Guided Fly Fishing At The Santa Maria Ranch In Park County Colorado

The Santa Maria Ranch was established in 1874 by Harry Epperson. A February 1880 article in the Rocky Mountain News noted that Epperson had a fine residence elegantly furnished. This and several other 19th-Century structures remain intact within this National Historic District. The ranch also contains a warm spring and rare wetland plant community. A conservation easement held by Colorado Open Lands now protects open space, habitat, water resources, and historic structures.

A conservation easement funded by Great Outdoors Colorado now protects wetlands and riparian habitat on the ranch.

This 2,800-acre ranch is bisected by an idyllic section of the Middle Fork of the South Platte River. Extensive stream restoration work in 2006 included the construction of many new fish structures and erosion control measures. As a result, we have significantly increased the fish holding capacity of this property.

The lower section (below the bridge) heads downstream through a hay meadow where new fish structures have been placed at regular intervals. The middle section (above the bridge) is a combination of long runs, small pockets, and a few deep pools. The upper third is characterized by gentle meanders; fast riffles; and large, deep pools. Wild browns in the 8-13 inch range are distributed in the runs and pockets, with larger brown, rainbow and cutbow trout in the deep pools. During August of each year, very large (18-30 inch) browns migrate up the Middle Fork from Spinney Mountain Reservoir to spawn here (and upstream). Because of the relatively large channel size and open banks, the Santa Maria Ranch is well suited to two or three anglers in the same group.

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