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Fly Fishing

Smith Fork Ranch is home to three private miles of the Smith Fork of the Gunnison River, six stocked trout ponds, and a mountain stream that is home to the rare A-strain Colorado Cutthroat trout. Say hello to fly fishing paradise.

12-Fly Fisherwomen

Private Ranch Waters

The operative word here is “private.” While at Smith Fork Ranch, you can meet your personal guide at our Round Up Outdoor Center after breakfast, fish all morning, enjoy a stream side picnic, fish all afternoon, and still not see another soul all day long – all without leaving the ranch property.

Smith Fork of the Gunnison
Private Ranch Access | Small River | Rainbow & Brown | Walk & Wade

Second Creek
Private Ranch Access | High Mountain Stream | Rare A-Strain Cutthroat | Walk & Wade

Little Elk Basin
Gunnison National Forest Access | Medium River | Rainbow, Brown, Brook | Horseback to Walk & Wade

Big River Experiences on the Gunnison

Large River – Gold Medal Waters | Walk & Wade, Jet Boat, or Float Fish

For a nearby big river fishing experience, arrange a guided float or walk/wade trip (for an additional cost) on the Gold Medal waters of the mighty Gunnison River, a major tributary to the Colorado and one of the nation’s best trout-fishing destinations. Beginning in June, and often lasting approximately two weeks, bear witness to the legendary Salmon Fly Hatch on the Gunnison, one of the pinnacles of dry fly fishing in America.

The Finest Fishing Gear

The family behind Smith Fork Ranch is serious about fly fishing – and it shows in the tried-and-true gear you’ll have at your disposal: Sage fly rods, Ross reels, Simms waders & boots, Smith Optics and more.

    The Smith Fork Grand Slam

Like a challenge? Go for the Smith Fork Grand Slam – catching all four species of trout during your visit to the ranch: Brown, Brook, Rainbow, and Cutthroat. There’s no trophy – but you do get lifetime bragging rights.

All Abilities Welcome

No fly fishing experience? No problem. Whatever your ability level may be, our friendly, knowledgeable guides will provide an unforgettable and relaxing fishing experience that caters to your individual needs. By the end of your stay, you’ll be casting like a pro.

Fly Tying

If you’re interested in the art of fly tying, we have a vise and all the materials you need at the fly tying station in the West Elk Lodge. What could be more satisfying than a trout taking a bite out of your hand tied fly?

Frequently Asked Questions

I've never done any fly fishing, do you offer lessons to beginners?

We sure do. Our guides are available to introduce you to the art of fly fishing or give you a refresher course if it’s been awhile. They’ll teach you the fundamentals of casting (and catching!) so you’re ready to hit the water with confidence. Start on our ponds to learn the mechanics, and then when you’re ready the river will be waiting!

Do you rent out the equipment if I don't have my own?

If you have your own gear, feel free to bring it with you! However, it’s not necessary. The ranch’s Round Up can outfit you with everything you need for your fishing adventure including: Sage fly rods, Ross reels, and Simms waders & boots.

Where do we go fly fishing?

Fly Fishing at Smith Fork Ranch is phenomenal, with three private miles of the Smith Fork of the Gunnison River, six trout ponds, and a fresh, mountain stream, not to mention many backcountry angling opportunities. The ponds are stocked with Brown and Rainbow trout and are a great place to start learning how to fly fish. For more challenging waters, make your way down to the Smith Fork of the Gunnison River. Wade through the mountain waters and hook some nice Brown, Rainbow, and Brook trout. For kids, we have spin rods.

Do we need licenses to fish on the ranch?

The Colorado Division of Wildlife requires anglers to purchase a fishing license for any fishing done outside of our ponds. Our Ranch Reservation staff will help facilitate your purchase when you book your stay or when you plan activities each evening. Children age 15 and under do not require a license to fish. Please note that for United States Citizens a valid Social Security Number is required to purchase a Colorado Fishing License. You will need the physical copy of the license. *Please note that fishing license fees vary and will be added to your final bill.

I'd like to go fishing but not fly fishing. Do you offer other fishing?

We have spin rods available for kids and those not interested in fly fishing.

What type of fish will be catching?

There are plenty of trout to catch here on the ranch including: Brown, Brook, Rainbow, and Cutthroat.

 Note: All fishing on the ranch is catch-and-release with barbless hooks. Colorado state fishing licenses are required for fishing the river. Licenses are not required for the ponds.