Fishing Conditions at Lees Ferry

Fishing conditions and techniques at Lees Ferry vary according to water levels and flow regimes from Glen Canyon Dam. It is difficult to predict what the flows will be like from year to year, however, we can usually predict what the flows will be like for the next few months and we publish these projections on our “River Report” page. We have  two basically different fishing scenarios at Lees Ferry. One is fishing from the boat, either drifting with the current, or anchored in riffles. The other scenario is exiting the boat and wading in the water. Often times water releases dictate which style of fishing that we do. Generally speaking, the best wading is in lower water conditions, while higher water conditions often call for us to fish from the boat since there are few productive wading areas. We are more likely to fish from the boat in summer and winter months (high water) and wade fish in the fall and spring (lower water). Your guide will know what is best and will do everything in his power to accommodate the style of fishing that you prefer.


The Colorado River at Lees Ferry is “big water” by any western standard. The headwaters of the Colorado begin at the highest elevations of the Rocky Mountains. The drainage area of the Colorado River encompasses the entire western slope of the Rockies from Wyoming to New Mexico. Above Lake Powell the Colorado is joined by the San Juan and Green Rivers and every tributary that joins these drainages. These rivers are more dependent on snow pack than precipitation and as a result each year can bring different runoff and flow scenarios.


The water releases from Lake Powell and Glen Canyon Dam fluctuate on an hourly, daily, seasonal, and yearly basis. Glen Canyon Dam is used for hydroelectric production and the water flows are generally low in the evening (low electric demand) and higher during the day and early evening hours (high electric demand). During the day it is possible to see the water rise or fall by as much as 2 vertical feet. The water flow change is generally a slow change. The water releases also change according to the season; higher release months are usually during the winter (cold weather and higher electrical demand) and the summer months (hot weather and higher electrical demand.) There is also the possibility that the water releases change from year to year depending on the volume of snow pack runoff or lack of runoff and the level of Lake Powell and other reservoirs in the system.