Colorado River

Marble Canyon, Arizona

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Quintessential tailwater. Huge rainbows. Best access by boat. Sinuous, cold, and very green from deep and life-giving beds of aquatic mosses, the Colorado flows past 1,000 foot cliffs of rugged red sandstone on its 15.5 mile journey from Glen Canyon Dam to Lees Ferry, where it descends into the Grand Canyon. Eagles and condors soar above thermals rising along the canyon’s vertical walls. But the slick river is, itself, eerily quiet. Since the closing of the dam in 1963 and their stocking in 1964, trout, exclusively rainbows, have thrived in the upper river. Water is of constant temperature, the flow, relatively constant. The river environment is wholly artificial, a long, frigid tailwater, in a hot and dry canyon where cloudbursts once turned the river into a churning brown slurry in a heat-beat. Since construction of the dam, no natural sediment has been introduced into the system save that from simulated flooding in the last half of the 1990s. The river runs clear as bottle glass to the mouth of the Paria River just below Lee’s Ferry, that year-round fly-fishing mecca at the base of Vermilion Cliffs. Species: Rainbow. Angling methods: spin, and fly-fishing.

Colorado River Professional Review and Guide

"Quintessential tailwater. Huge rainbows. Best access by boat. Sinuous, cold, and very green from deep and life-giving beds of aquatic mosses, the Colorado flows past 1,000 foot cliffs of rugged red sandstone on its 15.5 mile journey from Glen Canyon Dam to Lees Ferry, where it descends into the Grand Canyon. Eagles and condors soar above thermals rising along the canyon’s vertical walls. But the slick river is, itself, eerily quiet. Since the closing of the dam in 1963 and their stocking in 1964, trout, exclusively rainbows, have thrived in the upper river.

Water is of constant temperature, the flow, relatively constant. The river environment is wholly artificial, a long, frigid tailwater, in a hot and dry canyon where cloudbursts once turned the river into a churning brown slurry in a heat-beat. Since construction of the dam, no natural sediment has been introduced into the system save that from simulated flooding in the last half of the 1990s. The river runs clear as bottle glass to the mouth of the Paria River just below Lee’s Ferry, that year-round fly-fishing mecca at the base of Vermilion Cliffs. Species: Rainbow. Angling methods: spin, and fly-fishing."

Activity Type: Fly-Fishing
Nearby City: Marble Canyon
Access: Limited
Season & Limits: Year-round
Local Maps: Arizona DeLorme Atlas & Gazetteer
Driving Directions: Directions to Colorado River

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May 2018