flows can occur at other times if there is a high level in Lake Powell and high runoff into the lake. This happened the years1983-86 and a couple of other times in the 90s. The best fishing periods at Lees Ferry have always been preceded by periods of higher than normal water flows. In high water, the fish will concentrate in the rifles and the tail out of the riffles to feed on the drifting food. In addition to the riffles, feeding fish can be found though long runs between riffles. This is the time of year that the most productive fishing is usually from a drifting boat as opposed to wading.

WEATHER

Any change in the weather can shut off fish feeding. I cannot explain why this happens, however I guarantee you that it is true. I was in Placentia, Belize last year fishing with noted guide Eworth Gartbutt. A cold front was pushing through (it dropped to a frigid 78 degrees) and Eworth said “Terry, you realize that permit fishing and a north wind do not go together.” I thought to myself how “fishing is fishing” no matter where you are in the world.

Impending weather change make fish at Lees Ferry not want to eat. It might look like a normal day, the sun may be shining and not a breeze is blowing , but a storm is on the way and the fish know it.  For whatever reason, they decide to take the day off from eating. I saw it this week when I was fishing with someone who I have fished with for two decades and the weather that day was a classic cold front, it was windy, cold, and spitting rain. My client is a good stick and at the end of the day he had landed two fish. His companion had landed three and they were all smaller fish. The next day started cold, but warmed quickly due to the cloudless day and bright sunshine. They landed more than 30-fish including a 19-inch football and several that were in the 18-inch range. If they had only fished the one day, they might have concluded that the fishing at Lees Ferry sucks or that we are “blowing smoke” or overrating how good the fishing is … that actually happened with one trip last month when a couple of guys had a similar experience fishing with me one day with a cold front pushing through.

So, poor weather makes for poor fishing most of the time, however, there are exceptions and I have seen some great fishing on days the wind is howling and the snow is flying. Often times the impending or approaching weather is worse on fishing that the bad weather itself. I can’t explain this but I can tell you that more often than not, a change in the weather will affect fishing in a negative way.

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Lees Ferry Fishing Tips: I have been using 6 and 7X fluorocarbon tippet and feel that the lighter tippet results in a much higher success rate than say 5X. Anglers might argue that they break fish off on such light tippet, but my argument is that in order to break a fish off, you first have to first get a fish to eat your fly and you are going to get more eaters with lighter tippet than heaver tippet.

When wading the riffles, you need long dead drifts. There are two types of drifts; perfect dead drifts and all other drifts. Perfect dead drifts catch fish at Lees Ferry; all other drifts don’t catch fish here. You get a dead drift by mending the line, then throwing slack line on the water. If your line is straight from your rod tip to your indicator or you move your indicator during the drift, then your drift is not perfect and will not catch fish. The key to success is to stay over fish, get the flies down to the bottom, and get a long, perfect dead drift.

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

February 9th, 2014

Feb 9/2014

Up River Fishing Report
The weather has been really great here at the Ferry.  With the longer days and more sunlight on the water the fishing is improving every day.
The flows this month are a low of 8,000 cfs and a high of 14,000 cfs.
This lower flow rate has also helped the fishing improve from January.
The spawn is in full swing so glo bugs are working most places.  Dry droppers have been working with some fish taking the dry in the scum lines in the back eddies.  Deep nymph rigs have been working well drifting in the boat.   Streamers have also been working in the faster water areas.  When looking for good fishing areas look for places that are getting at least some sunlight during the day…these areas are holding lots of fish. The rating for the up river fishing would be a 7 this week.

Spin Fishing Up River

Spin fishing has been working well the last couple of weeks.  Most fisherman are drifting glo bugs  and getting good numbers of fish. Kastmasters and Panther Martins have also been working well at times.
When looking for areas to spin fish look for a seam where fast water meets the slower water and jig the lure through the transition water.
The rating for spin fishing up river for this week would be a 7.

Walk In Area

The walk in area has not been fishing well at all due to a lack of sunshine.  There has been very little food so the fishing has been not productive at all.  We are expecting the fishing to improve as we get more sunshine and  the lower flows should also help.  Fishing above the boat launch area has been much more productive the last few weeks.  If you are coming up please give the shop a call and we will give you a current update.  The rating for the walk in  for this week would be a 2.

