Grand Canyon Rafting + Fishing = Heaven

The cold waters of the Colorado River beckon not just river rafters such as us but also anglers of all sorts. Many an inquisitive fishermen has phoned our office regarding fishing opportunities on their Grand Canyon rafting trips. After all, fishing is an art form that brings the participant immeasurably closer to nature than they could ever imagine. Between the fish, the bugs, the line and the scenery it would be difficult to get any closer to the promise of tranquility than when fishing in Grand Canyon.

The River: Remember that the mighty Colorado River was naturally a muddy river pre-dam. With the installment of Glen Canyon Dam much of the silt from upriver does not make it all the way down. Thus, from the Dam to Lees Ferry the river runs clear almost all year round. Below Lees Ferry there are quite a few side creeks and streams that flow into the river and during monsoon (July-September) season they can carry much of that natural sediment into the main channel. This might impact your fishing experience.

The Fish: Though trout are the main attraction when fishing the Colorado River, remember that they are not a natural species to this river. They greatly prefer the cool and clear portions of the river closer to the Dam. Thus the best trout fishing is at the beginning of the trip from Lees Ferry to the confluence of the Little Colorado River. The average for these guys is between 12-14” and usually Rainbows though you might find an occasional Brown. As you head downstream towards Lake Mead the water warms a bit and has more risk of not being clear. The natural fish, such as the endangered Humpback Chub, love the warmer water and the sediment but the trout not so much. Especially below Phantom Ranch you might experience more carp and suckers than trout.

Rainbow Trout on the Colorado River

Rainbow Trout on the Colorado River (Photo Courtesy of E. Pounds)

The When and Where: Fishing is never allowed from our moving rafts. You may fish at camp both in the morning and evening and at any side stops. Make sure you discuss fishing with your guide beforehand to make sure it is okay at that specific location. Sometimes there might be too many boats or not enough time.

The License

Check out the Arizona Game and Fish website for more information.

The Rules: Click here to see rules and regulations for fishing this section of Grand Canyon.

On the Fly:

  • Gear: Most anglers on the Colorado River use a 9’ 5 Wt Rod. A four piece rod is preferable because they are more compact for storing while on the river. Make sure to bring a hard rod tube. For leader usually a 9’5x and tippet we recommend either 4x or 5x. Throw in a few lead weights also for when you need those things to drop. We don’t recommend bringing any sort of waders. There is limited space on the raft and they won’t benefit you much.
  • Bugs: Use barbless hooks for easy release. You have multiple options here how to fish and it really depends on the river conditions and the weather. Bead head wooley buggers are always a great bet especially in olive or brown. Whether the river is running clear or muddy this is a great way to go. If you prefer using a dry or sub-surface fishing just note that the fish are not found in as large of concentrations as upstream and it will be more difficult if the river is muddy. We recommend using a dry-dropper technique. For the dry – something big and buggy like a stimulator. Sub-surface use something like a prince nymph or the ever popular zebra midge. If you are nymphing try scuds (pink or burnt orange) or San Juan worms (red or brown) as well and make sure your indicator is not too bright especially when it is sunny. Look for good seams and slower moving water.

*Note: Fly fishing on a rafting trip can be a bit cumbersome. We don’t recommend bringing any waders or boots. If you are going to go this route, just fish from the beaches at camp and keep it mellow. If the water clouds up you might be disappointed.

Spin Fishing:

  • Gear: The owner, Steve Hatch, likes to bring an ice fishing style rod that is short so that it can be more mobile. Make sure you have lighter monofilament line on it, like 4 or 6 lb test. Also, collapsible spin rods work great. Either way, make sure you have a rigid rod tube to store your rod.
  • Lures/Bugs: Use single, barbless hooks for easy release. Maribou jigs can be a great way to go. Same as wooley buggers we like black and brown preferable ¼ oz. Make sure they are getting down, though. Also, Kastmasters in gold, silver or trout pattern work well. The color depends on sun conditions. Panther Martins and Super Dupers in similar colors work too.
Swimming Trout

Swimming Trout (Photo Courtesy of J. Nelson)

If you are on the Full or Upper Canyon portion of the trip, stop in the shop at Cliff Dwellers Lodge. They not only provide the lodging for our guests but they are also a top notch fly shop. They can sell you a license, gear and bugs if you forgot anything. Questions about guided fishing beforehand? Give them a call at 800-962-9755. For current river conditions you can call Hatch at 800-856-8966.



