The bug flows have significantly improved fly fishing on the weekends!
If you recall from my previous post, the Department of the Interior has approved modified water releases that consists of steady weekend releases from Glen Canyon Dam and normal fluctuating releases during the weekdays. The steady weekend flows are expected to provide favorable conditions for insects to lay eggs along the Colorado River downstream of Glen Canyon Dam, while the minimum flows on weekdays are designed to be similar to flows on the weekends. This flow regime would decrease the amount of stage change in the river on the weekends, thus preventing the insect eggs that are laid along the river margins from drying out.
The last two weekends have seen a marked improvement in bug activity, as well as more wading access and ultimately better fishing, which is all good news for fly fishermen! Clients have also seen an increase in dry fly success using a dry/dropper combination. We’ve had strikes on Royal Wulffs, Stimulators, and Humpys but without a doubt the fish are keying on midges. Zebra midges in copper and silver are standard go-to flies, but many other midges are also working. If you find you aren’t hooking up consistently, change the midge until you find the right one. Double midge nymph rigs are also very productive, so depending on your preference, you should be on fish either way!
I had a reader named Brett ask me about spin fishing on weekends, as a result of the bug flows. Spin fishing is not as successful on weekends, due to the lower steady water. I did talk with another guide that had success using a marabou jig, sight casting to fish. This is learned skill, but highly effective. Another option for spin fishing is to use midge flies tied 3 ft below a sinker and bounce that across the bottom as you would a rubber worm. Use lighter line or 5-6X fly tippet. Lures can also be effective if you locate fish, which is far more effective than blind casting and hoping. I had a friend catch a 20″ fish using a bucktail spinner.
Spin fishers will have an easier time during weekdays when flows are higher, so if you can plan your trip accordingly, you should do well.
If you’re a fly fisherman looking for lots of healthy, happy fish, Lees Ferry is Hot on weekends.
Tip of the week: Cicada season is coming rapidly so book your guide now as July is filling up! June 19th last year was the first day I caught fish on a cicada pattern and the season lasted until the end of August, early September. While there is no forecasting the cicada activity, that 6-8 week time frame works most years. If watching a wild rainbow knock the daylights out of your big dry fly gets your blood flowing, you may want to look at your calendar and schedule your trip!