Rosey 3/09

Daryl and I hit Roosevelt again this weekend concentrating on bedfishing.  It only happens for a short time so we figured we’d work on it some.  There’s always time to strip.  Launched at Windy Hill Sat am and headed across lake to Salome.  We hit the shallows and picked up a couple decent over’s, fish 2 1/2 to 3 lbs. 


We never found “Old Moe” but had a good time hunting for him.  Many of them were spooked and were not ready yet.  Next couple weeks should find more locked on fish.  We ran into the Faulkinbury bunch.  Looked like they were having thier way with the bass, but I’m sure Mike will post a report and can elaborate better than me. 

Daryl landed a nice yellow just before we loaded up the boat.

Next am we hit the Tonto end, just for some new water and ran into Travis and crew banging the lmb’s with simi’s.  Good to see others flyfishing.  We found some clear water but found the bass not as ready as the day before.  We only managed to get a couple to play.

Another nice weekend playing with bass.  Roosevelt is good now and is going to be phenomenal in a couple years when all these young bass grow up. 

Havasu Smallies 3/09

The smallies at Havasu finally came in.  Daryl and I hit it for 3 days and had an awesome trip sight fishing to bedded smallies averaging over 2 lbs.  Saturday was really windy and we struggled finding the bass with the chop on the water.  We managed to find quite a few beds but many were empty and most that had fish on them scattered as soon as we approached even fairly close.  We finally figured out to cast to the bed with an egg sucking longtail simi and strip it through.  We landed 5 the first day using that tactic, all in the 2-3 lb range.

The wind shortened our day but we felt good just getting the fish we did.  Next am the water was much calmer and we were able to see beds from a much farther distance.  We also found more fish that were locked on the beds.  This allowed us to fish jig type flies right in the beds and watch them react to it….very exciting to say the least.  They also didn’t want the simis that day and were eating chartreuse, whether it was a bed fish fly that I make or an Ultra foxy stripped though.  Chartreuse was definitely the color of the day.  Daryl banged the big fish of the trip, a fat egg laden 4 lb’r on the jig fly.

And I caught a 3 lb’r in the same cove on the same fly.

We ended up with 12 Sunday, with the average smallie going 2 1/2 lbs.  Monday am greeted us with more of the same wind as Saturday so we made it a short day and headed home after we caught 4 more.

It was great to fianlly find some smallies.  I have been hitting it since December.  It was worth the wait and it’s just starting.  The smallies will be coming in all month and the largemouth will starting soon as well.  Havasu is so clear that it is especially good for this kind of fishing.  Just pray for calm days!

Rosey 3/09

Hit Roosevelt with Daryl at 1 pm Wednesday.  Launched at Windy Hill and proceeded to catch bass right from the get, mostly unders and slots but we both lost smallies in the three lb range right at the boat.  Just couldn’t keep them on for the pic.

We fished the ramp area and went through the jungle past both submerged ramps and out onto the north side of Windy Hill, catching mainly slot largemouths.  We boated a couple smallies over by the other ramp and then headed to the farther coves looking for bass in the treetops.  By now the wind had come up and this old man was wishing he’d brought his REAL boat instead of the man powered one.  We ended up going all the way to Porter Springs (sp?) and banging some good smallies and crappie along the way.

We fished the area ’til dark and caught fish pretty much until we couldn’t see.  We ended up with about 20 each for a half days fishing.  Next am we hit the Grapevine ramp and it was deja vu.  I had two landed before Daryl got back from parking the Tahoe.  First fish was an over smallie.  The area didn’t hold as many quality fish but we must have landed 25-30 each before we went back over to Windy Hill, caught another 10 each and I lost another good smallie and Daryl landed his biggest bass of the trip, a 2 1/2 lb’r that we didn’t get a pic of.

It was a great couple of half days and it’s just going to get better.  We were testing out a new pattern of Daryl’s called the deer hair simi streamer and it was a real winner.  I used it exclusively both days in about 5 different colors and they all worked.  Just what I need… another pattern in the box.


Played guide yesterday and took Jeff Currier, who is in for the ISE show along with Steve Berry and Cinda Howard up to San Carlos looking for some crappie.  Lake had turned off the previous couple days due to high winds and merked up colder water but we had the day and Jeff (from Wyoming) wanted to catch some crappie.  Well, we did…but not many.

