Lee's Ferry 6/1 - 6/2 2013

lees ferry kristen castingMaverick and I hit the Ferry for a quick day and a half this weekend. Fishing wasn't fast and furious for most of the day, but some pretty fish, couple on dries and the end of the evening bite was stupid for about an hour. This was my 2nd trip to Lee's Ferry, and will not be my last. It is a beautiful place, great looking and fighting fish and relatively close at just about 4 hours drive.

We got there Friday evening about 9:30, setup camp and crashed out. The wind was pretty nasty all night and I was worried the next day on the water might be a pain, but just before it got light the wind stopped and it was a beautiful morning in the canyon. I didn't take much of any pics and just opted to have a fun day casting the Loop and getting used to it before the next Juan trip coming up. 

The water flows were up on Saturday which was not expected and with that the fishing was a little slow to start.  We fished the walk-in up to the boulder field where I started to pick up fish. As we were moving up, I noticed a decent rise 2 feet off the bank under a clump of dried grasses. I cast the normal indicator rig we were throwing over there, nothing. Made a few passes with it and couldn't get a bump. When I would stop casting to the spot, the fish would start rising again, and not the typical emerger swirl, but it looked like it was taking something off the surface. I decided to tie on a dry real quick and see if I could get a hit. I tied on one of little foam Cracker Ants created by Eric (Mudbug on the forums) using the DIY Foam And and Popper Bodies tutorial. Bright orange with brown hackle. A few casts and I got the fly right in the lane, 2ft off the bank and drifting nicely right under the bush and BLAM! he took it perfectly, so textbook. He put up a good fight like all the Lee's Ferry fish do and had nice coloring. Its the only fish we got pics of, and that wouldn't have happened but Kristen helped me out there, thanks!

lees ferry dry01

 Unfortunately the high mid day sun washed out some of the pretty colors on the fish, but it was a very pretty Ferry Rainbow.

lees ferry dry02

I managed another nice fish from the banks just below where this one came on a chocolate brown Arizona Wanderings Mini Hopper. It was nice to pull a few fish on dries when everyone else was just fishing the typical indicator rigs. I think at this point I was 4 fish on 4 different flies. Mini Hopper, Cracker Ant, Orange Scud, and Olive Crystal Bugger.

We took a mid day break and drove up to Cliff Dwellers/Lee's Ferry Anglers to check them out and grab some lunch. Very nicely stocked fly shop, and the food hit the spot nicely! I think next trip up there I might rent a boat and go upriver, who's game?

We fished some more that evening and at the end of the day we decided to hit the boat ramp area where we had seen a lot of rises early in the morning but couldn't convince any of them to come to hand. Kristen was the first to get in to fish, and it started to get real steady for both of us in one run just fishing the swing with our nymphs on the indicator rig. We made some good numbers and some fun fighting fish for the next hour or so before it died off and it was too dark to see anymore. It was a perfect way to end the day, big numbers and lots of pull on the line.

The second night was calm, no winds and very nice temps. I fell asleep in the hammock uncovered and didn't need to get under the topquilt till early morning when the midges started to get to tasting pretty bad. We broke camp, and headed back down to the river after some breakfast. Sunday must be the day everyone decides to come up to the ferry because it was pretty damn busy, anglers everywhere. We made it down to the river and I decided to work above the boulder field and see if I could get some more dry action, Kristen headed down river to the nice runs and flows below.

I was seeing a lot of emerger activity, fish all over the place feeding. I happened to look at some of the vegetation that came up with my last run with the indicator rig and saw this midge larvae in there. Looking in the water they were everywhere, and fish were just gobbling them up. Unfortunately I didn't have any cream midges but red annelid did the trick for the next hour or two on a half dozen or more fish.

lees ferry midge

We were both pretty tired mid day from the long day before, and not a lot of sleep Friday night due to the winds, and I think that helped contribute to a dunking that Kristen took in a deep pool. But I'll leave that story for her to tell, I think the only thing that didn't get wet was he head, LOL! 

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