Monday, August 18, 2008

Generous Strike Zone at Marabou Ranch

The Dallas Morning News Strikes again with another article about Marabou Ranch yesterday. I have fished out there on numerous occasions and it appears that they just had an ok day. Quite a few locals and owners of the properties around Marabou will tell you that the stream improvements Marabou put in have benefited the Elk River as a whole due to the increased quality of the habitat there. The healthy fish it has produced don't just stay on the ranch but have moved up and down the river.

Selected quotes: Article by Ray Sasser - STEAMBOAT SPRINGS, Colo. – Pat Stefanek was giddy with excitement, and the fishing guide wasn't even holding a rod. Stefanek ran through the tall grass that ringed the meandering stream, waving his landing net like a tennis racket, flushing a swarm of oversized grasshoppers. Some of the clumsily flying insects splashed down in the tailor-made meander at Marabou Ranch. As the hoppers drifted downstream, brilliantly-colored trout rose from their lairs beneath undercut banks, rocks and roots. They ate the grasshoppers and revealed their presence in the process.

Stefanek lined up my wife on a particularly big rainbow. Emilie is a fly-fishing novice, but she'd spent the previous day under our guide's watchful eye and her casting skills had made a quantum leap. Thanks to the 20 or so big trout she'd already caught from the Elk River, her fish-fighting technique had progressed even further.

Emilie's first cast landed just a little to the left of the big trout's hideout, drifting out of the strike zone. A trout in moving water is like a batter in baseball. The fish has a strike zone that's zealously guarded. Like an overanxious batter, a hungry trout will sometimes fall for an outside pitch, but the fish mostly waits patiently until the current delivers a juicy snack right down the middle of the proverbial plate.

"Cast a little more to the right this time," coached Stefanek. And, when Emilie complied, "That's perfect. This hopper will drift right over the fish." There was a silver and scarlet flash in the water, and Emilie's fly rod was bowed by an angry fish that pushed very near the 20-inch mark. I knew Emilie was in for a lengthy battle so I left her in Stefanek's capable hands and walked to the next likely spot. I didn't even cast the oversized grasshopper-pattern – just dropped it straight below me and peeled off a little line to allow a natural drift. The fly didn't move five feet before a trout tried to eat it.

The manmade meadow meander was a perfect way to end two days of the best trout fishing I've experienced anywhere south of Alaska. In some ways, it was better than Alaska because Alaskan trout are seldom caught on surface flies. Of the 30 fish I landed in two days, more than 20 rose to a big hopper. For the rest of the article click here. Back to the Marabou Ranch Steamboat blog main page for more.

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Saturday, August 16, 2008

Marabou Master guide in the news

The Dallas Morning News has a nice article on Steamboat Springs today with several quotes from Pat Stefanek a friend who has a "tough job" as a Master Guide at Marabou Ranch. Poor Pat has to Ski all winter and Fly-fish about 10 months a year.

Perfection in land of hoppers and droppers Saturday, August 16, 2008

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS, Colo. – The first year Pat Stefanek spent in Steamboat Springs (1991), he had three jobs, just trying to make ends meet. One thing he knew for sure. He'd do whatever it took to live his version of a Rocky Mountain high.

"I was lucky because I made my passion my living," said Stefanek, master fishing guide and river keeper for three miles of upscale private trout waters on Marabou Ranch, just outside of Steamboat Springs, and 40 miles of private trout waters on North Park Fishing Club in nearby Walden, Colo.

"Steamboat Springs is the world's greatest place to live," Stefanek said. "The name alone is very cool, but there's a terrific outdoor lifestyle here that's hard to match. There are great trout streams in every direction, many of them public waters. I had 110 days of skiing on the mountain last winter – lots of powder days.

"Everybody is hiking and riding mountain bikes – it's just a great, healthy lifestyle. Whatever you think you're good at, there's a 12-year-old girl in Steamboat Springs who can kick your rear." (8 or 10 years old would probably be more accurate) For the whole article click here

Back to the Marabou Ranch blog main page for more.

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