 

Lees Ferry Fishing Report 11/7/13

November 7th, 2013

By: Terry Gunn

Nov.7, 2013

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

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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!

Lees Ferry Report 10/17/13

October 17th, 2013

By: TJ Carrington

Up-River

Fall has arrived in northern Arizona and so has near perfect weather. We are also seeing the lowest water flows that we have seen in several years due to the low level conditions in Lake Powell and the conservation of water to conduct a High Flow Event (HFE) in November. The new flows arrived October 1 and are scheduled to continue through November. These flows are perfect for wading and the water has been slowly rising throughout the day which makes for great fishing conditions. The water flows on the weekends, as always, are lower than the weekday flows. There are many locations that are now accessible with the low flows that we have not been able to access for several months and wading is very easy and super affective. The fish are sitting in shallow water and there is a lot of sight casting available. With the water lower the fish tend to be a bit more skittish and you must be careful of where you place the fly and careful not to scare them while wading. Smaller midges (18s and 20’s) on dry-dropper rigs are great for getting to these shallow water fish. For fish that are in deeper water, try swinging streamers or traditional nymphing with an indicator. Scuds, glow bugs, San Juan worms, and midges are all working well with the heavier nymph rigs. Remember with the slower water these fish get another second or two to check out your fly so smaller flies and smaller tippet sizes are not a bad idea.

As far as the temperatures at the Ferry; the mornings are chilly and the days are cool. Its jacket weather in the morning and as the sun gets up high you will be shedding your jacket into a lightweight long-sleeved shirt or a light fleece. Boat traffic is moderate with more on the weekends. Fishing is great and so is the weather so come see us!
For October and into early November the flows from Glen Canyon Dam will range from 5,000 cfs to 10,000 cfs to conserve water for an HFE being considered to start November 11, 2013. The HFE will peak at around 37,000 cfs lasting for 96 hours. The HFE would conclude around November 14.

Since the peak flows are not excessively high, even lower than last years, this HFE should prove beneficial to the Glen Canyon Fishery. In early August of this year a heavy flood came down Honey Draw depositing large amount of sediment on the river base. In many areas sand has filled in around the cobble, a key area for populations of invertebrates. The August flows were followed by more flooding and sediment deposits in September. Major contributors were the Ferry Swale and Water Holes Canyon which is just across from 4 Mile Bar. This HFE should have the effect of cleansing the river bottom and cleaning the cobble area.

Spin-fishing

Spin fishing up river is always an effective way to fish the Ferry. Drifting from a boat, casting panther martins, castmasters, z-rays (if you can find them), and mepp’s spinners toward the bank. This is a great method in the slower deeper water. In the shallower water (3 to 15-ft) try drifting glow bugs and plastic worms. Rig with ½ oz. of lead, a swivel, and a couple feet of tippet and bounce the lead on the bottom so your lure stays just off the bottom. I like to apply a little floatant on my glow bugs to keep them high, out of the grass that is on the bottom

Walk-in

Fly fishing

The walk in is fishing as good as I have seen it all year. With the low water you can access the entire boulder field all the way down to the Paria with ease. The deeper water straight across from the big rock has been producing the best. With the low water you don’t have to get out very far and the drift is nice and slow. The fish are stacked in those deep pockets from the big rock down to the straight away. The straight away has also been fishing well, as long as you can roll cast (due to the tree’s right on the bank). Traditional nymphing in these two spots has been very affective. San Juan worms and midges have been the go to flies. When the water rises, olive and black wooly buggers have been working well from the riffle down to the confluence of the Paria River. These new flows have really turned the fish on down at the walk-in.

Spinfishing

Spin fishing the walk-in is best in the deeper water due to all the rocks. From the top of the boulder field all the way up to half a mile past the boat landing is good. Gold ¼ oz. castmasters and ¼ oz. panther martins are the best. Using the ¼ oz. lures you can really cast them out for some distance and cover a lot of water. Small sinking Rapala’s in rainbow trout and original have also been working well. Throw them out and let them sink for a few seconds then retrieve them back at a steady speed and maybe even giving it a little twitch here and there will trigger a strike. When spin fishing here you also need to use light line (4lb test) so you can cast further and the fish cannot see it. Remember to set you drag light!

Lees Ferry Report 10/11/13

October 11th, 2013

Thanks to Utah Governor Gary Herbert, Lees Ferry and Lake Powell will open tomorrow 10/12. Grand Canyon remains closed.