Grand Canyon Rafting + Fishing = Heaven was last modified: March 7th, 2014 by admin

Ready, Set, SALE with Hatch River Expeditions!

Rams in the grand canyon

Rams in the grand canyon

Our Spring Sale on white water rafting vacations is back in action! Are you ready to set SALE with Hatch River Expeditions on the adventure of a lifetime at a 20% discounted rate? These sales do not happen often so get it while you can. Check out the dates below:

Special Offer: Selected Spring Trips at 20% Off

Call today or book online. Limited availability.

*Note: These discounts apply to new bookings only.

Ready, Set, SALE with Hatch River Expeditions! was last modified: February 26th, 2014 by admin

New 4 Day Grand Canyon Rafting Trips Dates Announced!

Hatch River Expeditions has just released some new dates for our shorter trips in Grand Canyon! Take a once-in-a-lifetime adventure down the Colorado River at the advantageous pace of our motor rafts. Enjoy beautiful hikes through slot canyons, to waterfalls, ancient ruins, or pristine swimming destinations. These trips are perfect for those in excellent shape that perhaps have a shorter time period to spend rafting Grand Canyon.

Grand Canyon Rafting Map

Upper Canyon: Lees Ferry to Phanton Ranch, Lower Canyon: Phantom Ranch to Whitmore Wash

Our Upper Canyon Motorized Expedition launches from Lees Ferry in Northern Arizona. Experience every moment of the 89-mile span of the Grand Canyon from Lees Ferry to Phantom Ranch. This expedition ends with a hike up the Bright Angel Trail to the South Rim of Grand Canyon. A favorite amongst our office staff, the geological changes in the Canyon are evident from the Moenkopi Formation near Lees Ferry to the Vishnu Schist near Phantom Ranch.

The newly opened dates for this 4 Day Upper Canyon adventure are May 1-4, 2014.

*We do have a few other dates available as well. Check online or call our office staff!

The Lower Canyon Motorized Expedition begins with that epic hike down Bright Angel Trail where you will meet your rafts. This adventure encompasses the 99 river miles from Phantom Ranch to Whitmore Wash. Meander with the river through some of the largest rapids in the Canyon topped off with Lava Falls towards the end. The final day of your trip begins with a magnificent helicopter ride out of the Canyon and a majestic flight back to your starting point.

The newly opened dates for this 4 Day Lower Canyon adventure are May 4-7, 2014.

*These trips book quickly so act now if you are interested!

Grand Canyon Shadows

Mile 119

New 4 Day Grand Canyon Rafting Trips Dates Announced! was last modified: February 11th, 2014 by admin

Trip Report – Michael M. of Colorado

Red Wall Cavern

Red Wall Cavern

Trip of a lifetime is an understatement! We had the most amazing time and the food was excellent. You thought of everything and anticipated our needs before we ever knew what we needed. I will recommend Hatch to everyone I know. Thank you!”

Michael M. of Colorado, August 16 Motorized

Trip Report – Michael M. of Colorado was last modified: April 21st, 2014 by admin

Grand Canyon River Girls

Chelsea at the oars

Chelsea at the Oars

We recently received a comment from one of our guests that struck me. Regina G. from Italy writes, “The guides really make the trip, and the four we had were really exceptional. I also really liked the fact that the trip leader was a woman and that 3 of the 4 guides were women. Go Hatch!” I imagine that when most people think of the river guiding industry they wouldn’t necessarily expect women to have such a strong presence as they do. Many of our guests are pleasantly surprised to find that around 1/3 of our guides are female.

In fact, women encompass a significant portion of Grand Canyon rafting history. Probably the most notable is the notorious Georgie White. She grew up in the Midwest and moved out to the desert after the death of her young daughter. After several daring Canyon adventures that seem unimaginable now, Georgie began taking paying customers through Grand Canyon. You may have heard of or seen her infamous G-Rig, 3 rafts tied together, or of her dinners comprised of whatever label-less cans were opened that evening. Infamy aside, she was a true pioneer for the commercial rafting business in Grand Canyon.

