Colorado River Northwest Fishing Report

Share or Bookmark:
| More
July 16th, 2009

LAKE POWELL – Note: There are now mandatory boat inspections at Lake Powell to ensure you are not Moving A Mussel or other invasive species. Mostly, the inspection stations are open dawn to dusk, but you cannot launch without one.
Best bet is to make sure your boat is quagga free to begin with. Clean, drain and dry your boat following each outing, and be sure to wait at least five days before launching your boat on any other lake (if you are a day user).
Report by Wayne Gustaveson, Utah Division of Wildlfie, July 15, 2009,.Lake elevation: 3,642. Water Temp: 78- 84 F.

Lake Powell has topped out at an elevation of 3,642 feet above sea level. Lake level will now slowly decline through the rest of the year. That will make beaches larger and more accessible, strand driftwood, and make boating and camping easier. The inflow areas will increase in water clarity. Through all this stripers will continue to boil.

Striper boils in the main channel have peaked. There is a definite schedule. Single fish or small groups come to the surface shortly after first light. These fish are the easiest to catch because they have just begun to feed. But they are widely scattered.

As the sun hits the water singles form into bigger pods. Boils get larger but they are up and down quickly. The best catch rate comes when these pods resurface and the boaters are in range and ready to cast as they come up.
About 2-3 hours after dawn there is a flurry of large size boils. If lucky enough to find one of these large late boils the catch can be huge. After that the lake goes quiet for a time.

The process is repeated in the evening. Stripers begin to boil at 5 p.m. (MST) and continue until dark. Calm evenings provide the biggest and best boils. But on most nights this week, wind starts to blow at 5:10 PM and boils are wiped away. When wind happens the only choices are to stay home or search for calm water. In the lower lake Navajo Canyon provides a calm area where boils can happen when open main channel areas are churning with white caps.

Boils are better near Bullfrog than at Wahweap.  Expect upper lake and San Juan boils to be better than both in the near future.

With time expect boiling stripers to move out of the channel. Boils are easy to see now while cruising the main lake travel lanes. Soon the main channel will go quiet and boils will start working further back in the canyons. Shad will eventually leave the open water and seek the safety of brush pockets and turbid water in the backs of canyons and coves. When that happens, stripers will follow shad into side canyons and coves.

Another option on a windy evening is to troll the 25 foot depth contour with deep diving lures. Walleye, bass and stripers are lurking around the submerged tree tops and more than willing to hit a shad lure as it swims by. Bass are still hitting top water lures at first light in the morning. Those same flooded tree tops are perfect habitat for bass, bluegill, walleye and sunfish.

Catfish are ever present in the evening and can be caught from the beach by camp or off the back of the houseboat. Use leftovers from dinner, hotdog rounds or anchovies and chicken liver for catfish bait.

LEES FERRY – Fly Fishing: The cicadas are singing, we are doing well fishing with like patterns. It is not ON FIRE but we are having a good time with it.

The water is coming up quick in the morning and then another spike at about noon. You can fish the riffles early and when the water comes up for the noon push you can drift with a longer leader and a chunk of lead and do well also. If that doesn’t suit you, the back eddies are full of sipping fish. A small dry and a dropper will do the trick here. Just be sure you are not disrupting the flow of the food when setting you craft in these areas.

So, you can pretty much pick your poison so to speak, wade, drift the channel, or drift the banks where you hear the cicadas singing, or fish the back eddies for the sippers.

Fly patterns, cicadas, scuds, zebra midges, San Juan worms, laser midge and the like. Tight lines…. We hope you can get away and enjoy some good fishing soon. The phone lines are
open. 1-800-962-9755 T

Walk in: The trick to this section is weight and drift. Get the right amount of shot and a good dead drift and you’re in the money. We did see a good amount of anglers in this section and most reported doing very well.
Reports are that it is fishing well from the boulder field all the way to the confluence. We are using the same patterns as up river.
T

Spin Fishing: Fishing with glo bugs and San Juan worms on the bottom seems to be the trick. Also, the famed panther martin has been working overtime out there. Just cast it toward the shore with a slow retrieve.

BE SURE YOU CRIMP THE BARBS.

Lees Ferry Fishing Synopsis and Forecast by Terry Gunn 6/29/09. Visit www.leesferry.comfor daily fishing reports and updates.

Recent Fishing Conditions: Summer arrived with 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 July and August. These two months usually 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.

For those who were fortunate to be here during the 8,000 constant flow in early June, they likely experienced the best fishing of their lives. There were many days where more than 100 fish were hooked per rod, fishing was off the charts (we rated it a “9” only because no fish over 10-lbs were landed). You may remember from my previous reports my mention of our prolific spawn of 2007 and that the river was full of small fish that disappear from the time that they reach 3” and reappear when they are 12” long…well, they showed up in mass immediately following the 8,000 constant flow. They are everywhere! For the first time in many years we are catching fish of all sizes, from 10’’ to 20” which is typical of a very healthy river. The only downside is that our average fish size has dramatically decreased; the river is still chock-full of big fish but the challenge is getting your fly past the smaller and not so smart little fish.

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!

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
Updated 7/13/09

LAKE MEAD –Lake Mead water level have remained fairly steady.  The current level is 1,095 feet above msl.  The striper bite has been great.  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.  The next new moon is on Wednesday the 22nd.  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.
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 640 feet above msl.  Fishing for stripers seems to be pretty good in the southern portion of the lake. Submersible lights are very effective for stripers when used on dark nights, but keep in mind there was a full moon July 7th.  The next new moon will be on July 22nd.  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 fishing was a bit slow on Saturday, even though trout could be seen schooling around the fishing pier.  Anglers reported the fish following their lures but not biting.
This past week several striper catches were reported to the store.  Stripers ranged in size from 5 lbs to 25 lbs.  Most were caught with either an AC minnow ort AC plug.

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).
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 pretty good.  Both bass and catfish are biting well.  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 –The striper bite has been pretty good.   I have not heard about the rest.

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/.

COLORADO RIVER BELOW DAVIS DAM –The striper bite has been pretty good.   I have not heard about the rest.

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.htmlbefore you go. If you fish the river below Davis Dam and are having luck, please e-mail me at mchmiel@azgfd.govso 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.govor visit http://100thmeridian.org/.

Leave a Reply