Fall Fishing in the Colorado

My initial plans for the weekend were to stay home and get some work done and maybe head down to Oak Creek for a couple of casts, if I was lucky catch a small brown or two. That all changed when my roommate said he had to go up to Marble Canyon for the day and asked if I wanted to fish a little bit while he was up there. I can pretty much never say no to an opportunity to fish the Colorado so when Saturday rolled around I was driving up through the desert to the canyon!

We pulled up to the parking lot a little later than we intended, to but no matter, the water was going to be low all day and the fish would hopefully keep eating through the middle of the day. October is an awesome time to be up there because the flows are so much more steady than summertime flows. It also doesn’t hurt that it is 75 degrees under bright blue skies.

Blue skies, red walls, clear waters

We all rushed to the water and spread out downstream of the fishermen that beat us to the river that morning. My fourth cast into shallow water brought the first tug of the day! A short fight lead to me hooked on to something far larger than I could reel in on 5X tippet! Only problem was I was now hooked onto a rock that the fish had managed to drag me around..

Over the next 30 minutes two more fish tightened my line, however I did not have the good luck of landing either of them. Apparently today the fourth time was the charm and a hard fighting rainbow slammed my fly in less than a foot of water! After a spirited fight the long, but skinny rainbow was brought to hand and rocketed back into the river after a few quick pictures.

White tipped rainbow

I continued working deeper and deeper into the riffle from the shore and into a good looking patch of water. Luckily for me the current from the shore to about 50 feet out was all moving about the same speed, otherwise I wouldn’t ever have the chance to cast so far. I cast far more times than I normally would into this run, but there is something fun about finally being able to get some line out of the reel! Most of my cast in AZ are only a couple of feet past the tippet, so I had to take my chance to get a good cast in! Finally the yarn on my line dove underwater and began pulling line from my reel. I had hooked onto a strong rainbow that had managed to get into the main river current! The fish quickly had me into my backing and running down the shoreline! What a sight it must have been for the raft trip going past, a fisherman in waders hollering at his friend to bring the net and running downstream while still trying to reel at the same time! Luckily I managed to keep my feet as I got downstream and into some slower water. At this point I got my fly line back into my reel (always a relief). After what seemed like a long time (probably a minute or two) I got the fish into and eddy and to shore. The fish was not quite the size I initially thought, but was thicker bodied than the first and in far stronger current!

The fish that took me for a run!
Rosy cheeks

After this fish I decided to go up and see how the others were doing. As I walked upstream I could see Kayla was hooked up!

Right after the fish dodged the first attempt at netting

After Kayla landed this fish she quickly hooked into a far larger fish than the others we had started on for the day! The fish was not longer than the others but had a large head and shoulders! After a prolonged fight that briefly had her into her backing I managed to net the fish around 30 feet downstream from where she was standing!


Big jawed rainbow
Sending ’em home!

The fish of the day for sure had proportions more similar to a brown than most of the rainbows I have seen at the ferry! It is awesome to see some big, old rainbows hanging around the ferry.

We continued fishing through the early afternoon and got into a few more hard fighting, jumping rainbows.


Golden rainbow!
Headed home
Unfortunately the fish didn’t seem to wanna eat these hoppers..
Pink sided bow

These fish are incredible fighters and as soon as you pull your line tight you had better hang on because they will take you on a ride! Jumping like crazy and zig zagging across the river it is always incredible to hook into one of these hard fighting rainbows. Theres not much better than jumping fish in a deep red walled canyon in some cold, clear water!

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