North Fork Ranch, CO

Orvis-Endorsed Fly-Fishing Lodge in Shawnee, Colorado.

North Fork Ranch, CO

Overview

The North Fork Ranch is an Orvis Endorsed fly fishing lodge situated in a picturesque setting in the mountains of Colorado. We have been a dude ranch for 30 years and a fishing lodge for over 10 years. The North Fork Ranch legend begins with our unique combination of ambiance, world class fishing, and unsurpassed hospitably. Take a minute to read through our reviews.

While we welcome other premier guide services of Colorado to bring their guests to stay at the ranch, the North Fork Ranch Guide Service (CO outfitter #2616) is always available to you for fishing while staying at the North Fork Ranch. Take a day to fish the legendary river at the ranch, but also let them take you to explore other premier private waters in the valley. Or let them take you to explore public water in the South Platte River drainage.

Region/Terrain Where You Fish

Only 45 minutes from Denver, the North Fork Ranch is located on the North Fork of the South Platte River, a major tributary of the famed South Platte River. We are located near the town of Shawnee, Colorado. The ranch is situated within striking distance of the popular tailwaters of the South Platte River as well as countless miles of tributaries of the South Platte River. Whether you are exploring the South Platte drainage on your own, or you are allowing our premier guides to show you into an unforgettable fly fishing experience, the North Fork Ranch is your perfect location.

North Fork of the South Platte River
The North Fork of the South Platte River is a tributary of the South Platte River. It runs for about 50 miles where is meets up with the South Platte River about 20 miles from Denver. The majority is this river runs through private property. The flows are accentuated by water from Robert's Tunnel creating a unique fishery.

The North Fork Ranch is one of the most exclusive pieces of private water in Colorado. This private water fishery is guided fly fishing only and is alive with trout. One cast might produce a fourteen inch brown trout. The next might be a three pound rainbow. This water is known for BIG fish. Trout over 10 pounds have been caught at the North Fork Ranch. This river caters to all skill levels from first time fly fisherman to experts looking for big fish.

Our guests also fish other private properties within 5 to 10 minutes of the ranch including the legendary Boxwood Gulch Ranch, Long Meadow Ranch and Rowdy Trout Ranch.

South Platte River
A Gold Medal western trout river, the South Platte River flows through seven dams between South Park and Denver. The South Fork of the South Platte and the Middle Fork of the South Platte meet about 15 miles outside of Fairplay, Colorado. The higher reaches in South Park are home to endless miles of meandering small creeks. The South Platte is primarily known for the tailwaters, Cheeseman Canyon, Elevenmile Canyon, and the Dream Stream. All located around an hour from the ranch.

Fishing opportunities range from technical tailwater fishing, to small backcountry creek fishing with dry/dropper rigs. There are also a host of back country lakes and high mountain reservoirs holding a great variety of trout, an even an occasional northern pike.

We also have other private water opportunities on the Middle Fork of the South Platte River. You can take a guide or fish this water on your own.

Tarryall Creek
A tributary of the South Platte River that drains the north and central parts of South Park. There are sections of public water above and below Tarryall Reservoir. Average fish might be smaller, but they are more opportunistic. Dry/Dropper fishing. Located about an hour from the ranch.

We have many private water opportunities on Tarryall Creek. You can take a guide or fish this water on your own.

Wherever your angling adventures take you, you will find yourself back at the Ranch much as the day started, enjoying delicious food and telling fish tales in the lodge before retreating to the comforts of your private room or cabin for a restful night. The comforts of the Ranch make it easy to call “home”- at least while you're here.

Itinerary

Sample of Typical Itinerary

Full Day Fly Fishing Trip

8:00 a.m.
Begin your day at North Fork Ranch & Fishing Lodge.

Catch up with your fellow fisherman & join us for a cup of coffee inside Wildhorse Lodge while your guides rig your rods. You are always welcome for breakfast at 7:30 a.m. (advanced reservations required)

8:30 a.m.
Meet your guides at the guide shed to gear up for the day. Everything you will need for the day is included. Orvis waders, boots, rod, reel, flies & terminal tackle.

12:30 p.m.
Enjoy a hot & hearty lunch, lots of variety, sandwiches, soup of the day, fresh salads & a scrumptious desert. Weather pending, lunch is served river side or in our 1200ft log Wildhorse Lodge. Even on a chilly day our 1910 pot belly stove is sure to help.

4:50 p.m.
Time to tell fish stories and make arrangements for your next trip!

Half Day Fly Fishing Trip

Enjoy a half day fly fishing trip with four hours on the water. 8:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. or 1 - 5 p.m. (lunch not included but can be arranged)

Multiple Day Fly Fishing Trip

Day 1
Drive five minutes to enjoy a full day fly fishing trip at Long Meadow Ranch. Start and end times are the same. We still drive back to the North Fork Ranch for the legendary lunch.

