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Old 02-10-2010, 02:14 PM
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stoneflynut stoneflynut is offline
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Great write up Terry. It fits my personal experience and information on the fishery exceptionally well. I remember the snakes; it was sad. Huge heads, leathery skin, lethargic starving fish. I agree it was a mistake to throw hatchery fish on top of the "strain" that had developed over the years at the Ferry.

One point worth emphasizing is how closely the fishery is tied to nutrients in Lake Powell. Just as nutrient inflows into the lake drive the food chain of plankton, shad and stripers it also drives the food chain of trout at the Ferry. A weather dependent function. The other variable is, of course, the operation of Glen Canyon Dam; something we can influence.

Meanwhile, this from your post is worth repeating:

"I cannot waste my time worrying about what might happen to the river that has given me and many others so much. I'm just going to keep doing what I have done for most of my life...helping others to enjoy the beauty of Glen Canyon, guiding and sharing my knowledge of trout and fishing, and to continue to do everything in my power to help to protect this National Treasure, the Lees Ferry Trout fishery."

Here's to tight lines and big grins.
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Old 02-10-2010, 02:37 PM
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Great thread and an awesome post from Terry! Thanks for all the info!
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Old 02-10-2010, 03:53 PM
Seldomseen Seldomseen is offline
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Thanks for taking the time to post that Terry.

Boy, that photo is a classic.

Here is the thing about Lees Ferry I don't completely understand:

If you told someone of a river in the Whites or along the Rim which had thousands of trout per mile the size being caught even today, there would be a traffic jam. Not so up there.

Who knows what will happen with the fishery, but it is tough to imagine spending time on a more scenic water which is loaded with fish.

I guess it is easy to dwell on what it was rather than what it is or will be. Maybe because when "it was", it was over the top. However, it is still a remarkable fishery and I can't wait to get up there in a couple weeks.
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Old 02-10-2010, 04:00 PM
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CHIEF CHIEF is offline
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The reason I believe is that while Lee's Ferry has the most scenic place to fly fish it takes a **** a time to get there for such average fish and while the White Mountains/Rim though stillwater fishing you have fish of much larger size to catch and having other species which are big as well. I for one have been to Lee's Ferry and loved everything about it but catching that average size day after day vs drive time doesn't tend to steer me in that direction. It's a great place don't get me wrong and you do catch nice looking fish but people want to catch bigger ones if they have to travel that kind of distance. Great place for 3 weight rods and when the dries are on, it can't be beat......


Last edited by CHIEF; 02-10-2010 at 04:35 PM.
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Old 02-10-2010, 04:10 PM
Seldomseen Seldomseen is offline
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I think there is some truth to what you say CHIEF, but in reality it is just a few fisherman who catch 99% of the bigger fish in the Whites and the travel time from Phoenix is not really all that much more.

So perception may play a role as well.
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Old 02-10-2010, 04:14 PM
YettiReconAZ YettiReconAZ is offline
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love this thread!
fished the ferry along with my step-dad w/o a guide when i was 15-16 and the fish were pretty much all 9-12i nches back then...cant belive we navigated the river it got pretty shallow in the narrows.

Last edited by YettiReconAZ; 02-10-2010 at 04:17 PM.
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Old 02-10-2010, 04:34 PM
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CHIEF CHIEF is offline
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It's 5 1/2 hour drive for me to the Ferry (need boat) and 6 hours to the San Juan (don't need boat)....hmmm let me see.....

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Old 02-10-2010, 06:08 PM
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Jojackc Jojackc is offline
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I would fish the Ferry over the Juan any day. Great fishery. It does suck that you really need a boat to do it. But its worth it I think. If you don't want to deal with a boat just get a guide. I think Terry might know someone that does that up there.
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Old 02-10-2010, 08:40 PM
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Kevin Campbell Kevin Campbell is offline
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Thanks Terry

I was going to reply the original question about the size of the fish until I scrolled down and found Terry's reply, mine was going to be briefer and more generalized. Thanks Terry for sharing your knowledge with the group.

As of today, the snow pack ranges from 81 to 103% of normal, so far so good for nutrient inflow this spring and summer.

On the subject of the Juan vs. the Ferry,
We few who have the great fortune to either fished here often, guided the Ferry or live close as I do, I worked for Terry for almost 11 years, are happy to play second fiddle to the Juan. In my experiences at the Juan I have been left with a bad taste in my mouth every time. Sure the fish are bigger & there's more walk in access but that, at least for me, doesn't make up for the difference in the etiquette. Even in the hay day of Lees Ferry Anglers when we had 14 guides, for the most part, we all managed to coexist.

I realize that some of the readers of this forum have had run-ins with Ferry guides who were trying to protect their client's water. Some guides just rubbed private anglers the wrong way or were even just rude. That was certainly not the marching orders from Terry or anyone else at LFA. Every guide meeting that subject was always brought up and "be as accommodating and diplomatic as you possibly can" was the order of the day. The understood etiquette was and still is that if a bar is occupied by either a private or guided anglers, you just find another bar to wade, or park near the beached boat and go and talk with the anglers or guide and see if the mind sharing the water without encroaching. In recent years, drifting has reduced much of the pressure on the bars.

I haven't fished the Juan more than 5 times or so because of the way some anglers act there. I have heard so many stories of anglers wading right into seams or pools that are being fished, angry words and physical threats or worse that it makes me wonder just why people fish a river where that behavior is tolerated. My buddy Chad who also guided for Terry for years just fished the Juan 2 weeks ago and again had a group of 3 crash right in to the water he and a friend were fishing and then began to verbally assault them while standing in the middle of the fishable water. Every time he goes to the Juan, he returns with a similar story. I'm not saying that didn't happen at Lees Ferry, it did, but it was not the norm by any means. Personally, I'd rather travel the same amount of time (5 hours) into southern Utah or a little extra to Colorado and fish a small stream. One-on-one with the fish, the way fly fishing is supposed to be in my opinion.

Speaking as someone who has a boat to go upriver anytime I want, it's so nice at the Ferry now, there is enough driftable water and wadable bars for everyone, especially with the economy keeping many anglers from affording the trip up here. For me, having such a big areas to fish either as a guide of just for fun, the unbeatable scenery, the sense of isolation and the quality of the fish and the variety of fishing techniques that can be used just can't be beat. I don't care if I don't get a 20 incher every time, some people are all about 20 inchers and that's fine too. If you can swing it, this spring will be epic on the Ferry.

Just my 2 cents...
Kids don't remember their best day watching TV

Kevin Campbell
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Old 02-10-2010, 09:25 PM
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That was an epic post. The detail and timelines you laid out were spot on. Thanks for taking the time to document this for all of us.
With that said, the Ferry is one of the most beautiful places to fish for trout in the world.
I will be going back soon - I make sure to make the 4+ hour trip from Phoenix at minimum of 5 times per year. I also tell anyone and everyone that they should fish the Ferry - not just for the fish (which I feel are very good), but for the experience. The canyon walls alone are awe inspiring.
The restaurant at Cliff Dwellers is a 10+, too!
Can't wait to get up there again.
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