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Lee's Ferry Fishing

Water Flows, Ratings, Reports: All Affect Anglers

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

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.

About The HFE

Since Nov.1, water flows have fluctuated between 5,500 to 8,000-cfs daily as part of the upcoming experimental high-flow event.

On Nov. 11 another HFE or artificial flood was conducted. 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-low 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 re-colonization 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.

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. Quarter-ounce 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-pound test line in order to get a long cast.


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