2024 Horseback Fishing Adventures — Offerings & Availability

fishing summer wilderness lake trout

Wilderness Lake Camp —

We are excited to announce a new overnight wilderness offering! 

In 2023, with the purchase of Pack String Ranch Outfitters, we added several camp locations to our already vast inventory of wilderness sites. One location, “The Lake Camp,” is uniquely situated to provide instant access to several pristine high country lakes. This is a remote camp — 10 miles from the nearest trailhead — best reached by horse and mule. The Wilderness Act of 1964 characterized wilderness as a land “untrammeled by  the hands of man — where man is a visitor who shall not remain.” The landscape at the Lake Camp is a perfect example of that designation! You’ll share the shores with moose, elk, coyotes, black bears and other wildlife. You’ll stay on cots in a traditional wall tent camp with hearty meals, crackling campfires, and the sights/sounds of the Flat Tops Wilderness at your doorstep. To provide the best experience, we only offer this camp as an overnight destination. Pack trip durations can be custom-tailored to suit your group’s priorities.  

Two glossy alpine lakes are a short stroll from camp. In the eastern lake, Lake Trout (Mackinaw) in the 20” range are commonly caught. Most anglers are familiar with catching lake trout on trolling rigs and down-riggers. But here in the Flat Tops, they can easily be caught from the bank or from a belly-boat with common fly tackle. 5wt. or 6wt. rods with floating lines and short/stout leaders. Black or olive streamers perform well. In a full day of fishing, it’s not unreasonable for a single fly angler to land 5 or 6 of these hard-charging predatory fish. Spinning rigs with small spoons can be deadly as well, especially on windy days or for less experienced fly fisherman. 

In the western lake, cutthroat trout cruise the shallows sipping midges, ants, and beetles. These are wild fish and their coloration is as vivid as the mountain sunrise. Here, small dry flies and attractor patterns on long, thin leaders work best. In a day, you might bring-to-hand a dozen of these bright and beautiful natives.   

We have a limited number of openings in July and early August. If a true-wilderness fishing adventure interests you, reach out to discuss pricing and reserve dates. 

Lodge Multi-Day Trips

Luxury accommodations, unmolested backcountry trout streams.

Multi-day trips based from our newly renovated Lodge at Turret’s End/Stann Ranch will continue to be an FTWG staple. Turret Creek and Sweetwater Creek converge on the property, exchanging the snowmelt of two alpine basins. We also have a stocked pond onsite to practice your casting or score a few bonus fish at day’s end. We will make short, 2-3 hour horseback rides daily to new fishing locales. From beaver ponds and oxbow meadows, to waterfalls and tumbling canyon creeks — there’s a lot to explore! In several days of fishing, an angler is likely to catch all four species of Colorado’s trout (cutthroat, rainbow, brook, brown.) The fishing is fun and unpretentious. The setting is wild and secluded. You’ll be fed like royalty. The sounds of moving water are your backdrop as you gather at the fire pit or enjoy a beverage and storytelling on our open-air porch overlooking Turret Creek. This trip is a great option for families or larger groups with varied interests. Contact us to book for summer 2024.  Stay tuned for updated photography of the Lodge renovations.

Day Fishing Trips

 The quick and easy way to experience horseback wilderness fly fishing.

For those who are visiting the area on vacation, a full-day fishing trip is a great diversion from the hustle-bustle of Vail or Aspen. You’ll meet our Guides & Wranglers early at FTWG headquarters, and depart on horses to a nearby creek or lake. We’ll have pastries and coffee ready for you! We have several destinations to choose from, and we’ll try to match you with a productive fishing spot that suits your needs. The staff will prepare a hot shore lunch while you fish. For many guests, the ride in and out is half the adventure. You’ll come to love and appreciate our sure-footed, friendly, mountain equines. This trip is great for youth and beginner fly anglers who want to learn basic skills and catch their first fish on a fly rod. We can also do day rides into the backcountry for those who are more interested in riding than fishing. Please get in touch (with more than 24 hours notice) if you’d like to book a Day Trip with the crew. 

Evan Koster

View posts by Evan Koster
A fifth-generation Coloradan, Evan was raised on Sweetwater Creek in the shadow of the Flat Tops. Horses, mountains, and wildlife have been his lifeblood. Evan joined FTWG in 2015. Prior to that, he spent several years guiding and packing for River's Bend Outfitters in Meeker. He has ridden every inch of the FTWG permit area and guided scores of successful elk, deer, and bear hunters. Guiding and outfitting is not just his career, but his passion. When not chasing elk in his beloved Flat Tops, he can be found fly fishing, duck hunting, training young horses, or chasing his hound dogs – hot on the trail of a mountain lion. Also an accomplished team roper, he spends much of the summer traveling to rodeos and ropings throughout the West with his young family.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *