Quillen River, Back After 20 Years

Finally after 20 years I got the chance to come back, to fly fish again at the Quillen River in the province of Neuquen in Argentina. We went there from Cordoba by car, we drove almost a for a full day till we got to the Alumine area where we had organized to stay at the famous Casa de Campo for 5 nights while we would be fishing in different rivers.

In our itinerary our first stop was the Quillen river, for we had decided to go with Christian, a friend and guide from Alumine.

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We arrived at Casa de Campo, our accommodation for the trip, and had a great meal with Dani and Marisa where we enjoyed some amazing pasta and nice red wine from Ventus Vineyard. Judging by the wine, we knew this experience was going to be unique. Ventus vineyard is an exclusive premium class wine produced by the first winery in the Province of Neuquen. Neuquen had been considered a desert for a long time, but it has now became an oasis for wine production given its unique characteristics. This highly awarded winery is called “La bodega del fin del mundo” The Winery from the End of the World, given its position in the southernmost part of Argentina.

After that delicious meal, we spend the night together with Juan and the following day we woke up early. At about 6.30, 6.45, we prepared our rods, our lines, all our flies, specially our dry flies and nymphs that would be the ones that we would use the most. We also prepared some sandwiches with tuna, chicken, tomatoes, lettuce, and some special cheese that Juan brought for the occasion. We also took some water and gatorade for the day in a nice cooler. We were expecting a waiting day over big rocks and we were prepared to spend a lot of energy around. We picked up Cristian at around 9 am at Alumine with a selection of flies. We had our boxes packed with flies and a couple of minutes later we were driving in the direction of the river. It is not far away, just 20 minutes driving and we got to a middle area of the river where we got the lines in our rods, mostly number 3,4,5 rods, all with floating lines, long, long leads of 15 feet, normally a tippet in the front of the line to get a good presentation. We were always assuming a fish can break our tippet, especially if it gets tied around the trees in the water or the algae.

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Lets talk about the Quillen river for a while. It starts in the mouth of the Quillen lake and runs to the east for about 35 km before joining the Alumine waters. The Quillen river has profuse vegetation on its banks, being willow trees the most typical species.

For February the river had very low level of water and its temperature was kind of warm. We arrived in a very sunny and clear day. During the morning there was no wind, which was nice for fly casting but in a certain way the warm temperature of the water made it more difficult to get the nice fish because they were kind of non active during the morning. In the early morning there was no activity on top of the water but later in the morning the water got calm and we saw a lot of small fish. Unfortunately,  we lost two small fish. Juan lost one fish, he lost this nice fish even before we got the chance to see how big it was. Then something similar happened to me when the line got stuck in a branch of a tree. I was landing on the water and the fish got stuck around with this tippet and I did not have the chance to hold it. Cristian was helping us a lot changing flies. We moved to different spots looking for deep waters that most of the time were calm. We looked for correderas of water, channels of water, trying to get some fish. We saw some action in those channels but the fish were not really trophies. We caught a nice one that was about 15 inches that morning and a couple around 16-17 inches. After that we stopped for lunch, we had a nice lunch looking at the river.

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That lunch was amazing, we had some meat prepared by the guys of Casa de Campo and we had some great vegetable salads, too. It is nice to have some light food during the day in the water. We all met the other different groups fishing for lunch. We took a short nap, about 15-20 minutes some of us under the shades, others under the sun. When we recovered our energy we were ready to come back to the water.

Cristian, one of the guides, brought a special wine from Mendoza, where he is originally from. We appreciated that a lot. It was a really nice present from a friend. It was a nice invitation, a red Malbec wine. We decided to keep it for the evening though, save it to have it with some good cheese during a nice sunset at Casa de Campo. After lunch we decided to change the area so we came back to the pick up truck and we started to look for a different area after Christian’s suggestion. We had been in an place with lots of trees around in both sides of the river, which make it impossible to fly cast. We did the casting with the rods, the rods casting way. It was not easy, but we liked the challenge and we managed to cast the flies and present them in the right area where we were expecting to get the fish from.

Cristian was very polite, he helped us change the flies, made suggestions, and fixed leaders. Like our friend from Santiago del Estero province said, “if you’re not getting your flies in the trees, you’re not fishing.” We tried to put the flies in the last little corner looking for a trophy.

