Upper Canyon Outfitters is a full service guest ranch. It offers various kinds of accommodations, with or without meals, horseback trips, flyfishing on the upper Ruby River as it flows through the ranch and a private spring-fed pond, plus guiding and access to private waters for additional fees.
Guided drift trips are also offered on the Beaverhead, Big Hole and Madison Rivers. Hunting is offered in season. Once known as the Tate Ranch, the property sits at the neck of the canyon at the base of the Snowcrest Mountain Range about ten miles south of Ruby Reservoir. To the north of the ranch is the Greenhorn Mountain Range and to the east are the Gravelly Mountains. The elevation is about 6,000 feet.
Upper Canyon Outfitters is situated in a location that makes it possible for anglers to fish a wide variety of public and private waters. A short drive south of the ranch will bring you to many miles of the upper Ruby River where wild rainbows, cutthroat and introduced grayling may be caught. The grayling are the results of a reintroduction program that has been more successful than anyone imagined. If you haven't caught a grayling, it would be safe to say that the upper Ruby would provide an excellent opportunity at this time.
What makes UCO popular with anglers is a fishing program that runs from fishing on your own to fishing private waters for a fee to being fully guided.
During our three-day visit this past summer, Chris and I only sampled a few of the waters available to guests. We fished the upper Ruby on the ranch during an intense mid morning Trico spinner fall and landed rainbows up to sixteen inches. There are two miles of stream on the Ranch. As mentioned previously, we fished the upper Ruby on public lands catching lots of grayling plus a few rainbows. One of the ranch guides took us to fish a private stretch of the lower Ruby for browns and on that same day, we fished some private spring-fed dredger ponds where we caught browns up to twenty inches long. We also fished a private section of the upper Ruby upstream of the Ranch on some of the most beautiful water in the drainage.
At the time of our visit in late July, four new housekeeping log cabins were almost completed. They are fully self contained and looked to be very comfortable. Other lodging options are an older log cabin, and eight comfortable rooms in the main lodge building.
Dinner is taken family style with home cooked meals featuring freshly baked pies for desert.
The communal gathering area has a fly tying table available for those who need to replenish their inventory. For those who don't tie flies, a small fly shop is on the premises carrying most of the essential flyfishing items.
The atmosphere of the ranch is casual and everyone is made to feel as though they are part of the family. If you are fishing on your own, you are given detailed directions to productive water. UCO is ideal for a family vacation, particularly if both or either spouse are flyfishers.
A report on the upper Ruby River is scheduled to appear in the May 2000 issue of "The Inside Angler," where Upper Canyon Outfitters will be featured.
Rates in 1999 were as follows:
LODGE - Bedroom in lodge with three home cooked meal was $100/first person and $65 each additional person. Half price for children 12 and under.
LOG CABIN - Two bedroom, sleeps seven, with kitchen and bath. Towels and bedding are supplied for $150/night.
HOUSING UNITS - Two bedroom, sleeps six with kitchen and bath. Towels and bedding are supplied for $100/night/first person and $15 each additional person. Can be rented by the week.
HORSEBACK TRIPS - $16/hour; $15 each additional hour; $60 for four hours; $100 for a Day-ride (six hours, includes lunch); and $20/hour for private lessons.
FLYFISHING - Guests have exclusive access to fishing on the ranch with no additional fees. To fish private ranches unguided, the rod fees range from $65 to $75.
FLYFISHING INSTRUCTIONS AND TRIPS - Full day walk/wade on Ruby River is $225/one angler and $300/two anglers. Full day private pond fishing for trophy brown trout is $260/one anglers and $325/two anglers. Full day float trips for one or two anglers is $295.
For more information and reservations:
Jake & Donna McDonald, proprietors
Upper Canyon Outfitters
Alder, MT 59710
web site: www.uco.simplenet.com
Photos by Christine and Michael Fong ©2000