Colorado River Northwest

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March 30th, 2009
LAKE POWELL — By Wayne Gustaveson. Lake elevation: 3,611. Water temp: 51-55 F.

I am excited. Days remain warm and calm. Water is warming. Fish are finally recognizing the change and responding. Fishing has improved. Winter is over at Lake Powell. Both bass and stripers are now catchable.
Largemouth are the first species to react in spring. With brush in the water Lake Powell largemouth can now act like there are supposed to. Adult bass prefer to live in brush forests. They must venture out at times to hunt but the normal tendency is to wait for a sunfish or shad to come into cover. So most of the time they just wait.
Anglers had success this past weekend by fishing in front of the thick brushy coves and cuts. The key was to use a bulky bait like a skirted double tail plastic jig or a slow sinking bait like a weedless senko. Throw the bait as close to structure as possible and then let it rest. Imagine a bass seeing the bait and trying to decide whether to leave the thick cover and investigate. A quick retrieve makes the bass decision easy. He lets the bait go. But a bait that lingers and after a reasonable time twitches – causes a need for investigation. The bass moves closer – another twitch – it looks like something to eat. Understanding fish attitude is the first step in catching them.
Smallmouth bass are still in the cold mode, but another two weeks and they will awaken as well.

Striped bass are feeding. There is one pattern that works lake wide. Schools rest in deep water (50-100 feet) but periodically come up to look for shallow (25 feet and less) shad schools. The key to consistently catching stripers is to work the breaking edge of structure at the 25 foot contour. Use the graph and find the edge where the deep water meets shallow. There will be a striper school resting along the break line at some point. The best way to find the school is to troll along the 25 foot contour.
Much greater success is found by using a deep diving lure that actually runs at 25 feet. That can be accurately determined by trolling in shallow water with a sand bottom (not brush). When the lure hits bottom you know how deep it runs. You will be disappointed to find that most deep divers actually run about 10-12 feet deep. Find a 25-foot deep runner and troll the 25 foot contour for consistent success. Down riggers or leaded line work well.
The last suggestion is to have a jigging spoon rigged and ready. When a striper is hooked trolling, it is common for the entire school to follow. These fish are awake, alert and looking for food. Drop the spoon to catch a few more fish while they are active. You will find that the school loses interest quickly and runs away from the boat. At that point resume trolling, find another school, troll up some fish, then spoon some up, and troll once more. This technique is proven and will work all over the lake.

LEES FERRY – Fishing report courtesy Lees Ferry Anglers.
Fly Fishing: Beautiful weather was a contributor to some very good fishing. Drifting with a longer leader a good amount of weight with a glo-bug and a San Juan worm was the way to go. The double nymph rig was used in the riffles. The back eddies are starting to come alive as the day progresses; a dry dropper rig will do the trick in these areas.
Walk in: We have had a lot of walk waders coming through. The fish are out there, they seem to be a little particular about what they take. They might be a little line shy, so if you can bump down to 6x or 7x, your hook-up’s should improve.
Spin Fishing: Fishing with glo bugs and San Juan Worms on the bottom seems to be the ticket for spin fishing right now. Rapalas and jigs have also had some success. Big fish are keying on eggs and spin fishing is producing big numbers.
If you have some news you would like to report about fishing lees ferry, the walk-in section or up river please e-mail your report to: anglers@leesferry.com Attn. Lees Ferry Fishing Report. We would be happy to have your input, and pass it along -Ted Welling, Lees Ferry Anglers & Cliff Dwellers Lodge

RECENT FISHING: With the water flows once again fluctuating and lower flows; we have been fishing from the boat as well as wading the riffles. The best fishing technique has been using a “heavy nymph rig” which is a 9 to 12-ft leader, strike indicator, split shot, and dual fly rig. I have been using 6X fluorocarbon tippet and feel that the lighter tippet results in a much higher success rate than say 5X. Anglers might argue that they break fish off on such light tippet but my argument is that in order to break a fish off, you first have to first get a fish to eat your fly and you are going to get more eaters with lighter tippet than heaver tippet.
When wading the riffles you need long dead drifts. There are two types of drifts; perfect dead drifts and all other drifts. Perfect dead drifts catch fish at Lees Ferry; all other drifts don’t catch fish here. You get a dead drift by mending the line, then throwing slack line on the water. If your line is straight from your rod tip to your indicator or you move your indicator during the drift, then your drift is not perfect and will not catch fish. The key to success is to stay over fish, get the flies down to the bottom, and get a long, perfect dead drift.
Word has it that the “walk-in’ is fishing very well. There are times in the spring that this area actually fishes better than upriver. Look for this area to continue fishing well until the summer high water arrives.
The high flow experiment, 4/08, was basically a non event as far as the fishery is concerned. It came and went with few visible changes to the river or the fishery. For more details and to see my complete comments go here: http://coloradoriverconservancy.org/

