On three rivers in Patagonia, the Caleufu, Collon Cura and Limay I have experienced a trout fishing phenomenon, big fish in groups busting on minnows much like one sees in saltwater fishing. The visual is exhilarating and gets the adrenalin pumping. In all my fishing adventures the MINNOW HATCH ranks at the top and should be on your wish list as a must do.
I first encountered this on one of my earliest trips to Patagonia fishing the Caleufu just above the entrance to the lake. Imagine twelve fish lined up across the river with slashing rises on what appeared to be caddis emergers. I told my guide Gustavo Hiebaum that I had designed a great caddis pattern that would surely work.
He laughed as I tied it on. My first cast was perfect with a great drift over the closest fish only to see it float well over the holding position. After five more casts I decided that the fly needed action not just a good drift and began twitching the fly. I turned to Gustavo and said what gives. He reached in his vest and produced a tiny streamer pattern that had a very sparse wing and one strand of tinsel. One could say that it was more a bare hook than a streamer. Oh well always listen to the guide.
First cast and it was game on as a twenty inch brown wacked the fly just as it came into its feeding window. Interestingly the trout would not move any distance right or left for a fly or a baitfish that was not exactly in the feeding window. I would have thought that the fish would be chasing minnows all over the river but no they were content to hold position and bust away. Given the quantity of the prey little effort was required to actively feed while maintaining their position.
Almost every good cast was rewarded with a hookup with rainbows in the seventeen to twenty one inch range and a mix of big browns. One particular fish was about eight feet from the others and Gustavo said it was a big brown.
We worked across the run as I got into position to cast to this fish. First cast the fly covered the fish as it went over the lie and started to drift beyond the fish. Suddenly as I was about to give up on the cast and pick up the line a shadow zipped over and nailed the tiny streamer. All hell broke loose as the brown trashed the pool wildly zig zagging back and forth. Finally a big chunky brown filled the net.
The Collon Cura also has great minnow hatches and my friend Simons Welter caught a ten plus pounder during one of these hatches.
If you are not excited already then the minnow hatch on the Limay Medio will really get your attention. Lots of minnows being aggressively attacked by BIGGG fish!!
The RIVER of MONSTERS on fire with multiple minnow hatches throughout the day.
After lots of experimenting we have found that small floating minnow patterns fished on a short line, giving lots of action to the fly imitating a baitfish trying to escape predators is a winning combination.
I can assure you that the minnow hatch is far more exciting than most other hatches and will leave you with trembling hands and fond memories!!