Recreational Fishing Information

Recreational Fishing Information On This Page Navigation

 
An illustration of a rainbow trout in profile, left facing. The fish has a pale white yellow underbelly, spots along the top of its body, and a pink blush stripe along its side.
Rainbow trout

Illustration by Joe Tomelleri

This page summarizes information on recreational fishing within Grand Canyon National Park only.

To learn more about native fish and fisheries within Grand Canyon National Park visit this webpage >

Arizona State Fishing License Required

A valid fishing or combination license is required for resident and nonresident anglers ten years of age or older fishing any public accessible water in Arizona.

Anglers are responsible for knowing what regulations apply to the body of water they are fishing. Go to https://www.azgfd.com/fishing/regulations/ for complete fishing Rules and Regulations. Buy a license online at https://www.azgfd.com/ or go in person to the General Store on the South Rim, Lees Ferry Anglers at Cliff Dweller's Lodge, or the Trading Post at Marble Canyon Lodge.

Closed Waters

  • Posted areas immediately below Glen Canyon Dam.
  • Little Colorado River and its confluence 1/2 mile upstream and 1/2 mile downstream of the Colorado River.
  • The take-out ramp at Pierce Ferry.

Possession Limits

Statewide possession limits are twice (2x) the daily bag limit for each species, unless a different possession limit is specified. "Possession limit" means the maximum number of fish, which may be possesseda at one time by one person.

 

Arizona Statewide Regulations on Daily Bag Limits

Legal Fish

Daily Bag Lmits

Trout (includes rainbow, cutthroat, brown, brook, tiger, Gila and Apache trout; grayling)

4
Any combination

Bass (includes largemouth and smallmouth)

6
Any combination

Striped Bass

10

Walleye

6

Northern Pike

Unlimited - immediate kill or release

Catfish (including channel and flathead)

10
Any combination

Crappie (white and black)

Unlimited

White Amur (grass carp) minimum size 30 inches

1

Roundtail Chub

Catch and release only

Sunfishes (including bluegill, redear sunfish, green sunfish, and hybrid sunfish)

Unlimited

All other species (except protected native fish): including, but not limited to, white bass, yellow bass, carp, suckers, buffalofish, bullhead, yellow perch, and tilapia.

Unlimited

 

Arizona Statewide Regulations apply to all waters except as listed below:

Bright Angel Creek

Unlimited trout; unlimited striped bass; unlimited catfish. Trout taken at Bright Angel Creek shall be killed and retained as part of the bag limit or immediately released.

Colorado River

  • From Glen Canyon Dam to the Paria riffle (Lees Ferry): the limit is two rainbow trout per day; artificial fly and lure only; barbless hooks only. Rainbow trout taken from this portion of the Colorado River shall be killed and retained as part of the bag limit or immediately released; there is no limit on other sport fish species which includes all species of bass (including sunfish and stripers), all species of catfish, all species of trout other than rainbow trout, and walleye.
  • From the Paria riffle to Navajo Bridge, including all tributaries: the limit is six rainbow trout per day. Rainbow trout taken from this portion of the Colorado River shall be killed and retained as part of the bag limit or immediately relased; there is no limit on other sport fish species which includes all species of bass (including sunfish and stripers), all species of catfish, all specis of trout other than rainbow trout, and walleye.
  • From Navajo Bridge to Separation Canyon, including all tributaries within Grand Canyon National Park: there is no limit on sport fish species which includes all species of bass (including sunfish and stripers), all species of catfish, all species of trout, and walleye.
  • From Separation Canyon to Hoover Dam (including Lake Mead): the limit is five trout; the limit is 20 striped bass 20 inches in length or longer; unlimited for striped bass under 20 inches in length; the limit is 15 crappie.
 

Cleaning Fish

Bright Angel Creek - From the Confluence through the Box (~ three miles) remains will be packed down to the river and disposed of in the Colorado River. North of the Box, remains will be dispersed creekside.
Remote Tributaries including Tapeats Creek - If camping near the Colorado River, throw remains into the Colorado River. If camping away from the Colorado River, throw remains along the riverbank.

Hook and Line Methods and Bait

  • All new fishing and combo licenses allow the angler to fish with two poles or lines simultaneously. In no case are more than two lines allowed to be used at the same time.

  • "Angling" means the taking of fish by one line and not to exceed two hooks, by one line and one artificial lure, which may have attached more than one hook, or by one line and not to exceed two artificial flies or lures.

