NEWS & REPORTS
EXPANDING OUR HORIZONS - COLLON CURA RIVER
We are in northern Patagonia Argentina again, in the Area of San Martin de Los Andes with my brother Juan and our friend José. We’re going to go fishing with some of the best guys in Northern Patagonia, Nico and Martin, they will take care of us.
We expect to Fly Fish from the famous Collon Cura River, this river runs due east toward the Atlantic ocean through the flat steppes of the eastern side of the Andes mountain range, therefore it is of warmer water conditions, thus the Collon Cura is one of the most populated rivers in the Argentinian system. Being one of the most versatile fishing rivers in the area, floating as well as wading opportunities are available to target rainbows and browns surface feeding for inchworms, beetles, and dry flies. We are going to go from a place called Atilio to a place called Balsa Vieja. We’re gonna be drifting into boats, fishing, and doing our research on how the fish will be behaving. The water is kind of low, the weather is beautiful, it’s been a dry season. Temperatures are amazing, let’s say between the 70s to 85s degrees Fahrenheit. It was not windy at all this morning when we met to go fishing, and after a drive of about an hour we dropped the drift boats into the water and we were preparing our fly fishing rods to get ready to go fishing. We were using some Orbis and Sage Rods with floating lines number #5 and #6. Juan was also doing some footage, photos, and videos for our pointer Fly Fishing program.
So the two drivers dropped us close by to the banks in Atilio Area and after we got everything set and loaded in our boats, we started our Fly Fishing morning.
Once we were on the bank of the river, Rodo and Russo, the drivers and assistance, got some chairs for us so we were able to get into our waders and set our rods and get everything ready to go fishing. The morning was amazing and beautiful, the bridge was nice, very very sweet and smooth, and you can see some insects and activity in the air.
Looking at the river meanwhile, I was getting into my waders, I was not able to see any fish coming out to eat, we were in front of the run, it was a long run, about 200 mts, we knew it was a great place and we were excited to be fishing there. Meanwhile, I was tidying my boots, I was also trying to see the action. The river was very low and that made it much more attractive, this time of the year is great, March in Patagonia it’s amazing, all sunny, and the windy days and the high temperatures slow down by this time of the year, so everybody was kind of having fun.
By the time we were ready in our waders was like 10:30 in the morning, almost 11 o’clock.
So José and myself jumped into the boat, Nico was our guy and he said “Okay guys, one of you is going to start with a Dropper and a Nymph the other one is gonna go with a Minnow. and try to see what happens”. We asked about the Minnow and he explained to us that the small Minnows are moving a lot in the system, and we had Minnows moving around the last days and they were having great fishing with those Minnows.
The first run was kind of tough, very tough, also we didn’t catch any fish, although Nico was very very sure we could get a fish there, we didn’t get any. We tried with a Minnow we tried with a Nymph and a Dropper, we tried on the right, we tried on the left, we stripped fast, we stripped low, long cast, short cast, upside the river, downside the river, we tried different things, we repeated the place twice, even that we couldn’t make it so we were all getting to the understanding that we shouldn’t continue down the river.
Nico offered us water and at that time I was able to check, and he told me about how you can Fly Fish these rivers with no waders, besides the breath and the temperature, I highly recommend getting the Wading Boots and the socks for your boots and maybe a quick-drying pants, that’s probably the best way to do Patagonia in January-February-March, and I get to say after being with my waders all day long, that’s probably gonna be my next step when I come to Patagonia and I Fly Fish from a boat. Usually what is used is Wading Boots and Wading Socks, leggings, and short quick-drying pants.
So we got into the second round, the morning was very slow and I thought we were not going to get it on time to the exit point, and I asked Nico, are you sure we are gonna make it okay? Are we gonna get good water in front? What do you think about this? And he says Yes Pablo, but there are some areas that we are not gonna fish because the water is too low. I'm gonna sail the boat down the river for a few minutes and we are going to fish again, so we finally understood what was the plan.
On the second round, the first fish caught and the action started to be kind of nice, José was in front of the door and he was catching fish here and there, it was kind of amazing, Juan was doing photos and videos and we were all having a good fun time. The nymphs were playing really good at that time and the Minnow has some attacks but they were not that effective, we saw one fish jumping over the minow, it was like they get out of the water, and then when they come down they are trying to catch the Minnow, so the two attacks we had on the Minnow in the following hour were not that successful, but on the other side, the Dropper and the Nymph were working amazing, by that time José already had like 6 fish on the boat.
Then what’s funny, we talked with Nico the guide and we decided to get another Dropper on my line and I also started fishing and got some fish. We did a couple of rounds and then Nico said “Hey guys, there is great fishing here in the next round with Minnows”. It was funny because he didn’t realize who he was talking to, and we said, “Okay maybe”, but he insisted and said José I will change your flies and get you Minnows, and José said I don’t think so Nico.
