Honest to Pete! (Who is Pete anyway?) This rainbow trout was caught in Mother Lake and measured 32 inches, folks!  Mike Kruise, co-owner of The Laughing Grizzly Fly Shop out of Longmont, was quite excited to report, and I quote, “This monster is the biggest rainbow I’ve caught ANYWHERE, EVER!” But then wryly commented that it sure sets his bar high for fly fishing the rest of the season!

He caught this on a small crawdad-orange colored squirrel leech!  (See below for more hot flies.)  Thanks for the photo, Mike, or some readers may not have believed you!

A picture is worth a thousand words...

A picture is worth a thousand words…


Read more on Fly Fishing Report ~ Monsters in Mother Lake!…

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Submitted by Ted Meredith, Ranch Guide 970.215.2816 ~ March 3:

“Mother Lake was fishing well on Friday with big trout taking light Clouser minnow patterns and crayfish worked on the bottom very slowly.  Some Chironomid action was noted with midge larva suspended below a strike indicator.  Midges were hatching on Saturday, as new adults could be seen hovering in the sunlight.

No noticeable takes from the trout were seen on the surface yet, although the fish were seeing the food activity. There is no ice on Mother Lake and the water level is at full capacity.  Island Lake still has a large percentage of ice covering the surface of the water.   Weldon Pond is 75 % open.  Long Lake, Hourglass and Big Pump are covered with ice.  For bass fishing, Little Pump and Snapping Turtle are ice free.

Big Lake is still covered with ice.   The Lower Valley River is mostly free from ice although the flow and water levels are minimal.  River fish can be spotted concentrated in pools waiting for more water to allowing them to explore to other areas.”

THANKS TED!

Happy March Angler on Mother Lake!

Happy March Angler on Mother Lake!


Read more on Fly Fishing Reports – “It’s Almost Spring!”…

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Heart-J Lady

Feb. Horse of the Month — Heart-J Lady

Heart-J Lady was born on May 12, 2007 the morning of the services held for Mayme Jessup who had passed away January 9th. All the Jessup family and friends were there to honor the memory of Mayme and her beloved Maurice, who’s services were held on May 12, 1993.

It was a beautiful bright sunny morning and I came out early to see if Sun Sails had foaled. There she was, a beautiful little palomino filly, peeking out from behind her mother. She had long straight legs and large dark eyes fringed with beautiful white eyelashes. She was very shy just like her two sisters before her. Right away I thought we should name her “Heart-J Lady” in honor of Mayme Jessup. Mayme was known as the Heart in the Heart-J brand.

Heart-J Lady’s bloodlines trace back to three of Sylvan Dale’s best sires, Sparkie Y Sweet, Baronet Bar, and Thirsty’s Sandy. Her mother “Sun Sails” carries the blood of many famous cow horses. Heart-J Lady has two full sisters, “Foxy Trail West,” and “Silky Trail West,” both are beautiful palominos. There is one baby brother, a sorrel named “Gold Dust Rustler.”

I really enjoyed halter training and doing the kids program with Heart-J Lady as she is kind, willing and likes attention. Our trainer Barry McAleenan completed Heart-J Lady’s training and has turned her over to the wranglers to finish her trail training before our guests begin riding her.

She is a smart sensitive horse who should be great at trails and cattle work. Guests should be riding her sometime in 2013.

Visit our Horse of the Month page

Sundance Kid

Horse of the Month — Sundance Kid

“Sundance Kid” was foaled in 1990 near North Platte, Nebraska, and was originally registered as “Bar L Chip’s Victor” — quite a mouthful!

“Kid” and his older half brother,”Bar L Nu-Mario” came upstream to Sylvan Dale in 1993 as “Newt” and “Vic,” two tons of magnificent Belgian horses.

Both seemed mighty relieved to get their new western names and get down to work.

Sadly, “Kid’s” half brother “Butch Cassidy” died in 2007.

“Kid” continued to work with new partners, pulling countless hayrides for “Dude Ranch” and holiday guests, family reunions, retreats, and company picnics …and harrowing the Main Arena and the occasional pasture.

Hundreds of folks from around the world have had their first introduction to “heavy horses” guiding him around the small arena with “gee” and “haw” and the slightest touch of those long lines…or hitching him to the training cart for a jog around the Main Ranch.