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During the day Cristian was nice to invite us to fly fish in Mendoza province. There’s a couple of rivers he’d like us to go fish with him. It’s in our bucket list now! A new challenge to go to Mendoza and  see how the fishing works over there and maybe visit some wineries, too.

We had to use loads of sunscreen because the sun was really strong. We were wearing our long sleeves Columbia shirts and nsilta shirts, we were also using buffs to protect ourselves, Simms waders and fly fishing gloves and boots.

We used Sage rods, the zxl, Sage 1, Sage Approach and Sage Method. We found this latest was the better for this waters, it was stronger and we enjoyed it a lot. Sage Approach number 3 was kind of short but very interesting when we caught fish. Sage 6 feet was very challenging for this rivers. By the afternoon when the wind picked up and started blowing stronger we put the rod number 3 in the case and we decided to continue fishing with rods number 4 and 5, specially a Sage 5. It was very helpful.

The day went by very quickly. We could not believe it when we saw it was 6.30 and time to make our way back to the lodge! We were going to meet Rell Tipton, a friend coming from Cordoba where he had been wingshooting; he was joining us for the rest of the fishing trip.

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We finally met Rell Tipton that evening at Casa de Campo. He made a great connection: Cordoba, Buenos Aires, San Martin de los Andes. He left in the morning and he landed around 1.30 pm at San  Martin de los Andes in Neuquen Province. Someone from our staff picked him up and took him straight to the river and Rell had some action over there and after some hours he continued driving up north to Casa Campo. 

Casa de Campo is a beautiful lodge located in the town of Alumine in the province of Neuquen. This lodge offers the unique calm typical of rural settings in the foothills of The Andes. Marisa and Dani, the lodge owners, offer the guests the most comfortable experience and wonderful breakfasts in a lodge that offers great accommodations.

The day had been really good to us, a good beginning for our trip! We enjoyed a delicious dinner together with the Malbec wine Cristian had given us. That night we were all excited for the days we had ahead.

Stay tuned and check the following reports about the rest of our experience in Patagonia!

 

Pablo Aguilo

Director

Pointer Outfitters

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A Legendary Adventure

Fly anglers are a different sort as many of you know. An immediate bond is created between perfect strangers when the discussion of fly fishing comes up in conversation, which frequently does.

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I realize I’m biased on this topic but, seriously, can you imagine having an animated impassioned conversation with a perfect stranger if you were, say, a thimble collector? No offense to thimble collectors but the passion and the experiences just aren’t the same.

Evidence is found in the fly angler’s willingness to travel far and wide, crossing oceans and continents, just to have an opportunity to fly fish new water with new friends who may not even speak your language. Such is the case with Argentina, and with Andes Drifters out of San Martin de los Andes in particular.

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The trout of Argentina are legendary of course. But it’s more than this. It’s the entire adventure; the land, the history, the people. When you leave Buenos Aires and then Bariloche on your way to San Martin, you actually feel your mind and body changing pace. You’re with new friends now in a different world than the one you left back home. And it’s comfortable yet full of anticipation.

You’re fly fishing for world class brown and rainbow trout in a variety of settings. Each day is different yet tailored to your desires. Day one may be wade fishing the mouth of a river where it enters a lake. Tiny minnows are migrating from the lake to the river to spawn and huge trout are following them. It’s a feeding blitz like you’ve never seen in freshwater.

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Day two can find you on a crystal clear glacial lake carved out of the Andes eons ago. You’re fishing big attractor dry flies as the winds pick up and create enough disturbance on the surface to bring up cruising browns and rainbows looking for a meal.

The morning of your third day finds you standing at river’s edge watching a magnificently choreographed beehive of activity as the guides and support staff load rafts for an overnighter on the Collon Cura River. The camp staff will move on downstream of the anglers and have everything set up by the time you step out on land at day’s end. A gourmet meal and the famous Malbec wine await you. As you drift off to sleep, you wonder if tomorrow can possibly be as good as today. The answer; Yes, yes it can.

In all my travels, Gustavo Hiebaum and his staff at Andes Drifters are second to none. They are the friendliest, most accommodating group you’ll find and they show it in their eagerness to insure your complete satisfaction. If you want a break from fishing, they have a myriad of other activities available from hiking and biking to art galleries and sailing from which you may choose.

