8-15-2014 Sweetwater Report
Just 5 miles up from the confluence the Eagle River and the mighty Colorado lies Sweetwater Ranch. Here Minturn Anglers have exclusive private fishing on miles of a charming creek and three ponds all full of fish ready to eat a fly.
The creek has every combination of riffle, run and pool and boasts super invertebrate populations the end result being excellent fishing for children, the first time fly fisher and the experienced angler alike. The ponds are clear enough to allow sight fishing and have regularly, free rising fish to cast at. If they are not rising, or for those who prefer to fish sub-surface, damsel nymphs and streamer patterns will also take fish along the banks margin or edges of the weed beds in open water.
The healthy wild Trout population is complimented with additional fish of great quality to put a huge bend in anyone’s rod when hooked. Tackle is regularly tested to breaking limit (and often beyond) as these larger specimens run for cover under the banks and amongst the boulders. On my last trip to Sweetwater two days ago, we netted over twenty large Trout on dry flies and dry droppers, saw Elk and Black Bears (from a safe distance) and my three clients all caught the biggest fish of their fishing careers thus far. If that’s not the best that Colorado has to offer, then please let me know what is!
The adjoining fields and paddocks to the lakes and creek are currently full of grasshoppers of various sizes. When these accidently land or get blown on to the water, the Trout are ready to rise to them with explosive power. This said, the best techniques so far in August have been Hopper patterns, large Stimulator and Chew Toys on top with a size 16 dark nymph 18 to 24 inches below it. My first choice nymph has been a black copper John though when these ran out last trip, I had equal success with a bead head pheasant tail or Hare’s ear. It is not uncommon to get two eats (one on each fly) when they are very hungry, so when I start to see multiple fish going for the flies I will then cut back down to just the Hopper and catch the rising fish first. Despite the water being clear, the fish size means that the minimum tippet or leader strength is 6lb or 4X. This way, you stand a good chance of landing the bigger fish around the larger boulders and brush piles found around the deeper holes.
Away from the traffic and interstate, this destination offers the lucky fishermen who go there pure escapism and wonderful sport in idyllic surroundings. The beats are rested regularly and completely private for the small groups who fish it. If you can only get away for one or two days fishing while you are here, make Sweetwater Ranch top of your list.
Editor’s Note: Nick Denbow hails from London, by way of The Western Caribbean Fly Fishing School in Mahahual, Mexico. We have been privileged to have such an accomplished angler on our staff to guide this summer, and we hope to see more of Nick during his off seasons. If he guides many more trips to Sweetwater Ranch, he’ll definitely be back!