The mighty Colorado River and its tributaries carved an extraordinary landscape, with intricate mazes of canyons, delicate arches and massive rock monoliths. And nowhere is the landscape more extraordinary than around Lees Ferry. As you wade the incredibly clear waters casting to football-thick rainbow trout, tilt your head back, look up at the 1,000-plus-foot tall sandstone cliffs, and view it as Col. John Wesley Powell, Lee and the other American pioneers found it. The word you seek to describe the scene is breathtaking. Lees Ferry Anglers was established in 1989 to fish the Colorado River in the 15.5 miles between Lake Powell and the upper end of Grand Canyon. Lees Ferry Anglers provides guides with covered, heated (in winter) jet boats; and jet boat rentals in addition to a full-service fly-fishing shop.Cliff Dwellers Lodge is owned by fly-fishers, catering to fly-fishers. In addition to the 21 motel rooms, they can also offer families and groups of anglers a separate adjacent fully air-conditioned house. Cliff Dwellers Lodge was founded in the early 1950s beneath the Vermillion Cliffs National Monument. Cliff Dwellers Lodge has long been a stop-over for individuals and groups rafting the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon, hikers, rock climbers, photographers and bird watchers. The lodge is the closest facility for viewing California condors. The lodge and the river are approximately a five hour drive from either Las Vegas or Phoenix; five hours from the San Juan River; seven hours from Salt Lake City; and about two hours from Flagstaff. There is commuter flight service to nearby Page, Arizona. A group of four anglers can economically charter a flight from Phoenix or Las Vegas to Page.
The river flows at varying rates but the water temperature stays at a constant forty-eight degrees, a perfect environment for healthy trout. Because Lees Ferry is a year-round fishery, an angler, on any give day, can catch twelve to twenty four inch free swimming rainbow trout. As the seasons change so does the fishing. The summer months are a great time to visit the Ferry and target eager rainbows rising to a whole slough of big terrestrials. In the fall, spring and winter months the fishing is for aggressively feeding rainbows in the riffles and deeper runs. Trout at Lees Ferry gorge themselves on tiny midge larva, scuds, and aquatic worms. The tannins in the fishes’ food source cause them to exhibit magnificent spawning colors which have become synonymous with Lees Ferry.
Cold mornings, cool and pleasant days giving way to an afternoon chill. This is spawn time, providing great opportunities to sight-cast to large trout using egg patterns and small attractors. There will often be midge fishing, both wet and dry.
Cool nights in March and April, giving way to warmer weather by early to mid-May. Mix of spawners and feeding fish will test your skills at both sight-casting and nymph fishing traditional riffles and runs. It's the season of sight casting tiny midges to trout as they drift in and out of feeding lanes.
Warm nights and hot days. The spawn is over, so you'll be sight-casting to feeding fish with dry flies; nymph fishing runs and riffles. A nymph fished through riffles and runs can be very rewarding.
Cooling weather can be anticipated, but essentially the same techniques as in summer. By mid-October, your guide will be looking for the nests of early spawners.
Your day will begin at Lees Ferry Anglers Fly Shop. Or, you might meet your guide by the water's edge at the site of the historic site of John Lee's historic ferry crossing. Boarding one of our 20-foot shallow draft riverboats, you'll stow your gear and soon be humming up river.
Your guide might start you wading a productive gravel bar where he's spotted fish working in the shallows...or at the edge of a deep pool. Fishing at the elbow of a Lees Ferry Anglers guide puts a lifetime of experience at your fingertips. When a fishing professional works on a river day after day, week after week, season after season, he learns all its intricacies. Whether you're a beginner or a seasoned expert, you'll gain from that knowledge. You'll receive helpful suggestions about fly patterns, casting techniques or fly-fishing strategies. Lees Ferry Angler's guides have a collective 100+ years of experience on this and other famous rivers. All Lees Ferry Anglers boat guides are U.S. Coast Guard Licensed.
We all know there's more to fishing than just fishing. The guides/captains are highly knowledgeable about local history, geology and wildlife...and are ready to share that knowledge with you.
As the sun hits the water and shadows change, you'll discover new locations...new fish. Noon becomes afternoon and shadows fall. You'll see things in the rocks and canyons you never saw before. Is that a giant eagles head or a shadow? A bighorn sheep? A condor? Or a small tree clinging to a rock? One last cast and then another. A last cast, let this be the one last cast. One more. The day is ended. The time on the water, where did it go?!?!
Cliff Dwellers Lodge is at the base of Vermilion Cliffs National Monument in one of the Western United States’ most spectacular settings. We are on the road that connects the North and South Rims of the Grand Canyon. In addition, it’s an easy drive to several other National Parks, Monuments, Lake Powell, the Navajo and Hopi Nations.
Before heading out to fish Lees Ferry, enjoy a great breakfast. Then, at the end of the day, come back and enjoy dinner. The Cliff Restaurant offers an incredible dining experience - you will be very impressed given the ultimate remote setting. Choose one of the burgers or fine steaks, luscious baby back ribs, the chef’s nightly dinner special or a crisp salad, and you’ll immediately see why The Cliff is the restaurant of choice and an unlikely culinary delight in this part or Arizona.
Northern Arizona and the Colorado Plateau offer some of the most unique landscape in the Southwest. From the high desert canyon country to the ponderosa forest of the Kaibab Plateau, there are hundreds of hiking trails all within a short distance from Cliff Dwellers Lodge. Regardless of the time of year there are many hikes that will suit each individual’s interest and skill level. Summer months are very warm and it is necessary to carry lots of water, two gallons a day per person is recommended. Never hike solo and always let someone know where you are going and when to expect you back. Stay on designated trails and wear proper clothing for the time of year. A wide brim hat and light long sleeve shirt is recommended for summer months along with plenty of sunscreen. Warm clothes and a water proof jacket are necessary during the winter months.
Rates and Reservations
Catch and release guide service is all inclusive except for tackle, beverages, flies and Arizona fishing license. Hours vary according to time of year and water flows. You are typically on the water 8-9 hours.
Guided Fly Fishing River Boat Service
One Angler $350
Two Anglers $450
Three Anglers $550**
**You will be wading or casting from the boat on the Colorado River at Lees Ferry. There are limited areas more than two anglers can wade and fish effectively at the same time and it is virtually impossible to fish 3 people at the same time from the boat. Therefore, it is strongly encourage that it be limited to just two anglers per guide. If you are a party of three, you will all just have to play nice!! Non-fishing guest are welcome, up to four people total. The cost is $20 per guest and that includes their lunch.
Rooms rates range from $80 - $90 per room, per night depending on configuration.