“I know of no place in Colorado where the fly-fisher will have better sport”
– Ernest Ingersoll, 1884
The historic 4UR Ranch offers some of the finest private fly fishing in the Colorado Rocky Mountains. With six and a half miles of private tailwater flowing through the heart of this ranch, the first cast of the day is right out your front door. While many guest ranches offer fly fishing, the 4UR Ranch is exceptional in that we offer a truly private fishing experience. The 6 mile long Goose Creek is one of the only entirely private trout streams in the American West and has been managed on the English “Beat” system throughout it’s long history.
The 4UR’s creative stream management in the use of the Beat system as well as conscientious catch and release practices ensures that the streams and ponds at 4UR remain some of the best fishing in the West, week after week, throughout the summer.
The English Beat System
We divide the 4UR Ranch waters into 22 private stations or “beats” which guests select by lottery in the evenings. A beat is a section consisting of a quarter to a third of a mile of stream dedicated to a guest alone for the morning or the afternoon. There is no need to rush out early in the morning to secure your spot to protect that perfect hole from a stranger wading through. At the 4UR it will be there waiting for you on your own time.
The lottery is conducted in the evening. As dinner winds down in the dining room a fishing guide escorts a shake bottle from table to table where guests draw numbered marbles designating their position in the draw. The guest with the highest draw selects the beat they would prefer to fish the next morning. Other anglers follow until the lowest lottery draw selects. For the afternoons, the order is reversed, ensuring every angler fishes with privacy on prime water every day.
With beats consisting of different mountain aspects, from a tight canyon, to hay meadows with meandering bends, to bigger water flowing through the Rio Grande, to trophy ponds, there is always an opportunity to try something new, no matter your position in the lottery.
And with a long history as a family destination, it becomes tradition in the dining room to have the kids in the family shake the bottle and “draw” the lottery position for the family. The only rule is to never put your draw back in the bottle! Being a lottery there is always a chance to get something different each day.
From completely private tailwater and river, to trophy ponds and wilderness lakes, there is water to inspire every type of fly fisherman at the 4UR Ranch.
Goose Creek: Fifteen “beats” are marked off along Goose Creek as it twists and turns its way through the valley. Each beat provides a slightly different aspect to the stream; the lower stations are contained in meadows and flanked by willow bushes and the higher stations on Goose Creek provide spectacular canyons and big, meandering bends in the stream. Goose Creek holds generous numbers of rainbows, browns, Rio Grande cutts and cutt-bow hybrids, plus brookies in its higher reaches.
The Rio Grande: While most guests spend their time on Goose Creek, they also have access to both sides of the legendary Rio Grande River. The Rio Grande begins its meandering towards the Texas coast just 40 miles above Creede, making our stretch of this river one of the first places for this water to flow through. Our guests enjoy four beats along this stretch and many anglers discover what the locals have long known: that the fisheries of the upper Rio Grande River may be little known but are some of the best in the West.
Lost Lakes: About 50 miles northwest of the ranch at an elevation of over 10,000 feet are the pristine, secluded, and private “Lost Lakes.” The lakes are deep in the high country forest and a very special adventure for the angler who enjoys a bit of time on still waters. The all day guided trip entails traveling by Suburban to the trail head above the Rio Grande Reservoir. Then transferring to a smaller 4 wheel drive vehicle for the more rugged road into the last mile into the lakes. These lakes are overflowing with cutthroat and rainbow trout. It is an amazing opportunity to get kids of all ages catching fish and wanting to learn more about the sport. What could be better than a Colorado fly-fishing experience miles from the closest paved road?
Soda Creek Pond: This still water pond, dedicated as a beat, is fed by Goose Creek and stocked throughout with large trout. Soda Creek Pond is a great place to take your daughter or son for that special day of fishing for a trophy sized catch.
Walton Pond: Walton Pond is a wonderful small lake perfect for the young ones in the family to try their skills at fishing. This is the only water on the property on which the children may use a spinning rod to help get them started along their fishing journey.
Guides and Lessons
Some guests prefer the option of an experienced hand to show them the 4UR waters, while providing a personal introduction to the sport. Our young guides are some of the best you’ll ever meet bringing experience from a variety of backgrounds and fisheries throughout the the country. Knowledgeable, patient, and enthusiastic they strive to make your week of fishing at the 4UR Ranch one to remember.
Whether your goal is to catch your very first fish or learn to better navigate tight waters and riffles, you can make the most of your vacation with one of our fly fishing guides. Each morning after breakfast they meet you at the lodge and get a feel for your goals on the stream. Some mornings start with a casting lesson on the front lawn while others begin with a quick breakfast and a drive up the valley to one of our higher elevation fishing stations.