 

Jimmy Harris

Courtesy of Andes Drifters

The Stormy Highlands of Cordoba

The fishing in the highlands of Cordoba: On a typical day in the highlands, you will be using a 3 to 5 weight rod. Depending on the weather, the fly will be a dropper or a dry fly. Usually the fish range from 1 pound to 3 pounds and average length is between 4 to 13 inches.

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The rain drizzles. Thunder roars in the distance. Cold wind blows, chilling our bones. Another great day of fishing in the hills of Argentina! The river is beautiful, clear, and full of fish. Martin, our guide, did not lie about the quantity of fish. Rainbow and Brown trout are abundant and hungry. If only the weather would allow us to continue fishing. We huddle for warmth inside the car, waiting for a break in the storm. The river beckons to us. The storm laughs at us, producing hail in a quick flurry.

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Something mystical starts to occur, the clouds part and the sun peaks its way through for the first time. The downpour turns to a drizzle and then stops completely. It’s still cold, but we can handle that baby! Bill begins his trek up river with Martin. They stop at a beautiful area where fast water meets slow, eddying around various submerged rocks. We are surrounding by mountains on all sides, mist clinging to them lazily floating from one peak to the next. The scenery is gorgeous, as it should be, considering the drive to the remote river, nestled in private property, took us an hour up rough roads.

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I turn my attention back to Bill and Martin. Martin is expertly tying a dropper on the end of the fly line. A nymph mimic with black hair around the base leading up to red fringe around the collar. With the rod ready, Bill perched upon a rock, it was time for the fishing to commence. Slowly, he started casting. Five to ten minutes pass, nothing happens. I see frustration creep to the edge of his features. We move down the river to another promising spot. Again he begins casting. This time with luck on his side, his rod tip bends towards the water.  A monster, five kilos at least, thrashing on his line. His features light up, twisting and turning, trying to handle this six kilo rainbow.

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Luckily, Martin got his net out in time to safely subdue the seven kilo rainbow. Bill almost falling in the water battling the titan let out a sigh of relief, glad to be finished with such terrible exertion. All said and done, Martin pulled the nine kilo rainbow from the net, and gingerly handed it to Bill. Bill, struggling with the weight, frantically waited for Juan to take the picture. Juan, master photographer and videographer, quickly took the necessary shots before Bill passed out from the weight. It took all three of us and a small crane to strap the fish on top of the truck. By this time, the rainbow was at least thirty kilos and still growing. What in the world did they put in this river?

Well, at least that how fishing stories go don’t they? The fish was actually a little more than a pound and just under twelve inches. It put up a great fight however and had gorgeous coloring. It was the biggest fish caught that day. Most of the fish we caught were four to five inches and well under a pound. If you are looking for those monsters, then South Patagonia is the place to be!

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We settled down for lunch, enjoying a “la picada” before our main dish. Pablo makes sure there are three courses to every meal, in every operation he runs. Whether said meal is in the field or at one of his many lodges, the food is always filling and spectacularly tasty. A “la picada” is a sort of appetizer platter, with a variety of meat, cheese, and pickled goodies. Our next course was a sandwich, either beef or chicken, with delightful relishes upon it. Lastly, we had a milk chocolate or dulce de leche custard with sugary breadcrumbs. A great way to finish out the day. All said and done we caught nine fish that day. A great day with fantastic people and delicious food, the fishing wasn’t all that bad either!

Don’t cry for me Argentina!

Park Tipton

Host and Guide

Pointer Outfitters

 

Third day at Chimehuin River

Today is the third day of fly fishing in our beautiful country Argentina. We woke up in a quite spectacular morning with no wind at all. After having a quick breakfast, we went down through the Quilquihue River to the Chimehuin River.

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From there, we did a floated fishing and we stand by turns; sometimes I was at the front and sometimes at the back. We had to change flies several times until we found out that a particular one worked very well; a nymph that goes under the water calledCopper John 50.

Another brand that we like using when it comes to waders and boots, it’s Simms.

This brand is one of the best in terms of protection because it is a fishing company.  Founded on the pillars of innovation, it strives to build the highest quality products to keep anglers dry, comfortable, and protected from the elements – no matter the conditions. The Company was the brainchild of visionary angler John Simms who saw a need to develop better waders and accessories than what was then available on the market. That quest led to the development of Simms Fishing Products in 1980. During that era, Simms was one of the first companies worldwide to introduce neoprene waders, which provided enhanced warmth and waterproofing gear for serious anglers pushing the limits of their fishing pursuits. Today, Simms continues to take the fishing market by storm with a trained eye on fisheries conservation and inspired product development of the worlds premier technical fishing apparel, footwear, and equipment.