We managed to get a few in the boat along with a couple carp but not many crappie boated by the flotilla yesterday.  We ended up the day sight fishing for laid up carp in the backs of coves and had a blast doing that. 

All in all…one of those nice days on the water…but.  With my great camera skills I failed to even get a pic of Jeff with his crappie and carp.  I make an even worse cameraman than a guide.  Off to Havasu.


Hit Roosevelt yesterday at 8 with Daryl.  Fished ’til dark and ended up with 20+ bass.  First two were smallies and thought maybe we had found them but as the day turned out those were the only two.

Kinda disappointed with the size of the lmb we caught.  We saw bigger fish but either missed them or couldn’t get them to go.  Bite was definitely better as the sun warmed the water in the afternoon.  We caught fish at Windy Hill, across from Windy Hill and at Grapevine.  Fish were definitely congregated in certain areas and around trees. 

We used a lot of different flies, Ultra foxy’s, DHS, longtail simis, Tadpole, and a new pattern Daryl made up that is going to be a go to pattern in the future.  If you’re tying your own, use weed guards….it will save you some grief. The Salt river end is the better, clearer end.  When you head north past the dam, it starts to muddy up.  Nice day on the water.    

San Carlos crappie

The crappie flotilla was out in force this past weekend.  Daryl went up and spent a couple days playing with the slabs.  He did fair Saturday but figured them out and banged them good Sunday. 

He said he must have landed 40-50 crappie with a solid 3 lbr being his biggest.  I made it up late Sunday and missed the bite out in the main lake so we headed up into the San Carlos river arm and he proceeded to land about 10 more while I struggled to catch 1.  My warmwater fishing these past few trips is showing me no love.  Trout anyone???

He used several flies from longtail simi’s and DHS’s to a new pattern Andy Burk taught us called the Tadpole.  This one was tied in chartreuse and the crappie loved it for awhile

It is a pattern used on Pyramid but I think we may have to start tying them for around here as well.  Always something new.  The bass and crappie fishing should be phenomenal this season.  Now if I can just get out of this cold streak!!!

Lee’s Ferry Fishing Synopsis and Forecast by Terry Gunn 2/18/09

Fishing Synopsis and Forecast by Terry Gunn 2/18/09

Come by and see us at the ISE Outdoor Show, Cardinal Stadium, Feb 27-Mar 1.

Recent Fishing Conditions: Spring has arrived at Lees Ferry, I have always considered Feb. 15 to be our first day of spring, not only is the weather warming but the sun is moving higher in the sky and once again flooding the canyon corridor with sunlight. As usual, the midges are responding to the arrival of the sun and the hatches are beginning in earnest and the trout have just this week begun to move into the riffles to feed on the emerging midge pupae. The last few days I have been drifting a worm and a midge in the deep tail-out of the riffles and 90% of the trout have been eating the midge.

The spawn is just trickling along; it started with a bang in early December and has been slowly increasing in intensity the last few weeks. I get the feeling that the fish are currently staging for a major push into a full blown spawn within the next couple of weeks. Although it is important to keep in mind that spawn of the past 2 years has been off the charts in intensity and survivability so the fish may take a break this year.

The current water flows are perfect wading and drifting flows for fishing Lees Ferry and these same flows will continue for the next several months. I expect the fishing this spring to be a banner year and likely better than the last several years. The average size of the fish is the largest of this decade; most of the fish that I put in my net are 16 to 17-in with many that are larger. I recently had a father and son get a double hookup and both landed fish in excess of 20-inches at the same time. It has been more than 20 years since I have seen this happen. A few days before, a client landed a substantial 24-in long fish and I’m seeing a bunch of big fish in the river. We are also starting to catch some of the “little guys” that were part of the mass spawn of last year and the year before, these 12-in fish are growing fast and I always remind everyone that it takes small fish to make big fish.

Is this a peak before another down turn in the fishery? No, this is the beginning of a trend that is set to continue for at least a couple of years, and if nature cooperates and gives us moisture in the Rocky Mountains, and Lake Powell continues to rise, 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 nutrient load in the water that enters the river from Glen Canyon dam. The increased nutrient load in the lake and river will be evident this coming spring by the enormous and 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!