We’ll be out this weekend and have a fresh report posted in the next day or so. Come fish, there is nobody here and the waterflows and weather are perfect!

Lees Ferry Fishing Report 8/25/13

August 25th, 2013

Lees Ferry Fishing Report 8/25/13

By: Terry Gunn

Recent Fish rating

Upriver: 6.5 to 8.5

Walk-In: 6 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 67 High 80

Monsoons, lower water arriving in Sept., and great fishing; this pretty much describes what is currently happening at Lees Ferry.

Crowd Rating:

Upriver: 1-3 No Crowds during the week & 3.5 on the weekends

Walk In: 1 Nobody here during the week & 3 to 5 on the weekends

Key: 1 = Sleep late and fish where you want. 10 = Very crowded, get up early

Fly Fishing Up-River:

The trout fishing at Lees Ferry continues to be better than we have seen in many years.  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. I would guess that the current trout population is the same or higher than the boom years of the late 1990’s.

It was just a fair season for cicadas, the hatch started early and finished early. We spent most of the summer drifting nymphs while wading, and from the boat. We have had some banner days this summer and everything looks favorable for the fishing to stay as good and possibly improve with the lower flows that begin on Sept.1. It is difficult to predict the fishing, however, early Sept. is usually the best fishing of the year due to the fact that the water has been high all summer and the fish have been feeding like crazy. When the flows drop in Sept., the fish are still eager to eat and they are hanging out in areas that are easy to access via wading and the low fall flows are perfect wading flows. The current flow forecast is for the flows to remain low through October.

The trout continue to eat midges in most areas of the river and your best bet is to fish a double midge rig on a long leader with a small split shot. Assorted zebra midges are the ticket and the larger sizes work best. I have been surprised at the intensity of the midge hatches in the higher water, I usually associate prolific midge hatches to lower flow releases but that has not been the case. The streamer fishing has been steady in the high summer flows but will likely slow down when the flows drop. The productive flies change on a daily basis and every day the LFA guides let everyone at the shop know the top producing flies and how to use them so be sure to stop by and see the flies that are working.

Our monsoon season has arrived, bringing clouds and welcome cooler weather. We have been the proverbial “hole in the donut” as far as getting any rain here is our valley. However, the surrounding region has gotten more than most years. There was a recent flash flood that occurred near Page, that washed incredible amounts of sand into the river at 13 mile, (just below the power lines) and at 4 mile. There was more sand brought into the river than I have seen previously in my 30 years on the river…the sand can likely be measured in the thousands of tons. I look at this as a whole bunch of nutrients that accompanied the sand and have just entered the system and should help sustain and nourish the river.

Walk In Fly Fishing Report, By Dean Wyndam:

The fishing has been very good the past few weeks and everyone seems to be catching fish. Some of the smaller fish have been showing up especially in the upper boulder area but larger fish in the 17 inch plus range are being caught all up and down the walk in section. Midges and San Juan worms are working best with streamers doing well in the evening or late afternoon.

The lower flows that start on Sept., 1 is going to change the fishing in this area of the river dramatically. The lower flows will allow wading access just about anywhere and the fishing should be off the charts. If you have been thinking about coming to fish the walk-in, you should be making your plans to be here after Sept., 1.

With the current higher flows the upper boulder field is doing best in the early morning when the flows are at the lowest. Midges and San Juan worms are the best combo here.

From the large boulder down to the Paria River streamers have been working very well. This might be an area to try some cicada patterns with a dropper. Remember with the higher flows wading in this area is hazardous with all of the slick rocks and fast water. The fish here will be closer to the shore that they were last month so many takes will be at the end of the drift.

The point where the Paria River enters the Colorado is also a good place to fish but with the higher flows this can be a difficult area to wade; if you wade here, a wading staff is recommended. Midges and San Juan worms seem to be working well here also. Streamers work well as the water rises in the afternoon.

I would rate the walk in a solid 8 for the past few weeks. Hope to see you on the water.

Walk in Spin Fishing Report:

Spin fishing has not been really good at the walk in area. The best spin fishing has been of off Paria Beach. However, with the lower flows everything will be changing for the better.  Kastmasters and panther martins are the best producing lures here at the Ferry.