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We have also been using original Buff Gloves that are a special polar fleece that blocks 95% of the wind for great protection against cold, great for running, walking, biking and many other outdoor activities like fly fishing, Buff Neckwarmer to protect ourselves from the wind and sun; fleece and a drawstring for quick conversion from neck to headwear, a knitted outer layer combined with a Polartec fleece inner layer, super thermal product.

In the middle of the morning, we managed to catch many great trouts from under a place filled with fallen logs. That place gave paid us with three beautiful trouts of 18 and 20 inches. David did a great job. Most of the time he chose dry flies and, even though he did not want to use any nymph, he caught a couple of trouts of 16 and 18 inches.

At lunch time, we did something like a camp in a pretty place in a shade of a beach. We had a nice surprise when a domestic duck joined us and ate next to us.

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After that super nice lunch, we went fishing again. The afternoon was great but at the end it was really windy. Juan did his first casting and caught his very first brown troutof 16 inches. He was really excited and happy; it was incredible.

In that afternoon, wind was with us all the time, which complicated the casting but not the fishing. We did a camp next to the Chimehuin river and when we got there, they were waiting for us with dinner ready. We ate Patagonian lamb with grilled vegetables, always accompanied with red wine from a famous winery of Mendoza.

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After a few drinks, the day was over and we went to sleep and get some rest before another day of fly fishing adventures.

Pablo Aguilo

Director

Pointer Outfitters

First day at Tromen Lake

This first day, we left Casona Del Alto Lodge in San Martin de los Andes at about 8: 30 am to the lake on west direction from where we spent the night. It was a beautiful sunny morning. Wind was very slow, probably 15 or 20 km/h. After an hour of driving, we got to the lake at about 9:20 am.

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Gonzalo was our main guide, but there was Pepe too as a great guide, and the trouts we have been fishing are Rainbow Trout, Brown Trout and Brook Trout.

The first one is a very special trout, the rainbow trout, also called redband trout, is a species of salmonid native to cold-water tributaries of the Pacific Ocean in North America and Asia.

About appearance, they are torpedo-shaped and generally blue-green or yellow-green in color with a pink streak along their sides, white underbelly, and small black spots on their back and fins.

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Rainbow trout usually inhabit well oxygenated, shallow rivers with gravel bottoms; they also inhabit in lakes, although they are usually found in deeper, cool lakes with adequate shallows and vegetation for good production. The ideal temperature range is 50 to 60 degrees. Lake populations generally require access to gravely bottomed streams to be self-sustaining.

The second one, the brown trout (Salmo trutta), is a European species of salmonid fish that has been widely introduced into suitable environments globally.

The first introductions in Canada occurred in 1886 in Newfoundland and continued through 1933. The only Canadian regions without brown trout are the Yukon and Northwest Territories. Introductions into South America began in 1904 in Argentina.

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The brown trout is a medium-sized fish, growing to 20 kg (44 lb) or more and a length of about 100 cm (39 in) in some localities, although in many smaller rivers, a mature weight of 1.0 kg (2.2 lb) or less is common.

Within the US, brown trout introductions have created self-sustaining fisheries throughout the country. Many are considered \”world-class\” such as in the Great Lakes and in several Arkansas tailwaters. Outside the US and outside its native range in Europe, introduced brown trout have created \”world-class\” fisheries in New Zealand, Patagonia and the Falklands.

Last but not least, we also went fishing brook trout (Salvelinus fontinalis) is a species of freshwater fish in the salmon family Salmonidae. It is native to Eastern North America in the United States and Canada, but has also been artificially introduced elsewhere in North America and to other continents. In parts of its range, it is also known as the eastern brook trout, speckled trout, brook charr, squaretail, or mud trout, among others. Apotamodromous population in Lake Superior is known as coaster trout or, simply, as coasters. The brook trout is the state fish of nine states: Michigan, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Vermont, Virginia, and West Virginia.

