Lees Ferry AZ
Just returned from a trip with a friend of mine to Lees Ferry AZ.
If you get the change go there, absolutely breathtaking scenery. We hired a guide and boat for one day of fishing, you can wet wade near the boat ramps which has some great fishing, but to really enjoy the fishing you need a boat and guide with local knowledge.
It is impossible to walk and fish higher up from the boat ramps as you are in the canyon walls. You can get dropped off the boat in certain spots to wet wade most times of the year. Unfortunately for us, this time the river was too high in the canyon to do that. So we just drifted in different runs for eight hours. The river at this point runs about fourteen miles so there is plenty of water to fish.
The fishing was on and off but we caught plenty of fish, all rainbows that really fought well. They are wild and spirited. I had many fish that once you got them on the reel they took off running. Taking a while to bring in to the boat.
Great fun!!! We wet waded the first afternoon on arrival in high winds that made it a challenge. Rigging up a red worm under an indicator with a trailing black and silver nymph. In general we had the flies about three feet under the indicator and the nymph another two or three feet down. Due to the speed of the water flow, you needed one or two split shots above the top fly to get them down quickly. Moving the indicator up or down depending on the depth we were fishing. The water is very fast moving and getting out to your waist is about as far as you want to go, the water is so very powerful and easy to trip and go under, so be respectful of mother nature! The water is cold they say about Forty-eight degrees, it is very noticeable so wear socks under your waders, I did not, and my feet and legs did get cold. Strange when your upper body is so hot!
Fishing with an indicator with two flies and split shots on a longer leader is a challenge, if you are not used to that do some practice first, it will save you a lot of time later on in avoiding messy tangles. So frustrating!!
At the end of the first day off to the lodge, there are a few different ones to choose from, all reasonably priced. Cliff Dwellers Lodge was our destination as they provided the guide service. Much easier to book altogether. At the lodge, dinner was very good and a few beers later we were feeling no pain and boy did the fish get larger as the night wore on!!!!
The next day was the big day, meeting our guide at seven am at the boat ramp, loading up the gear he told us not to wear waders as the water was too high and that we would be drifting all day! Setting up the fly rods with about nine to twelve feet leader with two flies followed by one or two split shot dragging under the last bottom fly. The flies I used with success was a worm followed down with a scud, which imitates a crustacean. The guide would maneuver the boat at the top of the run, and we would drift over mending the lines as we went so there was no drag on the indicator. If no strikes we would do again then move on to new water. Make sure you check and if you are not wading wear good boots on the boat, so you have sure footing. Standing on the bow with no railings as he maneuvered the boat into the fast current you need to be steady on your feet!
Eight hours is plenty long, as it can get very hot in the canyon and at the end of the day you are tired. The lodge provided us with a very good lunch, drink plenty of water and keep hydrated! All in all a wonderful experience with knowledgeable, friendly guides.
Too tired to fish any more, what’s a boy got to do? Beer and shrimp flour Tacos started the night, many beers later, off to bed. Up early the next day and off wet wading again staying on the river until one lunchtime. Plenty fish caught, into the truck and a four-plus hour drive back to Phoenix. The guide told us that October is one of the best times of the year to fish there with perfect weather and good fishing so we will be looking for people to join us on our next trip. If interested contact me or Brian Foss of Desert Fly Casters. The more people we get to go the bigger the saving on accommodation and fishing. Highly recommended!