The only area that is really productive for spinners is Paria Beach or the area where the Paria River enters the Colorado River. There are some deeper holes here and some really nice seams where larger fish have been taken. Just a reminder be very cautious when wading in this area, a wading staff is recommended. Also you will need to have new line on your reel, we recommend 4lb test. If you see me at the river please come by and say hello.

I would rate the spin fishing at 6, rising to a 7.

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.  Twp years ago 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.”

• 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: anglers@leesferry.com  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.

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!!

*****CLOSEOUTS******

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, Kevin Campbell, Dale Gauthier, Kyle Klemme, and TJ Carrington make up our guiding staff. Lees Ferry Anglers is proud of our fly-fishing guide team! Wendy Gunn, Dean Windham, Kala Bruner, TJ Carrington and Eran Howarth 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.

 

 

 

 

Lees Ferry Fishing Report 6/22/13

June 22nd, 2013

June Fishing Report 6/22/13

Lees Ferry Anglers is proud to announce, we now have a walk in guide. TJ Carrington will be guiding half day trips. This is ideal for the angler looking for special one on one fishing, where you will learn strategy and technique. Contact us today for availability and rates.

Recent Rating
Up River: 6.5 to 8.5

With the new flows and the hot temperatures, it is best to hit the river early and wade before the water rises.  As the water flow increase, its mainly anchoring up on the edge of riffles or drifting with long nymph rigs. You can also try stripping with sink tip lines with bead head streamers. We are starting to hear the buzz of the cicadas but the responsive bite is still a ways out. If dry fly fishing is your passion, we have been using dry droppers along the seams and seeing a little action. As the fish get used to the high flows the fishing will get better day by day. Remember to dress appropriately, lightweight sun protectant clothing and drink plenty of water. We recommend 1 gallon per person, per day. Beer does not count as a hydrant.

Recent Rating
Walk-In: 6 to 6.5

High water flows started this month so there have been a few changes in the fishing. Early morning, when the flows are down, around 9,000 cfs, dry droppers have been the way to go. Large luna negras with a midge dropper have been the ticket. The upper boulder field to the Paria Riffle is still fishing well. Mid-morning and early afternoon you will have to wade deeper for the fish. Deep nymphing with a double midge or double san juan has been working great. Remember when the flows are on the rise an abundance of worms and other food washed into the water. Long leaders, 14ft, and several weights have been great when the water is up. Take caution when the water is high or rising.  Wading can be difficult. If you fish early, mark a spot where the water level is, and check it frequently. Be aware of rising water. The dry fly bite is picking up. Griffeths gnat, hoppers, and cicada patterns are starting to work. The dry bite is a lower percentage but will be picking up as the days go on.

Lees Ferry Fishing Report 4/1/13

March 31st, 2013


By: Terry Gunn

April, 1, 2013

Recent Fish rating

Upriver: 6.5 to 8.5

Walk-In: 6 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 50 High 80
Midges, swallows, great fishing, and perfect wading flows; this pretty much describes what is currently happening at Lees Ferry.

Crowd Rating:

Upriver: 2-3 No Crowds during the week & 4 on the weekends

Walk In: 2 Few people here during the week & 3 to 5 on the weekends

Key: 1 = Sleep late and fish where you want. 10 = Very crowded, get up early

Fly Fishing Up-River:
Spring has arrived and is in full swing at Lees Ferry. We knew this was true when on March 23, the swallows returned to the canyon as they do every year near this date. Their arrival is always timed to meet the first major midge hatch of the year, which coincidentally, (or not), occurred the day before the swallows arrived. The midge hatches continue to pour off and should build in intensity as the spring progress and the weather continues to warm. Our recent weather has been near perfect, with highs near 80 and lows of 50. The positive news for fishers is that there has been very little wind this spring which is atypical for this time of year, although it is normal for dry springs which this current one has been, at least so far. That is not good news for Lake Powell which will receive little runoff from the Rockies due to the continuing dry conditions.

The fishing has been good, not off-the-charts great, but that should change any day as the midge hatches increase in intensity. The fish are moving into the shallow riffles to feast on the prolific midge pupae as they slowly emerge and rise to the surface to hatch. The more midges the better the fishing.

