What to do when you have a bunch of frequent flier miles piled up and its December in the Pacific Northwest? You fly to Argentina and trade winter for spring, at least for a couple of weeks. It was time to cash in and head out. Kath and I are lucky in that “work” and fishing are the same thing. This trip would involve trout fishing in two radically different environments.
The first place on our fishing itinerary was Lago Verde Wilderness Resort. Check out the map and you can see that it is located in the middle of tons of excellent trout water. Lago Verde is a unique and breath taking lodge nestled in an incredibly picturesque part of Patagonia. The views, water, fish, and fishing were unbelievable. A must do destination in every aspect. We had brought a ton of big beetles, hoppers, and foam behemoths thinking they were the table fare for these special fish. But when we got on the water we quickly realized small stuff was the food of choice. Sight fishing for 16 to 20 inch fish with 6x tippet and size 20 dries was the game while we were there. Fishing for the most part was quite technical and Alfredo, the lodge owner, wanted to concentrate fishing the dry fly only if possible.
Lago Verde Wilderness Resort is located shore side on one of a chain of lakes, all with fish in them. On calm mornings and evenings it was possible to walk from your room and sight cast to cruising bows and not even get your feet wet. The rivers and lakes are perfectly gin clear and you can expect to see hundreds of fish every day your on the water. A near by spring creek had the clearest water I have ever seen, so clear your sure you can reach out and touch the fish. This is a place you need to visit, experience the finest lodging and food, combined with kick ass technical fishing.
Our second destination was Estancia Laguna Verde, which sits in the middle of nowhere, basically the rugged plains east of the Andes Mountains. It couldn’t be more different than the river and lake paradise we had just left. Stark and ominous best describes the far reaching vistas and epic mountain-scapes you see. There were no calm days on these flat lands, plus no trees larger then knee high. All activity takes place in canyons and lake basins that are slightly sheltered from the relentless winds. Besides the rugged beauty, the biggest reason people make this difficult trip (four hours in a 4×4 vehicle from the airport) is for BIG TROUT!!!
Laguna Verde Lodge is located a short distance from world famousStrobel Lake, also known as Jurassic Lake. The lodge was very comfortable, with all the amenities you could hope for. The fishing program focuses on the lake and the Barrancoso River, Strobel Lake’s main tributary. The river offers two distinct classes of trout for the angler, the beautiful resident rainbow that run from 10 to 16 inches, and the lake rainbows that enter it to spawn. The river run lake fish typically averaged 5 lbs, and you would sight fish to them with dries. This river has the craziest stream fishing I have ever experienced, period!
Fishing the lake was an experience unlike anywhere else on earth. The rocks are jagged calcium deposits over lava giving them their white appearance. Looking down the lake shoreline you would think you are fishing on the moon. But, there are monster trout cruising the lake edges within casting range. This season they have landed trout up to 22 pounds!!!!!!!!!!!!!! The average lake fish we caught was about 7 pounds. A friend fishing with us stuck a 12 pound chromer that tore him up. Due to its harsh location it blows every day and the wind can be relentless with the steady force just about knocking you over at times. Big wind, Big fish!!!
The technique was to blind cast from shore in one of the semi protected coves that provides some relief from the wind. While blind casting you would regularly see fish cruising the shoreline and you could regularly get them to eat. These fish are stupid big. We used 5 and 6 weight rods on the river and needed 8 weight rods to handle the wind for the lake fishing.
All we can say is “Save your money and head South” you will not regret it!