Every year we get more and more people interested in taking advantage of our exclusive private water guided fly fishing trips. To people from outside the state, the concept of “private water” is a little confusing. Here is why Colorado has so many private water fisheries and why so many of our guests are interested in booking these private water guided fly fishing trips. In the state of Colorado, we have some interesting water laws where the land owners technically owns the river bottom. Many other states have laws where as long as you are in the river, or below the “high water mark” you are not trespassing. With this not being the case in Colorado, many local land owners who live on some incredible pieces of water can choose to work with certain authorized outfitters and allow them to bring clients onto their property in exchange for an additional “rod fee”. Because of this, the price is often more than a public water guide trip as we have to pay a fee to the land owner to access their property for the day. In exchange, you get a piece of water that will be reserved to just your group and often times, fish that are a little more fly friendly as they do not receive as much pressure as some of the public water fisheries. With Colorado and Denver growing so fast, many of the famous public water stretches that we guide on are getting increasingly more crowded. This does not mean we won’t have a great time fishing these rivers, I always explain to people they are crowded for good reason, but it has led to the demand of guided fly fishing trips on private water near Denver to be at an all time high. For our guests who want to experience this solitude or chances at larger fish, we are proud to offer guided fly fishing trips to some of the best private water leases in Colorado. Here are some of our most popular.
The Meadows on the North Fork of the South Platte. This stretch is only an hour from Denver and is one of the best private water fisheries in the state. Not only will you have a chance to sight fish at trophy trout, you will also get a true private water experience. There are many other private ranches along this famous drainage but you almost always have to share these other properties with up to 12 additional anglers! We believe this to be unfair and it diminishes the experience as you have to follow a schedule of what pools to fish and when to rotate, despite paying large access fee’s. If you book a trip to the Meadows with Colorado Trout Hunters, you will be rewarded with a true private water experience and will not be forced to fish right next to other anglers. There has also been extensive stream work done on this stretch giving the fish perfectly designed pools to feed, in a range of river flows.
Santa Maria Ranch. Located in the heart of South Park Colorado, a gorgeous 2 hour drive from Denver. This property boast a large stretch of the Middle Fork of the South Platte. There is so much water here it can be tough to fish the entire property in one day. There are a large number of rainbow and brown trout and they are spread out throughout the entire river. In fact, the Colorado Division of Wildlife has said this section of stream holds “more trout biomass per mile of stream than any other river in Colorado.” The property is located above Spinney Mountain Reservoir which means large migratory fish move into the stretch of river during certain times of year, adding to the already impressive number of fish available. Check out the photos below to see how large the wild brown trout get in such a small river!
Tarryall Land and Cattle. This property was formerly known as “A-8” of Rocky Mountain Angling Club. The new land owner decided to no longer lease his property with the club to reduce angling pressure, Colorado Trout Hunters is 1 of 2 guide services authorized to run trips on this incredible section of river. It is a dry fly fisherman’s paradise with the opportunity to land more fish in a day here then you have ever had in your life. The river is filled with eager browns and rainbow trout but also offers opportunities at northern pike that have come out of the reservoir upstream. This is a short drive from both Denver and Colorado Springs.
Abell River Ranch. When I tell guests about Abell River Ranch, I describe it as going back in time. This is a 3 mile stretch of the South Platte River located just outside the town of Lake George. Unopened to commercial guide until 2019, booking a trip here will let you experience the famous South Platte River minus the crowds. My favorite way to work this stretch is with a dry dropper rig but it can also be fished with nymphs, streamers, or dries. Book a trip here in the summer time and take advantage of the phenomenal trico hatch which gets every fish in the river looking up! This property is the perfect combination of great fishing to go along with fantastic scenery.
High Mountain Lakes. We are fortunate to have access to a couple different private high mountain lakes. When most people think of fly fishing they don’t think of lakes but we are here to tell you to give lake fly fishing a try! You don’t have to worry about river flows (great for fishing during run off), the fish fight harder than they do in rivers, and often times, dry flies are the best way to target them! We have one particular property that has trophy Brook Trout that regularly grow over 18 inches! The land owners only allow this property to get fished once a week, combine that with the Brook Trout of epic proportions and you get a lake that is reserved very far in advanced. Reach out as soon as possible if you want to catch that trophy Colorado Brook Trout on a dry fly.
Troublesome Creek. A tributary of the mighty Colorado River near Kremmling Colorado. Troublesome Creek offers miles of incredible dry fly fishing. This stretch had extensive stream restoration done on it furthering its productivity. For the experienced angler who wants to sight fish dry flies, this is the location for you. Besides the Creek, anglers who book Troublesome also get access to Hidden Valley Lake, a high mountain lake filled with dallibaetis, damselflies, and voracious trout!
North Fork Ranch. This Orvis endorsed lodge is also located on the North Fork of the South Platte and is one of the best private water properties on the planet. Because of its popularity and Orvis affiliation, the best way to experience the fishing on this property is to lodge there overnight (which is an incredible experience in its own right) or to book during the shoulder seasons. If you want to experience North Fork Ranch (which trust me, you do) you want to plan as far in advanced as possible.
Please do not hesitate to reach out to us with any questions regarding private water fly fishing near Denver or if you want help planning your dream Colorado fly fishing trip. You can reach us via phone at (303) 325-5515, email firstname.lastname@example.org or through our website here.