Fishing Lee's Ferry

Thursday, August 14, 2014 , , , 16 Comments

Lee's Ferry is arguably the most beautiful place I have ever fished. Gin clear water between towering 700-1000 foot red rock cliffs. A part of the Colorado River system and nestled within Glen Canyon National Recreation Area just north of the Grand Canyon, Lee's Ferry should be near the top of every anglers bucket list. To quote Mark Williams, "You're bound to feel small standing in a river flowing through an ancient ocean in the desert under prehistoric cliffs that rise 1000 feet in the air." Void of the typical hatches we have become accustomed to (caddis, mayflies, drakes) the primary forage for these wild Rainbow trout is midges and freshwater shrimp. In fact rumor has it the Zebra Midge pattern was developed here. Beyond this, the trip to the fishery was particularly exciting as my fiancee and I had gotten engaged the day before, furthermore she not only caught her first trout on a fly rod it was her first fish on the fly. She also was able to catch several on dry flies (cicada patterns) while sight fishing. Our guide was Natalie from Lee's Ferry Anglers, whom I highly recommend. She took the time to really improve Jane's cast and put us on a ton of fish. We caught no monsters but caught far more fish that we could have hoped for. But for me the trip was beyond expectations just to see Jane really excel in the sport and enjoy herself. For a time I even put down my stick and just watched her fish. I couldn't be prouder. I hope you enjoy the pictures to follow and one day find yourself in this spectacular fishery. 

Jane's first fish on a fly rod. 

I included this picture to demonstrate the grandeur of the canyon walls, bottom center is a boat to give perspective. 

Midway in the day we switched from nymphing Zebra Midges and Shrimp in the riffles to sight fishing drys. This is where things got really exciting. 

First dry fly trout. Cicada Pattern. 

A spectacular surprise on our way back the the dock, wild horses. 


Engaged at Horseshoe Bend

Tuesday, August 12, 2014 20 Comments

Our Engagement Story: I had been planning this trip for months. I thought, if the bride gets to have a wedding in her fashion, the groom should be able to propose in a similar manner, and for me that meant a trip to somewhere breathtaking. Somewhere where my girl and I could be in our element, outdoors, enjoying each others company and the awe afforded only by the raw natural. So I began my research simple enough. Google. I looked up images for the most beautiful places in the United States and was soon overwhelmed with the beauty of Antelope Canyon. I quickly decided this is where I would propose. To my lady, I sold the trip as a graduation trip from nursing school and together we spent the next several months planning. We would fly into Vegas, spend the day there and then make our way towards Page Arizona where unbeknownst to her I would propose at Antelope Canyon, we would fish the next day at Lee's Ferry and then head south to the Flagstaff region for a few days before flying out of Phoenix. 

However, things rarely go according to plan. From the start our plane was severely delayed at Kansas City Airport. I sat in the terminal trying to remain optimistic,  focused on the purpose of the trip,  and unwilling to become too overwhelmed with the various excuses given by the airline. Thirteen hours later than expected and very tired we arrived in Vegas. I was glad to be there but deeply concerned with how this setback would effect my meticulously crafted timeline. After deliberation, soon it was decided between us that we would spend an extra day in Vegas and arrive at Page the day after. However, instead of visiting both Upper and Lower Antelope Canyon we would aim for just the upper canyon and see how much time we had after. This presented a problem for me, you see wanting the proposal to be something of a private affair I had intended on proposing at the lower canyon, which was rumored to be less congested. However, now it remained uncertain whether we would even visit the lower portion due to time constraints (we had reservations at the upper canyon) and I will admit I was a tad flustered. Again, the entire purpose of this trip was to propose at this canyon and to do so in private. But being prepared I had a back up plan, if the canyon proved to be too crowded I would head south of Page a few miles to Horseshoe Bend in Glen Canyon, where I knew, or rather hoped, I would be able to find a private spot with a breathtaking vista. 

Stuck at the airport but still happy. 

Though I had the ring with me through our hike of Upper Antelope Canyon I did not propose. As I recalled in my previous post, while awe-inspiring, the canyon was as I feared too crowded to provide the privacy I wanted for my proposal. As we left the canyon, I hoped Horseshoe Bend would prove equal in grandeur. Once we arrived and took the short hike from the parking lot, there was little doubt. This was a place of beauty and solace. This would be a place we would remember for the rest of our lives, and this is where I would propose. 

After, we had walked around a bit and had taken some pictures of the canyon I began to look around for a spot that I could propose. It had to be close and it had to be private. Two large boulders to our right seemed to provide the answer. It would provide just the cover I needed to propose. However, once I walked over there Jane was reluctant to join me. Who can blame her, why leave the awesome view of the canyon to come see some random boulder… 

So I told her, fictitiously, that there was a really cool lizard on the boulder that she NEEDED to see. Lame I know, but I was desperate. She reluctantly came over, I dropped to one knee and found the courage to ask what may have been the most important question of my life. I asked her to marry me, and she said yes!

And as it turned out, we did see a lizard on that boulder. 

I couldn't be happier, Jane is my best friend, my partner in crime, and my strength. I cannot wait to be able to call her my wife and am eager to see what life has in store for us. She truly is the love of my life. And that day at Horseshoe Bend and the spectacular views, those are memories I am certain we will never forget. 


Hiking Upper Antelope Canyon

Wednesday, August 06, 2014 , , 13 Comments

There is only one word to describe Antelope Canyon, captivating. Located south of Page Arizona, Upper Antelope Canyon is a small slot Canyon operated by the Navajo people. Crafted by nature, the sandstone has slowly been carved away by flash floods in the area over the millennia. Only a few feet wide in places, as the light enters it illuminates the spaces with a spectacle of orange, yellow, and purple shades. To go you must pay a fee and then take a very bumpy jeep ride to the canyon entrance, from there you hike through the canyon. Again the canyon itself is gorgeous, but my only complaint is that it is crowded, let me rephrase that, very crowded and you have a time limit. While I understand they are trying to provide access to the canyon to as many people as possible, the limitations and crowds somewhat take away from the experience and the naturalism of the experience. That being said, Antelope Canyon is beyond words and well worth the visit. I just wish it were less crowded and hurried. However, the slight inconvenience is well overshadowed but the immaculate beauty of Antelope Canyon. Truly a place I will remember for the rest of my life. I hope you enjoy the pictures, I had a hard time narrowing down to just a few.