Fly Fishing Chevelon Canyon

Fly fishing enthusiasts are always on the lookout for new and exciting destinations to cast their lines and immerse themselves in nature. One such hidden gem is Fly Fishing Chevelon Canyon, a paradise for anglers seeking a memorable fly fishing experience. Nestled in the heart of Arizona’s breathtaking landscape, Chevelon Canyon offers pristine waters, abundant fish species, and a serene atmosphere that will leave every angler in awe.

In this article, we will explore the beauty and allure of Chevelon Canyon and guide you through the art of fly fishing in this picturesque location.

Location and Accessibility

Chevelon Canyon is located approximately 30 miles east of Payson, Arizona. The canyon can be accessed by taking Forest Road 300, which winds through the scenic Mogollon Rim. While the journey may be off the beaten path, the beauty that awaits you at Chevelon Canyon makes the trip well worth it. It is recommended to have a high-clearance vehicle to navigate the rugged terrain leading to the fishing area.

Flora and Fauna

Chevelon Canyon boasts a diverse ecosystem, with towering ponderosa pines, junipers, and spruces lining the canyon walls. The crystal-clear waters of Chevelon Creek are home to a variety of fish species, including rainbow trout, brown trout, and Apache trout. The pristine environment and untouched wilderness make this canyon a haven for wildlife, with sightings of deer, elk, eagles, and other native species being common.

Fly Fishing Equipment

To fully enjoy your fly fishing adventure in Chevelon Canyon, it’s important to have the right equipment. Here are the essential items you’ll need:

  • Fly rod: A 9-foot, 5-weight, or 6-weight fly rod is recommended for targeting trout in the canyon.
  • Fly reel: Choose a reel with a smooth drag system and sufficient backing capacity to handle powerful fish.
  • Fly line: Opt for a weight-forward floating line suitable for casting long distances and presenting flies accurately.
  • Leaders and tippets: Carry leaders and tippets in various sizes to match the fishing conditions.
  • Flies: Pack a selection of dry flies, nymphs, and streamers to cover different feeding patterns and water conditions.
  • Waders and boots: Breathable waders and sturdy boots are essential for wading through the cool waters of Chevelon Creek.

Fly Fishing Techniques

Fly fishing in Chevelon Canyon requires a blend of skill and finesse. Here are some effective techniques to enhance your chances of success:

  • Dry Fly Fishing: During hatches or when fish are actively rising to the surface, use dry flies to imitate insects and entice trout to strike.
  • Nymphing: When trout are feeding below the water’s surface, nymph fishing can be highly productive. Use weighted nymph patterns and indicators to detect subtle strikes.
  • Streamer Fishing: Streamers imitate baitfish and can trigger aggressive strikes from larger trout. Strip the streamer in a way that mimics a wounded or fleeing prey.

Best Seasons for Fly Fishing

Chevelon Canyon is open for fishing year-round, but certain seasons offer optimal conditions for fly fishing. The spring and fall months provide pleasant weather, and the trout are more active during these times. Summer can be productive but may require fishing deeper as the water warms up. Winter can be challenging due to cold temperatures, but the reward of landing a trophy-sized trout is worth braving for the elements.

Fishing Regulations

To preserve the delicate ecosystem of Chevelon Canyon and maintain the quality of fishing, it is crucial to adhere to the fishing regulations set by the Arizona Game and Fish Department.

Some regulations include catch-and-release practices, artificial fly and lure use only, and possession limits. Make sure to obtain a valid Arizona fishing license and familiarize yourself with the current regulations before your trip.

Camping and Accommodations

For anglers seeking an immersive outdoor experience, camping in Chevelon Canyon is a fantastic option. Several campgrounds are available nearby, providing basic amenities and breathtaking views.

It is essential to pack all necessary camping gear, including tents, sleeping bags, cooking supplies, and food. Remember to follow Leave No Trace principles and leave the camping area as pristine as you found it.

Safety Tips

While exploring the beauty of Chevelon Canyon, it is vital to prioritize safety. Here are some safety tips to ensure a secure and enjoyable fly-fishing trip:

  • Carry a first aid kit and know basic first aid techniques.
  • Wear appropriate clothing and footwear to protect against sun, wind, and potential hazards.
  • Stay hydrated by carrying an ample supply of water.
  • Be aware of your surroundings and watch out for wildlife.
  • Inform someone about your fishing plans and expected return time.

Exploring the Surrounding Area

Chevelon Canyon is surrounded by breathtaking natural wonders that are worth exploring. Take some time to visit nearby attractions like the Mogollon Rim, Tonto Natural Bridge State Park, and the scenic Woods Canyon Lake. These destinations offer hiking trails, wildlife viewing, and opportunities for further outdoor adventures.

Fly Fishing Guides and Tours

If you’re new to fly fishing or prefer guidance from experienced anglers, consider hiring a fly fishing guide or joining a guided tour. Local guides possess in-depth knowledge of Chevelon Canyon’s fishing spots, techniques, and best practices. They can enhance your fishing skills and increase your chances of hooking into trophy-sized trout.

Conservation Efforts

Preserving the natural beauty and resources of Chevelon Canyon is essential for future generations. As responsible anglers, it is our duty to practice ethical fishing and conservation. Follow catch-and-release practices, minimize your impact on the environment, and participate in local conservation efforts. By doing so, we can ensure the sustainability of Chevelon Canyon’s ecosystem for years to come.

Tips for a Successful Fly Fishing Trip

To make the most of your fly fishing adventure in Chevelon Canyon, consider the following tips:

  • Research and study the feeding habits and behavior of the trout in the canyon.
  • Practice your casting techniques before the trip to improve accuracy and presentation.
  • Be observant of the water conditions, insect activity, and fish behavior to adjust your fishing approach accordingly.
  • Pack a variety of fly patterns to match the prevailing hatch and entice trout to strike.
  • Embrace the tranquility of the canyon, immerse yourself in nature, and enjoy the experience beyond just catching fish.


Do I need a fishing license to fish in Chevelon Canyon?

Yes, a valid Arizona fishing license is required to fish in Chevelon Canyon. Make sure to familiarize yourself with the fishing regulations and obtain the necessary license before your trip.

Are there camping facilities available in Chevelon Canyon?

While there are no specific camping facilities within Chevelon Canyon, there are nearby campgrounds that offer basic amenities. Remember to pack all necessary camping gear and follow Leave No Trace principles.

What is the best time of year to fly fish in Chevelon Canyon?

Spring and fall are generally considered the best seasons for fly fishing in Chevelon Canyon. The weather is pleasant, and trout activity is typically higher during these times.

Can I hire a fly fishing guide in Chevelon Canyon?

Yes, there are experienced fly fishing guides available who can enhance your fishing experience in Chevelon Canyon. They have extensive knowledge of the area and can help you improve your angling skills.

What fish species can I expect to catch in Chevelon Canyon?

Chevelon Canyon is home to various fish species, including rainbow trout, brown trout, and Apache trout. These fish provide exciting opportunities for fly anglers.


Chevelon Canyon is a paradise for fly fishing enthusiasts seeking an unforgettable angling experience. With its stunning scenery, diverse fish species, and tranquil atmosphere, this hidden gem in Arizona offers a true escape into nature. By following the tips and guidelines provided in this article, you can embark on a successful fly-fishing adventure in Chevelon Canyon. So grab your fly rod, tie on your favorite flies, and get ready to immerse yourself in the beauty of this remarkable fishing destination.

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