Lees Ferry Fishing Report

Colorado River - Lees Ferry

by Arizona Game & Fish Department

Nov. 20 report courtesy of Kevin Campbell, Lees Ferry Anglers. Water temperature: 57.56-60.26 F. Discharge rate: 6,350-9,960 cfs. 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 riffles are fishing well with shallow nymph rigs and streamers producing in the tail-outs and runs. Drifting from the boat continues to be the most consistent method for all-day action. Water temps are gradually trending 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.

Boat Drifting
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. 

Walk-in Summary
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
Spin fishing upriver remains good. Please remember, Arizona 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 two 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 it 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.

Arizona Game & Fish Department Reports
for Monday, October 30th, 2023

Kaibab Lake: Kaibab Lake Report
Cataract Lake: Cataract Lake Report
City Reservoir: City Reservoir Report
Dogtown Lake: Access to the lake is open, but the campground is closed for the winter
Santa Fe Reservoir: Santa Fe Reservoir Report
Whitehorse Lake: Whitehorse Lake Report
J. D. Dam Lake: JD Dam Report
Russel Tank: Russell Tank Report
Upper & Lower Lake Mary: Upper and Lower Lake Mary Report
Francis Short Pond: Frances Short Pond Report
Ashurst Lake: Ashurst Lake Report
Kinnikinick Lake: The lake is full and turbid
Oak Creek: Oak Creek Report
West Clear Creek: Smallmouth bass are unlimited harvest in West Clear Creek
Wet Beaver Creek : Bass are unlimited harvest in Wet Beaver and Beaver Creeks
Colorado River - Lees Ferry: Lees Ferry Anglers Report
Lake Powell: Lake Powell Fishing Report
Knoll Lake: The Knoll Lake campground is closed for the winter
Woods Canyon Lake: Woods Canyon Lake Report