Colorado River Northwest

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August 20th, 2009

LAKE POWELL- Courtesy Wayne Gustaveso, Utah Division of Wildlife. Aug. 12, 2009. Lake elevation: 3,639
Water temp: 77 – 82 F

Striped bass have established a very unusual feeding pattern in the main lake. Feeding is consistent and fish very catchable if able to understand what to look for.

Each morning at 6 a.m. (MST) feeding begins for school fish. (If seeking a trophy it is likely that this time coincides with cessation of feeding of the larger generation.) At 6 a.m. single and double splashes begin.

Striper splashes are fairly recognizable after some study. Look toward the rising sun and find 3 to 4 splashes in close proximity that are back lighted by the early sun. The splash often tosses a spray of water one to two feet in the air. Sometimes there is no splash, only a rolling motion of the back breaking water as the fish surfaces much like a dolphin. Carp jump too but they rise straight up and then crash back into the lake in a clumsy striper imitation.

When stripers are identified get there as quickly as possible and then cruise on fast idle or full thrust on the electric motor. Fish are feeding individually and scattered within a general area. Cruise and cast as a single fish comes up in range. If the lure hits within ten seconds and two feet of the splash ring a hookup is almost assured. This feeding behavior continues until 7 AM.

From 7-8 a.m. schools form and small boils are likely in the slick rock coves off the main channel. Cruise the canyons and coves again looking for a splash. When found stripers are very aggressive and will hit lures tossed into the school feeding zone. It is best to deliver the lure just beyond the feeding activity and retrieve quickly right into the boiling activity.

Small boils and singles continue until 9 or sometimes 10 a.m. In the afternoon the action begins again. At 4 p.m. schools that have been resting come up and feed in the largest and tightest boils of the day. Look along the edge of the main channel and in the slick rock coves for larger boils. This action continues for an hour or two and then striper schools break down to chase fleeing single shad that have splintered from the main bait ball. Last evening from 6 until dark the entire main channel from Padre Bay to Rock Creek was dotted with single striper splashes as far as the eye could see.

Hite striper fishing has shut down. Surface striper fishing from Good Hope Bay to Wahweap is steady and consistent. Long accurate casts are readily accepted by willing stripers weighing 3-5 pounds. This action will continue and only improve as shad numbers are still high. Stripers will grow another pound during strong fall feeding. Recommended line test should be 10 pounds or better to handle the rugged shock of a striper colliding and then rolling with a surface lure.

Angling for other fish species remains good to excellent but it is overshadowed by the exciting surface action provided by surface striper fishing. This is the most exciting fishing found in fresh water. It must be experienced to be believed. I challenge you to try it and see if that bold statement is true.

LEES FERRY – From Ted Welling at Lees Ferry Anglers & Cliff Dwellers Lodge.

Fly Fishing: Fishing has been pretty steady for the past few days, with a variety of ways to catch fish. Drifting with nymph rigs has been very effective. Cicadas still producing reasonable catches, although there buzz has died down a bit. Also, back eddies with rising fish have been plentiful up and down the river.

Walk in: Word has it that this section is fishing well, anglers are using the same as up river. Dries –n- droppers, scuds, san juan worms, and zebra midges. Anglers report fishing is productive from the boulder field all the way to the confluence.

Spin Fishing: I did a little spin fishing the past few days and did well.
I was using both a Panther Martin and a Vibrax Blue Fox and I can’t tell you what worked better. Both did the trick. It was not on fire or nothing but, I was pleased. So, if you have been thinking of fishing,,,,,,,, C’mon down, fishing is good at lees ferry. Ted


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

Lees Ferry Fishing Synopsis and Forecast by Terry Gunn 6/29/09

Visit www.leesferry.com for daily fishing reports and updates.

Recent Fishing Conditions: Summer arrived with the mild temperatures and calm winds, a welcome relief from our crummy spring weather. The weather has warmed of late and the cicadas are starting to sing and the fish are just now starting to key in on them. It is too early to tell what “kind” of cicada year it will be…every year is different. I have seen the bite last only 2 weeks and other years last well into late August. Our cicadas are unusual in the fact that they hatch every year, most places they occur every 7 or 14 years. I have seen 4 hatches that were so intense that the fish would come up off the bottom in the middle of the river to eat a cicada that has landed on the water. Watch our daily reports for up to date reports on the cicada hatch.

