Arizona Fly Fishing: Lees Ferry (Part 1)

A month or two ago, my buddy Kyle, of Sleep When You’re Dead, ┬áinvited me to head up to the famous Colorado River and fish Lees Ferry with him and a couple of other guys. Having always wanted to fish this unique and beautiful river, I jumped at the chance and started tying a whole passel of bugs. With the car packed to the gills and thermos full of coffee, we headed north to Flagstaff and then through the reservation to the river. The first day we met up with Kevin Krai, a well known Arizona fly fisherman, and sped up the river on his boat. We found an empty bar with some prime riffle water and spent the rest of the day hooking fish on midge patterns, red hots, and eggs.

Arizona Fly Fishing
Lees Ferry Rainbow falls for the Red Hot
Lees Ferry Fly Fishing
Colorado River

Most of the fish that we brought to the net were between 12 and 14 inches with a few pushing 15, possibly 16. For their size, these fish fought hard, knowing how to use the ice cold current to their advantage.

Fly Fishing Arizona
Lees Ferry Rainbow
Arizona Fly Fishing
Friends on the River

Kevin, Kyle, and I met up with some standup guys from the local fly fishing forum. It was a real pleasure getting to fish with Scott and Chad and finally put a face with the name.

Fly Fishing Arizona
Marble Canyon
Arizona Fly Fishing
Netting a Lees Ferry Rainbow (photo credit - Kyle Graf)
Arizona Fly Fishing
Lees Ferry Rainbow Trout (photo credit - Kyle Graf)
Fly Fishing Marble Canyon
The Colorado River (photo credit - Kyle Graf)
Arizona Fly Fishing
Fishing the Riffles (photo credit - Kevin Krai)

After fishing the evening, we left the river as things were getting dark. Kyle had arranged for us to stay in the Cliff Dwellers house that Lees Ferry Anglers rent out. Very nice to have a warm place to dry out our waders and boots and get some grub in our stomachs. I had cooked up a batch of venison stew and luckily everyone was starving so they gulped it down. The rest of the evening was spent tying flies and telling some lies about big fish we caught.

Cliff Dwellers House
The House
Venison Stew
Venison Stew

 

18 Responses to “Arizona Fly Fishing: Lees Ferry (Part 1)”

    • azwanderings

      Thanks Barry. It sure is a beautiful place to fish. I certainly enjoyed myself.

      Ben

      Reply
    • azwanderings

      Thanks Kyle. It was a blast finally getting to fish with you. I look forward to getting back out and finding some more fish.

      Ben

      Reply
    • azwanderings

      It sure is Nick. It is a spectacular place to visit and fish. The fish are willing and fiesty. It was well worth the trip. Thanks for the kind words.

      Ben

      Reply
  1. cofisher49

    Beautiful. That’s one place I really need to vacation at. Looks like there could a lot of great scenery around there as well.

    Reply
    • azwanderings

      It really is a beautiful canyon. The Grand Canyon is not far and the surrounding country is pretty barren and rugged. Beautiful for sure.

      Ben

      Reply
    • azwanderings

      Thanks Mike. The fish sure were colorful. The whole canyon was pretty cool with the red rock, green water, and blue sky. It really was something to behold.

      Ben

      Reply
  2. Kirk

    Great fish and write-up, but even more impressive scenery. How many large cold-water rivers run through beautiful redrock canyons?

    Reply
    • azwanderings

      Thanks Kirk. There are a couple of creeks that run through red rock canyons, but The Colorado is really the most impressive. Oak Creek in Sedona is a pretty one to fish too.

      Ben

      Reply
    • azwanderings

      Thanks for the kind words Matt. There is something special about fishing in those high-walled canyons. Add it to your list for sure.

      Ben

      Reply
  3. Iain Emmons

    Ben,

    Great write-up, and your pictures are beautiful–they really evoke the grandeur of both the place and the fish. It looks like you had a heck of a good first trip up at the Ferry–good fishing and good company, it doesn’t get much better than that!

    Iain

    Reply
    • azwanderings

      Thanks Iain. It certainly was a great way to spend the weekend. The canyon was awe-inspiring to say the least and I was grateful to be a part of a solid group of guys. Thanks for the kind words on the photos.

      Ben

      Reply
  4. Patrick

    Ben – Thanks for helping a first time fly fisher. I am definitely hooked! It was awesome to watch you tie bugs at night. Hope to catch up with you again someday.

    Reply
    • azwanderings

      Patrick,
      It was great meeting up with you and seeing you land fish on a fly rod. Congrats on the big fish of the trip as well. Thanks for the kind words and I look forward to fishing again with you in the future.

      Ben

      Reply

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