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Private Fishing Water, Fly Fishing Ranches and Fly Fishing Lodges
For those who may want a more exclusive fly fishing experience, we do trips on private water and at a few select fly fishing lodges and ranches in Northern New Mexico and Southern Colorado.A guided trip on any of the spots often becomes one of a fly fisherman's most memorable experiences. Along with beauty and seclusion, private fly fishing ranches and lodges usually offer an angler the best chances at catching and landing trophy sized fish. Each location has a different rod fee per angler, which will be added onto the cost of the trip. To see the rod fee costs for every private water we fish, please go to the Fishing Trips & Rates Page.
Corkins on the Brazos
Located at the end of the road that runs up the Brazos River and directly under the Brazos cliffs, Corkins offers anglers the easiest access to the upper part of this amazing stretch of water. The further up-river you go the wilder it gets as there is no road access beyond Corkins. This section of the river is primarily large pocket water with deep pools and runs that hold amazing numbers of good sized rainbows and browns. The fishing is good throughout spring, summer and fall with July through early October typically being the best months to go. Smaller mayfly and stonefly nymphs always work but in the summer and fall the dry fly fishing is some of the best in our area. We have had days here where all you need is a small hopper or caddis pattern to land incredible numbers of fish on surface. In the fall the brown trout really turn on and there is a good chance of landing a few real beauties on any given day. The views are absolutely spectacular offering the quintessential Rocky Mountain fly fishing experience. This spot can have somewhat limited availability so please try to book your trip a bit in advance.
Canones Creek Ranch
The Canones Creek Ranch offers an amazing section of the Chama River, just south of town. Having almost two miles of river with excellent stream improvements and two small ponds, it is truly the gem of the Chama valley. This ranch is in the freestone section of the river so it has good hatches from the end of snow-melt well into the fall - dry fly fishing is always a great option here. Over our years of guiding this property we have had excellent dry dropper fishing in the fall and also success stripping streamers in the deep pools of the ranch through the whole season. It is easy to wade and maneuver along the river with a foot bridge in the middle of the property that enables anglers to access both sides of the river, even at higher flows. Near the bridge, next to one of the ponds, there is a covered “pavilion” to sit under and get out of the sun while eating lunch or gearing up for a day of fishing. The ponds on the ranch hold some healthy fish that lurk in the depths, waiting to slam a streamer or cruise the edges looking to eat an errant hopper. It is a fun combination to be able to fish both of the lakes and river in the same day. For novice to seasoned anglers, this property has some if the best and consistently good fishing to be found in our area.
The MK Ranch
Located on the upper reaches of the Navajo River just across the border into southern Colorado, the MK Ranch has about 3 miles of the prettiest fly fishing water in the West. The landscape and the views are absolutely incredible. The Navajo flows southwest out of the San Juan mountains into a beautiful valley. The MK Ranch is located near the upstream end of the valley with the mountains and San Juan wilderness off to the east. The river is full of good sized wild browns and rainbows with many in the 16 to 20 inch size range. Under the right conditions, they are voracious eaters. There are incredible numbers of cased caddis covering the rocks and these are a primary food source for the fish. Many different types of both wet and dry caddis fly patterns are effective. From mid-summer into early fall, large grasshopper and terrestrial dry flies often induce crashing hits on the surface from the bigger fish. The fall is beautiful on the MK Ranch with the aspen's and cottonwood's leaves turning gold against the dark green of the conifers. This is also when the biggest browns are thinking about spawning and become very aggressive. The ranch is a fairly long drive from the Santa Fe area (about 2.5 hours) but it is well worth the trip. Another option is to stay in the Chama area and combine a day on the MK ranch along with fishing on one of the other locations in the area for a second day.