In 1990 our own Ted Hatch provided his own thoughts on Miss Georgie, “Well, I met her in 1954 at Lava Falls. And there was a big calamity because she brought all three boats in and hit the beach, and a lady jumped out in this leopard-skin bathing suit and ran up the beach to look at the rapids. I couldn’t believe it! I thought, “Nobody runs the river like that!” I had a little eighteen-foot seaplane tender and went over and talked to Georgie, and I said, “Georgie, are you really ‘The Woman of the River’?” And she slugged me and said, “Are you a Hatch?!” And I said “Yeah!” And she said, “How many damned Hatches are there?” (laughs) I said “I’m Number 5 of five boys. We’re all river runners.” She said, “Well, wait for me, I’m going to run the rapid, and then I can help you in that little boat.” I said, “Wait a minute…” (looks down at self, pinches skin) “Hatch? Yeah, that’s me.” (laughs) I got in my boat and I ran it first and waited for her. Then she came by in the big rig and went down below. But that was my first experience meeting Georgie. And I’ve loved her ever since”.

white water rafting boats

Old School Rafts

There have been other notable women who have left their significant mark on Grand Canyon River running history as well. One includes the infamous Bessie Hyde who, while on her honeymoon attempting to be the first woman to successfully raft Grand Canyon, disappeared with her husband Glen Hyde. Another great story involves the sometimes forgotten Dr. Elzada Clover and Lois Jotter from University of Michigan in1938. They were on one of Norm Nevills first commercial trips rafting Grand Canyon. These two pioneers not only were the first women to successfully run the Colorado River to completion but also led the first successful botany study through Grand Canyon. No matter which lovely lady we are talking about, these girls were and are at the forefront of the adventure industry. Jumping into such an exciting career represents not just their jobs but their lifestyles. Well done ladies and a big “thanks” for being a part of Hatch River Expeditions history! P.S. Our river guys are pretty awesome as well. Not only are they exceptional boatmen but they cook, clean and take genuine care of every single passenger. Thanks guys as well. Click here for more from Ted Hatch  

Grand Canyon River Girls was last modified: April 21st, 2014 by admin

Hatch Grand Canyon Hiking Guide – Misty Seagle

What led you to become a hiking guide?

My husband’s job of Chief Ranger with the Park Service brought us to the Grand Canyon.  After getting settled in, I wanted a part-time outdoor job.  I found out about the hiking guide positions.  I love hiking and I like helping people, so I sent my resume to some of the river companies.

 How long have you been a hiking guide?

I just finished my third river season as a hiking guide.

 How many hikes a year do you guide?

I had around sixty the first season and around sixty the second season.  I entered this season having just battled breast cancer, so I only took thirty-four hikes.  In those three seasons I have logged 1,774 miles on the Bright Angel Trail.

 What is your favorite spot along Bright Angel Trail?

My favorite spot along the Bright Angel Trail is probably the Tapeats Narrows, which is a section between Indian Garden and the Devils Corkscrew.  I like the lay of the trail, the flow of the creek, the rocks being close up on you, and the Cottonwood trees in that section.

 Any funny stories you have encountered in your years of hiking?

Funny stories, that is a hard one….the man hiking with only a backpack and speedo bathing suit on….a lady dressed in attire that looked like she was going to a try out for a Richard Simmons workout video…a man saying “if this hike was flat it wouldn’t be so hard”…a lady telling me she wanted to leave beside the trail everything from her pack except her panties….all those brought laughter.

 Do you have any tips for a first time Bright Angel hiker?

The Bright Angel Trail can be a very challenging trail for clients.  The three statements I hear repeated a lot by clients are also statements that others can learn from….

  • “This hike is a lot harder than I thought it would be”
  • “I should have trained more”
  • “I am thinking about all the things in my backpack that I could do without”

What is one of your favorite hikes, outside of Grand Canyon?

My favorite hike outside of the Grand Canyon….it is hard to pick just one.  Inside the states, I guess I would have to pick The Enchantments in Washington State…but Mt Rainier is also great.  Outside the states, I guess I would have to pick the Himalayas…but the Alps are also nice.

Hiking in the Alps

Hiking in the Alps

“Keep close to nature’s heart, yourself;
and break clearaway,
once in a while, and
climb a mountain
or spend a week in the woods.
Wash your spirit clean…”
Hatch Grand Canyon Hiking Guide – Misty Seagle was last modified: April 21st, 2014 by admin

Trip Report – Jessica V. of British Columbia

Grand Canyon Sunset Colors

Photo Courtesy of Lindsay W.

