Watch Them Eat

Colorado River, Lees Ferry

When you are able to divert your attention from the towering red rock cliffs and stare with polarized glasses through the clear currents of the mighty Colorado, you'll discover an unmatched bounty of trout that eclipses all preconceptions. Here in the high Arizona desert, the Colorado River at Lees Ferry is the perfect place to sight and sneak up behind a pod of fish suspended in a feeding column, and then pick them off. But be warned: There are no mayflies in Marble Canyon. These fish feed exclusively on midges, scuds, terrestrials, and the like. The best approach here is to use a dry-dropper rig, with something fuzzy and visible on top, and something subtle, like a beadhead zebra midge, suspended beneath. If you wade silently, you can actually watch the trout eat, and you'll know when to set the hook. More info: Lees Ferry Anglers, 800-962-9755; leesferry.com. Marble Canyon Outfitters, 800-533-7339; mcg-leesferry.com

Next Best: Armstrong and Nelson's Spring Creeks, Paradise Valley, Montana Running as clear diversions from the Yellowstone River, these spring creeks hold abundant populations of browns and rainbows, all typically suspended in shallow water where you can make a reasonable cast. Be sure to reserve a spot on the creeks well in advance. More info: George Anderson's Yellowstone Angler, 406-222-7130;