Daryl and I hit the Bill Willliams area on Havasu this past weekend.  Same story as last time only tougher conditions.  The wind blew us off the lake the first afternoon after we had blanked that morning.  Full moon, cold snap, rough winds….my excuses can go on and on and on but that should cover it.  We took the time to explore and hit Topock, interesting but I like the lake better.  Next am we got up and hit some docks where the previous evening we had found a jillion 4″ shad (I’m not joking) and no fish bothering them.  Same result that am, maybe because of a strong cold wind coming out of the East…maybe because we are dealing with bass.  We hit the river and went quite aways up, no fish.  Ended up back where I was a couple weeks back and Daryl finally hooked up a 3 lb striper and we both landed a few lmb’s.   Still too early….not a smallie to be found and the locals are just as mystified.  Nobody is finding them yet.  They’ll show up overnight and boom….game on.


I just have to make sure I’m there when they show. 

Lake Havasu

Hit the Bill Williams arm of Lake Havasu searching for smallies.  Seems I was a bit early, which is usually the case, but I did find some stripers and largemouth bass.

Water temps ranged from 49-54 degrees, the water was clear and up higher than I have seen there before.  I saw one other fisherman in the area, so it was a great way to end ’08 and bring in ’09.  The smallies must still be out but catching nice stripers and lmb was allright by me.

This area is a huge no wake zone called the Bill Williams Wildlife Refuge.  It even has a ramp especially designated for no motorized watercraft.  It is a kickboaters paradise so big it would take a week to fish it all.  The smallies will eventually come in and I’ll be there waiting.

Canyon Lake

Kevin, Brandon, Daryl and I decided to try and see what’s going on at Apache Lake.  Hadn’t heard any reports and we were curious as to how the smallies were doing and the trout that were planted last season due to the low water conditions at Canyon.  No big bass around to chow on them so we decided to see how big they had gotten.  After a few hours of bouncing around in the wind and no takes at all we bailed.  I think I see now why I am not hearing any reports on Apache.  Don’t know where Kevin and Brandon ended up but Daryl and I hit Boulder Cove on our way past Canyon Lake.  Nobody but us on the water and the weather calmed down to boot.  We found lots of stocker rainbows back up the end of the cove where LeBarge Creek dumps in.  When the lake was down they must have done some dredging because the upper cove is much more open and deeper than I have ever seen it. 

We even caught a few on top water that were coming up eating midges at the very upper end of the cove.  They wised up pretty quick and we ended up going back to simis, getting hits on pretty much every cast. 

The fish weren’t big, mostly 9″-10″s but if you got one that had a real tail it almost went 12…a real monsta.  All in all a nice afternoon.  If you want to just go get a tug, it’s pretty convenient and I don’t think they’re going anywhere….unless there are still some big bass in there.  They were the perfect size for them.  Let’s hope.

White Mountains Report 11/30 and 12/1

Headed up to the Whites Saturday afternoon to fish a couple days with Mike F. and Mike M.  I hit Horseshoe-Cienega lake for an hour on Saturday evening and managed a few stocked rainbows in the 10-12″ range.

 The next morning we headed out to Reservation to try and find some Browns cruising shorelines.  The wind was howling and when we arrived it looked like this…

Not excactly the optimum conditions for spotting fish.  We headed to a back cove where the wind was not so bad and we managed to catch some stockers, but did not see the big browns.  Mike M. did manage to catch a nice rainbow and broke off a big fish on 3X.

We hit Crescent on the way out and it was just a ton o fun.  Mike M. had the hot hand and landed about a dozen brookies in an hour.  Mike F. and I managed 5-6 fish each, a great way to end the first day.  Most of the brook trout were in the 10-13″, a couple that were a little bigger, but all were little fatties that were extremely aggressive.


