Lees Ferry Fishing Report

Colorado River - Lees Ferry

by Arizona Game & Fish Department

Dec. 11 report courtesy of Kevin Campbell, Lees Ferry Anglers. Water temperature: 52.88-53.96 F. Discharge rate: 7,060-10,700 cfs. The Glen Canyon National Recreation Area of the National Park Service has secured funding to
continue the Brown Trout Incentivized Harvest Program for an additional year.

Days are shortening and water temps are slowly dropping here at Lees Ferry. 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. 

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 leeches 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, try 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. 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 are 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 Friday, November 24th, 2023

Francis Short Pond: Frances Short Pond refilled and stocked for first time since 2022 Pipeline Fire
Rose Canyon Lake: Rose Canyon Lake restrictions on swimming and boating extended for two more years
Kaibab Lake: Access to the lake and boat launch are still open
Cataract Lake: The cooler water temperatures should have tiger and brown trout active this week
City Reservoir: The reservoir level remains full
Dogtown Lake: Fall is a good time to target brown trout
Santa Fe Lake: Santa Fe Reservoir Report
Whitehorse Lake: With the drop in temperatures, fish activity is likely minimal
J. D. Dam Lake: JD Dam Report
Russel Tank: Russell Tank is full for the first time in many years
Upper & Lower Lake Mary: Gill netting surveys of Upper Lake Mary early this week
Francis Short Pond: Stocked with rainbow trout this week
Ashurst Lake: The lake is about 80 percent full and water clarity is excellent
Kinnikinick Lake: The lake is full and turbid
Goldwater Lake: Trout were stocked on 10/30 and again on 11/13
Lynx Lake: Trout were last stocked Nov. 13
Oak Creek: Rainbow trout will be stocked this week
West Clear Creek: West Clear Creek streamflow is at 26 cfs
Wet Beaver Creek : Bass are unlimited harvest in Wet Beaver and Beaver Creeks
Colorado River - Lees Ferry: Lees Ferry Fishing Report
Lake Powell: Lake Powell Fishing Report
Blue Ridge Reservoir: Blue Ridge Campground is closed for the winter season
Huffer Tank: Huffer Tank is full
Knoll Lake: The reservoir level has dropped and the boat launch is no longer in the water
Alamo Lake: The late season crappie bite is on
Lake Havasu: Lake Havasu Fishing Report
Lake Mead: Lake Mead is currently at around 1,064 feet above msl
Lake Mohave: The lake level has remained pretty steady
Blue Ridge Reservoir: Blue Ridge Reservoir Trout
Fools Hollow Lake: Fool Hollow Lake Rainbow