  • Fishing lines must be constantly attended and in immediate control.

  • The hook, fly, or lure must be used in such a manner that the fish voluntarily attempts to take it in its mouth.

  • No live baitfish may be used or in possession on any waters in Coconino County, no exceptions.

  • You must pack out all live bait.

 

Native Fish of Grand Canyon: Protection and Restoration

 
Relative size illustrations of the eight Grand Canyon native fish, all in profile and left-facing.
Fish native to Grand Canyon, from left to right: humpback chub, razorback sucker, bluehead sucker, flannelmouth sucker, speckled dace, and the three extirpated species: Colorado pikeminnow, roundtail chub and bonytail.

Illustrations by Joe Tomelleri

The following native fish are protected statewide and may not be angled for, taken, possessed, pursued, or captured: humpback chub, razorback sucker, bluehead sucker, flannelmouth sucker, and speckled dace.

If any of these protected native fish are incidentally caught, they must be immediately released unharmed. Successful management of native fishes requires research and thoughtful conservation of habitat and resources.

Current management includes removal of Rainbow and Brown trout near important native fish habitat, and the occasional release of massive amounts of water from Glen Canyon Dam to help rebuild nursery habitat for native fish (while restoring camping beaches for recreational river trips). Timed "bug flows" also help preserve invertebrate populations.

Fish Identification

For help, refer to Native Fishes of the Colorado River in Grand Canyon National Park, a free handout available at the Backcountry Information Center. If you don't know, LET IT GO.

Aquatic Invasive Species (AIS)

A concern we must all address is the spread of harmful aquatic invasive species (AIS). These are non-native species that can harm native aquatic ecosystems as well as negatively impact visitor use and enjoyment of park waters. AIS such as brown trout have been extremely detrimental to native fish populations, replacing them as the top aquatic predator.

AIS can come in many other forms including other animals such as zebra and quagga mussels, and parasites such as the Asian tapeworm. These species can hitch a ride on boats, trailers, and float tubes, as well as on waders and wading boots. AIS have devastating impacts on native aquatic ecosystems.

CLEAN, DRAIN, and DRY all of your boating and fishing equipment to help prevent the spread of AIS.

 

Open Transcript

Transcript

I want to take a minute to talk about how you can help protect Grand Canyon National Park. Introduced species that cause harm to the ecological health of an area are called invasive species.

These species can be plants, animals, or microbes and are usually spread by human activity. A common way for invasive species to be spread is on boats and other watercraft.

Recently, an invasive mussel was found in the Colorado River through Grand Canyon National Park. This particularly damaging invasive species is called the quagga mussel.

Adult mussels are about the size of your thumb nail, and immature mussels are microscopic.

Once introduced, the quagga mussel carpets underwater rock surfaces quickly.

These mussels disrupt food webs, clog water intakes and their sharp shells become a recreational hazard.

If we don’t clean boats and gear that have been in waters containing this mussel, we will unfortunately spread this invasive species throughout the Colorado River.

Everyone with a boat can help by taking three easy steps: Clean, Drain and Dry.

These steps should be part of every river trip.

Clean means to go around the boat and remove any visible mud or plants and also to take a bucket or hose and rinse the hull and interior of any standing water or debris.

Drain means to allow all water to drain out of the boat and any equipment.

Dry means that the boat and all equipment should be completely dry before launching on your next trip.

Whether you have a dory, raft or kayak – you can move water and invasive species with your boat and gear.

Every single boat that arrives at Grand Canyon to float should arrive clean.

At the end of your trip you should be sure to clean, drain and dry your boat and all gear before heading out on a new waterway.

Grand Canyon National Park takes a number of precautions to ensure that river trips are safe, fun and protect the uniqueness of Grand Canyon. But we all need to help to protect this precious river. Take the Clean Drain Dry steps before and after every boating trip!

Visit our keyboard shortcuts docs for details
Duration:
2 minutes, 24 seconds

Recently, an invasive mussel was found in the Colorado River through Grand Canyon National Park. This particularly damaging invasive species is called the quagga mussel. If we don’t clean boats and gear that have been in waters containing this mussel, we will unfortunately spread this invasive species throughout the Colorado River. Everyone with a boat can help by taking three easy steps: Clean, Drain and Dry.

Last updated: June 12, 2022

Park footer

Contact Info

Mailing Address:

PO Box 129
Grand Canyon , AZ 86023

Phone:

928-638-7888

Contact Us

Stay Connected