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Old 06-05-2018, 10:09 AM
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T Gunn T Gunn is offline
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Lees Ferry Report 6/5/18




If you do not follow Lees Ferry Anglers on Facebook, you should. We make several posts each week about current conditions at Lees Ferry.

On June 1, the higher summer flows began. As we had hoped, the increased water flows have improved the fishing significantly. The higher flows have stirred up the larger food items (scuds and worms) and we are seeing unusually large midge hatches. For most of the spring, the fish were holding in the deeper water and it was tough to get to them. This, coupled with our crappy spring weather, made our fishing slower than normal. We started to see the fish moving back into the shallow water in the middle of May. Now that the water has risen, the fish are back in the shallower water in mass and are much more eager to eat. The fish are in astoundingly great shape and we are catching all sizes of fish from large to small, The other good news is that we are starting to catch quite a few smaller fish (under 10-inches) which means there are younger generations of trout that are moving out of hiding and into the main channel to feed; these will be the fish that we are catching for the next few years.

The great fishing should continue throughout the summer. The cicadas are going to start singing any day and we'll be making regular posts on Facebook regarding their hatches.

The best flies of recent have been scuds, worms and midges. Stop by or call the shop to get the most recent hot fly selection. Wade fishing continues to be productive as has been drift fishing from the boat. Weekend flows are lower due to the new “Bug Flows” (see below) and as a result the wade fishing is usually much better those days.

Bug Flows Began on May 1. This is great news for the river!
The Department of the Interior implemented experimental Macroinvertebrate Production Flows (Bug Flows) at Glen Canyon Dam May 1 and these flows will continue through August 31, 2018.

Bug Flows consist of steady weekend releases from Glen Canyon Dam that provide favorable conditions for insects to lay eggs along the Colorado River margins and slightly higher fluctuating releases during the weekdays designed to prevent the eggs from drying out. This experiment is expected to have positive benefits to the food base of the aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems below Glen Canyon Dam. The Bug Flow experiment is expected to provide resource benefits in the near term and will also provide scientific information to be used in future decision making. The Bug Flow experiment will satisfy the Department's goal to ensure effective and coordinated implementation of important research that the Department is undertaking through the Glen Canyon Dam Adaptive Management Program.


The way these flows are going to work is that on Saturday and Sunday the flows will be held steady at 1,000-cfs above the weekday flow. For example, in May the flows would have been 7,000-cfs to 13,750 with fluctuating low weekend flows. The flows now will be 8,000 to 14,250-cfs 9,000-cfs constant on weekends. June 9,000 to 16,250 with 10,000-cfs weekends. July 10,000 to 18,000 with 11,000-cfs weekends. August 10,500 to 18,500 with 11,750-cfs weekends. The flow will end in August.

The river looks great with abundant algae covering most of the bottom. The algae indicate that there is a good nutrient flow from the water above the dam. These nutrients serve as the foundation for macroinvertebrates that support the food web.

The river is a living creature. Just because you caught fish in a certain spot in years past, don't think that you are going to experience the same success this year. Fishing is changing daily. It is our goal and desire that everyone have a great trip to the Ferry. 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 LFA guides let everyone at the shop know the top producing flies and how to use them. We are anxious to share this knowledge with you – even where to fish!

There is an ongoing aquatic food base study that has taken place over the past couple of years. The purpose of this study is multifaceted and is studying the relationship of flows on food production, taking inventories of and monitoring populations of aquatic insects and invertebrates that live in the river and other very important aspects of the aquatic food base. I believe that this is by far the most important study that has ever been conducted on this river. Previously, hundreds of millions of dollars have been spent studying sediment while ignoring the aquatic food base and resource. Common sense dictates that fish, birds and animals do not live off of dirt or sand. The aquatic food base and habitat are the foundation for all that lives in the Colorado River. One of the long term goals of the food base study is to determine how to enhance the populations and production of aquatic insects in the river which will benefit native fish, trout, and migratory bird populations. This is a study and a goal that we can all embrace!

Quagga mussels have become established in Lake Powell and we are now seeing some in the river below the dam. Their arrival in the river happened sooner than I expected. So far, there has not been a major infestation and there is some thought by experts that they will not become very well established in the river due to the current. Be aware and remember to dry waders and boots before using them in any other body of water. Also, all private boats should drain all water from the boat and live-wells as soon as you exit the river. We all need to do our part to limit the transport of this and all invasive species.

Walk-In Summary

The walk-in area continues to fish better than it has in years. Lees Ferry Anglers is now offering guided half day walk and wade trips in this area. If you have ever wanted to learn how to effectively fish this area, this is a very affordable option to learn from a pro.

Spin Fishing Summary

Spin fishing has improved greatly. For most of the spring there was so much algae that it was practically impossible to get a drift without the lure and line being clogged with algae. The higher flows that began June 1 have helped to clear this algae, so conditions have improved greatly.

Last edited by T Gunn; 06-05-2018 at 10:12 AM.
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