“The most luxurious wilderness expedition I’ve ever been privileged to go on!”

Jessica V.of British Columbia, August 5 2013 Motorized Expedition

Trip Report – Jessica V. of British Columbia was last modified: April 21st, 2014 by admin

Apps to Capture Perfect Photos While Rafting in Grand Canyon

With the development of technology in recent years, photography has become far more accessible to more people. Sharing epic moments in life has become the norm for many people either on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram. Photos taken on Grand Canyon rafting trips can be particularly intriguing as not only the landscape but also the prospect of adventure is so evidently amazing. Make sure to stay on top of your social media game by checking out some of these interesting smartphone apps to add some zest to your Grand Canyon rafting photos. Some of these apps can use previously taken photographs – so if you returned from an expedition in the past few years – these might work for you as well as long as you can get some photos onto your device. Note that most of them are not free and you will be charged if you purchase them from your “app store”.

We don’t necessarily recommend bringing smartphones on your rafting expedition as there can be multiple dangers: water, sun and sand. As many guests use their phones as their primary camera mechanism, though, we thought we would at least give some “app” options (tip: Consider a waterproof case for your device). Also, it is important for you to remember that although we are utilizing a charging station at camp, it is limited in amount plugs that are available and how often it can be used. Don’t depend on being able to charge every day. Consider leaving your phone in airplane mode when you are using it to conserve battery because you will not have service for the duration of your rafting expedition.

Now lets get to the good stuff. Check out these fantastic “app” options we came up with below.

On the Trip:

360 Panorama – Although iPhones newest update changed the camera to include a panoramic option, this app allows you to create a 360 degree panorama. This will allow you to fully capture what is going on around you in Grand Canyon on you whitewater expedition. My office test runs were extremely successful although I occasionally fudged it with my toes or with movement (I blame the office dogs). Platform: iOS (iPhone & iPad), Android

Click here to see my test run of a 360 degree panorama!

SnappyCam – This app allows you to hold down the shutter button and take multiple shots very quickly. That way you won’t miss a thing and will hopefully end up with a great shot. It was very self-explanatory and easy to use. I learned to just use it as intended and not to move it around too much with the shutter open as your shots will be a bit blurred. Platform: iOS (iPhone & iPad)

SlowShutter – I still have not mastered this app but for those of you familiar with shutter speed etc. this should be a breeze. It allows you to slow down the speed for different interesting effects. You know those light trail photos? Well this is an option to create them. As with other apps, test this one out ahead of time and make sure you understand it. You might not have time to learn on your Grand Canyon rafting trip. The photo below was my second try so I am guessing in this art form, practice makes perfect. Platform: iOS (iPhone & iPad)


Slow Shutter


HDR Fusion – This app allows you to take multiple pictures at once that merge together to ensure a high quality photo that is not to light and not too dark, but that it is just right. This one will take a little playing with before your expedition. Platform: iOS (iPhone & iPad)

On or After the Trip:

PicLab HD – Take photos and add overlays of words or symbols to spice them up. If you are using it during your trip – write what you feel. If you are using it after your rafting trip, add some more interest to your already very interesting Grand Canyon photos. It was pretty easy to use although some of the effects have to be downloaded for an additional cost. Platform: iOS (iPhone & iPad), Android



Instagram – This app allows you to add filters to alter the effect of your existing photo. Widely used by the younger generation, this app allows not just the altering but the sharing of photos as well on websites such as Facebook and Twitter. Platform: iOS (iPhone & iPad), Android



ArtistsTouch – Have you ever seen those awesome painting-like photos popping up around the web? They are very interesting and can add some interest to your Grand Canyon photos. This app allows you to edit your photos and create artist like prints. I struggled a bit at first but check out my first try…not great but not too bad either. Okay, maybe it is pretty bad. Platform: iOS (iPhone & iPad)

Artist's Workshop

Artist’s Workshop

Whatever you choose, remember that you do not have to be a professional photographer to capture fabulous pictures in Grand Canyon. The experience and the scenery lend themselves very well to the novice photographer. Return from your rafting trip with photos that will last you a lifetime.