For details on Lake Powell conditions and snow-pack, go here:
http://lakepowell.water-data.com/

For a real time graphic view of water releases and ramp rates go here: http://waterdata.usgs.gov/az/nwis/uv?09380000
The AZ Game and Fish Department has detected whirling disease in a very small percentage of Lees Ferry trout that were collected for a random sampling. A more recent sampling turned up no sign of the disease, which may mean that it was a “one time” exposure, where the disease was not established or that the disease is present but at a very low prevalence.  Anglers should still use caution in cleaning their equipment both before and after they have fished here or in other waters. For more information visit: http://www.whirling-disease.org.

LAKE MEAD – Lake Mead water levels are dropping slowly and a currently  around 1,109 feet above msl.  I have not heard anything new on the fishing, it should be picking up soon if it has not already.
Launching conditions at South Cove have remained nearly the same for the last three months.  The new concrete ramp the National Park Service just completed is two lanes with cones marking the edges. Use caution not to go off the sides of the metal extensions at either side. National Park Service is working to keep the ramp open.

Important notice: With the discovery of invasive quagga mussels in Mead, Mohave and Havasu, proper cleaning of all watercraft is critical to help prevent the spread of these invaders.  Please drain and dry your livewell and bilge on land. Drain all the water you can from your engine. Also, inspect your vessel and trailer, removing any visible mussels, but also feel for any rough or gritty spots on the hull. These may be young mussels that can be hard to see.

For more information, go to the Arizona Game and Fish Department’s web pages at azgfd.gov or visit http://100thmeridian.org/.

Angler reports:

Well, my wife Jane and I did the Lake Mead thing.  If I remember correctly, the surface temperature was 57.6 F the 1st day and got to just over 60 the last day (Wednesday).  We did our normal anchovies on a 1/0 hook below a swivel and barrel sinker rig.  We have a 20’ bowrider with a trolling motor on the bow.  You probably have a lot more maneuverable rig like a bass boat.  We put down 4 lines on a rod holding board with the anchovies and trolled through likely areas with the trolling motor.

The first day, we simply didn’t find the fish in spite of where the folks at Temple Bar told us to try (around the island by the Temple, Ladder cove, and the cove on the west side of Temple Bar).  One bite, one fish.  No bait, no marks.

The next day we went hunting on our own, beginning in Hualapai Canyon which had worked in the fall.  Lots of moss-like debris in the water, which may have shown up as fish.  Tried the coves back to the west of Hualapai; same results.  We hunted 5 hours and marked no clusters or stacks of fish, and not a single bait cloud.  In the middle of the afternoon we found a reef between an island and the shore that came up to about 40’.  The stripers were stacked up on one side.  We took 39 that day between 30 and 40’ feet down in 40-80’ of water.  Tried a couple of other places when the bite stopped, couldn’t mark a fish or bait cloud, and went home.

The third day we went back to the same spot and took 25, again in the mid to late afternoon.

The fourth day we fished around the same spot and took 35 stripers, half a dozen or so before noon, the rest 3 PM to dusk.

We tried a lot of points as you suggested and just couldn’t find the fish there at any depth.  We did find scattered fish along the walls of the main channel, but no significant schools there or mid-channel.  We never did see a bait cloud the four days we fished.

We met some fellows who trolled the main channel with a trolling rig called Krooked something.  In the day we got 39, they only got 2 fish and they were small.  The rig is a  plastic shell into which you put the anchovy head and then put a pin through the head.  It also has 2 hooks on trailers that go into the anchovy body.  They said they trolled 4-4.5 mph and usually did well.

We stopped the trolling motor at times when we caught more than 1 fish at once, but almost never caught another without the boat moving.  I have no idea why this was the case.  We were only moving about 0.4-0.6 mph per the GPS.

What we know we’ve mostly learned from you (THANKS MUCH!!).  The weather was progressively warmer each day.  I have the impression that things will pick up as the water warms.  We saw very few fishermen which surprised me.

