{"upriver":"8","walkin":"7","spin":"6","updateDate":"Tuesday, July 29, 2014","upcrowdday":"2","upcrowdend":"3","walkcrowdday":"1","walkcrowdend":"3","upriversum":"

August water flows are going to be great for fishing Lees Ferry. This is always one of the least crowded times of the year and for the first time this season we have guides available on short notice. If you are looking for what is arguably some of the best rainbow trout fishing in the country, head this way.<\/p>\n

By all appearances our good-to-great fishing should continue that way for the foreseeable future. We\u2019re seeing slightly warmer temperatures in the river which has happened a couple of times in years past when Lake Powell is low and receives a large runoff. Current river temperatures are running about 55 degrees which is about 7 degrees warmer than normal for this time of year. Optimal temperatures for rainbow trout are 55 to 60 degrees; we are well within normal trout temperatures so this is perfect. The river temperatures should return to normal when Lake Powell \u201cturns over,\u201d which usually occurs in early December. One probable by-product of the warmer temperatures has been prolific midge hatches that occur every day. These hatches are keeping the fish eating in various parts of the river and offer some great midge sight-casting. Another benefit to the warmer water is that you\u2019ll actually see some of our guides and customers wet wading (no waders) which is especially nice in the warmer weather!<\/p>\n

I was recently asked by an angler how to target larger fish at Lees Ferry. If you want to see larger fish, just drift your boat over the deeper and faster runs and look down towards the bottom \u2026 you\u2019ll see plenty of bruisers. However, catching these fish with flies is challenging due not only the depth of the water, but the velocity of the current. I\u2019ve developed a technique that works very well for catching larger fish at Lees Ferry; a technique that works especially well in the higher water flows in the summer months. To get down to these fish, you\u2019ll need a long leader. I\u2019m using a leader that is 15-feet from my strike indicator to my split shot, then 18-inches to a San Juan worm, then another 18-inches to a large ginger scud. The amount of spilt shot depends, but I use a BB as a minimum and go as heavy as an AB \u2026 if you are not hitting bottom on occasion, you are not going to catch fish. You\u2019ll be drifting out of the boat. Set up your drift so that your bow is facing upstream, then cast 90 degrees towards the shore \u2013 add slack to the line so that the drift is natural and drag free. Try to keep the indicators off to the side of the boat for the maximum amount of time without recasting or dragging the fly. Casting a rig like this with a normal 9-foot rod is very challenging. I suggest a rod of 10- to 11-feet. I use 11-foot Sage Switch rods which are perfect for these heavy rigs. Fish in shallower water will spook from the boat, so longer casts are better. In deeper water, you can catch fish when the flies are closer to the boat. Good luck and try this to catch bigger fish at Lees Ferry this month.<\/p>\n

Streamer fishing has been slower than normal and I can only guess this is due to the slightly lower flows and the slow ramping rates from the dam. Normally in the summer, the water rises very quickly and is kept high all day. This summer the water has been slowly rising throughout the day and the peak flow has not occurred until the early evening hours. This has certainly been good for wading and fishing overall.<\/p>\n

The water flows from Glen Canyon dam have been lower this summer (and all year) than normal due to the low water conditions in Lake Powell. Lake Powell rose 35 feet this summer which brings some welcome runoff and nutrient load into the lake which will eventually make its way into the river.<\/p>\n

The Bureau of Meteorology has revised downward its prediction of a strong El Nino weather event in 2014-15 from last month\u2019s estimate of 70% to a current 50% chance. Strong El Ninos almost always bring big snow packs to the Rockies which could fill both Lake Powell and Lake Mead. A strong El Nino still could happen, but chances are diminishing.<\/p>\n

The cicada hatch came and went without much of a buzz. On a scale of 1-to-10, I would rate the hatch as a 3 based on historical standards. It started on schedule and fizzled out quickly. I really can\u2019t explain why some years are better than others \u2026 it just happens that way. There were a lot of fish caught on cicada patterns, but for the most part the hatch is over for this year.<\/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","walkinsum":"

Fishing in the walk-in area has been very good and will soon be very, very good. In August, the flows are dropping to 8,000 cfs from 15,000 cfs. With these lower flows, the fishing can only get better.<\/p>\n

Weekends have seen more fishing pressure than during the week days. Most weekdays when I fish there have only been one or two others on the river. With the higher flows, the afternoons have been difficult to wade, but streamer and cicada patterns have really been taking some larger fish<\/p>\n

The upper boulder area has been really good for nymph fishing in the morning using a San Juan worm and midge.\u00a0However, as the water rises it makes for some difficult wading.\u00a0In the afternoon and on the low water day (Sunday), streamers have worked well in this area.\u00a0Please keep in mind this is a boulder area and a wading staff is recommended.<\/p>\n

The fast water at \u2013 and just above the big boulder \u2013 has been fishing well with midges, worms and cicadas in the afternoon.\u00a0This fast water can hold some larger fish that can also be caught on streamers.<\/p>\n

The area from the big boulder down has been fishing well for the last couple weeks.\u00a0Most fish are being caught on the nymph rigs in the morning and dries in the afternoon.\u00a0With the high flows, fish have been close to shore, so let your rig float to the end of the drift and then slowly strip it in.\u00a0Fish have been caught on the retrieve in this area.\u00a0The flies are the same as the rest of the walk-in area.\u00a0San Juan worms with midges and cicada patterns are all working.\u00a0In this area, you should not wade very far out as the fish are close.\u00a0If the water is above your knees you are standing in the fish.<\/p>\n

The area at the confluence of the Paria River has also been fishing well, especially in the morning.\u00a0Midges have been working very well here; dries in the afternoon have been this ticket. However, use caution when wading in this area as the Paria has been running higher with the monsoon rains and there is lots of silt built up.\u00a0This silt has lots of air and water, can act like quick sand and is very hard to get out. A wading staff is also needed in this area as well as a fishing partner for safety.\u00a0It is best to park at the upper parking lot and walk down to the Paria than to park at the lower lot and wade across the Paria River.<\/p>\n

Another area that is not really fly-fished enough is the Paria beach below the Paria riffle.\u00a0This has a large back eddy with good numbers of fish.\u00a0On the weekends it can be crowded, but on the week days you will have large areas to fish and practice long casts to rising fish.\u00a0Dry droppers are what can pick up some nice fish here.<\/p>\n

I would rate the walk-in area a 7 for fly-fishing this week.<\/p>\n","spinsum":"

Spin-fishing has improved greatly with the higher flows. The afternoon is the best time to spin-fish as the water is highest then. Gold Kastmasters and Panther Martins are the lure and color of choice. Spinners can be use throughout the walk-in and also in the Paria Beach area. These areas get crowded on weekends, so a week day trip is suggested.<\/p>\n

The rating for spin-fishing the walk-in area is 5.5 for this week. To help understand why midges are so important to our fishing success it\u2019s good to know more about the lifecycle 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. The adult midges breed then release their eggs into the water (I\u2019ve always wondered \u2026 just how big is a midge egg anyway?) 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 larva pupates and forms a chrysalis. 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 your fly if it closely resemblance the midge pupae that they are feeding on.<\/p>\n

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 \u2013 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 scuds and worms around. If there are no midge hatches in the lower flows, the fish will not feed and fishing will be slow.<\/p>\n","waterTemp":55.4,"flowRate":"8790"}