Located on the Western Slope at the confluence of Spring Creek, Beaver Creek and the Taylor River, Harmel’s Ranch Resort is ideally situated for guests to try their hand at trophy trout fishing in Colorado. All three rivers are fed by mountain streams that empty into larger reservoirs before tumbling down their respective canyons to reach our door step. The cold, clear waters bring with them trout in all sizes and shapes.
The ¾ mile stretch of water just outside your cabin door has quite a reputation — specifically; anglers call it “Rainbow Heaven” due to the number of rainbow trout just waiting to be caught. Folks have said it is twice the fishing at half the price of the Frying Pan (a famous fishing hole) near Aspen. As a guest of Harmel’s the fishing is FREE. If you aren’t staying, you may fish our stretch of the river for $100 per day.
In many places, the banks along our stretch of the river are easily accessible, with deep eddies and sluggish pools that draw in the trout. Anglers will love the pleasantly warm summer days and cool nights. If that isn’t enough, the river passes through gorgeous soaring rock walls and tumbles over boulders, gently soothing away the stress of everyday life. The scenery is enough to take your breath away, but it is the thrill of that tug on the line when a trophy trout rises to the fly that really gets the heart racing.
On a side note:
The highest award by the Colorado Wildlife Commission, in our opinion, is the signature of Gold Medal status. This is defined as being able to produce 60 pounds of trout per surface acre, and at least twelve 14” or larger trout per surface acre. While we’ve looked into getting the designation (with our stocking program we are well qualified for this status), we decided not to pursue it for two reasons. First, it would mean curtailing all rafting activities on the water, and whitewater rafting is an integral part of the fun at Harmel’s. Second, we know we are already one step up from Gold Medal status, judging by the number of award winning fish that get pulled out every year. Our waters are Platinum!
Three times each summer, we stock the river with 100 trophy sized trout; generally around June 10, July 15, and August 15. Each one of these fish weighs on average two to three pounds. In 2014 we stocked mostly rainbows, but one stocking consisted of more than 75 cutthroat. We also stock the trout pond with 500 rainbow trout at the beginning of the season.
If our stretch of the river isn’t enough, anglers can proceed up river. Just below the damn on the Taylor River is where some of the best trophy trout fishing in the state of Colorado happens. It’s not unusual for our guests to land a 30-inch rainbow or brown trout. On the flip side, anglers can head down stream towards Gunnison and the Blue Mesa Reservoir where Kokanee Salmon and Lake Trout grow to gigantic proportions. The largest Lake Trout (46 lbs 14.6 oz, 42.6 inches long) in Colorado history was caught there in 2002. And the largest Rainbow Trout, (19 lbs 10 oz, 34 inches) was caught just downstream from Blue Mesa in the Morrow Point Reservoir.
Harmel’s sits smack dab in the middle of all the best fishing spots in our neck of the woods. Our resort makes a great base to begin your exploration of the rivers and streams. Our comfortable cabins will help you relax after a long day on the river. The hot tub and sauna will help get the kinks out or try a relaxing massage. Then finish up the day with a gourmet meal and great drinks from the bar. Sip coffee or an aperitif on the deck that overlooks the river and listen to the water sing you to sleep.
If you don’t feel like fishing all the time, or other members of your family aren’t avid anglers, there’s still plenty for you and them to do — horseback riding, rock climbing, whitewater rafting, hiking, biking, site seeing, our great spa, shopping in nearby Crested Butte or Gunnison and much more.
Last but not least, we offer fly casting lessons and walk/wade guided trips from 9 a.m. – 11 a.m., 1 – 3 p.m. and 4 – 6 p.m. Guests also have access to the fly and tackle shop, rod, water and boot rentals — all with the help of our friendly staff. Anglers must have a Colorado State Fishing License, which can be ordered online ahead of time by visiting the Colorado Parks and Wildlife website at http://wildlife.state.co.us/fishing/Pages/Fishing.aspx