Lees Ferry - report and thoughts


AKA: Gregory Mine
As some of you knew, I have been out of the water going on 4 years, and it finally was time to get back into the game. I headed off to Lee's Ferry last Friday morning, arrived around 11:00 am, checked in, picked up a few local flies, got some simple advise, and off I went to the water. The drive into the Ferry had some incredible scenery, so I took my time and got out and took a few pictures along the way. I get to the parking location and started to gear up, and as I was putting on my boots, I couldn't get my feet anywhere near inside them. Okay I'm thinking, I haven't gained weight, feet haven't grown, what gives? Then I realized the leather had shrunk over time and all I could do was just attempt to get my feet inside them, then struggle to the water to get them wet so they could relax. After about a 5 minute awkward looking walk, I make it to the river, get my boots in the water and in a few minutes they relaxed so I could lace them up. Whew.... It didn't dawn on my until then I should have just poured some water in each of them to make the walk easier, but I had other things on my mind

The walk in section is about a mile long, more than enough types of water for me to fish, so I figured being I hadn't done this in so long I might as well just wade out a little bit, have a talk with my Dad for a few seconds, and see how my casting was going to be. Out to knee deep water I go to a nice section of riffle water. Then I didn't move for 3 hours. The fish Gods must have remembered me, as within no time I was into fish. Some big, some small, and a few that were so heavy I could not even come close to getting under control. These fish had serious attitude when hooked. Some jumped, some ran hard, while others would just bury themselves and dare you to pull them out. I even had doubles on for a few seconds before one spit the hook. Content with myself and the water, I backed out and decided to explore the area.

I had no idea I was fishing when the river was up as the dam lets out water mid-morning, and while walking down the bank I met a nice gentleman who I chatted with for a long while. He was a local guy who, really knew the area and gave me a few great pointers and locations that I may want to look at. Then a huge thunder head showed up, started rumbling and sprinkling, so I decided to call it a great first day, and head back to the hotel to get something to eat, tie some flies, then pass out.

The next morning I arrived at the river around 7:00 am and it was much, much lower to the point where it seemed a different river altogether. Walking straight out again a little farther,thinking with less water the fish should be more concentrated, and once again I was into fish. It seemed like every cast into fish. It felt nice to just stand there, relax, look around and enjoy the scenery and reminisce. Then a cast into the riffle, strike indicator goes not only down, but across the river before I could even lift the rod, and it's running strong and hard like I hadn't felt in a long time. All I ever saw was the dorsal and tail fin as It came to the surface to run once. I'm thinking crap, 5x tippet, strong current, long run, no way can I turn this thing. Then to add insult, I remember crap, 5x with a size 18 light wired fly, I just hope it holds. Had it on for about 30 seconds then the hook pulls out...

The river started coming up around 10:00 am, so I took the advise of the man I talked to yesterday and started fishing tighter to the bank, as he said that the bigger fish will come in and start to feed on what was being flushed out of the weed beds. Once again, I must have been doing something right as I was into fish right away. Then like a flashback, indicator goes down and screaming across the river just like yesterday. Couldn't do anything but let it run and hope it turns. Hook pops out, then the reel of shame winding it all back in. I was pretty much done not long after that, so walking back to the trail out, I notice the man I talked to yesterday up river so I decided to head up, have a snack, and watch for a while. We talked for a few minutes, then I watched him not only land one the size of the fish I had hooked earlier, but did it one more time in about an hour. Both were easily 24", and thick beautiful fish. Using the same flies I was. So I had that going for me.

Humbled, I thanked him for his tips, and told him I would certainly be back. I'm already going through withdrawals wishing I stayed longer. It's a great river that can be fished all year round. I never once saw a candy bar wrapper, pop can, cigarette butt, or litter anywhere. The only human marks I saw were footprints in the sand. Then breaking down my stuff, talking to an Arizona fish and game guy, he tells me that next time I should take a walk up river about 1/4 of a mile or so above the boat launch. He thinks it's a lot better fishing up there. Really????? The next trip is already being planned....

Went to Northern Arizona U
Fished Lee's Ferry in the early/mid 70's
It was nuts
Best fishing I've ever had
Including Alaska
My buddies launched a 12' aluminum skiff with an outboard in there - what I assuming is now the "walk in"

Scott Salzer

previously micro brew
Lee's Ferry was the only clear water on the 240 mile float - one guy fishing at the put in. The Paria was bringing in heavy silt right at the start, heavy reddish tinge. Other rivers / streams continued to add their share of silt all the way down, looked like coffee with cream. Even Havasau was very silty and not the usual light blue color.

Brought the rod but didn't pull it out of the case.

The local "monsoons" usually hit late July / early August but were late this year. We skirted the tunderstorms but were able to sleep uner the stars each night. We had a great time with old friends.