February recap and March Forecast
February fishing at Lees Ferry saw cold temps early in the month with temps warming to the high 60s towards the end of the month. Interestingly, fishing slowed as the temps warmed, which was consistent with last year. February and early March fishing can be tough and the last week of February was tough for both spin and fly. I had two tough days early this week, but fishing improved mid-week.
We are seeing the midge hatch increasing with temperatures, which should improve fishing in general, with midge patterns, (zebra midges in copper and silver, larva patterns, etc.) becoming more productive. Dry/dropper fishing using Stimulators or Royal Wulffs as the top fly and midges below a 3 foot tippet is improving. This can be both effective and fun, as fish will hit the dry fly semi-regularly.
It’s not unusual for fish to be inconsistent with fly selection, so if you’re not hooking up, change flies often and vary weight. You should be picking up moss semi-regularly, so make sure you have enough weight to get the flies down where the fish are.
Ginger scuds, glow bugs in Oregon cheese, and San Juan worms have also been consistent.
Wading traditional bars may not produce as many trout as expected, especially if the sun is not heating the bar, due to the sun still being low on the horizon. Drift fishing using long (12-14’ leaders) and spit shot has been effective and allows more water to be covered. Again, keying on areas where the sun hits the water will make for better success.
Streamer fishing can be fun but inconsistent, with some days seeing aggressive strikes and others challenging. Use a sink tip, 200 grain with streamer patterns in olive, black and peacock stripped with the boat upriver from the fly line. While you may not have as many strikes as nymph fishing, there is a higher probability of catching browns.
Spin fishers have had success using rubber worms below a weight (24″-30″) as well as with lures (Castmasters, Panther Martins, Z-rays). Key to success is finding fish and staying in productive areas, typically in sunlight. Added benefit to fishing in the sun is that it’s warmer! Morning temps have been in the low 40s, which makes for a cool ride up river in the morning. I had a nice brown break off a big lure the other day, swimming away with a sore lip and bad attitude.
When fishing lures, make sure you get the lure down where the fish are, as they will normally be about 1 foot above the bottom. The river ranges in depth from a few feet to up to 30 ft, so when in deeper water make sure you wait for the lure to drop to depth. You should pick up moss regularly, and if not, you’re not deep enough.
This year is off to a great start, with lots of fat, healthy fish.
FYI, for those who are interested in dry fly fishing, the cicada hatch from mid-June to late July is as fun as fishing gets, with fish coming up and smacking big flies from as deep as 20 ft! My calendar is already filling for this incredible experience, so book me early to get the days you want!
Spring is here, and my calendar is filling, so call or email to reserve your day on the most beautiful spot in the Southwest to catch quality trout! 602-510-5511 firstname.lastname@example.org Instagram: @kellyoutfitters Facebook: Kelly Outfitters at Lees Ferry www.kellyoutfitters.com