{"upriver":"7","walkin":"5","spin":"6","updateDate":"Tuesday, July 29, 2014","upcrowdday":"1","upcrowdend":"3","walkcrowdday":"1","walkcrowdend":"3","upriversum":"

Perfect weather pretty much sums up current conditions at Lees Ferry. Fall has arrived and unlike last year, we have no government shutdown or dirty water exiting Lake Powell to contend with. Current water flows are near perfect for fishing the Ferry; the flows are starting out the morning at 7500-cfs and then slowly rising though out the day to a max of 13,000-cfs, then dropping through the early morning hours back to 7,500-cfs. The fishing has been good most days with all the regular flies coming into play with worms working well as the water rises. The midge hatches are happening but not with the normal intensity or duration. I can only guess that this has something to do with the water temperature being warmer than normal. These warmer temperatures have occurred a couple of times in years past when Lake Powell is low and receives a large runoff. Current river temperatures are running about 56 to 57 degrees which is about 7 to 10 degrees warmer than normal for this time of year. Optimal temperatures for rainbow trout are 55 to 60 degrees so we are well within normal trout temperatures so this is not a problem. The river temperatures should return to normal when Lake Powell \u201cturns over,\u201d which usually occurs in early December. One 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

Streamer fishing, most days, has been great as the river rises and peaks. The best flies have been olive bead-head wolly buggers. The best all-around line is the 25-ft sink tip like the Teeny 200. These lines are best cast from an anchored boat, perpendicular (90 degrees) from the boat and allowed to swing in the current. The retrieve that our fish like is a very slow and smooth strip of about 6-in\u2026a fast or jerky strip is not nearly as effective as a slow measured strip. Be sure to strip the fly all the way to the boat as it is not uncommon to have a fish take the fly at the last moment. Also be sure to continue stripping if you have a take but miss the fish, the fish will often return for a second or third attempt to eat the fly. T<\/p>\n

he Bureau of Meteorology has revised downward its prediction of an El Nino weather event in 2014-15 to about a 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. 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. 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":"

By Dean Windham The weather has been really nice but this weekend a front has moved through and we are expecting cooler and more normal temps for this time of the year. The flows are 8,000-cfs to 13,000-cfs which make fishing here at the Ferry very good. Weekdays has seen very light fishing pressure in the walk in . Most days I have been the only fisherman. Fishing has been good as the water rises with a lull during mid-day and then a great evening bite. The boulder field area has been fishing well using nymphs rigs in the morning and dry droppers in the afternoon. On Sunday, streamer fishing has been doing well with the low flows. The area by the large boulder is doing well with nymph rigs and streamers. This area is best fished from the shore out using long drifts. Morning and late afternoon have been the best time to pick up good numbers of fish. The confluence of the Paria River and the Colorado has been unfishable due to the monsoon rains and heavy silt. It is very dangerous to wade in this area. Never wade in any water that you cannot see the bottom. Above the confluence the fishing has been very good using Nymph rigs. The flies that are working best are zebra midges, san juan worms, scuds and streamers. I would rate the walk in at a 5 this week.<\/p>\n","spinsum":"

Spin fishing has been really good in the afternoon and evening as the water is at its peak flow. The area above and just below the boat dock at Lees Ferry is the best place to spin fish. The technique for spin fishing here is more like jig fishing or streamer fishing.\u00a0\u00a0 Kastmasters, Panther Martins, and Mepps spinners are best. Quarter oz. is the perfect weight for getting the lure down to the fish. Gold is the preferred color here. Silver still works just not as effective as gold and black. I would rate the spin fishing at the walk in at a 5 this week.<\/p>\n

Lees Ferry Techniques: 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 July-August and December and January . 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

Fish Behavior 101. Some thoughts on why fish eat and why they don\u2019t. \u201cAny man who claims to understand fish is a fool.\u201d T G<\/p>\n

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 <\/em>we call \u201cfishing\u201d 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. \u00a0 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 \u201cfish desert\u201d at another level. FOOD and SHELTER: the two things that determine the location of fish. 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. \u00a0 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\u2019s sole purpose is to make babies. In a nut shell, this is how it works\u2026the 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 a 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 a larvae (think of a tiny caterpillar) the midge lives as a 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. \u00a0 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. \u00a0 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 \u201cpoints\u201d with riffles, they look similar, however, the water on \u201cpoints\u201d 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. \u00a0 The other kicker to midge hatches is water volume: as the water flow increase 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. \u00a0 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 4 months each year, the 2 hottest months, July and August, and the 2 coldest months, December and January\u2026this 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 lake level in Lake Powell and high runoff into the lake. This happened 1983-86 and a couple of other times in the 90\u2019s. The best fishing periods at Lees Ferry has 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 longs runs between riffles. This is the time of year that the most productive fishing is usually from a drifting boat as opposed to wading. \u00a0 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 \u201cTerry, you realize that permit fishing and a north wind do not go together.\u201d I thought to myself how \u201cfishing is fishing\u201d no matter where you are in the world. \u00a0 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 and for whatever reason they decide to take the day off from eating. I saw it this week when I was fishing with a customer that I have fished with for 2 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 2 fish and his companion had landed 3 fish 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-in football and several fish that were in the 18-in range. If they would have only fished the one day that might have concluded that the fishing at Lees Ferry sucks or that we are \u201cblowing smoke\u201d or overrating how good the fishing is\u2026that 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. \u00a0 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\u2019t explain this but I can tell you that more often than not, a change in the weather will affect fishing in a negative way.<\/p>\n","waterTemp":55.4,"flowRate":"8040"}