Background of the Tarryall Fishing Club, Inc.
The TFC is comprised of the lot owners of Stagestop and Lost Park Ranch. Each owner receives a membership when they purchase property in either of the subdivisions. The Tarryall Fishing Club or TFC had its beginning when developers Ken Barber and Bill Poleson doing business as the Rawhide Company were planning to develop land along County Road 77 between Jefferson and Lake George. In 1976, the developers, as part of a land deal, signed a lease for fishing rights along the Tarryall River with the owners of the land, the Sibleys. The fishing lease was for a term of 99 years with an option to renew for another 99 years.
The developers sold lots in the Stagestop and Lost Park Ranch subdivisions and used the fishing amenity as a sales incentive. They managed the fishing club and stocked fish in the water augmentation reservoirs and the leased stretch along the Tarryall River.
In 1991, the developers turned the fishing club over to the Stagestop and Lost Park Ranch owner associations. Stagestop and Lost Park registered Articles of Incorporation with the Colorado Secretary of State to form the Tarryall Fishing Club, Inc. The TFC was formed to provide a forum for the two subdivisions to make joint decisions about the management of the fishing amenity.
The TFC annual dues are collected by the owner associations, for efficiency, and turned over to the TFC. TFC membership cards are mailed out each year sometime in April along with notice of the TFC annual membership meeting. The TFC annual membership meeting is held each May. All members (owners from Stagestop and Lost Park Ranch) are invited and encouraged to attend the annual membership meeting. Owners must be current on both owner association dues and TFC dues to vote at the annual membership meeting.
Fish are stocked in the three water augmentation ponds and in several locations along the approximate 10-mile leased stretch of the Tarryall River during the summer. Members are required to access the river at designated access points. (See map and access point description.)
The TFC has its own fishing rules but members must also follow Colorado fishing regulations as specified by the Division of Wildlife. A TFC membership card must be carried by each person when fishing and they must possess a valid Colorado fishing license if over the age of 16.
Geography of the Tarryall Area
From modest beginnings in the Park Range, Tarryall Creek turns into more of a river before joining its big brother, the South Platte.
The Tarryall was named by miners. After discovering placer gold in this creek in 1859, they named it “Tarryall” as a place to stay awhile. After all, they were finding lots of nuggets, many the size of peas. Their less fortunate comrades, arriving later, were angered by the possessiveness of the original group and nicknamed the area “Graball”. These less-fortunate miners moved on to settle in Fairplay, named to suggest a more reasonable place than Tarryall.
Tarryall Creek gets it start on the slopes of Mount Silverheels. Flowing southeast into South Park, it is joined by several streams including Michigan and Jefferson Creeks. After flowing about 20 miles from its source and traveling through South Park, it enters Tarryall Reservoir. Here the river changes character. Upstream, the Tarryall meanders through mostly open grazing land. Downstream from the reservoir, it flows through a forested canyon, bounded by reddish-granite walls. There are meadows where the canyon opens up – there is also lots of brush long the river.
Access is very limited along most of the river. County road 77 follows the Tarryall from it junction with Michigan and Jefferson Creeks (just south of the town of Jefferson) to the point where the creek turns east to meet the South Platte. There are a few public access points upstream of the reservoir, including a portion of Tarryall Reservoir State Wildlife area (about 2 miles upstream of the reservoir). The reservoir offers fishing for trout and pike, with access to upstream and downstream parts of the creek. Downstream, you can fish the tailwaters below the dam and diversion. There are some nice pools and good shore fishing. Public land exists for about 1/4 mile from the dam downstream. (NOTE: Tarryall Reservoir was drained in 2002 for dam repairs; it is starting to fill in 2004. In 2005 it was re-opened).
Traveling down Road 77, most access is private. Fishing is available at several newly-opened sections through the South Park Fly Fishers. Other access is available through the Rocky Mountain Angling Club. There is public access at the Ute Creek Trailhead, at the Twin Eagles picnic area/campground, and at Spruce Campground. Further south, the land is mostly in Pike National Forest, but access gets more difficult. If you’re adventurous, Forest Road 210 will lead you to trails from which you can access perhaps the best part of the stream, near its meeting with the South Platte. Be aware that this road is rough (4×4 or ATV) and a couple of miles of hiking are required to reach the Tarryall/South Platte confluence. The last couple of miles of the Tarryall have been designated as Wild Trout Waters.
Don’t forget the reservoir. Since re-opening in mid-2005, this still water seems to be fishing great. You can camp in several areas and access almost the whole shoreline by walking (boats are also allowed). Try the northern shore where you can fish either in the reservoir, or the inlet above. A good section of Tarryall Creek is accessible from the inlet upstream.
How to get there?
From South Park: Turn south off Hwy 285 at Jefferson (signed to Tarryall Reservoir). Take County Road 77 southeast – this follows the creek for much of its journey.
From Lake George/Hwy 24: Turn north off of Hwy 24 just north of Lake George. Go about 5 miles north to Tarryall Creek, or turn off south of here on Forest Road 210 to access the creek via trails.