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The brook trout inhabits large and small lakes, rivers, streams, creeks, and spring ponds. They prefer clear waters of high purity and a narrow pH range and are sensitive to poor oxygenation, pollution, and changes in pH caused by environmental effects such as acid rain.

We were fly-fishing on Tromen Lake, located inside the Lanin National Park and less than 2 hours north from San Martin de los Andes and Chapelco Airport.

This lake is a really special one. It is 1100 mts above sea level and it is a deep waters lake of about 1200 feet deep.

 

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Embarking boat, we head towards the lake bottom where we fished in stone walls.

The day was great since a little wind made some waves which helped us make a closer fly casting. Everything was catch and release and we used fishing rods Siege number 5 and L.L. bean number 5 too, with leading floating lines 4X and attractors flies afloat and fish hooks between 8 and 14.

On this first day of fishing, we used flys like Fat Albert and Turk’s Tarantula. We were also using Simms gloves, neck protector Columbia, Pointer Flyfishing shirts, Simms Wader and Simms wading boots.

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At the beginning of the morning, we fished around those stone walls. Although shadows didn’t allow us to see the fish clearly, we had really good results as we fished 2 and 3 pounds rainbow trouts mostly. During the morning we hadn’t any brown trout nut we saw a couple of brooks.

At the end of the morning, we had calm waters so we were able to see the fish, doing some casting to the identification of each one.

Between Pablo and David, 4 fish of about 17 to 20 inches and with great presentation on the flies were caught.

After an awesome morning, we had lunch at the camp, eating salads and omelettes, sitting in the sun and enjoying some cold drinks. An hour later we started the afternoon fishing. It started really hard. There was this really hot weather going on and we were costing like an hour without luck until we could finally start fishing again and, at the end, we caught 5.

_EP_0002_1As mentioned, we were fishing in San Martín de los Andes, a city in the province of Neuquén, Argentina. It is located in the Lácar Department in the south-west of the province, at the foot of the Andes.

A major change in settlement life came when in 1937 Lanín National Park was created. This meant that wood logging was gradually reduced and numerous small settlements along the lake shore disappeared. New roads were built effectively connecting San Martín with the rest of Argentina.

At present, either for the ski season or the summer, it is a popular destination for tourism, and the seat of the administration headquarters of the Lanín National Park. Its landscape is one of the most spectacular of Patagonia.

Going back to this incredible fishing day, I remember one moment at 4 pm when we were coasting on the rocks and Gonzalo said that he saw a fish 20 mts away from us and made us throw ourselves behind a log that was almost inside the water. The fly fell 40 cm close to where he said the fish was and we saw the trout turning and catching the fly. The success of that catching was thanks to the best guide of San Martin de los Andes, Gonzalo Flego.

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ANECDOTE

When you throw the fly and it lands on the water, you make something called “twitch” so the fly moves and then you have to leave it still for a few seconds to attract the fish. In this case, Pablo was a little obstinate, so he did the first twitch, saw the fish coming and not catching the fly, and did a second twitch which pissed Pepe off and so he got really angry ! After several minutes of arguing with Pablo telling him what he did was wrong, we all saw a brooke trout catching the fly, noticing that Pablo was right by proving something impossible for Pepe. After all this discussion, we fished some beautiful fontinalis trouts of about 21 inches.

Patagonia’s Endless Summer with Andes Drifters

Fly fishing with our associated partners in North Patagonia, Andes Drifters, and his CEO and General manager Gustavo Hiebaum.­ News from last season…

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It turns out there is a cure for winter. The sky is blue. The sun is warm. Red stone cliffs rise above deep green water. Rolling hills covered in sage brush, or what looks like sage brush, roll uninterrupted as far as the eye can see. Twenty­inch brown trout rise out every green pocket to eat big bushy dry flies. It’s January and at home pipes are bursting in my basement.

I could swear I was in Montana. It looks so much like Montana. I didn’t expect that. Just like Montana summer, until you spot a group of llamas resting by the river or a snow covered volcano or a condor sailing like a pterodactyl overhead or your guide says something like, “give it to me please, the fly.”

IMG_GR_testimonials1438102816So much about Patagonia is familiar and so much strange. The language, the customs and the wildlife may seem strange, but rivers are rivers and trout, trout. My fly knows what to do here and it does it time and time again.