An important note: On Feb 20, a portion of road on Hwy 89 collapsed. This is the section of Hwy that goes from the junction of Hwy 89A, up to Page. This road closure in no way affects anyone who is traveling to Lees Ferry/Marble Canyon as long as you do not go through Page. All north-south travel can be completed by using 89A which is much quicker and shorter that the detour through Page. For more info visit: http://www.azdot.gov/us89/

We are catching all sizes of fish from little guys to a few that are nearing 20-inches, which is indicative of a healthy, wild rainbow trout fishery. It has always been an interesting and puzzling phenomenon that some days at the Ferry the larger fish will eat, while other days it is all the smaller guys that are feeding. On the days that the larger fish are eating it is not uncommon to catch several larger fish. Like a day this week when I had two clients catch several fish that were in the 18-in class and the next day we could not find a fish that was near that size, however, that day, few fish were eating much of anything that we offered them.

We ended up with a near normal spawn that took place almost exclusively in deep water. A normal spawn is to be expected when our current trout population is robust, with lots of health fish of all sizes inhabiting the river. When the trout population is low, the fish compensate by engaging in a massive spawn throughout the river.

Current water flows are prefect for wading and the projected flow forecast call for April and May flows to be near the same flows that we saw in March, with a low of 7,000 cfs occurring in the morning then a slow rise to 13,000 cfs. These are perfect flows for fishing Lees Ferry. Remember that the flows are lower on Saturday and Sunday and these lower flows are almost always better for the midge hatches and fishing. It is more crowded on weekends but the fishing sure can be good. The projected flows for June will be slightly higher but should still be good for wading and fishing. The flows in July will be much higher and this is the time of year that we get back in the boats and spend most of our time drifting and fishing from the boat. July is the month for cicadas and the biggest fish of the year.

Walk-in Fly Fishing Report

By Dean Windham & TJ Carrington

After a slow start the walk in is fishing very good. Everyone seems to be getting fish and everyday someone reports a 18 inch plus fat boy being caught.  Just a few weeks ago you had to search to find any fish, now they are everywhere.  The weather has been very nice with very few wind days.  This has made for some pleasant days on the water.

The water flows have been 6,000 cfs as the low flow and 14,000 cfs as the high flow.  The water is lowest in the morning and rising until about one or two in the afternoon.  Then it drops and the fish move out farther and wait for the flow to stabilize and then they start feeding again. When it comes to location, the Paria riffle up to the big rock is where you want to be. The first warm weather run and the spring break crowd has put the pressure on the fish these past few weeks but the fish are there and they’re hungry.  Midges have been pouring off the water all day, especially in the afternoon.  You will see a lot of fish breaking the surface but they are not feeding on surface bugs. They are feeding on sub-surface midge larva’s and breaking the surface with their back and dorsal fin. Although the midges are doing well, you will want to have a few eggs and San Juan’s in your box. The fish are holding in the seams where the water starts getting depth to it and you can find any slight break in the current. The rigs have been pretty simple, a 9 ft. 5 x leaders with 2 ft. of 6x tippet with your fly on the end. Place your indicator towards the top of your leader with a #1 or #4 shot about 18 inches above your fly. Dark colored streamers on a good sink tip line have been working well in the boulder field also.

Fishing has been good top to bottom at the walk in with some of the best fishing just above and below the large rock.  Fish have been caught just a few feet from the shore so making long casts is not always needed.  The boulder field has also given up some really nice fish especially in the morning hours.  The area where the Paria River enters the Colorado River is also doing well, however, keep in mind that wading in this area can be dangerous due to silt buildup and you can get stuck really easily.  It is best to approach this area by walking down from the big boulder.  It is not recommended to wade across the Paria in any area.

The light nymph rigs are still the ticket with darker zebra midges, san juan worms and glo bugs being the go to flies.  Remember when using the nymph rig to make the length about twice the depth of the water.  I start at 8 feet and work from there.  As the water rises you will have to make some adjustments to keep up with the depth of the fish.  Always remember here at the ferry, it’s all about a drag free drift. The key is to get your fly to look just as it would in Mother Nature. With these tactics and a little luck you should be able to land some good fish and take some good memories home with you.

In the afternoon as the water drops and the fish move farther out, streamers are a great option that should not be over looked.  Some real nice larger fish have been taken in the later afternoon.

Spin Fishing Report Walk-in

Spin fishing has not been as good as fly fishing but it can be done and is a lot of fun.  Spin fishing works well with the deeper water which is in the late morning and mid-day.  Fishing below the Paria riffle has been good and the water is always deep in that area.

