Fly Fishing Lees Ferry: the Complete Fishing and Boating Guide to the Colorado River Below Glen Canyon Dam

By Dave Foster

Updated and revised in 2005. Clear understanding of the complex & fascinating 15 miles of the Colorado River. Detailed fly fishing maps reveal points of history & geologic landmarks. Maps, B&W photos & illus; 8.5x11 inches, 80 pgs.


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ISBN: 1-892469-15-4

EAN: 978-1-892469-15-1

Binding: Softcover

Publish Date: 09/11/2005

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The completion of the Glen Canyon dam in 1963 created fifteen miles of big Arizona tailwater coursing below the huge sandstone cliffs that start the Grand Canyon.

This is water every fly angler has heard about, an overwhelming place that can offer forty-trout days.

There is only ONE guidebook that outlines the history at Lee's settlement, the eccentrics who mined gold, the flows from Glen Canyon dam that power much of the southwest, the earth process that created the place, the points of history, boating and geologic landmarks, where to look for wildlife and, of course, the fishing.

Author Dave Foster's work on this guidebook really started over thirty years ago when he began fishing at Lee's Ferry. He has boated every mile of the Grand Canyon as both a river guide and a National Parks Service Ranger. He began guiding anglers in 1989 and now spends over 150 days a year guiding. The rest of his time is spent operating Marble Canyon Outfitters and raising his family.

Foster's passion for the history and fishing at Lee's Ferry was published as a booklet in 1992. It quickly sold out and went out of print. This new, vastly updated and expanded work is a huge step forward in our understanding of this fascinating river crossing, funnel of western migration, and of fly fishing one of the west's premiere tailwaters.

Dave provides a clear understanding of the complex and fascinating 15 miles of the Colorado River below Glenn Canyon Dam. Throughout the book detailed fly fishing maps reveal points of history, geologic landmarks, and access to the natural history and beauty. With historic and current photographs, "Then and Now" information, and more, Dave Foster's Guide to Fly Fishing Lees Ferry is a requirement for the angler and intrepid visitor to the Marble Canyon area.

Dave Foster
has boated, explored, and guided anglers on the water coursing between the huge sandstone cliffs that start the Grand Canyon, for over 20 years. He runs Marble Canyon Guides at Lee's Ferry where he takes over 200 fishing and boating trips a year and operates a fly shop!

"The Canyon Maid, the first true boat used at Lee's Ferry, was put into service in October, 1870. A crude affair approximately 12 feet long with a 3 foot beam, its first trip was to take Jacob Hamblin and explorer John Wesley Powell across the river. Powell is best remembered for his trips down the Colorado River in 1869 and 1871. Between August and November of 1870 Powell was also engaged in an overland reconnaissance of southern Utah and northern Arizona for his second expedition through the Grand Canyon. Brigham Young traveled with the party and Powell engaged Jacob Hamblin to assist as guide and interpreter. Also joining the party for a portion of the trip was John Doyle Lee. A devout and zealous member of the Church, Lee had been involved in the notorious Mountain Meadows Massacre thirteen years earlier."

Sight Fishing
"By far one of the most exciting aspects of fly fishing Lee's Ferry is the opportunity to spot, stalk and cast to a large fish. Crystal clear water and broad open riffles provide some of the best sight fishing opportunities available anywhere. Nurture just a few skills and techniques and you will enjoy success in the shallows.
Usually you will spot something like a bright red gill plate on a spawning fish, or the fish's shadow in a brightly-lit run. Sometimes the fish's tail is the most visible body part. The other thing to look for is an aberration in the color and texture of the river bottom. Use your peripheral vision when scanning an area. Look for a gray or silvery green patch that may not stand out when you stare directly at it. This might be your trout. If you see something that looks like a fish, lock your eyes on it, waiting for a little movement that gives it away. A variation on this occurs when boats come past. When the wake rolls in, the surface of the water gets tilted, allowing a cleaner view of the bottom."

Sample River Mile By River Mile Description
Mile 7.2 There is a large boulder on the right side of the channel. It is a boating hazard at flows less than 7,000 cfs.
Mile 7.3 Finger Rock is on the right side.
Mile 7.9 Fish frequently feed in the dense scum line that forms in the eddy on the left side. Seven and a Half Mile Bar is on the right and a good fly fishing bar at all flows. The riffle at the top of the bar is productive, especially late spring through fall. There is some spawning gravel above this riffle, with fish moving to it November through March. Water covers these beds at about 6,000 cfs and fishing is good up to about 12,000 cfs. Year-round the eddy at the bottom of the bar generally holds midging fish. Woolly Buggers are also effective. At extremely high flows, fish cruise along the weeds in front of the campground searching for terrestrials.

Additional information

Weight 0.6 lbs
Dimensions 8.3 × 0.2 × 10.9 in


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