This is not the end of the story, Nico tried again and said come on José, let me change your flies, and José was very very direct and said, Nico, you’re not going to touch my flies, I am going to keep fishing with my Nymphs and my Droppers. And that was the end of the conversation. When José says I wanna do this, just let José do it, that’s the way it is. So the guy wasn’t able to do the change he wanted. A few minutes later, I will not say he twitched my arm, but I will say I was curious about the Minnow, so we changed it. At that time I was on the backside of the boat, and I was fishing the water José was fishing first, and I thought maybe changing the way I was fishing would be more effective, and yes, the Minnow was not good, it was great. We got some really good fish with the Minnow and I ended up the day with those Minnows, we changed the color of the Minnows a little bit more gray a little bit more brown or green but I ended up my day fishing with a Minnow. You fish the Minnow exactly like you fish the Streamer fly, like a Wooly Bugger, and you strip strip strip and they are going to attack like crazy, what you got to read is how fast the water is going so you understand how fast you got to strip, in very fast water you’ve got to go slower, when you get those slow waters after the rand is when you get to find out that you got to go down the river and strip faster and find the timing of the river, read the structure a little bit and then success will come, it will happen. Especially if the fish are active, this time of the day completely active and the fishing was really really good. We took tons of photos and videos, and after 2 or 3 o’clock, after lunch, Juan was already fishing because we already had so much information and videos that there was no need to keep doing more footage.
So after a great morning, we get into a side of the river with huge Willows with a nice shade, and we did a small quick camp there, we set up a table and some chairs and we get our food from the lodge, some salads and appetizers, the guys brought some beef and they got the beef hot at the side of the river, we got some soft drinks and we had a great time of relaxation, personally I took a short nap, 15 beautiful minutes, lay down in one of these reliable chairs and when I woke up I was ready to Rock and Roll again, I was full of energy again and ready for a tough afternoon in terms of weather, the wind came up and he was playing with our lines, we were lucky we didn’t hook each other and we didn’t have any accidents, but the wind was making everything more complicated.
I get to say that one of the most beautiful fish we got it with a Minnow and we have to say “Hey Nico you were right, you did it, so we got this beautiful fish” and we talked on the boat and we said thank you to Nico and we said man you were right, we were kidding you, we were laughing about a Minnow, but it’s like, we get to make memories, make jokes, and you know, tease you, and find out that it’s not only about getting fish it’s about being fishing, it’s about being in the water, feeling the run of the water, the run of the water, the birds, the Martin Pescador, the Caracara, on the trees trying to get some fish, all those things are fishing and what makes it so special.
After all day long fishing, around 5 o’clock, José trying to find a Brown Trout I was surprised by a beautiful Brown Trout, that fish was very close by to the bank in a shallow water, exactly where the best part of the current was, the current of the water was meeting the rand, and we were expecting a fish there, but we were surprised by a Brown Trout around 20 inches, it was a beautiful thing to do, it was surprising, nice to have a photo with that beautiful fish, and by that time, I couldn’t reel in my rod, I said that’s enough, but we still had water in front and I tell you what it’s difficult no to fishing, if somebody else would’ve been there, I would be pleased to share my rod and say okay man you fly fish here, but i’m not that good rowing and I couldn’t say Nico you do it, because if I would’ve been rowing nobody would’ve been fishing, so I keeping doing, I keep it excited, we have some more fun, we switch places with José, I got much more action in the front of the boat, I was able to read the water better, find out a better spot, and in the las hour, in between 6 or 6:30, it was kind of my hot time in terms of fishing. If I get to say, 1 to 10 probably was 8.59 points, the action was kind of amazing, probably one of our best days in the Collon Cura. So at the end of the day, we touched base with Juan, we talked about the experience and we found out it was a great decision to go fishing that day, and we were already looking forward to coming back and doing it again. There is so much water in Northern Patagonia that we need to research again and Fly Fish again, some new water but a lot of water we did already in the last years but we still want to come back, is kind of an addiction that you get once you get into the water and you get this feeling about being there fishing, its like you wake up in the morning, you are in Patagonia and you go “I should go fishing” and again it's not about the fish, it’s not about the trophies, it's not about how many you get, it's about the whole experience, when people go fishing with us, they’re looking for the experience, the experience from the food, when you got that great appetizers or that special food prepared by Argentinians, when you come from far away and they surprise you with a special dessert, or when you try the great wines from Argentina, we got different states where we produce amazing Cabernet Sauvignon, so it's about sharing time with the guys, when you drive to the water, that feeling when you get out of the water and you release you waders, that’s just so beautiful, to get out of your waders, and the other nice feeling that I love and enjoy is when we’re driving back to the lodge, that you get, let’s say the beginning of the sunset, it’s not the sunset but it’s when the light starts to slow down very very smoothly and you get that feeling of like, well, good job, and we all get a little tired and we finally see the lodge, and we’re ready to get a hot shower and a beautiful memory time at the bar, getting a beer, a Gintonic, some of our friends walking around smoking cigars and then you know a beautiful meal it’s waiting for you, and a amazing bedroom with a very sweet bed that it’s gonna make you full of energy again.
So after an amazing day and after sharing this experience with you, we hope you should be the next one.