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El Rancho Pinoso

Hidden within Southern Colorado’s San Juan Mountains is a valley so beautiful that you will marvel at its perfection. With 970 acres, two fully restored historic cabins, a herd of elk and three miles of fabulous fly fishing flowing through it all, it is a place that will inspire all who visit to want to return again.

Expert Q&A with Charles Gehr

Why go?
-Unlike a typical lodge, El Rancho Pinoso and their waters are made available only to private parties of 4 – 12 to use in exclusivity.
-Private access to a highly productive trout stream.
-Historic remodeled cabins have all the modern amenities and comforts of a fine lodge.
-Meals are prepared by a chef, to be enjoyed in the privacy of your group’s cabin.
-The setting is indescribably beautiful with towering peaks and Ponderosa Pines.
-This is the finest and most fairly priced private water venue in the west.

Where is the lodge?
The ranch is approximately 30 minutes drive outside of Pagosa Springs, CO in south-central Colorado.

How do I get there?
Most guests fly into Durango, CO and rent a car for the 1.5 hour drive.

When should I go?
Runoff has finished by the end of June most years. From then through October it’s a spectacular place. For winter sports enthusiasts, the ranch is available December – March.

Where do they fish?
The Rio Blanco at El Rancho Pinoso, the Weminuche River at Weminuche Valley Ranch and the Piedra River at the Notch Ranch. They also a have a few productive private lakes that fish well in the early season.

Who is best suited to the destination?
Anglers that enjoy un-pressured fishing while wading. Anyone looking for a private getaway in the Rockies.

What are the accommodations and meals like?
Guests stay in a spacious, historic cabin that is in many ways like a fine rental home. It has a variety of different room configurations, specifically two bedrooms with Queen beds, one bedroom with a King bed and another with four twin beds. The cabins are completely modernized with full kitchens, washer and dryer, telephone and internet access. Meals are very thoughtfully prepared by a professional chef who departs the lodge after dinner is cleaned up.

Describe the atmosphere and style of the lodge?
Since ERP is actually run like a catered rental home, the atmosphere is what each private party makes it. There is no staff that will spend the night there. Rather the guides will pick you up and drop you off at the cabin and the chef will depart the home when their tasks are completed, leaving guests to enjoy their time as they see fit. This place in incredibly private, comfortable and special.

Is the owner on-site?
The ranch manager is also your head guide and point of contact. He is a responsive professional that you will enjoy. He lives in a house out of sight on the other side of the ranch. He is available by phone in the evenings.

Is there internet and cell service?
The cabins have wi-fi internet. Cell service is spotty. Land lines are available in the cabins. Guests are advised to purchase a long distance calling card to use the land lines.

How do they fish?
All of the river systems are healthy and support aquatic insects. Dry flies, nymphs and streamers may all be fished depending on conditions. All fishing is done while wading.

What fish will I catch?
Rainbow trout and brown trout will be the majority with the occasional brook trout. These fish will be a combination of wild and supplemented fish.

How many fish will I catch?
This number can vary wildly. On any given day anglers can expect 6 – 18 fish each.

Will we see other anglers?
The only anglers you’ll see are members of your group.

What are their rivers like?
The Rio Blanco is a mid-sized freestone that is fairly swift and lively to fish. The Weminuche is a meandering meadow stream that is easy to wade and has a good number of browns. Both systems have been enhanced/engineered to create abundant structure and holding water. The systems have both wild and supplemented fish.

Is there wade fishing?
All the fishing is done while wading. The wading is fairly easy.

How long does it take to reach the fishing grounds?
The cabins at El Rancho Pinoso are approximately 150 yards from the Rio Blanco. On alternating days you will fish the Weminuche Creek, approximately one hour from the ranch.

What are the guides like?
The guides are eager to work with anglers of all skill levels. They know their fisheries well and have a firm grasp of a wide range of trout-catching techniques.

Does the lodge provide equipment?
Rental gear can be arranged with prior notice.

What is your favorite rod(s) for the trip?
I use a 9′ 5-weight rod for nearly all of my fishing on the ranch. I also bring a sweetheart 8’6″ 3-weight as a dedicated dry fly rod.

Are there other activities?
Horses are available on-site and rides with the wrangler are a great break from fishing. Whitewater rafting can be arranged (seasonally) nearby. Day trips to Pagosa Springs or Durango can be a fun diversion.

What is your favorite memory of this trip?
Fishing through a Pale Morning Dun mayfly hatch with elk bugling in the fields.

What are the physical demands?
This is small stream fishing so anglers need to be prepared to fish on foot. The walking and wading are very mild and not demanding physically.

Are there special skills required?
Only a desire to slow down and enjoy all that trout fly fishing has to offer.

The beauty of the surroundings is beyond description.

A robust Rio Blanco rainbow sees the net.

The cabins at El Rancho Pinoso are extremely comfortable.

A healthy Weminuche brown trout that fell for the hopper.

Angler and guide enjoying relaxed and productive fishing on the Rio Blanco.

Horseback riding with the wrangler are included in your package.