Trout fishing at it's finest
I think I found trout fishing nirvana. Last winter I began researching locations to go trout fishing with the help of our travel partner, Fly Water Travel, and ultimately settled on Las Pampas for it's wide range of fishing access, styles of water, and of course mix of trout both big and small. Las Pampas, meaning flat or lowlands, sits at the base of the Andes Mountains just south of the tiny town of Rio Pico. Within an hours drive of the lodge anglers have the opportunity to fish small to medium freestones, numerous spring creeks, a handful of large lakes, and brown trout, rainbow, and brook trout of every conceivable size. Diversity only begins to describe Las Pampas Lodge's wide array of waterways nearby.
For nine days our group of ten rotated through different water to get the full Las Pampas experience. Oggy Fox, the lodge GM, and faithful crew members like the stoic Anca Colm strategically directed us to new bodies of waters and opportunities catered to our liking, but also to showcase the diversity of the land. Each river beat or lake was to be rested throughout the week so as to not pressure the fishery and give visiting anglers a window to a time long forgotten in the states. With the amount of estancias Las Pampas had access too it was easy for them to not put anglers on the same piece of water and rest certain fisheries.
Fishing in Patagonia was truly an experience that I would imagine Montana, Idaho, or Wyoming to have been fifty odd years ago. If your were to strip out all of the cities from Alberta to New Mexico and follow the Rocky Mountains that is what it feels like to be in the Patagonia region. Endless opportunity, countless trout, very little human impact. Trout of varying size from typical 12-16" mixed with many opportunities for 18" and well beyond.
The small freestones offered classic trout fishing opportunities where traditional western dry fly patterns would entice rainbows and browns throughout most of the day. The spring creeks, lagoons, and backwaters often had trout prowling around that exceeded the 20" mark and the lakes were where the true trophies hid. Trophy trout hunters looking for the 24-30" trout will be tickled with opportunities for all three species (rainbow, brook, brown) that easily fall into that size range.
Now fishing is still fishing, trout don't just jump on your line at every opportunity. Even with the lack of overhead predators such as eagles and osprey, anglers had to carefully present their flies and at times rotate through patterns until the silver bullet was found. With Las Pampas location being seated near the base of the Andes, shifting weather played a role in the days fishing as well. We were fortunate enough to have some incredibly sunny and light winded days on the beginning and end of the trip, with a few days in the middle where I couldn't find enough layers and hucking flies into 40 knots of wind was about as silly as bringing a knife to a gun fight.
I'll let the photos do the rest of the talking to describe the fishing.
Up next... Part Two - Las Pampas Style