NEWS & REPORTS
Working Hard in Patagonia - Part II
We woke up early in the morning the next day. It was another great day. Sunny, the sun was out at that time already, we were at Spring Creek Lodge and the plan for that day was to go fishing to Collon Cura river. We had breakfast, great coffee but even greater was the view.
There is a lake at Spring Creek Lodge and behind it there’s the Lanin, a cone shaped volcano, snow covering its peak. It’s famous in Patagonia, it’s majestic. Picture you sitting there, sipping coffee, thinking of another great day of fishing ahead and this iconic landmark in the background. Nice, right? We could predict another day in paradise. From Spring Creek Lodge to Collon Cura area where we were gonna fish today, called Atilio, it’s a 40 minute drive through the Junin de los Andes area, taking the road number 40. Today’s gonna be the two of us, Juan and I, Mitch and Dave and Ruben and Dani as our guides. We left the lodge at about 8.40 am and it was the first time in Patagonia when we were getting ready to go and saw other boats drifting at the same time, so we had to be a little patient and let the other boat go away. So we did a warm up in the Chimehuin river which connects with Collon Cura river. My morning was difficult. I had to work really hard but for the other two guys it was not that bad, Dany found out that the Chumehuin area could be a good option and they waded up river and got a couple of nice fish.
Not the best fish of the world, but we got a couple of 15,16 inches. The morning was very slow. It happens sometimes. It could be the weather conditions, the fish not eating, the moon, you never know exactly what’s going on but it was tough. The fish were not eating on the surface, so we tried some nymphs. Overall, in our boat, we were not able to get that many fish that morning. In Dani’s boat it was a different story, they got fish and by midday these guys had like 7 fish in their boat and I had 0. Juan was taking photos without the fish, which were amazing too. I offered him the chance to help me but he was like no, I won’t take a fly rod until you get your first fish. Anyways, he was right, I needed to get my first fish by myself.
Ok, so for me, the dry flies and the nymphs were not working. Our guide was a great guide and he just said, let’s try something different, do you have a sinking line? yeah, I got it, I was not confident about it, it was a long time since I was fishing with streamers...He chose the streamer and said if you don’t get fish with this, I quit being a guide...And I thought, this guy doesn’t know what he’s talking, he will have to quit his job and find something else to do. But the amazing thing was...the second cast we did, we got fish... It’s like when you’re in a coma and suddenly you come back to life and start looking at everything around you with different eyes. Now my life was colorful again, not black and white, gray scales as before. Now we got fish, everything was fine again! I said, Juan, your turn, come and fish, he was like nah, now you’re getting fish, I keep taking photos.
So we were fishing with the streamer all day long, and it was really good. In the nervous waters, after the riffle, it was fine, but in waters were the current was not so strong, the streamers were not working good. The day was too hot and the fish were looking for some oxygen just where the riffle finished. Something we thought it was very important was that the sinking line, a heavy one, and the flies were going really deep, some of the holes after the riffle were like 10 feet to 15 feet deep. One of the things that was really good was that tthe fly we just moved it a little bit, we didn’t strip it, you know like back to front, and it was that the exact moment, when the fly was not drifting and we just did some movement, when the fish got them.
That day the number of fish caught was not very important, but the guys on the other boat got like 20 fish. I don’t remember the sizes, we didn’t talk about the sizes, we got like 10 overall, and all the fish we got were really nice, between 15 inches to 17, 19 inches. Mostly rainbows, and we got a very nice brown trout. A little bit about what had happened on the other boat. I talked to Dani and he just said that if we were lucky we were going to have a hatch of mayflies...
Danny told me they had done totally the opposite than we did. They started off with the streamers in the morning, the streamer worked good for them, after lunch, fishing a couple of streamers, Dani decided to get some dry flies and nymphs for these guys, who are much better at nymph fihsing than at the streamer. There are some areas where the nymphs work way better than the streamers. The same areas just behind the riffle in the nervous waters is where they got most of the fish. Dani was telling me 85 of the fish they got were caught with the nymphs. he was using again the phaisan tail, cooper johns, a couple of different nymphs and he said probably two fish, three fish took the dry fly. One of the fish took it in the riffle and he got a couple under the trees, he got a couple of fish coming to the dry flies, not to the nymphs. The two guys were very excited because we were having a great time, we all had lunch together. Lucas Rodriguez, he’s the owner of the lodge, he put a nice table over there, in one of the river sides, we just used it, we didn’t know if we had to pay for its use but we just used it, so we want to say thanks to him!
Another thing that was pretty amazing that day was that we got game warden. It’s the first time that I see them in the river, and I was happy because suddenly, after paying licences all these years my money worked. Somebody wanted to see our licences. For our American friends it was also good too. The game warden were doing their job, they had seen some people in the forbidden area, it was pretty nice to see things working. If you’re not supposed to be here, that’s okay, they need to make sure they are where they need to be. These people had to be in their official regulated camps, not just caming everwywhere.
At the end of the day, it was a very nice day but I had to work hard. Let me tell you, there was a point...it is like playing soccer with your friends and losing 5 to 0 and you think this is not going to happen. Your goalkeeper is tired, 5-1, 5-2, 5-3. all of a sudden you start making it happen and the next thing you know you’re winning again. You don’t know what happened but we were getting fish again! It was another great day, and when we arrived it was even better for beers, we enjoyed nice scotch, dinner and music. Gustavo had organized a show with 4 guitars, local people, we shared some stories, Pat asked all the questions, Mark answered all the questions, the youngest guys made jokes, Juan put all the energy. I didn’t have much energy, I was tired and the guys realized it, they said, Pablo go to sleep, you’re tired. It was true. It was really tired, I had worked really hard to get the fish all day. So, let’s see what the next day brings!
But before I go, let me tell you this story, about a fish I caught, I had forgotten this story, I caught this fish without the streamer, but in fact I forgot the story because the fish was not a trout. So I was tired and boring and not getting fish in the morning so I just let a nymph go with the current and took a little nap of 2 minutes, closed my eyes, and when I wanted to grab my rod again and get back to the fihsing I had a fish at the end of my line! Ans it was a Perch! It was the first perch fish of my life! and it was a funny story, getting a fish without fihsing! So Ruben took it and showed it to us. It is a kind of strange fish, totally different from the trout, very boring to fish because it never fights, that was the first fish! And I almost forgot to tell you!