We float beautiful wild rivers and never see another boat. We fish long days. The sun is up late here, less than five­hundred miles from Antarctica. The water is so clear you can count the pebbles at the bottom of the deepest runs. The air is warm and sweet and even the fish seem to be carried away in the innocence of summer. I drink wine and eat dolce de leche as the crawlspace at home fills with water.

IMG_GR_testimonials1438008751At night we gather around a fire and watch a goat brown on a spit. We drink too much and sleep under the southern cross. I hear Crosby Stills and Nash singing “Southern Cross” in my head all week. The guides tell stories in Spanish long after I have drifted off. They are full of life and love of this land and these waters. It’s easy to imagine that it’s always summer here. That the pipes never freeze.

Patagonia with its red stag and giant birds, its wine and its chocolate, its classical guitars and tango dancers. This beautiful wild Montana of the south with its volcanos and its wind and its crazy, drunken Spanish stories and its wild, wild rivers and its hungry trout. The whole place feels like a fairy tale. Like something lost in time. Like a drunken story told in Spanish by a roaring fire.

IMG_GR_testimonials1438102854The whole week I feel like a high school kid who’s snuck into a college party. Like I’ll wake up somewhere else, somewhere cold and wet with awful work to do. I try to drink it in. I try to tell myself it’s real and it can last. I land one last big brown trout and we row off the river. I ride through the desert in a pickup truck. I take pills and I sleep on the plane. I wake up somewhere cold and wet, with awful work to do.

But I can’t stop thinking about Patagonia. I keep thinking about that politician from South Carolina who told everyone he was going to hike the Appalachian trail, disappeared to Argentina and fell in love with some beautiful dark­haired woman, burned his whole career and family to the ground. I think about that poor miserable bastard while I lay in the dirt of my crawl space in the cold and the wet and I want to be him so bad I could cry.

IMG_GR_testimonials1438102958In the end, the trip to Patagonia cost about the same as the plumbing. I think I’ll do it again next year. Not the plumbing.

Thanks Louis!

Gustavo Hiebaum -­ Andes Drifters

By Louis Cahill/ Gink & Gasoline

http://www.ginkandgasoline.com

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Sea Run Brown Summit

What will be the Summit for fly fishing? That is a difficult question and we should think that the answer should be personalize because there is NOT a single one summit, in our opinion, Rio Grande, Argentina in Tierra del Fuego province, down south Patagonia is one of the paradises for avid fly fishermen’s. Sea-runners are brown trout (salmo-trutta) that have, as juvenile fingerlings, made a decision to move away from freshwater and to live in saltwater.

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This specie conjures up visions of ocean fed Sea Run Brown Trout held in the hands of expertise anglers in days with extreme wind and sun.  With high daily catch rates of fish averaging 8 to 13lbs and strong returns every year.

One of the finest lodges in Argentina, Tierra del Fuego, is Estancia Maria Behety, which has the longest area of Rio Grande River and more than dozen years on the fishing dreams. Rio Grande is the pot of gold at the end of a rainbow.

IMG_GR_testimonials1406210033Sea run brown trout mean leaving a side creek or tributary of a larger estuarine system and moving into the ocean. After taking up residence in this part fresh, part saltwater environment the fingerlings undergo minor physical changes to their gills which will later allow them to live in a totally saltwater environment. Having acclimatized in the first 1-2 years of their lives, the fingerlings move even further downstream towards saltwater.

Upon reaching a near saltwater environment potential sea-run fish have to decide whether or not to leave the estuary. Generally speaking resident trout do not do as well as their sea-going brother and sister fish and usually spend most of their time scrounging for whatever food items they can find. Living as a resident is very much a second existence in comparison to that of a sea-runner.

I had personal enjoy fishing at the Rio Grande a couple of times, and hook some of my best memories fishing with good friends like Bruce Peeler and Tim Leach, and expertise friends like William Leach and James Mc Kay.

It is important that fly fishermen’s that hasn’t been to Argentina yet, realize that fishing Tierra del Fuego means, spey rods, strong winds, early wake up calls, long siestas, and dinner like 12pm when we are back from the river. Day light in summer time in south Patagnia is long as could be in Alaska, so normally in January anglers could be in the river till the end of the day with the last light of the day.IMG_GR_testimonials1406210879

Your guides are everything, they really know how to read this unique and unpredictable river, and most important they have most answers in terms how to stream or drift a fly. At Estancia Maria Behety anglers will be able to fish both sides of the Rio Grande.  No other fishing lodge in Tierra del Fuego has a better access to the Rio Grande.