Monday we headed over to Hon-Dah to secure dates for some outings in 2009 and then over to Hawley.  I got nailed a couple times on my first few casts and Mike F. saw some big fish cruising.  From there it turned into stocker city for me, it seemed like I was getting hits on every cast for a while, just not the kind I was looking for.  Mike F. landed a brown pretty early on.  I ended up rolling over to Earl Park at about 11 and saw some big fish cruising at the dam, just could not get a shot at them.  Rolled back over to Hawley to check on the Mikes and they reported a bunch of stockers caught.  Then of course when I left to go check on the Earl Park fish again, Mike M landed a couple nice browns.  We did not get the monster fish we were looking for, but a great couple days in the mountains…


Whites at Thanksgiving ’08

Made it back up to the Whites for turkey day again this year.  Daryl and I hit Reservation Lake on Tuesday in great anticipation of big browns.  Needless to say they didn’t disappoint us.  We saw a brown that was bigger than the 10 lb’r Daryl landed last year.  It looked like a shark.  There were at least 9 other big browns of 5 lbs or bigger along with her.  Hammer, rock, scissors gave me the first shot so I tied on a egg sucking simi and went to work on her.  The hard part of the situation was not buggering all the others around her with a cast and not let one of the smaller guys get to it first.  I had about 6 shots at her and finally a fish of 6-8 lbs ate the fly.  Unfortunately she was coming right at me and opened her big white mouth and the fly popped off.  That was the end of that.  They all vanished not to be seen agian in 5 days.  We managed to pick one up around five pounds on an egg pattern, nice fish but not what we came up for.

We went back again the next day and never saw the big fish all day.  Caught lots of rainbows but no big browns.  Hit Hawley on Thanksgiving and lasted until about 1 pm. The big browns were in there again but didn’t seem to be in the thick of the spawn as much as last year.  They didn’t hang around very long.   The snow and wind got pretty brutal that day so we headed in early and met up with Bobby Domings.  Bobby was nice enough to let us stay with him and whipped up a great turkey dinner to boot.

We fished for the next few days at Hawley, Reservation, Crescent and Tunnel and caught fish everywhere but the big browns eluded us this trip.  Crescent was the highlight with the spawning brookies and fat chunky rainbows up to 18″s on simis off the dam.

The water temp’s weren’t that bad so I think it will be awhile before the lakes freeze up especially if the winds continue.  Should be enough time left for one more pass at the big boys.  I’d love to see that shark again.


Got away with Brian for a day and a half in the White’s.  Hit Hawley first looking for the big boys we found last year.  They were there but didn’t hang around for long.  We managed to pick up a 4 lb’r before they vanished.  Hit EP for awhile and picked up an 18″ brown but the lake was pretty crowded so we headed back to Hawley for the rest of the evening.  The big boys never returned and weren’t in again this am.  Brian picked up a 3 lb’r but the big boys eluded us this trip.  

Trinity River Shop Trip



A group of 8 of us headed up to Weaverville, Ca to try and catch some elusive West Coast Steelhead.  The reports that had been coming out had been slower fishing with fewer fish in the system.  Although the fishing was slower than it had been in previous years we were still hoping that we could fool a few.

The fishing was difficult, the takes were very subtle and you had to be on them immediately.  You could do everything right and still it was a challenge.  We managed to find a few more fish milling around than the week before and by the end of the trip our group landed 18 fish.  I wish I could say everyone in the group landed one, although I believe everyone hooked one.  That is how it goes when chasing Steel.




It was a great trip and we had such a good time.  We could not have asked for a better crew, lots of laughing and poking fun at each other.  Weaverville is a great little town and we enjoyed some good meals as well as the Cardinals Monday night win at the Sawmill Bar & Grill in the heart of 49er country.  I cannot wait for next year and hoping we find some more fish in the system.  I am also glad Steve and I were able to redeem the shop’s good name after Rohmer’s skunking the week before…

Lees Ferry Synopsis By Terry Gunn

Lees Ferry Fishing Synopsis and Forecast by Terry Gunn 11/12/08

Recent Fishing Conditions: At a time when just about everything you read is bearing bad news, it gives me great pleasure to bring you some good news: The fishing at Lees Ferry is not just good it’s great! The fish are in the best shape and size that I have seen in several years and everything points to this being a trend that I expect to continue. Fishing is just going to get better and better as 2009 arrives….  Isn’t it great to hear some good news for a change! Not only is the fishing upriver great but rumor has it that the Walk-in area is fishing extremely well. One other thing; there has been no one here…come up (you can probably book a guide for tomorrow) and see the best fishing in years and you will likely have the river to yourself. Read on for the full story.

