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Old 05-08-2015, 11:11 AM
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AZFAT AZFAT is offline
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Lees Ferry Fishery Management Recommendations Draft Report

(posting for Jerry M)

Hello. Attach for your review is the final draft of the Lees Ferry Recreational Trout Fishery Management Recommendations: The Voice of Lees Ferry Anglers, Guides, and Businesses (click to download). The Recommendations are intended to complement and augment the National Park Service's 2014 Comprehensive Fisheries Management Plan for the Colorado River below Glen Canyon Dam. Additionally, the Recommendations are provided for the consideration of the Arizona Game and Fish Commission, Bureau of Reclamation, Glen Canyon Dam Adaptive Management Work Group, and Department of Interior to inform decisions about future management of Glen Canyon Dam and the blue ribbon rainbow trout fishery. Another key purpose is to help shape alternatives in the Long Term Experimental and Management Plan (LTEMP) Environmental Impact Statement for the future operation of Glen Canyon Dam.

We believe these Recommendations are consistent with and will benefit many other Colorado River resource values below Glen Canyon Dam, including sand conservation and beach building, humpback chub recovery, archaeological site protection, and hydropower production at GCD.

We value your input and hope you will take the time to review the document and provide comments. Comments will be accepted through May 22, 2015.

If you have questions please contact us.

Sincerely,

John Jordan
Trout Unlimited and International Federation of Fly Fishers
Jcjordan1@cox.net
602 363-8663

John Hamill
Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership
jhamill@trcp.org
928 606-4234
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Old 05-08-2015, 02:46 PM
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I shouldn't be surprised but I find it disappointing that these 'voices' from TU, clubs, organizations and businesses are supporting the reduction of trout in the Grand Canyon below Lees Ferry and have made proposals in this draft letter of ways to reduce trout populations in the Grand Canyon.
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Old 05-08-2015, 05:33 PM
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This report is somewhat entertaining in that they feel the Operators of Glen Canyon Dam should ramp up and down flows solely for trout. While as an angler I love this idea, as a realist the idea is just silly.

I love Lees Ferry, but maybe the best thing we can do is quit messing with it. The dam already crushed any chance of successful reintroduction of Humpback Chub. The Government doing their level best to remove trout below the Paria will do nothing to bring back the chub and as such is a complete waste of time and money. The simple fact of the matter is the water is too cold. Only way to change that is to remove the dam, which obviously will never happen.

This is something like Canyon Creek, I love that TU has brought it back post fire, but continually messing with it is insanity. Nature has a way of working things out without our unlearned help. The more people meddle with it the worse we make it. For comparison sake there are a couple creeks on the rim that were simply restocked and then left alone. They are now high quality healthy fisheries (No, I will not tell you which ones they are, you have to work for that!)

Much the same with Lee's Ferry, stop messing with it and it will figure itself out and be the better for it, better than any of our meddling will make it for sure. Let nature do what it does best.... find a way to thrive.
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Old 05-08-2015, 09:06 PM
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I fished the Ferry this past week and experienced the decline first hand. The trout population is probably less than 25% of what it was a year ago. There are many areas of the river that you can drift and see to the bottom, the fish are usually readily visible. Last week you could drift for miles without seeing a fish. It is still possible to catch 6-12 fish in a day, but you need to focus on the few areas holding fish.
Keep this in mind as you read the report, because if you haven't been recently you may not appreciate how much has changed.
I hope this report will influence management of the dam with an eye toward protecting and improving this unique place. I came away discouraged. Many of the items suggested in the report will be costly and non fishermen will not see the value that we ascribe to fishing. Perhaps the economics will dictate giving up on a "wild" trout fishery and resort to stocking programs to make up for the many things we cannot control.
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Old 05-08-2015, 09:42 PM
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Someone I was talking to recently mentioned a fish kill up there recently, though i would imagine if that was true we would have heard about it. Your opinion on the population being 25% of what it was supports that. Maybe Terry can confirm?

I was there in the beginning of March for three days when that nasty storm rolled through. First thing I heard was there was no fish in the walk in section. This was not strictly true we found, what we did find is that the fish were in deep water we couldn't access wading. We did catch a few, but not like we usually do. The third day we fished up stream with a guide and did OK for the ferry, 40-50 fish to hand between two people. Average size 14-15", with one 18" to the wife. We did have to look for them, and both me and the wife have been there a few times and fish quite a bit so this probably helped the fish totals.

With all that I'm not sure if there was a fish kill or not, but more likely the fish have moved downriver in search of food, where the federal agencies kill every one they get a chance to.

Even this is not necessarily bad for the fishery, fewer fish mean more food for the ones there. Lees Ferry will likely not grow trophy sized fish, but what it does grow is beautiful feisty 15-17" wild rainbows in a beautiful setting. When fishing for trout size shouldn't be a concern. A 20 inch 4 pound trout is worth bragging about as far as trout go, but in the fish world is still small. You can go to any canal and beat that all day long. (Edit: this last part is a reference to the report wanting bigger fish, not your post FlyitAll)
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Last edited by Warrior63; 05-08-2015 at 09:45 PM.
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Old 05-15-2015, 11:58 AM
Salty Skroob Salty Skroob is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Warrior63 View Post
Someone I was talking to recently mentioned a fish kill up there recently, though i would imagine if that was true we would have heard about it. Your opinion on the population being 25% of what it was supports that. Maybe Terry can confirm?
Not sure about the actual percentage, but I can tell you I fished it in July of last year and we killed it, tripping over fish at 4 mile, they were everywhere. Fished again in March of this year, no fish to be seen at 4 mile. Went past it several times, different group there each time, none catching.

Take the rumors as gospel, fish numbers are down....
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