November 17, 2023
1 = Go Elsewhere
10 = Get Here Now!
1 = Sleep late and fish wherever
10 = Very crowded, get up early
Lees Ferry Fishing Report – November 17, 2023
Fishing Report by Kevin Campbell, guiding on Lees Ferry since 1997
Fall is upon us here at Lees Ferry. Days are shortening and water temps are slowly dropping. Fishing remains good and the fish are looking healthier as the water cools off. Some rifles are fishing well with shallow nymph rigs and streamers are producing in the tail-outs and runs. Drifting from the boat continues to be the most consistent method for all-day action.
The Colorado is currently fluctuating 6,000 to 9,900 CFS. Water temps are 61 degrees and gradually tending downward.
Dry/ dropper rigs and shallow double nymph rigs are both working. Midge hatches have been heavy one day and very sparse the next. During heavy hatch days, the fish will definitely take a midge dropper below a dry fly and might even take the dry. Recent success on dries has been on parachute Adams and stimulators. On days where the midge hatches are stingy, a double nymph rig of combinations of scuds, worms, eggs and midges is the ticket. In addition to nymphs, swinging and/or casting and retrieving streamers like wooly buggers, muddlers and leaches is working very well. This is done with a sink-tip fly line or sinking leader depending on depth and current speed. Favorite buggers include olive, black/ wine and peacock/ black and brown.
Drifting from the boat has been about bigger flies with large orange, pink or ginger scuds and red, tan, and brown San Juan worms. A 9 foot 4X leader, with flies tied on 4X tippet about 16 inches apart does the trick. Weight can vary from 1/2 gram to 2 grams depending on depth and current speed. Depth, like weight, varies on conditions; typically from 6-9 feet from weight to strike indicator.
If you have a report on the walk-in, please pass it along to us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll include the information for other anglers. Streamers like wooly buggers on sink-tip lines still working best like last month. Also, a larger scud or San Juan worm followed by a midge with split shot to get it deep in pocket water and runs.
No current spin reports to pass along but the normal techniques should produce. Use gold 1/4 or 1/8 ounce Kastmasters and 1/4 ounce Panther Martins and other spinners. Also try small, Rapalas in rainbow trout, gold and silver colors. Cast out, then retrieve them at a steady speed (and maybe even give it a little twitch here and there) to trigger a strike.
Spin Fishing Summary.
Upriver Spin Fishing
Spin Fishing upriver remains good. Please remember, AZ Game and Fish regulations require barbless hooks on everything. Smash them down with a needle nose pliers or my favorite tool, smooth jaw hemostats. As the fall months arrive, bottom bouncing is working again with large glo-bugs in orange, pink or yellow. Also try a San Juan worm. Longer leaders of at least 2 feet behind the weight is best with the grassy bottom. Recent reports have Rapala-style minnows working. One note on these. I personally take the belly treble off and only fish the barbless tail hook. Fishing 2 trebles will often tear up the trout’s mouth and we want to be easy on these precious fish. Also working as always are marabou jigs, Kastmaster spoons, spinners like Panther Martins and Rooster Tails. When fishing jigs, don’t be too subtle with your presentation. Cast out and let it sink until the jig is near the bottom but not on the bottom collecting grass. Vertically snap the jig 1 to 3 feet and let settle back until the sinking jig is tight to your rod tip and repeat. Strikes will come as the jig falls back down. You’re basically making a hook set each time you hop the jig this way. The same snappy motion can be used with Kastmasters as well.
Last Updated: November 17, 2023
November release volume will be 500,000 acre-feet and hourly releases will fluctuate from a low of approximately 5,280 cubic feet per second (cfs) during the early morning hours to a high of 9,790 cfs during the afternoon and evening hours. The anticipated monthly release volume for December is anticipated to be 600,000 acre-feet and and hourly releases will fluctuate from a low of approximately 6,157 cubic feet per second (cfs) during the early morning hours to a high of 11,558 cfs during the afternoon and evening hours on the weekdays, the Sunday minimum will be 5,022 cfs. This will be confirmed toward the end of November.