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Our Fly Fishing program is one of our two most important outdoor activities (along with horseback riding), and is probably one of the most enjoyable and fulfilling fishing you’ll find at any ranch in the West.

We offer guided and unguided fly fishing on the ranch’s six ponds, nearly 3 miles of private water on the Smith Fork of the Gunnison, and back country streams and ponds in the surrounding Gunnison National Forest & West Elk Wilderness.  Back country fishing is directly accessible from the ranch on horseback or by hike.  All fly fishing is catch and release.

Smith Fork Ranch has one of two A rated habitats for the pure strain of wild Colorado Cutthroat.  They live in Second Creek, a mountain drainage that runs through the ranch.  These small but beautiful trout are wily – and a sportsman’s delight!

Smith Fork Ranch ponds are stocked with Colorado Rainbow Trout, Brookies, and Browns – with Rainbows and Browns of up to 22”- 24”. The Smith Fork River is host to trout up to 16”.Experienced SFR fly-fishing guides are available daily for all on-ranch fly-fishing.  They are excellent teachers for basic instruction – and happy to address more advanced fishing techniques individually or in groups. We hold clinics on a regular basis to help folks work on improving their casting.  We also have a challenging casting course on our ponds and sometimes hold casting competitions.  The ranch has a well-stocked fly-selection in Trout Central and a stocked fly tying center in the Old Elk Lodge.  We also offer fly tying instruction with our knowledgable guides.

Our ranch has top-of-the-line fishing equipment – Sage rods, Ross reels, Simms waders and boots, and Patagonia vests. The ranch is also an authorized dealer for these brands, so you may purchase the equipment you are using directly from us.

For those looking to add another famous western river to their fishing experience, great fishing can be found in all directions from the ranch.  Enjoy fishing in the Roaring Fork Valley as Mt. Sopris towers off in the distance.  The Roaring Fork River is a freestone river that holds good numbers and sizes of Rainbows and Browns as well as an occasional native whitefish.

Try a combination float of the Lower Roaring Fork and the mighty Colorado River near Glenwood Springs; or how about a scenic walk/wade trip in the red stone walls of the legendary Frying Pan River?

The Gunnison River around the North Fork confluence is a classic western fishery.  High desert canyon lands will be your views as you float on the stretch in or below the Gunnison Gorge.  If you take the jet boat ride into the Gorge, you will go where there is little fishing pressure for trout.  Be aware of the giant Salmon fly hatch early to mid June and lasts about two weeks.  The two and a half inch stonefly adults bring large brown and rainbow trout to the surface.  Walk and wade trips can be arranged here as well.

The upper Gunnison River in and around the town of Gunnison, is another home to an abundance of trout.  With 15-plus miles of water in this area, many different floats/wades can be arranged.  Every year from late August through September, Kokanne Salmon run from Blue Mesa Reservoir up the Gunnison River to the East River for their annual spawn.  Just seeing and trying to catch these wily, bright red fish is an unforgettable experience.

The salmon fly hatch and several other hatches are trips anglers the world over plan well in advance in order to snatch up one of the limited spots on the river – give us a call and we’ll help you plan your epic fishing adventure, for this year or the next.  Fly Fishing at Smith Fork Ranch will be an experience to remember!

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