How you get there? Easy money! International flight to Buenos Aires, overnight in one of the most beatifuls cities in South America, and following morning you will take a 3 hours flight to go down south, to Rio Grande City. From there it will be like 15 minutes’ drive. A warm up session and you will be ready for action.

Season goes from November to April, and prime time could be March. The greatest at Maria Behety Lodge are the 100 prime pools on 32 private miles of the lower Rio Grande. The guides are renowned for both their intimate knowledge of the Rio Grande and consistent success in bringing monster sea trout to the bank.Maria Behety Lodge (28)

At Estancia Maria Behety you will enjoy delicatessen meal and great camaraderie. Anglers can enjoy amenities like single room occupancy, a Jacuzzi, pool table, radiant floor heat, private chef and a huge wine cellar. Please, never hesitate to request personal opinions or advice regarding flies or casts; or where to cast your fly. Guides will be always ready to take you fishing some great pools and runners. Remember that in the middle of a windy day, any time you could have a strong hook and a 10lbs se run brown trout will be fighting for freedom in your line.

Weather is very important, and Catch rates will vary with weather conditions.

Experienced anglers know that Sea Run Brown trout fishing on the Rio Grande is the summit to any other anadromous Brown Trout river in the world.

Believe it; it is difficult to express the feeling about this unique fishing in a short writing report, so please feel free to contact us for further info.

Pablo Aguilo

Pointer Fly Fishing

History of Sea Run Brown Trout

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Precise records describing the earliest introductions of brown trout to Tierra del Fuego as well as mainland Argentina are unavailable (C. Riva Rossi, personal communication). The first documented attempt at introduction of the species into Argentina occurred in 1906 when 6000 eggs were reportedly shipped, but died in transport, probably from the United Kingdom to the Santa Cruz Hatchery in mainland Patagonia (Marini and Mastrarrigo 1963).

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In 1927, brown trout stocking took place on the Chilean side of Tierra del Fuego in several rivers which may have included headwaters to the Rio Grande drainage (Basulto del Campo 2003). Those fish are of unknown European origin, but possibly from Hamburg, Germany and were marked “Meersforelle,” meaning “sea trout,” though the source population was not identified (Joyner 1980; R. Behnke, personal communication). Recent genetic studies regarding 14 parental stocks of southern Chilean brown trout suggest that the brown trout in southern Chile are of Atlantic as opposed to Mediterranean drainages (Colihueque, Vergara, and Parraguez 2003; Faundez et al. 1997).

From 1935 to 1937, English settler John Goodall received and reared brown trout ova from Puerto Montt, Chile before releasing them into the Candelaria, Herminita, MacLennan, and Menendez Rivers (Bruno Videla 1978). Potential sources of those ova include Hamburg, Germany or other locations in Europe (Valiente et al. 2007). Rainbow trout (Onchoryncus mykiss W.) and Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar L.) were stocked during the same period throughout tributaries to the Rio Grande. Stocking of brown trout in the watershed resumed in 1976 (Bruno Videla 1978), and with the exception of 1979-1981, continued annually through at least 2000 (S. Lesta, personal communication).

The first recorded catch of resident brown trout in the river appears in Goodall’s records in 1937. Records from 1948 document catches of all three introduced species (resident brown trout, resident rainbow trout, and Atlantic salmon) in the mainstem Rio Grande. Evidently brown trout remained in the stream as a resident population for decades, until local anglers report the emergence of ‘large, silver,’ apparently sea run fish in the mid- to late-1950s (A. Menendez Behety, personal communication). Local net and rod fishing, with a loosely enforced bag limit of five sea trout per fisherman per day, developed later in the century until catchand-release angling tourism started in 1986 (Solomon and Czerwinski 2006). As angling tourism grew, public access to the river diminished. Currently, less than 10 stream kilometers are open to angling only by local anglers with an enforced bag limit of one fish per fisherman per day. There is additional access to the river for the general public one day per week. Access to the vast majority of the Argentine section of the river, however, is controlled by private landowners who lead primarily foreign anglers on a daily basis for strictly catch-and-release fishing during the summer and early fall.

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By Sarah O’Neal, Univ. Montana, Flathead Lake. Biostation