Now semi-retired, gentle and willing as ever, “Kid” is the ideal “lesson horse.”

Visit our Horse of the Month page

By Season Member, Glen Colton:

I fished Mother Lake twice this week realizing that the ‘good’ weather was coming to an end but I still had a few days of fishing left before it gets too cold for my liking.

I fished one day with my buddy Dave and one with Frank. On both days the weather was great; 50 degrees or so with little wind (except the wind came up late afternoon one day).

The water temperature was around 43 degrees with no ice on the lake. I tried fishing Island Lake for a short time the second day with no luck, but did not really give it a chance because the fishing was too good on Mother.

The fishing was great both days! If the lake does not freeze over, I would recommend anglers who are looking for a fishing fix to get out to Sylvan Dale soon and wet their lines!

Rainbow Trout Drawing

Rainbow Trout Drawing


Read more on Fly Fish Sylvan Dale: “Weather Cold – Fishing Hot!”…

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bald-eagle cruising fishing above a lake

American Bald Eagle ⇱

As of November 27, 2012, Mother Lake was in good shape. Water levels were full with clarity slightly off color and a noticeable covering of bottom algae was apparent.

Although the air temperature was around freezing during the late morning check, the water remains free from ice. Some shoreline crystals showed evidence of nightly freezing, however the warmer spring waters flowing into the lake on the South end were close to 46 degrees. Water temperature lowered to 42 degrees near the North end of the lake, as waters in nearby Island Lake had already frozen on approximately 75 % of the lake.

Read more on Fly Fishing Report: Competing with a Bald Eagle!…

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Glen Colton, Season Member, and his friend Dave enjoyed fly fishing Tuesday: “It was a beautiful day; overcast, with little wind. We mostly fished Mother Lake. The fish were midging most of the day — we caught some on various midge patterns during the day — challenging fishing for mostly picky fish. Dave picked up 4 in the early afternoon.

Moonrise Autumn

Moonrise Autumn ⇱

I fished Island Lake early afternoon to midging fish as well — caught some on buggers and some on midges. About 5 o’clock, when the fishing was slow, I tied on a chartreuse/white clouser and caught three.

Towards dark I caught a few on a zoo cougar. At dark, Dave and I both used big flies on the bottom — Dave a big black bugger with rubber legs and an autumn splendor. I tied on a Kelly Galloup Big Hole bugger. From about 6 to 8pm we fished under a beautiful full moon and each caught a number of nice fish, while losing an equal number.

As usual, the fish were very nice size — my largest being a 23″ rainbow. We didn’t fish the Big T. — it was running very high — probably the source of the flows into Boyd Lake. In the late afternoon we were treated to a large herd of elk that came down to the meadow to feed and get water at Mother Lake. All in all, a great day!”

~Thanks, Glen!

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Goodbye Fall, Hello Winter…for today anyway!
Colorado is known for its unique "summer today, winter tomorrow" weather. Yesterday was a comfortable light-shirt day — today, no so much.

While locals were enjoying the temperate weather in the 70s just days ago, beginning last night, the region received its first "official" snow of the season.

I waited too late to capture the white frosting fully covering the grounds early this morning but here’s a few samples of what still lingered on the leaves, and lawn and beyond. By the time you see these, the snow will have all but vanished!

Blue Spruce by Rainbow Lake

Blue Spruce by Rainbow Lake

Jesse King

Jesse King

About this same time in 2010, the waters at Sylvan Dale underwent a minor transformation as Bonfils-Stanton’s Jesse King rescued a dozen submerged river rocks, placing their natural talent for grace and balance on display. Of course, it was really Jesse’s talent being showcased, but he couldn’t have done it without Sylvan Dale’s stable stones! ;-)

The Bonfils-Stanton Foundation’s team returned this year for another group event and once again Jesse returned to the river, fishing the cool waters to find the best candidates to upright, building another ephemeral testament to the beauty of simplicity. View the photos from this year and 2010 below.

Read more on Return to “Sylvanhenge” – Rise of the Rocks…

Thanks, Marty Staab of Elkhorn Fly Rod & Reel for this report.  And Deniese, a guide from the same shop, for the pics!