Kastmasters, Panther Martins, and jigs have been the favorite lures this week.  Remember to cast upriver and bring the lure slowly down river.  Let the river do the work and you just get to enjoy catching a beautiful Ferry rainbow in spawning colors.

The rating for spin fishing the walk-in would be 4 to 5 at this time.

To help understand why midges are so important to our fishing success it’s good to know more about the life cycle of midges and their importance to the trout diet. The adult midges contribute very little to the trout diet. It is rare that you will see an adult trout rise to feed on an adult midge; the reason is that the amount of energy expended is not worth the food intake. It all begins when adult midges breed then release their eggs into the water. The eggs sink and hatch into a tiny caterpillar (larvae) that lives on the bottom of the river for an extended period of time. At some point the larvae pupates and forms a chrysalis. By some process that is not understood, the midge pupae will release in mass, and countless pupae will begin slowly drifting to the surface. This in turn flips the feeding switch for the trout and the fish will move into the shallow riffles where the pupae are concentrated by the shallow water. This is when the trout are feeding so heavily that they get careless and will eat our fly if it has a close resemblance to the midge pupae that they are feeding on.

The bigger the hatch the better the fishing; this is why the best fishing always occurs during big hatches and why the midge hatches are so important to the trout diet. The biggest midge hatches always occur in the lower water flows. During the lower flows trout are not eating worms or scuds because these food items are not available; the only time that worms and scuds are available is during the high water flows when the higher velocity water moves the suds and worms around. If there are no midge hatches in the lower flows the fish will not be feeding and the fishing will be slow. I go into a lot more detail on fish feeding behavior here: http://www.leesferry.com/main/area-information/fishing-101

Be sure to stop by the shop to see the flies that are currently working. The flies change on a daily basis and every day the LFA guides let everyone at the shop know the top producing flies and how to use them.

The streamer fishing has been picking up and will likely get hot when the water flows increase this summer. The reason for this is that the higher flows move larger food items around (scuds, worms, etc.).
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 200F) 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.

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!!

*****CLOSEOUTS******

We have several SAGE rods that are discontinued models on Sale.

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. Captains 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, Kaila Bruner, TJ Carrington, and Eran Howarth, 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.

Lees Ferry Fishing Report 2/5/13

February 5th, 2013

By Dean Windham 2/5/13

Upriver rating for this week, 4-6

We are seeing some changes this week as the flows recently dropped to 8,000 cfs for a low and 14,000 cfs for a high.  When we get a flow change the fish take a while to adjust to the new flows. These flows offer the best of both worlds; plenty of water to drift and fish out of the boat but also lots of areas to wade.  There is more sun on the water now that the sun is moving higher in the sky and this also will produce more prolific insect hatches as the days continue to get longer.  By the middle of February most areas of the river will be getting some sunlight so spring is in the air. Midges and black flies are hatching almost every day now.  Black flies are difficult to match but a very small parachute adams (cut the tail off) fished below a dry fly and just under the surface, in the scum line, suggests the emergers of the black fly and can take some nice fish.  Midges are still the best fly with scuds and san juan worms close behind.  Dry dropper rigs are really working in the slack water upriver on most days.  There have been very little fishing pressure during the week days but weekends are starting to see a little more action now with the longer days and warmer weather. Last week several fish were caught that were over 20 inches so the big boys are starting to show up.

The fish population looks really good and most all the fish we are seeing are in remarkably good shape. It appears that the high flow event had little affect on the trout population or the health of the fish. With the days getting longer, more sunlight in the canyon, and more prolific hatches as we move into the spring, the health and size of the fish should continue to improve. There are a few spawning fish upriver, however, this will be a weak year for spawning trout at Lees Ferry. The reason for the poor spawn is that Lees Ferry trout have an instinct to compensate and have weak spawns when the river’s trout population is healthy and abundant.

Spin Fishing Upriver  rating 5

Spin fishing has been good with some really nice fish being caught.  Drifting glo bugs has been really popular the past few weeks.  Panther Martin spinners have also been very popular with the kastmaster close behind.  Spin fisherman have been drifting more that wading, although that is an option with the lower flows.

