North Park Anglers
Full Service Orvis Fly Shop
Colorado Outfitter License #2119
524 Main St., Walden, CO 80480
North Park Anglers (NPA) is far different than most fly shops. We have the very fortunate and unique situation where we are one component of a large ranching and outfitting family based here in beautiful North Park. NPA is the retail and fly fishing arm of our outfitting business, Buffalo Creek Outfitters, LLC. Buffalo Creek Outfitters is the outfitting operation which offers hunting, fishing, lodging, and other forms of outdoor recreation on our ranches located around the valley. The majority of our ranching and lodging operation occurs on our headquarters, The Buffalo Creek Ranch, which lies about twenty miles south of Walden.
Confused yet? What does this mean to you, our valued customer? In simplified terms, it means that we have pristine, secluded waters to take you fishing! We own, not lease, over 18,000 acres of private land that contain seven still-water fisheries and more than fifteen miles of private streams carefully managed for optimum fly fishing opportunities. Sole ownership allows for the substantial investment in time and money to continually improve our fisheries for generations to come and ensures quality waters for our clients. We also have a lodge, 800 head of cattle, and about 3,000 tons of hay so we’ve got you covered if you want an exclusive guest ranch experience, a side of beef for your freezer, or some feed for your horses.
The Buffalo Creek Ranch, our home ranch, will also serve as your home during your stay with us. The Wapiti Lodge (Wapiti—Arapaho Indian word meaning “white rump,” or elk) awaits visitors in an aspen grove at 9,000 feet of elevation. This beautiful, six-bedroom lodge sits in the heart of the property and ensures guests a luxurious stay. Five lakes are featured on the property and range in size from a couple acres to the 45-acre Buffalo Lake. They lie nestled in all corners of the ranch amongst breathtaking scenery. All are managed as trophy trout fisheries, each having a different mix of trout, but all are special in their own way. Access to the lakes is possible via horseback, 4wd vehicles or by hiking. Fishing is conducted either by wading the shoreline or sight casting from our drift boats.
The on-site stream, Buffalo Creek, offers two different sections that have undergone major stream restoration projects. Habitat improvement, angler access, and overall “fishability” were dramatically improved through these efforts. It’s located just a double-haul from the lodge and beckons one to try our 2 or 3 weight fly rods for a delicate dry fly presentation to wild trout.
The Illinois River Ranch encompasses 5,000 acres and is a short 5-minute drive from our lodge. As the name implies, the Illinois River is the draw for fly fishermen. This beautiful stream meanders effortlessly through the valley floor. Its banks are lined with tall grasses and willows providing abundant habitat for the various terrestrial insects that the trout gorge on. Deep undercut banks, overhanging willows, and deep pools provide epic cover from trout predators (man included) and compel the angler to make a perfect cast. This classic meadow stream contains unbelievable biomass and secluded holding water: the perfect recipe for growing big, healthy, and wild brown trout. We refer to these brown trout specimens as “butterbeans” and this is the river where they thrive. Whether you prefer tossing mouse patterns at twilight hours, flipping hoppers to fish hiding deep within an undercut bank, or delicately presenting a mayfly pattern, the Illinois River rarely disappoints a fly fisherman.
The Headwaters Ranch lies in the shadow of the Mt. Zirkel Wilderness and covers roughly 3,000 acres of the most picturesque landscape in the Park. A short, 30-minute drive from our lodge, this ranch features two different streams and a 15-acre lake. Norris Creek cascades over spectacular waterfalls as it enters our property. Its’ cold, gin-clear waters began as snowpack atop the Continental Divide less than a mile away. From this beginning and for the next couple of miles anglers are treated to epic fishing on waters that received an extensive stream restoration in 2007. As the stream flows onward through the ranch, the gradient lessons, and its character evolves from freestone to meadow stream, providing enticing diversity for every visitor.
The Roaring Fork also claims its’ origins a couple short miles from the ranch on the surrounding 12,000 foot peaks. This stream plummets through Red Canyon before entering our property. Once entered, it begins to slow and deepen as it makes its way through several large beaver dams. Below the dams, the stream speeds-up and flows through classic riffle and run sequences that produce prolific bug-life and, correspondingly, prolific hatches---a fly fishers dream. As it reaches the bottom of the property, it again slows and deepens, providing the angler another stretch of meadow stream opportunities. Our 15-acre lake lies just a couple miles from the famed Delaney Butte Lakes. Anglers can expect the same trophy sized trout and grand hatches of callibaetis, damsels, and chironomids, but not the crowds of eager fishermen, as our lake is private. As you cast from our drift boat, you are sure you can reach the towering snowcapped peaks with a good cast. It’s hard to have a bad day fishing when surrounded by such spectacular vistas.