A True Colorado Fishing Adventure

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to fish the West, before there were ski towns and asphalt roads? The fishing must have been incredible! Fish that have never seen an elk hair caddis or prince nymphs; that’s what I used to think about while I was tying on my fly along the banks of the river. When most people envision fishing the Rocky Mountains of Colorado, they think of floating down a river through rapids casting towards rising brown trout and jumping rainbows. While these river trips offer an amazing time, is it truly a western experience? Brown trout are native to Europe and rainbows to the Pacific northwest, both introduced to Colorado.

Saddling up a horse and riding several miles into the White River National Forest until you hit the designated Flat Tops Wilderness area is like a trip back in time! The cutthroat and brooke trout fill the crystal clear streams and high alpine lakes. These fish see little human traffic, let alone a fly attached to a 6X tippet.

We offer an assortment of fishing trips from day trips to overnight adventures. For those wishing to experience all the Flat Tops Wilderness has to offer, we offer a 4-day trip that focuses on catching trophy cutthroat in the high alpine.(details here)

The day fishing trips start with an early arrival in the morning to our pack station where your horse is saddled. You can grab a cup of coffee and a pastry breakfast as the staff packs your gear (Gear List) and lunch on to the pack mule.

The ride to the fishing location is approximately two hours, dependent on whether you want to target brookies, cutthroats, moving water, or alpine lakes. During the ride you may have the opportunity to see elk, mule deer, black bear, moose, and bighorn sheep. Once you arrive, your guide will assist you off your horse and unpack the mule. They will point you in the right direction, give tips on what to tie on your line, and give pointers/lessons for the novice fisherman.

As the day progresses, your guide will make a shore style lunch. A choice of lunches is provided at time of booking. The fishing begins to slow down in the afternoon but still productive. Around 3pm your guide will start tightening the cinches on the saddles and begin packing the mule with the gear before heading back to the barn. If horses are not your style, we are able to use ATVs and trucks on designated roads to reach the wilderness area. This style trip is perfect for those vacationing in Colorado and fishing is just a bonus to their trip. See our day fishing webpage.

Our overnight trips are for the more adventurous fisherman. These trips go farther to more remote bodies of water and for longer periods of time. We can still target brookies but put more of an emphasis on trophy size cutthroat and mackinaw (lake trout). These trips start early in the morning at our pack station where coffee and a pastry breakfast await you while the staff packs your gear. The time spent in the saddle on these trips is slightly longer as we are heading deeper into the wilderness area. Once arriving at the camp the animals will be unpacked and either sent back down to the pack station with a staff member or kept on the mountain. The camp is a furnished wall tent with cook stove, cots, and latrine. There are three home cooked meals per day. All the food is packed up and packed off the mountain. We do encourage fisherman to keep some of their catch as they make a great appetizer before dinner.

The 4-day trips are ideal for those who want to experience the ultimate Colorado fishing adventure. These trips are typically 4 days, 3 nights. On this trip we tailor everything specifically to your group. You have the option to fish moving water and high alpine lakes. Each day is a new adventure that is specifically tailored to the anglers’ goals. Base camp is a comfortable wall tent setup in the wilderness area.

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By Jimmy Oswald

Jimmy grew up in Pennsylvania hunting with his father and grandfather. He has worked on two privately owned ranches in Texas guiding deer and exotic hunts. Jimmy spent a summer in Alaska working for a salmon aquaculture company and has guided many hunts in Colorado for elk, mule deer, black bear, and mountain goats. He has also traveled to British Columbia with hunters for grizzly and to “The Dark Continent” where the African wildlife, culture, and beauty has captured his love for adventure.

Jimmy earned a B.S. in Wildlife and Fisheries Science Pennsylvania State University.

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