Lees Ferry Walk-In Fly Fishing

The Lees Ferry walk-in section is just what it says: No boats, do-it-yourself fishing. You walk-in. You’ll need an Arizona fishing license, of course, but other than that it’s free. If you are planning an upstream float trip later, maybe a rafting excursion through the Grand Canyon or you have reserved a Lees Ferry rental boat, a few hours or an entire day is a great way to limber up your casting arm. It’s perfect water to get in tune with the water’s flow … and not a bad way to feel the tug of a trout!

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The walk-in section is best reached by heading for the Lees Ferry boat ramp and parking area. The section extends about 1.5 miles both upstream and downstream of the ramp. An upstream trail begins at the ramp and continues for approximately one mile.


Inquire at the Lees Ferry Anglers Fly Shop – adjacent to Cliff Dwellers Lodge and restaurant – for the latest information on Colorado River water flow, the best flies, spin-fishing lures and techniques. The shop also offers both tackle sales and rentals from weights to waders with a professional staff that wants you to have a great time catching fish.

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What They Say … Ray Haiber

Ray Haiber, a commercial real estate broker and business consultant from Scottsdale, has fished the walk-in section for 10 or 12 years.

“I guess I’ve made two dozen trips to the walk-in section of Lees Ferry and fished it over 100 days. I love it.”

Haiber’s biggest rainbow trout from the walk-in section was a 20-incher; he predominantly catches the feisty fish around 14 and 15 inches.

“I love the diversity of the water. You need to be careful wading – you don’t need to go too far out – but there’s a mile or more of fishable water from Paria Beach upstream. Lots ‘n’ lots of really dandy trout!”

He cites his passion for the area on the huge amount of room in the walk-in section, generally a lack of competition along with the availability to fish for beginners and families.

What They Say … Steve La Falce

Retired Air Force and commercial pilot Steve La Falce from the Flagstaff area has fly-fished for 67 years. He received his first flyrod at age 9 and is still at it.

“We moved to Flagstaff a little more than seven years ago and I guess at this point I’ve made a hundred or more trips to Lees Ferry. Actually, fishing was one of the reasons we moved to Flag. I try to go once a week at least.”

La Falce grew up fly-fishing in the upstate New York Catskills before learning to fly a plane and making a career out of it.

“I can be on the Lees Ferry walk-in water in about two hours from my home … and generally catch 12 to 20 fish before heading back. It makes for a wonderful day.”

His biggest Colorado River fish was a 21 inch rainbow trout.

“These are no slugs. A typical 15-incher will put a bend in your rod and give you a real workout. Beautiful. Simply beautiful!“

His favorite flies are an #18 black zebra midge with a pink scud or shrimp pattern. If those turn off, he goes to a sink-tip line and fishes a gold bead head olive woolly bugger.

“I love the grab of a Lees Ferry rainbow trout on a streamer like the woolly bugger. A few of them simply makes my day.”

Of all the fish La Falce has caught, he’s only got one brown … but vows to keep up his love affair with the river until he gets another.