The experimental steady flows that occurred in September and October (12,000 constant) were as I predicted, beneficial to the river. 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.

The trout spawn last winter was off the charts, never has there been such a productive spawn in the river. The high flows of summer and the steady flows this fall provided the perfect rearing habitat for the fry and fingerlings. I’m seeing them all over the river and they are growing fast! In addition to last winter’s great spawn, the survival rate from the spawn of 2006-07 was substantial and the river has a very good population of smaller fish that are growing fast.

The fish that we have been catching are probably averaging 16 to 17 inches and most are thick, fat, and heavy. We are also catching lots of larger fish, 18 to 20-inches. I have recently had clients hook into fish that were probably much larger, but as you well know, the big ones almost always get away.

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. This 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. I believe that we are just now starting to see that as evidenced by the recent warmer than normal water temperatures. The river temperature this time of year is normally 48-degrees but the recent temperature has been 54-degrees which is the IDEAL water temperature for trout. 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 stopped fishing from the boat and have been 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.

Flows should increase in December and I predict another year of a normal and strong spawn. I have already seen a few fish spawning; I have not seen this is several years.

We have recently lost a couple of friends who have contributed much to the sport of fly fishing. Mel Krieger passed away last month after a brief illness from a brain tumor. Denny Breer, from Trout Creek Flies and Green River Outfitters, passed away 11/07, he was involved in a freak accident. Our hearts and best wishes go out to all their families

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

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. This past 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 recently detected whirling disease in a small percentage of Lees Ferry trout that were collected for a random sampling. A 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

Terry Gunn
Lees Ferry Anglers Fly Shop, Guides, & Rentals
Cliff Dwellers Lodge
Fax 928-355-2271
Hm. 928-355-2220

Trinity ’08

Fishing on the Trinty this year was tougher than previous years.  The runs were not nearly as prolific this season…at least not yet.  Everything has been later this year so maybe there is still a chance of more fish entering the system later.  Four of us fished hard for three days in the rain mostly and landed 5 total steelies.  Now it’s all coming back to me about steelhead fishing…..the fish of a 1,000 casts.   We’ve gotten spoiled the past five years…it was bound to come to an end someday.   Here are some pics of Eric Hansen with a couple nice steelhead.

We’ll be back next year.  The big goose egg is going to fester in me for the whole time.

Earl Park and Crescent

Made it up for a couple days with Brian B.  Got a late start Wednesday and didn’t get on EP until around 3 pm.  Heard that the top water bite had been good but we didn’t do anything with top water.  Threw some simis and picked up a few rainbows but pretty slow for us and several others who had fished it all day.  Water temps were 50 but there was a bad algae bloom which may have hindered us a bit, who knows?  Went back the following am and had the same results so we packed it up and headed to Crescent for the rest of the day.  We pounded the spawning brookies and landed lots of 13-15″ rainbows as well.  The lake has plenty of water and the fish are in great shape but AZG&F failed to cut the weeds this year again so again we will have to depend on how our winter goes to see what we’ll have left for holdovers. 

I urge everyone to sign the petitions to help Crescent.  If those fish could make it through and grow another year this time next year we’d be catching brookies pushing 16-17″s  or possibly BIGGER.  It’s a no-brainer for me.  Keep the fish alive, let them grow and everyone catches big fish.  AZG&F sells more licenses again, the store opens up and sells tackle and rents boats.  Everyone wins.