By Michael Deming
Taking a deep breath of the fresh air and absorbing the serenity of the high mountains lets the stress of deadlines and to do’s gradually melt away. The sunrise heats the morning air in the valley, causing the bugs to come alive. I scour the pools and ripples looking for a hungry Rio Grande River Brown in a feeding frenzy. I grip my Redington fly rod and slowly load the action as the line flows through my fingers.
Big browns are feeding everywhere and I’m “in the zone”. FISH ON! My head snaps to the right to see what just happened to interrupt my silence and focus. It’s my wife’s guide Raymon letting me know his training has paid off and she is in a battle with a good fish. Lisa screams and hollers as the trout runs and jumps with aerobatic finesse until finally giving in. Raymon nets the beautiful German brown and directs Lisa on how to hold the fish as we snap numerous photos of her first trout on a fly rod. She beams with glory and excitement with each and every photo and I truly believed she now understands what I always talk about when returning from trips. Awe, make more the choice memories!
This trip to Broadacres Ranch near Creede, Colorado was turning out just as I had planned. I had visited Raymon and Broadacres Ranch the year before and from the minute I arrived until the day I left, I kept saying “Lisa would really enjoy this place”. It has something for everyone.
The accommodations at Broadacres Ranch are nothing short of spectacular which sets the tone for your visit to this valley. The Royal Coachman is our home for our four day stay. It is a three bedroom luxury cabin with three full baths. It has a large living room and a full kitchen. It also has a beautiful deck which is set on its’ own private pond. The deck provides a great place to relax and enjoy the sunset after a long day of fishing. Other private cabins on the ranch overlook the Rio Grande River and are equally impressive.
The pride of the ranch is the Glenmora Lodge. The name, Glenmora, comes from the original settlers of the ranch back in 1891. John Grant and his daughter, Elsie saw the beauty in the Rio Grande River Valley well over a century ago when they emigrated from Scotland and settled here. Elsie lived on and worked the ranch until she was nearly eighty-years-old. It sold several times after Elsie’s passing and in 1998 it was purchased by a family of outdoor and fly fishing enthusiasts who wanted to make Broadacres Ranch a piece of history with world class fishing and luxury accommodations. The Glenmora Lodge was opened in 2004 and is the main focal point of the Broadacres Ranch. It sits above the banks of the Rio Grande River with breathtaking views of the La Garita Mountains. The Glenmora Lodge is home to some of the finest dining I’ve experienced anywhere in the world and one of the primary reasons to want my wife along.
I’m an adequate fly fisherman and can usually coax a really hungry fish into eating my fly, but I am an absolutely horrible teacher. I love my wife and value my marriage and I know me teaching her to fly fish would not only give her some bad habits, but possibly get me in the dog house or worse yet, an appointment with a divorce attorney. My patience level isn’t very good and I realize this about myself. This was my other primary reason for choosing to bring Lisa to Broadacres Ranch. The guides and teachers could provide her with the knowledge she needed to enjoy these pristine waters while I enjoyed the experience.
On our first morning at the ranch, Raymon Kemper provided Lisa with a private casting lesson on the lawn. Within an hour she had developed basic skills, which made her a force to reckon with. “Let’s hit the river”, Ray said. I was chomping at the bit to get a crack at one of those big browns myself.
With several miles of private property to choose from, Ray picked some slower water with deeper holes that held lots of fish. I was just starting to stalk a big hungry brown when the silence was broken with the “FISH ON” comment which started this story. I was so happy for Lisa to experience the joys of my life, side by side instead of through stories at the dinner table. Throughout the day, Lisa and I continued to make a great story to share for the rest of our lives. We lost count of how many fish were landed by all of us, but the smiles on everyone’s faces were worth a million words.
After a first class dinner and some fine wine at the Glenmora Lodge, it was off to one of the private lakes to enjoy a few final hours of fishing for the day. The cold, clear water lakes are home to thousands of fish. With no wind and an afternoon glow, we could sight cast to browns, Colorado cutthroat, rainbows and brookies. Groomed banks allowed Lisa to enjoy the experience without being worried about her backcast. We continued landing fish until well into the twilight and as we walked back to our cabin, we could still hear the splashes of the feeding frenzy. This was truly a great way to start a fly fishing adventure.
Our second day at Broadacres was going to feature a backcountry adventure which I had experienced the year before. These trips are designed for those of you that want a little more adventure and are more physically fit. These trips are nothing short of spectacular for the select few who choose to enjoy them. The small streams deep in the backcountry are loaded with hungry brookies. They range from six inches up to fifteen inches. Due to the severity of the winter in these high mountain areas, the water only runs unobstructed for about half the year. This makes for some aggressive little fish in some of the most beautiful country anyone could ever imagine. A seven foot two weight fly rod is the ticket for these small streams and fly choice isn’t too specific. These fish will eat nearly anything with veracity.
A scenic four wheel drive trip up the mountains above the ranch is only part of the beauty. Once you reach the pinnacle, it is time to start hiking. A gradual descent of a thousand vertical feet into an untouched valley loaded with wildlife is breathtaking. Throughout the valley winds an unknown stream you can jump across in places. The water is clear, crisp and cold, but the sun is bright and warm. A perfect day for high mountain creek fishing.
During the day, we leapfrogged up the stream fishing every run possible. You could expect a strike from nearly every cast and one larger hole yielded a full dozen brightly colored brook trout ready to spawn. Everyone kept track of the fish we caught and released throughout the day and our final total was 127 fish for the day (Five hours of fishing). The thousand vertical foot climb out at 10,000 feet of elevation can zap the last of your energy and create an appetite the chef at the Glenmora will be happy to satisfy when you return from your long day of fishing believe me!
The private water on the Rio Grande River, float trips, high country pack trips, along with private streams and lakes are more than enough to make Broadacres Ranch a great destination. But when you mix it with the gourmet food, luxury accommodations and great staff at a reasonable price, it becomes a must see destination.
I couldn’t have asked for a more perfect place to share my outdoor passion with my lovely wife Lisa. She came away with some great knowledge of fly fishing, along with some really good memories and better yet, she already wants to know when we are going back to Broadacres Ranch. To enjoy your own visit to Broadacres Ranch visit them at www.broadacresranch.com or call at 719-658-2291.