Walk in Fishing Report rating 4

Most everyone has been catching fish here but it has been up and down with the flows.  Mid mornings have been the best with late afternoon also being a great time wet a line.  Midge hatches have been observed almost every day so the zebra midge has really been working well.
Glo bugs have also been working most days with san juan worms working well as and attractor fly.   The light nymph rig is the set up to use here in the walk in as the dry dropper is not as easy to work with in the faster water.

Walk In Spin Fishing Report  rating 4

Spin fishing in the upper boulder field area has been good using  kastmasters and panther martins.  There were reports that some bucktail spinners were working well below the large boulder last week.  Spin fishing really is best in the afternoon after the water comes up.

Lees Ferry Fishing Report 12/17/12

December 17th, 2012

Lees Ferry Fishing Report 12/17/12

By Dean Windham

Current Fly Fishing Rating Upriver: 4 to 6

As another year comes to a close it is the season to begin looking for spawning fish at Lees Ferry; our trout always begin to spawn at a time that most trout are not even starting to think about it. In most waters, rainbow trout typically spawn for a period of a couple of weeks in the spring…here, our spawn begins in December and continues through May. It will be interesting to see if it is a strong spawn season; we are predicting that it will be a moderate to weak effort in response to the healthy trout population that currently inhabits the river. The fishing has been good so far this winter following the high flow event in November and the fish are in good shape. We have not had any winter weather until this week, and have been enjoying the warmer than normal day and nighttime temperatures. The flows are fluctuating from 8,500 cfs to 16,000 cfs on weekdays with slightly lower flows on the weekends. These flows offer the best of both worlds: plenty of water to drift and fish out of the boat, but not so high as to blow out all the wading spots. Drifting is always a good option during the higher flows which allows us to cover lots of water. The pattern that has been working best is wading in the mornings during the lower flows and drifting in the afternoon when the water comes up. .

Good numbers of fish have been caught using dry dropper rigs, light nymph rigs and glo bugs. Of these rigs, the dry dropper has been the choice of our guides the past few weeks. Following the November High Flow Event, you may need to search for fish in areas that you have not traditionally tried. Fish are in the riffles but don’t ignore the slack water; this is where we have been finding good numbers of feeding fish. Be sure to pay attention to the seams; this also has been productive areas where the fish are actively eating. Seams are areas of the river where the fast water meets with a slow water current and food is dropping out of the water column in these areas of mixed currents. Also remember that a good drag free drift is one of the most important skills needed to be successful here at the Ferry.

One of our guides, Natalie Jensen, reports that “to my surprise, the fish will even eat a midge that is suspended and still, in total slack water with no current.” “I have even turned a few with a dry fly.” In addition to the dry dropper she has been fishing the usual nymph rig with a strike indicator and also successfully fishing a streamer (wooly bugger) with or without a weighted line.”

Spin Fishing Report

The spin fishing upriver has improved with the higher flows. Drifting glo bugs has really picked up and is taking some larger fish, and the kastmaster lure has also been a consistent producer of good numbers of fish. Panther Martins and Rapala’s have been working well at times. Customers tell me that Rapala’s have been working really good in the shady areas of the river. Drifting has been the choice of most spin fisherman the past few weeks. Drifting through the deeper holes has produced some nice size fish. As always if you have any questions just call the shop and our friendly staff will be happy to give you a current update.

Walk in Fishing Report:

Fly Fishing Rating for the Walk-in: 4 to 5

The walk-in area has not been as consistent as the upriver areas. Fishing seems to be good in the morning just before and after the first light hits the water and then dropping off around 11 AM. The fishing then picks up again in the late afternoon and continues until dark. Light nymph rigs and dry dropper have proven to be the most productive this week. The light nymph rig with and indicator have been working in all areas of the walk in. The dry dropper works best in the upper boulder field area or in the slack water above the boulder field. I have not heard any reports about streamers working here but with the higher flows they should be doing well.

Spin Fishing Walk-In Report

Walk-in spin fish rating: 4

Spin fishing in the walk-in has been very good at times, especially in the slack water above the boulder field. With the spinners and the longer distance casting some larger fish have been caught. The advantage to a spinner is that you can fish more water and water where fly fisherman cannot always wade or cast to. Kastmasters and panther martins have been the most productive lures for the last month in the walk in area. On Thanksgiving morning a 22 inch fish was caught above the boulder field on a kastmaster.