The Shahan Ranch
Located about 6 miles upstream from the town of Chromo, Colorado on the Navajo River, the Shahan Ranch offers 2 miles of great private water. This section of the river flows through the river valley in a beautiful meadow of lush grasses and wildflowers. As you look to the North from the ranch you will see the Navajo Peaks and as you look up the river valley, you’ll see Banded Peaks off in the distance. This stretch of river has some great pools along with lots of deep runs and riffles. It is home to a plethora of rainbows and browns, many in the 16 to 18 inch size range. Nymphing works very well throughout the season and, in the summer and early fall, the dry fly fishing can be awesome - caddis, large drakes and hopper patterns often bring aggressive strikes on the surface. This section of the Navajo River is very easy to access from the road with easy wading. Like the MK ranch, the Shahan is a fairly long drive from the Santa Fe area. It is worth considering spending a night or two in the Chama area, with either the Juniper Cabin or the Quinlan Ranch being a great option.
The Bar X Bar Ranch
The Bar X Bar offers anglers a very wild fishing location at the southern tip of The Rockies, but still within a one hour drive from the plaza in Santa Fe. Located east of the city surrounded by the Santa Fe National Forest, this 5,000 acre private ranch has incredible fishing, in a beautiful high alpine setting, with lots of wildlife to be seen as an added bonus. There are five small lakes situated throughout the length of the 600 acre Manzanares Valley. Because these lakes are in the valley's meadows, access is easy and they are full of large rainbow, brown and cutthroat trout. Along with the five lakes, the Bar X Bar has one mile of private water on Cow Creek and private access to Cow Creek Falls and the box canyon section of the stream. This section of Cow Creek has some of the best of small stream, wild trout fishing in the area. Lunkers in the lakes or wild fish in Cow Creek - the ranch offers the best of two completely different types of fly fishing waters. Along with being available for an easy day trip from Santa Fe, the Bar X Bar has a wonderful lodge building which is available for larger group trips and multi-day fishing retreats. Typically the fishing on the ranch starts to get good sometime in early April and
runs through the late fall.
The Quinlan Ranch
Located just west of Chama and south of Rancho del Oso Pardo the ranch is adjacent to the renowned, state owned Edward Sargent Wildlife Area. It is a rich alpine wilderness at the intersection of multiple ecosystems; one third forest, one third scrub oak and one third meadow. There are 6 lakes and ponds on the Quinlan ranch's 17,000 acres (yes, that is correct, seventeen thousand acres!). Each one is full of large fish - mostly rainbows, with some of the lakes having browns and Snake River cutthroats as well. The largest lake is over 8 acres with the others ranging in size down to about 1 acre. The ponds are in open meadow areas so anglers can easily fish from the shore without worrying about trees to hang up a back cast. Boats are also available for our use.
The Quinlan Ranch is centrally located near many of the best fly fishing streams and rivers in northern New Mexico and southern Colorado. Anglers can do a day trip just to fish the ranches ponds or take advantage of the ranch's great meals and accommodations and use it as a base for a multi-day fishing adventure. Please check out the Fishing Packages page for more information on our multi-day trips at the Quinlan Ranch.
The High Timber Ranch
Located on the upper Brazos River at 9,500 to 10,000 feet of altitude in the Brazos meadows, this ranch has 5 private miles of the river that is full of large rainbows. Along with this amazing stretch of water, there is a small tributary creek that is chock full of wild brook trout. The upper Brazos meadows is probably one of the most remote and beautiful places in all of the southern Rockies and the fishing is off the charts. At the tail end of run-off it is game on with nymphs and streamers and as soon as the flows recede, it is time for the best dry fly fishing ever. The meadows are full of grasshoppers which are the prime food source for the trout throughout the summer months. The season up here is shorter than many lower altitude rivers and streams so the fish are very aggressive and really smash most top-water presentations as they have less time to put on weight to make it through the longer winters. From June through September, this is the spot to be. As you can see from the picture, casting in the meadows is usually completely free of trees to snag a backcast on. There are also two short canyon sections that offer classic high mountain pocket-water fishing. Access to the High Timber Ranch is very limited and the road is really rough. We'll do our best to make it happen for you but it isn't always a possibility as the road is often impassable due to snow and rain.