The cicada bite is on!! The fish are looking for the big terrestrial insects along the bank. Most of the trout hit the flies like a smallmouth hits a topwater and fight very well when hooked. This presentation is done from the drifting boat while I row to keep the attitude and position of the boat where I want it. In addition to dry flies, wade fishing is also productive with dry/ dropper and nymphing techniques working on most spots. Best nymphs are orange or tan scuds, tan San Juan worms and black midge patterns.
Week of April 22, 2007
Fishing continues to be very good if the presentation is good. The spawn is quickly winding down. There are still several fish spawning however. These fish are not as aggressive as in the past few weeks though. Midge fishing in the riffles and tail-outs is still the best bet now. Fish are averaging 13-15 inches and fat.
April 17, 2007
Charlie from the home of Ranger boats, Flippin Arkansas, fished the Ferry with me today. The morning was a little slow but we made up for that later by catching many quality fish on eggs, orange scuds and a variety of midge patterns. The average fish today was 15 inches with several in the 16 to 17 inch range,
Late March-mid-April, 2007
Fly fishing continues to be great most days. In addition to sight fishing for spawning fish, the riffles are fishing very well with midges, worms and scuds.
The fish are looking very healthy this spring and are a little larger than in the past few years. This bodes well for the long-term future of the fishery
March 19 & 20, 2007
So far this winter and spring, I have done nothing but fly fish at Lees Ferry. Well, for 2 days, Bob and Rick from California came to spin fish the river. The typical spring rig for the river is to drag large egg flies on the bottom and feel for the fish to grab them. With lots of deep spawning fish to drift over, the fishing was excellent. Most of the fish took either pink or chartreuse eggs. Bob spent quite a bit of time fishing many different lures. The heaviest fish of the 2 days slammed a size 7 shad color Shad Rap. This fish was about 17” but had a very fat belly. The average fish on the eggs was about 15”.
March 15 & 16, 2007
Return clients and very experienced anglers, David and his son David joined me at the Ferry for 2 warm spring days. We fished for both spawning and non-spawning fish. Fishing has been very consistent the past weeks. These 2 days were no exception. Many fish fell to eggs and the trusty red midge. Many others took small black or green midge patterns.
March 14, 2007
I had the great pleasure to fish with Dave and Emily Whitlock today. Dave is a true icon in the fly fishing industry. Author, magazine columnist, artist, instructor, fly tyer and fisheries expert, these terms just scratch the surface of Dave Whitlock's impact on every fly angler for several decades. His wife Emily is accomplished in many fields as well. I had the pleasure of guiding both Dave and Emily several years back. If there are sweeter people in the world, I haven't met them. They were very happy to be back fishing at beautiful Lees Ferry. Being complete experts, they really only needed a boat ride and a general idea of where the fish like to hang out and they were off catching fish after fish. Needless to say we had a great day fishing and just hanging out like old friends.
March 9, 2007
Garret and his David fished the Ferry today. Both were beginners and we spent some time working on all the basics of casting and fly presentation. They both caught enough fish to get them enthusiastic about the sport. Again eggs and midges fooled the rainbows.
March 7 & 8 2007
Good friends and regular clients Fred and Tom from Tennessee fished Lees Ferry the last 2 days. Once again, fishing to spawners with eggs and a variety of midge patterns worked very well. It helps that both are expert fly fisherman. They landed many fish in the 17” range and most were brilliantly colored.
March 6, 2007
I guided Frank and his wife Debbie from Napa, CA on Lees Ferry today. Both are very good anglers. Frank has fished all over the world. The fish were not as happy as they were yesterday. Frank had a few fish take his midge at the end of the drift while the flies were “swinging”, but none stayed hooked long. One fish from this morning spot took Frank's dry fly and that was all the action we saw here. The next place was one I fished the day before with Tom. We landed a couple here, one on a yellow egg and one on a red midge. After lunch and a short trip to see the petroglyphs, we tried more sight fishing for spawners. These fish were on the spooky side but Debbie landed 3 and had a couple come off. Frank was not so lucky here. Finally I took them to a back eddy where the fish are often sipping midges from the surface. Frank landed a few here, mostly on a beadhead midge and one of a dry.
March 5, 2007
Tom from Ann Arbor, MI fly fished with me today on the Ferry. Most of the day was spent sight fishing those trusty spawners. The big advantage of fishing with a single client is that we get to move around as much as we want and keep casting at fresh fish. We did just that. I took Tom to 4 spots and each one yielded fish. One place in particular, gave up about 7 to end the day. Most fish today took the eggs with a few falling for the red midge. The fish were quite happy all day and Tom landed about 12 or so. Average size was about 15” and many were 16-17”.
March 4, 2007 Sunday
Christian and his bud Nick, friends of Dan and Fred from the 3rd fished the Ferry today. I've fished with Christian and Dan several times through the years and I always enjoy their skill and enthusiasm for fly fishing. Christian occasionally guides on the San Juan for Duranglers fly shop in Durango. That says a lot about his skill level. Nick is a part-time Durango resident; but fishes every chance he gets on the variety of water offered in southwest Colorado.
With the decreased flow on this Sunday, we were able to cast a line in water that is not fishable on the weekdays. This is often a good deal since these fish don't see any pressure during the week. If you've been reading my reports recently, you've seen that the morning spots just haven't been working. Well, today it worked at last. The first 7 fish or so came before 10:00. Yellow and pink eggs and brown worm patterns took these fish. Later we fished close to the dam and found many big rainbows feeding in the middle of the water column on midges. Despite expert casting of 40 feet or more and delicate presentations, only 3 fish were hooked with only one landed. So it goes hunting the bigger fish. They're just smarter and very tough to fool. A beautiful day though, the high was about 58 and very little breeze most of the day.
March 3, 2007
Dan and Fred from Durango and Santa Fe joined me today. Both are top-notch anglers. Red midges and pink eggs were the ticket today. There was a much better midge hatch today.
March 2, 2007
Jim and I along w/ Jim Veller, who will be starting as a new guide for us at Lees Ferry Anglers later in March, hit the Ferry again. Fishing was overall tough today. Windy and cold conditions kept the bug life suppressed and the fish followed suit. Despite the wind though, Jim Vincent managed to land several fish on tiny size 20 dry flies after lunch as the shadow of the 1000-foot cliffs came back onto the spot we fished. It was a true pleasure fishing with Jim these past 2 days and I certainly appreciate the spey casting lessons he so graciously offered.
March 1, 2007
I'm fishing with Jim Vincent, former owner of Rio Fly Line Co. for the next 2 days. As you would expect, Jim is the complete package when it comes to experts. He has fished all around the world for almost every species and it shows. ‘Nuff said. We didn't fish too hard today. Jim was field-testing several new prototype lines and a new rod from Sage for at least half the day. When we did get down to fishing, he landed a few fish on eggs and red midges and had several more come unbuttoned just after the hookset. We'll hit it harder tomorrow
February 25, 2007
I fished with Joe from Tuba City, AZ today. His wife joined us just to enjoy the beautiful sights of Lees Ferry. This was Joe's first fly fishing trip since he was a boy. We spent some time working on the mechanics of casting and drifting the fly properly. After just a short time, Joe was ready to tackle the first riffle. The fish were fussy here and Joe had 4 strikes at the end of the drift, but none stayed hooked. Off we went to fish one of the spots the Christensen's fished the day before. Again the fish were only taking at the end of the drift and all but one came unbuttoned. Finally we finished up with a couple more fish at 4-mile bar. I had a great time getting Joe started (again) in flyrodding.
February 23, 2007
Day 2 with the Christensens.
After a difficult morning at out first place, we fished over spawning fish with similar results and numbers to the first day. Again, red was the ticket. Dane in fact, landed 4 fish on 4 consecutive casts, all on the red midge. Brett and Bob didn't have the same luck at this spot, but still had some action. Bob wanted to show his sons another petroglyph panel he saw on a previous trip. I took them to see the ancient rock art and afterward, we left for the same spot we finished up the day before. The fish were still willing to eat both eggs and the trusty red midge. I look forward to the next time these 3 great guys join me on the Ferry.
February 23, 2007
Back at Lees Ferry for the next 3 days.
Today I fished with the Christensens; Dad Bob, and his 2 sons, Dane and Brett. All 3 are skilled anglers with years of experience under their belts. Dane and Brett are expert enough to guide on any water.