Denise Fishing in Big Valley

Denise Fishing in Big Valley

“Sunrise at Mother Lake featured a glassy surface and many fish sipping near shore. A Callibaetis spinner was effective until the sun got a little higher, after which the rises decreased markedly, so we switched to float tubes and deep crawbuggers trailed with an olive stillwater nymph. The fish preferred big buggers, and slow retrieves, but several nice fish preferred the smaller trailing nymph.

Midmorning, Weldon had many feeding fish, and after many swirling surface refusals of hoppers and chernobyl ant, dropping a red chironomid sealed the deal. There are still active hoppers in the grass around the lake, and I would expect working tight to shoreline to be effective in the warmer and windier parts of the day.
Read more on Fly Fishing Report, Valley & River ~ 10/8/12…

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Main Ranch River, Dining Hall upriver. Water level ~30-40 cfs. Water Temp mid 50s, 8am-Noon

Aside from early hits on terrestrial patterns not much surface action. An equal number (~12) of Browns and Bows were caught on a variety of nymphs. Biggest hitter was the Poison Blue Tung #20 followed by Egan’s Tailwater Sowbug #20.

Other flies that took fish were Red Two Bit Hookers #18, Prince Nymph #14-16, and Rainbow Warrior #18. A good plan is to start with Midge Pupa imitation (Blue Tung) and then on to the bigger nymphs.

Carmien enjoys a beginner's lesson w/Wallace.

Carmien enjoys a beginners’ lesson w/ Wallace.

Also saw Epeorus (aka Pink Lady) in abundance. This is a rare sight particularly in quantity, but I’m pretty sure about the ID. However, did not see any fish action on them. Nevertheless, next time I am taking some larger soft hackles, ginger colored and going to try some large Adams. Long casts will give you an advantage. Also, look for shade. There wasn’t much at that location that day. I expect downriver and later in the day much more dry fly action.

All the fish, regardless of size, were well fed with good body shape.

By Wallace Westfeldt, Fish Acquisition Specialist ~ 303 601-1902

For pictures from this trip and many others on Ranch, check out Wallace’s Website.

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Autumn has arrived and as usual, Mother Lake is fishing well. Midges seem to be the soup d’jour for the big trout as dorsal fins break the water while fish are sipping emergers just below the surface.

Chrononmids with red or black bodies suspended just below the surface on 5x tippet provide enough of an illusion for the picky fish. Occasionally the big boys will surface with a loud slurp to engulf adult insects getting ready for flight.
Read more on Fly Fishing Report, Big Valley ~ 10/1/12…

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sylvan-dale-bridal-show-2012.jpg

It’s Not Too Late!

Make plans to attend Sylvan Dale’s "Timeless Romance" Fall Bridal Show, this Sunday, September 30th from noon until three.

Sunday’s free bridal show is your best opportunity to meet our wedding coordinators and meet with local wedding vendors and wedding services providers while exploring the surrounding beauty of Sylvan Dale Guest Ranch. And you’ll get to experience Sylvan Dale during the beautiful Fall season! Autumn at the ranch is filled with spectacular color accompanied by refreshing mountain breezes.

autumn-wedding-sylvan-dale-guest-ranch-colorado

Autumn Wedding Ceremony by the Heart-J Pond.

Admission to the bridal show is completely free so come on out, and bring your family and friends for a fun time at the ranch.

Read more on ‘Fall in Love’ at Sylvan Dale’s Free Bridal Show…

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Mother Lake, 2-5pm.

On arrival, it’s clear that the Callibaetis are on big time. Bunches of male Speckle Wings were bouncing on the NW (leeward) bank. That day’s hatch must have happened earlier and there were very few risers. On the other hand, fish readily took Pandemic Callibaetis nymphs and Flashback Pheasant Tails in the lower half of the water column all afternoon. However, most productive patterns were Autumn Splendors (take the yellow legs off), and brown Meatwhistles, moving low and slow. Faster retrieves also inspired a few fish, particularly after an initial “bump.”

After 4pm, fish rose regularly to very small midges in the film and on top. Those of you who can handle #22 and 6X with 20+inch fish will have a great time. Happy Landings! ~ Wallace

More photos from the trip, plus contact info, Wallace’s Fish Acquisitions website.

 michelle-vistage2-SDR.jpg

Retreat guest, Michelle, with one of her big trouts and big smiles!

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