{"upriver":"5","walkin":"2","spin":"5","updateDate":"Tuesday, July 29, 2014","upcrowdday":"1","upcrowdend":"3","walkcrowdday":"1","walkcrowdend":"3","upriversum":"

Up-River Summary. By Terry Gunn<\/strong><\/p>\n

Spring has arrived at Lees Ferry and so have the prolific midge hatches that make the fish happy and the fishing so good. The water flows \u2013 7,000 to 13,000 cfs \u2013 are just about perfect for wading; these flows should continue at or near this level until the higher summer flows arrive in July. Keep in mind that the flows on the weekends are almost always lower than the weekdays and in the spring, lower water and midge hatches equals great fishing.<\/p>\n

Our guides are currently booking for the spring and we have very limited availability.\u00a0 If you need a guide or a room at Cliff Dweller\u2019s Lodge book it ASAP. Don\u2019t forget that you can book your trip, room and rental boat online at www.leesferry.com<\/a>. If you don\u2019t see the days that you want, be sure to call the shop because sometimes we can switch things around on our end to make your trip work.<\/p>\n

In addition to the good midge hatches, after a three year absence the abundant black fly hatch was back this winter. The black flies really help the trout to put on weight during the winter months when there is otherwise limited food production in the river. If you\u2019ve been to the Ferry in winter or early spring and been surrounded by surface feeding fish and have not been able to get a single fish to eat your fly, you\u2019ve very likely witnessed a black fly hatch. The emerger that the fish eats is almost impossible to replicate with a fly and when trout are keying on black fly emergers, they\u2019ll often eat nothing else.<\/p>\n

Recent fishing has been OK; perhaps not quite as good as it was last year at this time, but it is still decent by any measure. To understand where the river stands today, one must first understand where we have been. It has been a very interesting fall, winter and spring. The most notable occurrence was last November and the extreme low flows that occurred before and after the high flow event for the entire month. This was the first time that we have seen flows this low in decades and if we have any say in the matter, it will be the last time. The low flows combined with the warmer than normal river temperatures (58 degrees) resulted in low oxygen levels from the dam releases. This caused a rapid decline in fish condition and we lost some fish. There are areas of the river that were more impacted than others, while some areas saw no decline in fish health or population. We witnessed almost exactly the same thing in 2005. \u00a0Lake Powell was considerably lower then and the water was even warmer than this year. The good news is that we had a very healthy trout population beforehand and we still have a very good population today. Don\u2019t assume that an area of the river that fished well last year will be the same this year. It is going to take a while for the fish to move back into some areas of the river. Water temperatures returned to normal (48 degrees) in December and the current health of the fish is good and will continue to improve as they feed on the heavy midge hatches this spring.<\/p>\n

There has been an ongoing aquatic food base study that has taken place over the past couple of years. The purpose of this study is multifaceted and is studying the relationship of flows on food production, taking inventories of and monitoring populations of aquatic insects and invertebrates that live in the river and other very important aspects of the aquatic food base. I believe that this is by far the most important study that has ever been conducted on this river. Previously, hundreds of millions of dollars has been spent studying sediment while ignoring the aquatic food base and resource. Common sense dictates that fish, birds and animals do not live off of dirt or sand. The aquatic food base and habitat are the foundation for all that lives in the Colorado River. One of the long term goals of the food base study is to determine how to enhance the populations and production of aquatic insects in the river which will benefit native fish, trout, and migratory bird populations. This is a study and a goal that we can all embrace!<\/p>\n

There is currently a 65% chance that there will be an El Nino event in 2015 and through the summer.\u00a0 Strong El Ninos almost always bring big snow packs to the Rockies which could help to fill both Lake Powell and Lake Mead. Current snowpack in the Lake Powell drainage in almost 90% and at this point there will be a decent runoff regardless of how the spring develops. The current lake level is 108 feet below full pool, but it is currently 20 feet higher than it was last year at this time. The good news is that it appears that Lake Powell will rise again this year.<\/p>\n

Quagga mussels have become established in Lake Powell and we are now seeing some in the river below the dam. Their arrival in the river happened sooner than I expected. So far there has not been a major infestation and there is some thought by experts that they will not become very well established in the river due to the current. Be aware and remember to dry waders and boots before using them in any other body of water. Also, all private boats should drain all water from the boat and live-wells as soon as you exit the river. We all need to do our part to limit the transport of this and all invasive species.<\/p>\n

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.<\/p>\n


Walk-In Summary<\/strong><\/p>\n

I\u2019m sorry that I do not have an in-depth report on the walk-in section. There have been few people fishing this area. All reports have been that this area has been very slow with few fish being caught. I expect this to change any day now that the spring flows (low water) and as the midge hatches continue to increase with the longer days and warmer weather. I\u2019ll update this walk-in report as soon as we have more information.<\/p>\n","spinsum":"","waterTemp":48.2,"flowRate":"12400"}