It's illegal to fish in the Colorado River without an Arizona Fishing Permit. (Those under 14 don't need a permit if they are with an adult who has one.)
One-day nonresident permits are available for $17 (5 days for $32) at the Canyon Village Marketplace (tel. 928/638-2262) in Grand Canyon Village; at Marble Canyon Lodge (tel. 800/726-1789 or 928/355-2225), a quarter-mile west of the Navajo Bridge on Highway 89A; at Lees Ferry Anglers Fly Shop (tel. 800/962-9755 or 928/355-2261); and at Cliff Dwellers Lodge (tel. 800/433-2543 or 928/355-2228), 9 miles west of Navajo Bridge on Highway 89A. Fishing licenses are not available on the North Rim.
Once you get your fishing permit, the next challenge is getting to the best fishing spots. To fish inside park boundaries, you either have to hike to the Colorado River or be on a river trip and fish during breaks from rafting.
The best time to fish in the canyon is in fall and winter. The best trout fishing inside the park is at the canyon's eastern end, upstream of Phantom Ranch. The river is clear and cold (48°F/9°C) year-round directly below the dam, making this a great trout hatchery (and a chilling place for the native species, which evolved to live in muddy water and with extreme temperature variations). Downstream, the river gradually warms and gathers sediment from its tributaries, causing the trout population to dwindle and enabling the bottom-feeders to survive. The five most abundant fish species in the park are carp, speckled dace, flannel-mouth sucker, rainbow trout, and blue-head sucker.
Some of the Southwest's best trout fishing is just upstream of the park's easternmost boundary, between Glen Canyon Dam and Lees Ferry. Most of the hot spots in this 16-mile-long river stretch can be reached only by boat, but anyone can walk up a mile of shoreline from the Lees Ferry parking area. Lees Ferry fishing regulations allow the use of only artificial lures/flies and barbless hooks, and include the following limits: The daily bag limit is four fish, the possession limit is eight fish, the possession of live fish is unlawful, and the possession of fish longer than 12 inches is unlawful.
If you don't have your rod and waders with you, you can rent them, and boats too, from Lees Ferry Anglers Guides and Fly Shop (tel. 800/962-9755 or 928/355-2261; www.leesferry.com), which is now at Cliff Dwellers Lodge in Marble Canyon. This shop, the area's best, offers a complete guide service and carries a full line of fishing gear and tackle.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.