If you have any suggestions of other apps either for iOS or Android, please let us know so we can share them with the whole Hatch rafting family.

Apps to Capture Perfect Photos While Rafting in Grand Canyon was last modified: April 21st, 2014 by admin

Trip Report – Kim R of Colorado


Photo Courtesy of R. Montgomery


“We had a great group of people on the trip! Top that off with amazing scenery, fabulous food, challenging hikes, great weather and a gazillion stars at night and it couldn’t be beat!!!”

Kim R of Colorado, September 1, 2013 Motorized Expedition

Trip Report – Kim R of Colorado was last modified: April 21st, 2014 by admin

Grand Canyon Whitewater Rafting Questions & Answers

How big are the rapids?

  • Colorado River through Grand Canyon is rated differently from most rivers in that it is rated 1-10. Some rapids are very small like House Rock Rapid but others are large like the notorious Lava Falls. Check out our detailed blog about river rating here.

What types of rafts are used?

  • That depends if you book a Motorized or Oar Powered Expedition. Our motor rigs are over 35’ in length and 16’ wide. They are exceptionally capable craft suited for all water levels and conditions experienced in Grand Canyon. They are stealthily powered by 30-horsepower, four-stroke motors that meet the EPA’s stringent emissions standards. Even better, they are so quiet that most of the time you don’t hear them. If you book an oar trip you will be traveling in our self-bailing oar-powered rafts of tough hypalon rubber. They have specialized frames and are 18’ long and 8’ wide – perfect for up to five guests and a guide rowing, plus all the fun and thrills the Canyon can dish out. A typical oar trip includes five boats.
Oar Rig

Oar Rig

Motor Rig

Motor Rig

How safe is river rafting through Grand Canyon?

  • Statistically, it is very safe. Every trip comes with some risks and we find the most common injury is stubbing a toe or scraping a knee. Our guides go through extensive training and are absolute professionals in both river rafting as well as backcountry safety. If you have any questions, contact us to send you a risk form which discusses this topic in more detail.

What is your favorite time of year on the river?

  • That can really depend on what a guest is looking for. If you are looking to avoid the hot summer months, consider April, May or September. June is by far the most popular time of the year and books up very early. July and August are during monsoon season which can bring afternoon thunderstorms and the river is often muddy. The storms are great, though, because they can cool off a warm afternoon. Also, these months can be perfect for families with kids in school. Below is a chart listing averages in the canyon:
Average Weather in Grand Canyon

Average Weather in Grand Canyon

What is a typical day like?

  • We start our days early on the river with coffee call around 6 AM. Our guides will provide you with a hot breakfast that may include pancakes, bacon and eggs cooked to order. Then we pack up camp and load the boats for a day of adventure. You might start with a few rapids or a leisurely float to your next destination. There are usually 2-3 stops throughout the day to hike to an ancient ruin, splash in a turquoise river or hike up to a pristine waterfall. We always stop for lunch in the early afternoon and set up a picnic style lunch including such things as sandwiches, chips and cookies. There are likely more thrilling rapids in the afternoon before you pull into camp between 3-5 PM. After the group unloads the boats, feel free to set up camp, relax or play as the guides whip up some tasty appetizers and then on to dinner. Dinners can range from deliciously grilled steaks, an Italian feast or even a Mexican fiesta! We won’t forget about your favorite part, though, as dessert is a highlight for many. Look for Dutch oven cakes and brownies to top off your day. After your belly is full it is off to bed to rest up for another full day of excitement.
Gourmet Meals on Colorado River

Gourmet Meals on Colorado River

Delicious Salad in Grand Canyon

Delicious Salad in Grand Canyon

What do you provide in terms of camping equipment?

  • Your experience with Hatch River Expeditions will be pretty all inclusive. All camping gear is provided for you including a designated sleep kit for each guest. This will include a ground cloth, vinyl foam sleeping pad, sleeping bag and standard size pillow. We also provide a 3 person tent per two guests though many decide to sleep under the stars instead.
Campsite Setup on Rafting Expedition

Campsite Setup on Rafting Expedition

Hopefully this answers some of the basic questions. If your whitewater rafting questions were not answered here, please contact our office staff and they would be more than happy to assist you.

Grand Canyon Whitewater Rafting Questions & Answers was last modified: April 21st, 2014 by admin