The water flows will increase in volume for August. August can provide the best and most consistent fishing of the entire year here at Lees Ferry and they are also the least crowded.

In the higher water most all of our fishing is done from the boat, drifting with heavy nymph rigs or casting big cicada dry flies into the rocky shores. The largest fish of the year are usually caught in the summer months and it is during these 2 months that the trout experience tremendous growth rates due to the high water transporting large quantities of food around.

The current health of the river is outstanding…better than it has been in years. Last year’s above normal runoff into Lake Powell delivered and stirred up countless tons of nutrients into the water and this nutrient rich water is passing through the dam and into the river. Algae is everywhere in the river and this provides food and habitat for the aquatic food base that the trout depend upon. Lake Powell has risen more than 30-ft this year and is still rising which is good news for us and all of the people in the southwest who depend on this water for household use and electrical generation. The rising lake and the nutrient load will guarantee this trend of healthy trout populations and good fishing will continue for the next several years.

The turning point and the beginning for the recovery of the Lees Ferry fishery occurred in 2005 when Lake Powell had the first above normal snow-pack and runoff year since 1997. Last year we had almost exactly the same conditions. The above normal winter snow pack and runoff into Lake Powell in 2007-08, stirred up a tremendous amount of nutrient laden sediment that had accumulated at the lake mouths of the Colorado River, San Juan River, and the Green River. Lake Powell elevation increased 43-ft. and the rivers flowing into the lake mixed the sediment and nutrients into the lake water. It usually takes several months before we see this mixing affect. The increased nutrient load in the lake and river is evident this spring by the dramatic increase in aquatic vegetation and aquatic organisms throughout the river.

For those of you that remember what the fishing was like in 1999 and 2000…you should be as excited as I am about the current conditions and what the increased nutrient load should do for the fishing at Lees Ferry.

Lots of stuff happening at the Ferry and it is all good!


LAKE MEAD –Lake Mead water level have remained fairly steady.  The current level is 1,094 feet above msl. The summer striper bite has been great.  Striper boils have been reported all over the lake. Both trolling and fishing under lights at night yielded large numbers of fish. The lights are more productive when used around the new moon, on dark nights (full moon is Aug. 5).  Most stripers being caught are in the 1 lb range, with occasional fish up to two lbs.  Stripers are being caught 12’ – 60’ of water.  Catfish are also biting on anchovies.

Launching conditions at South Cove will continue to deteriorate as the water level continues to drop.  The concrete ramp the National Park Service completed last year is one lane 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.  Temple bar launch ramp is two lanes.  Launching conditions in general are better at temple bar than south cove.

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/.

LAKE MOHAVE – The lake level is around 641 feet above msl.  Fishing for stripers seems to be fair.  Stripers are being caught while trolling or still fishing with anchovies.  Submersible lights are very effective for stripers when used on dark nights. The full moon is Aug. 5.  Bass are located both in shallow and on fish habitat in 15-20 ft.

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. Trout anglers fishing from shore were catching trout on and around the pier area. About 50-percent of anglers were successful.  Those successful at landing trout were fishing with salmon-egg scented Power Bait, flies, and Power worms.  Most fishermen were successful in the early morning and around noon, when the wind picked up.

No stripers were reported being caught last Saturday, but the bite should be fair to good.

The desert bighorn sheep are in the rut, so this is a great time to fish and possibly see some rams bumping heads (or at least hear them – it sounds like a rifle shot echoing in the canyons). The Perseids meteor shower is also underway, providing another attraction at night. Some of the more pronounced meteors can light up Black Canyon on occasion.

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 – The water level is up and the bite has been fair.  Both bass and catfish are biting.  Catfish are biting on anchovies and night crawlers.

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 –No new reports.  The striper bite has been pretty good.

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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