The River of Monsters

Most of the fly fishing world have read about the big sea run brown trout of Tierra del Fuego but few know about or have fished the RIVER of MONSTERS. No sea runs here but bows that make the reel sing and BIG, BIGGER and really BIGGG browns.

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The mighty Limay River, once flowing freely for about 300 miles from its source, Lake Nahuel Huapi near San Carlos de Bariloche until it joins the Neuquen River to form the Rio Negro on its final decent to the Atlantic Ocean, has its flow now interrupted by five dams.

It is the stretch between the Pichi Picún Leufú Dam and the Exequiel Ramos Mejia Reservoir that is called Middle Limay or Limay Medio but many have dubbed it the RIVER of MONSTERS.IMG_GR_testimonials1406932282

In addition to the big browns it is a world class rainbow fishery.

As a result of the dams, the reservoir creates a great habitat for enormous minnow populations of different species as well as a great environment for trout to grow fast and reach unbelievable size.

I have been fortunate to have fished these waters many, many times over the past ten years. People ask me why am I so obsessed with the LIMAY MEDIO.

There are many components to my answer and each time I fished there I add another to the list. The sheer remoteness and beauty, having the river to myself, fish that make your hands tremble and your heart race, the incredible minnow hatch, fireside evenings with amigos looking at the amazing Southern Cross ….well that just for starters.IMG_GR_testimonials1406932129

I have never experienced a river that has so many big browns both resident and migratory and the bows on steroids are a bonus.

The flies used mostly imitate the main species of baitfish and crabs; the Pejerrey, Puyen and Pancora. Imitations feature slim profiles and pulsating materials. To say these fish are aggressive is an understatement.IMG_GR_testimonials1406932589

Two different approaches are used in fishing these waters. A floating line with small floating minnow patterns can be used when minnow activity is visible as bows and browns bust on the baitfish in a feeding frenzy. All hell is breaking out around you during the blitz and good luck in keeping your wits about you. This top action is as exciting as it gets and we call it the minnow hatch.

Secondly, we use 28’ shooting heads with Slick Shooter running line and backing to prospect the likely lies, runs and pools. This river can easily accommodate single handed or double handed spey rods. Easy wading makes it more relaxing as every cast can produce a trip fish or the fish of a life time.

The River of Monsters should be on everyone’s bucket list!!

Chip Drozenski

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Fishing The Minnow Hatch – Testimonial

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.More Info

 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.
minnow hatch
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!!
Chip Drozenski