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 2 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:

The experimental steady flows that occurred in September and October 2008 (12,000 constant) were beneficial to the river and are scheduled again for 2009. In years past, the flows in September and October have been the lowest flows of the year and have reset the “green line” to the 5,000-cfs level from the 12,000-cfs level of the summer flows. This has effectively reduced the food supply in the river by a significant amount. Then the higher flows of November and December arrive; but because of the declining sun angle and the shade of the cliffs, photosynthesis and aquatic production in the river declines and the areas of the river that were desiccated by the low flows do not regenerate until the following spring. This did not happen this year because of the steady flows in September and October the green line stayed high. The current fluctuating flows (7,500-cfs to 13,000-cfs) are continuing to keep the green line higher than in years past. There have been prolific midge and black-fly hatches every day and it appears as though the scud population has a higher density than any time since 2004.

For details on Lake Powell conditions and snow-pack, go here:

For a real time graphic view of water releases and ramp rates go here:

New guides at Lees Ferry Anglers: The last couple of years we have had several long time guide staff move on to bigger and hopefully better things. Last year we had 3 new guides join our team, though new to our organization they are not new to guiding. Luke Blaser, Tom Jones, and JD Miller have joined our team. They bring with them a couple of decades of combined guiding experience on various waters around the world, college degrees, and an enthusiasm for guiding that is contagious. I’m proud to introduce these fellows and I’m sure that you will agree that they are a great addition to our team.

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: 


Fished Friday and Saturday with no hookups.  Covered water from Cholla, Windy Hill and the Grapevine area.  Fished hard, they just didn’t want any fly or technique I had.  The lake looks great, bigger than I’v ever seen and the bass were eating spinnerbaits but you had to chuck them right into the brush.  I had to break off at least 30 times…good thing I tie.  I fished with my buddy Mitch half the day and he landed 8.  He finished the day with 19 more after I left…..spinnerbaits.  Saw guys with huge crappie, like the ones we caught last year at San Carlos.  Gonna be great when it gets warmer, the bass will start eating flies…just not this time.

Lees Ferry Feb. 6-8, 2009

What do you get when you combine 16 fly casters, 5 guides, 7 boats and 15 miles of spectacular, trout-infested river?

A great time at Lees Ferry, that’s what.

While the fishing was not off the charts for all, it was not too shabby either. Everyone caught fish and a few sticks put up some big numbers. A variety of techniques were working.  Wade fishing the bars during  periods of rising water was effective. So was sight fishing in side channels. During the afternoons, drifting produced and a few trout were sipping midges in the foam.

Most of the hook-ups were on on the standard Ferry patterns: glo-bugs, worms, and zebra midges.The sippers liked a small indicator dry with a short dropped emerger.

The weather was spectacular on Friday and Saturday. Highs were pushing 60 degrees with light winds. On Sunday a storm was brewing.

As you can see, Lees Ferry has not lost any of its scenic grandeur.  I imagine you noticed that some nice fish are showing as well.

A huge thank you to all those who came along!  Also a shout out to the guides and staff of Lees Ferry Anglers / Cliff Dwellers Lodge.

It was a blast.

See you at The Ferry!

Havasu (Again)

Just got back from Havasu, third time this month.  Never got into the smallies again but at least this time we saw several big ones.  They are starting to move.  We had the best lmb fishing so far with 15 largies and 1 striper boated.  I took the boat up this time and had problems so we didn’t get to cover the water we wanted to.  Ended up catching the bass in the same area we had found on earlier trips.  Daryl put the hurt on me early and had 4 in the boat caught on longtail simis before I got the message and switched out my baitifsh pattern.  All the bass we got were either on longtail simis or Ultra foxy minnows in crawdad colors.  The shad patterns didn’t do it this time, although there were lots of shad around……bass, go figure!

Largest boga’d at 3 lbs and a couple 2 1/2 lbr’s as well.  The fish are in extrememly good shape and the smallies we saw went at least 3 each and fat as footballs.  Can’t wait.  With the weather as nice as it is, there should be some great warmwater fishing thoughout AZ.  It’s going to be tough to choose between Havasu, Rosey and San Carlos.  Decisions, decisons!!!