Day 2
Start with an early breakfast at the ranch. Drive about an hour to the Dream Stream (Charlie Meyer SWA), a tailwater section of the South Platte River. Fish the morning on this classic tailwater. Break for a lunch sent with us by the staff at the ranch. Fish the afternoon in the many meanders of the Middle Fork of the South Platte with a dry dropper rig. The guides will have you back to the ranch in time for dinner.

Day 3
Walk from breakfast, coffee still in hand, to your waders draped over the deck of your cabin. You are fishing the North Fork Ranch today!

Activities

On-site Activities

We offer Guided Fly Fishing, Hiking, Massage, Gourmet Home Cooked Meals, Target Shooting, Bow and Arrow Shooting, Trail Rides, Champagne Brunch, Campfires, Fly-Fishing Classes, Horsemanship Clinics, Mountain Man Story Time, Game Nights, Square and Line Dancing, Riverside Lunches, Hayrides and Sing Alongs. All on site!

Off-site Activities

We offer Zip-Line Tours, White Water Rafting, Breckenridge Trips and more!

Lodging

Lodging, Meals, and Accommodations

Lodging options include everything from one-bedroom suites to three-bedroom family units with cathedral ceilings, sitting areas, and stone fireplaces. Suites and cabins include private baths and cozy pillow-top beds in king, queen and twin size configurations. Each cabin is uniquely decorated and all share wonderful views of the wilderness surrounding the ranch. It’s like being at home… but better — just relax, grab an appetizer and a glass of wine, put your feet up and let us take care of all the details.

Wildhorse Lodge – a small lodge with 5 suite style rooms: perfect for couples, singles, or families with adult children.

Stonehenge Mansion – our largest accommodation sleeps 12: a six-bedroom, three-bath lodge, with three large common areas, each with wood-burning fireplaces – great for a family reunion, families traveling together or large families, and perfect for corporate groups or retreats.

Klondike Cabin – A true log cabin with a common sitting area and impressive large rock fireplace. Perfect Colorado lodging for families with younger kids, this cabin is just across from the pool. Gather ‘round the fireplace in the evening and share stories about your day!

Homestead Cabin – Great for larger families visiting our Colorado Dude Ranch: this cabin sleeps up to 9 people. Older kids can sleep separate from the adult area with plenty of privacy for all. You can all come together in the common area for games, snacks and socializing around the stone fireplace and coffee bar or enjoy the views from any of the multiple porches.

Species

Species You Fish for by Season

We fish the North Fork Ranch Spring Summer and Fall. Winter fishing depends on the flows and is not available every winter.

The North Fork Ranch is home to a variety of Trout. Primarily larger than your average Rainbow Trout. We also see Brown Trout, Cutthroat Trout, and the rare but occasional Brook Trout.

Gear

What Should Customers Bring

The North Fork Ranch Guide Service has their guide shed located at the ranch. All equipment is available and included in the cost of a guide trip. This includes a rod and reel, waders and boot, flies and terminal tackle. Of course all anglers are welcome to bring your own equipment.

All anglers should be prepared for the variable weather of the Colorado Rocky Mountains.

This is a list of items to bring with you while fishing at the ranch.

  • Sunscreen
  • Polarized sunglasses
  • Hat (warm hat spring and fall)
  • Gloves (spring and fall)
  • Rain jacket
  • Heavy socks
  • Layers
  • Camera

A list of suggestions for anglers bringing their own equipment.

  • Fly rod. We do not allow anything smaller then a 5 weight at the ranch. A 9 foot 5 weight is great. This is also a great chance to fish your 6 weight.
  • Fly reel. Be sure you have an adequate drag system for an epic trout battle.
  • Fly Line. Floating. Match your rod/reel.
  • Waders. Breathable suggested.
  • Wading boots. We do allow felt boots. We suggest studs in rubber bottom boots. Please stay off decks and walkways with studded boots.
  • Tippet 3X, 4X Mirage Fluorocarbon.
  • Net. If you do not have a large hoop net with a long handle leave it at home. We have extras…

The North Fork Ranch Guide Service does provide daily rentals of all the above equipment. We do recommend you bring your own flies and terminal tackle if you are not fishing with a guide. We can provide a list of fly shops on the way to the ranch.

Reviews

Overall: 5.0/5 starsShow Rating Distribution 5.0 / 5 based on 62 reviews

5 stars 5-star:
62
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62 of 62 reviewers would recommend this product to a friend.

  • 5/5 stars 5/5

    Great Place, great folks - 8/6/2014
    By: from Colorado, USA

    I have been a guest of Northfork three times. Each time the staff was professional, helpful, friendly. The atmosphere is first in class. Highly recommended.

