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We just got back from a week vacation in the Grand Lake area. We stayed in a cabin on Sun Valley Ranch about 4 miles NW of Grand Lake. Sun Valley Lake was formed by the owner, Ken, back in the 60's when he cut a trench from the Colordo River and flooded about 15-20 acres of his ranch (way before the EPA!!). The lake is only 3' deep on average, maybe 6' deep near the dam. It's loaded with leeches and the bows gorge themselves on them. We would literally walk out of our backdoor and drop a line and catch a lunker. The smallest was 16" and the largest was 19" but they were of almost equal girth which put them in the 3-5 pound range! My kids loved it and we released them all. The bummer was that some 'new people' arrived in the cabin next door and took twelve fish the last day we were there :'( :'( The girls dunked worms while my son and I threw big attractors at 'em (humpies, royal wulffs, and renegades). The last morning my girls were in the canoe on the lake and a cow moose and her calf decided to cross the lake and come out right behind our cabin. I have some great video of that as the girls circled back in the canoe and were in the foreground with the moose in the background. Pretty cool video. (A sidenote: after having lived in Alaska for over 8 years, my wife and I know not to muck with a moose, especially a cow and her calf. The girls were a healthy distance away from them in the canoe!).

The Colorado River was about 100 yards across the road and we fished it there and in RMNP. Lots of small browns - 11" was the largest we caught. It was definitely dry fly territory as there was too much sunken brush and deadfall that nymphing was impossible. Surprisingly stoneflies and craneflies were hatching every day.

We also hit Grand Lake twice right at the North Portal next to the Alva Adams tunnel. We fished from the rocks and had nonstop action for 10-14" stockers on pink powerbait fished about 3-4' off the bottom (there's a steep dropoff there and the fish just cruise). It's a great stop that's guaranteed to produce.

On Friday we rented a pontoon boat from Highland Marina on Granby and headed into Arapahoe Bay. We had to drive almost all the way up the Bay before we found a creek coming into the bay and we fished there. Again we hammered 10-14" bows on powerbait while slowly drifting. We tried some tube jigs for about an hour off of Deer Island but I just don't have the equipment/knowledge/boating experience to be able to catch lakers. That's when we decided to stick with what we know how to do.

When I wasn't fishing I was running the trails of RMNP and checked out every hole/bend pool that I ran past. If you take the Green Mounatin Trail to Granite Falls there's a tremendous bend pool on Tonahutu Creek just below the Sunrise campsite that held a dozen or more trout (not sure which kind). Similarly if you go up the East Inlet trailhead about 3 miles (past the first meadow) there were several big bend pools and pocket water that were holding all kinds of trout.

I'm going to have to buy myself one of those 7 piece fly rods from Cabelas that breaks down into 18" sections do I can put it with my Camelback when I go on these runs. My running buddies tell me that I'll only run as far as the first hole and that'll be it for running! I think they're right!! ;D

Overall a fantastic place to spend a week fishing. Opportunities abound. Check it out!
 

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Sounds like you guys had a great time, I'm looking forward to my summer fishing vacation trip.. August is so far away.
 

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Hey colorado,

Thanks for the report. So, is it reasonable price-wise to stay at Sun Valley Ranch? What are the typical room rates/etc.? Sounds like you had a good time... It is always fun to see the kids catch a bunch of fish...
 

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We stayed in "Sun Valley Cabin" through Black Bear rentals in Grand Lake. It was $195/night for the 6 of us and we got the 7th night for "free". $1253 for the week including taxes. I'd do it again in a heartbeat to see all my kids pulling in those 3-5 pound trout. Plus the shallow lake means no worries about drowning when you let the kids take the canoe out alone (life jackets on of course!).

The best part of staying there was no town distractions (shopping, rides, movies, etc) just good old fashioned fun!
 
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