Our second spot of the day produced several beautiful rainbows primarily on red midge patterns fished behind an egg. Brett was especially doing well with the red. After lunch and a short side trip to see some Anasazi petroglyphs, we headed down river to finish up the day at one last site. We found several spawning fish in the mouth of a large drainage. These fish also gobbled up the red midges behind the eggs. After landing a few fish here, we headed back the dock having landed around 10 or 12 fish for the day.
February 17, 2007
Tony and Mike, father and son from Cottonwood and Prescott joined me on the river for a day of fly fishing. Our first spot was a bust, but the second was better with 7 fish hooked and 3 landed, mostly on midge pattern flies fished on shallow nymphing rigs. After lunch, we started drift fishing deep nymph rigs from the boat and found the fish to be fairly agreeable. Most took midges with a few eating worm patterns. Another tough day at the office.
February 16, 2007
I had a single client today. Dan, from Tucson spent the day with me fly fishing the Ferry. On the third cast of the day to two spawning beds, a 17" male took a dry fly and put up a great fight. Two more fish from those beds took egg flies. Later, we moved to sight-fish to lots of spawning fish. After trying several colors of egg flies, we found the preferred combo for the day and Dan could almost catch the spawners at will. The day was a one to remember with every fish over 15 inches and two 17 or better.
Report for Winter 06, 07
I haven't updated the reports page for quite a while, so finally here's the summary of what's been going on. After what seemed to be a long, cold winter fishing season on the river, business is picking up at Lees Ferry Anglers. All my guide days since late November have been on the river. December fishing was pretty tough except for a few days of productive sight-fishing for spawning trout. February has been better fishing in general, with many fish taken sight-fishing over spawning beds. Please be assured that we are avid about catch-and -release at the Ferry and every fish lives to fight another day. With longer days and a higher angle of sunlight, the midge hatches are getting better every day and many fish are eating midge pattern flies. Spin fishing has been decent on both lures and dragging flies along the bottom.
I've been off the lake this winter, but I'm planning a trip soon to check things out.
August 19, 2006
Father and son the Pucketts, from Phoenix and Sahurita AZ fly fished Lees Ferry today. The morning was tough for us and the other guides today. After the water came up, the fish got a bit happier and they caught several fish deep nymphing with San Juan Worms and scuds.
Shirley and Lowell Spitzer, fishing lodge and guide service owners from White River, Arkansas spin the Ferry. The spin techniques Lowell uses on the White River are virtually identical to those we use on the Ferry. They stuck rainbows on marabou jigs, Kastmasters and Shad Rap crankbaits. We didn't keep count, but it was a very productive day. I would estimate they hooked about 35 fish and landed 25, including this fat 19 incher on a Shad Rap.
August 13, 2006
The Greenwoods's a father and his 13 year old son from Washington state fly fished Lees Ferry on" low water'" Sunday. Carl the 13 year old was quite the accomplished caster and all-round fly fisherman for his age. Dad was quite a good stick as well. Between he and his dad, 23 fish were caught on dry flies, shallow sight fishing with beadheads and deep nymphingfrom the drifting boat. Another tough day at the office...
After a week in Tucson visiting my family, I'm back to work guiding.
3 anglers from the Phoenix area spinfished with me today at Lees Ferry. Jigging 1/4 oz. Kastmasters fooled many fish, but most shook the barbless hook when they jumped. Dragging bottom with San Juan Worm flies on a light Carolina rig worked well in the afternoon .
August 4 and 5, 2006
Flyfishing both days on Lees Ferry with a party of 3. Wade fishing was hot and cold. Most spots yielded good action with 3' - 8' long nymph rigs. Drifting continues to be productive, at least in the upper 1/3 of the river. Scuds and midges were the best flies on these 2 days. A pair of anglers in a rental boat reported good cicada dry fly action.
July 15, 2006
A day on the Ferry with my website designer and good friend Nate Kinzie. Nate and I first met last October when he and his family were my fly fishing clients at Lees Ferry. When I found out Nate was a graphic and website designer, I suggested that we trade guide service for design of my website. Nate has done a fantastic job for me, and you by the way. We started out wade fishing near the dam and Nate stuck a few nice rainbows on bead headed flies fished under a dry fly. Later we fished while anchored and on the drift with nymph rigs. This produced a couple of fish as well. After lunch, we drifted the banks and threw cicada dry flies. Nate caught 10 fish and turned several others on a pattern I created while in Colorado with Brad. It was another great day on the river.