  • 5/5 stars 5/5

    Best fishing trip ever - 7/28/2014
    By: from Old Hickory,TN

    We just returned from the greatest fishing trip ever. My good friend who had never Fly fished and I had two great days of nymphing at two different locations. Jeff Poole is the best guide I have ever had in 15 years of fishing. Frankie caught an 8 pound 27 inch trout for his 2nd ever Rainbow. I caught 3 fish over 6 pounds and around 24 inches. Cannot say enough about this place. We had our wives with us and they now want to go back and try their luck at fishing also. Karen and staff were extra kind to them and they enjoyed their stay as much as the men did. Excellent and very unique place.

  • 5/5 stars 5/5

    Doesn't get any better! - 7/9/2014
    By: from La Verne, CA, USA

    Jeff provided a trip of a lifetime! My son and I have been fly fishing for over 20 years & My son kept telling me about The North Fork but I was not ready for the experience that Jeff provided. The owners were so hospitable and provided great food as well. North Fork is TOP NOTCH.

  • 5/5 stars 5/5

    A CLASS ACT...not to mention A TON OF FUN!! - 7/8/2014
    By: from Sedona, AZ

    Just returned from five days at NFR. This is WORLD CLASS trout fishing at your doorstep. We had four in our group - everyone from a very experienced fly fisherman, to me...my first day in waders! We all had a terrific time, caught a LOT of big fish and couldn't have been more pleased with Monroe as our guide. Book it today....you will not be disappointed!

  • 5/5 stars 5/5

    As good as it gets - 7/6/2014
    By: from Denver

    We fished for two days over the 4th of July weekend and can't possibly say enough great things about the North Fork Ranch Guide service (Monroe is the best!) and the Ranch. My husband is an experienced fly fisherman and I am a beginner and the fishing was absolutely excellent for both of us. The ranch is wonderful with great service, great food and a casual, relaxed atmosphere. You will not be disappointed!

  • 5/5 stars 5/5

    Only the best day ever! - 6/30/2014
    By: from Doylestown, PA, USA

    I made a return trip to North Fork Ranch having previously fished it in 2006. All I can say is WOW! The fishing was phenomenal - our guide Matt was a great instructor for my son and put us both on fish early and often. The stream produced the largest trout of my 52 years and the pond produced fun fishing for my whole family. But even better! - the stay at the lodge was the best vacation my family (4 children 15-20) has ever taken! Food, fun activities and genuine hospitality made for great memories!

  • 5/5 stars 5/5

    Simply incredible - 6/9/2014
    By: from Evergreen, CO 80439, USA

    I took my brother who was visiting from Australia. The location is spectacular. The river was running high but that didn't impact the fishing. Our guide, Monroe, lead us to the fish and we "slayed 'em". What a day. We fished the full day and enjoyed lunch. This is truly one of those "bucket list" fishing locations.

  • 5/5 stars 5/5

    New Lady Angler - 5/27/2014
    By: from Castle Rock, CO, USA

    I have never fished in my life and visited the North Fork Ranch with some girlfriends to fly fish for the first time. Have to admit I was skeptical and thought it would be a one-time experience for me. Not so!! My fly fishing adventure could not have been more fun or surprising - even with a weekend of rain and hail! Best Colorado experience I've had in a long time! I'm hooked! (no pun intended) My experience with fly fishing with superb guides who ensured our fun and success, in addition to the excellent accommodations and treatment at the North Fork Ranch have opened a new chapter of my life. I have become a lady angler and will pursue a future with fly fishing. Can't recommend it highly enough! Great people and a great Colorado experience. Adds to the many reasons we live here. Thank you from the bottom of my heart!

  • 5/5 stars 5/5

    North Fork Ranch - 5/21/2014
    By: from Hudson Valley, NY

    Lodge: Delicious home style cooking. Lux rustic cabins with working wood fireplaces. Convivial . Fly Fishing Guide:Friendly. Knowledgable. Adapted to differing levels of experience seemlessly. Took NO gear. Was outfitted with high quality gear...waders, rods, etc.. No hassle. No extra cost.

  • 5/5 stars 5/5

    Excellent Experience - 5/9/2014
    By: from Virginia

    Had an excellent experience at the Northfork Ranch. Great people dedicated to providing and excellent experience to their guests. The fishing was great, food was very good and the lodging was very nice. Enjoyed the cabin and the ranch grounds. Dean, Karen and the rest of the staff were terrific. Jeff Poole went out of his way to talk with me and make sure I was enjoying my stay and was happy with the fishing experience.

North Fork Ranch
Orvis-Endorsed Fly-Fishing Lodge
Dean and Karen May
Shawnee, CO
303-838-9873

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