Thanks

Chuck & Jane


LAKE MOHAVE — The lake level is around 640 feet above msl is the current elevation.  Fishing for stripers seems to be pretty good in the southern portion of the lake. One angler reported catching a limit of 20-inch stripers in 5 hrs.  The fish cleaning station at Katherine’s Landing is not working.  National Park service is repairing it, but it will be several weeks before it is up and running.  Lots of bass and bluegill located on fish habitat in 15-20 ft.  As the aquatic vegetation has died off, the fish have consolidated around submerged trees and brush.
Biologists from both Arizona Game and Fish Department and Nevada Division of Wildlife with the help of volunteers, National Park Service and Bureau of Reclamation personnel have continued to install fish habitat in Carp Cove, Box Cove and now Shoshone.  Fish habitat consists of PVC structures, wood pallet structures, Tamarisk bundles, and some Christmas trees. The largemouth, bluegill and catfish are really utilizing the new structures.  Additional habitat will be added at several locations over the next two years.  These structures are fish magnets.
There is a wheelchair accessible fishing pier just south of the main launch ramp at Katherine’s Landing. If you fish Mohave and are having luck, please e-mail me at mchmiel@azgfd.gov so I can share your successes with others.
Important notice: With the discovery of invasive quagga mussels in Mead, Mohave and Havasu, proper cleaning of all watercraft is critical to help prevent the spread of these invaders. Please drain and dry your livewell and bilge on land. Drain all the water you can from your engine. Also, inspect your vessel and trailer, removing any visible mussels, but also feel for any rough or gritty spots on the hull. These may be young mussels that can be hard to see.
For more information, go to the Arizona Game and Fish Department’s web pages at www.azgfd.gov  or visit http://100thmeridian.org/.

WILLOW BEACH – Trout are stocked every Friday.  Fishing has been pretty good for trout.    Most of the success has been coming from or around the new pier. Try using green Power Worms, or salmon eggs.
Important notice: With the discovery of invasive quagga mussels in Mead, Mohave and Havasu, proper cleaning of all watercraft is critical to help prevent the spread of these invaders. Please drain and dry your livewell and bilge on land. Drain all the water you can from your engine. Also, inspect your vessel and trailer, removing any visible mussels, but also feel for any rough or gritty spots on the hull. These may be young mussels that can be hard to see. If you fish Willow beach and are having luck, please e-mail me at mchmiel@azgfd.gov so I can share your successes with others.
For more information, go to the Arizona Game and Fish Department’s web pages at www.azgfd.gov  or visit http://100thmeridian.org/.

TOPOCK MARSH – Water level has been coming up , but the bite remains slow, 1 or 2 crappie per boat.  Not much action on bass and catfish. Look for the crappie bite to pick up as we get closer to the new moon.

Golden shores and Game and Fish held a kids fishing clinic at five mile landing on Saturday  Oct. 11.  This is the second year this event has been held.  The kids had fun.  Some catfish and bass were caught.
Game and Fish biologists surveyed the Marsh starting on the week of Jan. 15.  The largemouth bass population was observed to be very healthy, as well as channel catfish.  Crappie were also present, but in smaller numbers.
You can access the marsh by boat at the North Dike, Catfish Paradise, and Five-Mile Landing. All three also provide plenty of area for shoreline fishing too. For more information on the marsh, contact the Havasu National Wildlife Refuge at (760) 326-3853 or go to http://www.fws.gov/southwest/refuges/arizona/havasu/index.html.
Important notice: With the discovery of invasive quagga mussels in Mead, Mohave and Havasu, proper cleaning of all watercraft is critical to help prevent the spread of these invaders. Please drain and dry your livewell and bilge on land. Drain all the water you can from your engine. Also, inspect your vessel and trailer, removing any visible mussels, but also feel for any rough or gritty spots on the hull. These may be young mussels that can be hard to see.
For more information, go to the Arizona Game and Fish Department’s web pages at www.azgfd.gov  or visit http://100thmeridian.org/.

COLORADO RIVER BELOW DAVIS DAM –The striper bite has been slow but the trout fishing has been okay at times.    Trout are stocked once a month at both Davis camp and the Riverside.  Look for the trout fishing to be good immediately following the stocking.

Water levels on the river fluctuate, so be careful. You can check the Bureau of Reclamation Web site for flow predictions http://www.usbr.gov/lc/riverops.html before you go. If you fish the river below Davis Dam and are having luck, please e-mail me at mchmiel@azgfd.gov so I can share your successes with others.
Important notice: With the discovery of invasive quagga mussels in Mead, Mohave and Havasu, proper cleaning of all watercraft is critical to help prevent the spread of these invaders. Please drain and dry your livewell and bilge on land. Drain all the water you can from your engine. Also, inspect your vessel and trailer, removing any visible mussels, but also feel for any rough or gritty spots on the hull. These may be young mussels that can be hard to see.
For more information, go to the Arizona Game and Fish Department’s Web pages at www.azgfd.gov  or visit http://100thmeridian.org/.

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