Cancellation deal on Lago Strobel (Aka Jurassic Lake) – More than 30% Off!

Well Folks, it doesn’t happen often, but here’s your chance – I just got a cancellation on a one-week itinerary for two anglers down at Lago Strobel, leaving an opening for two anglers now available at very special pricing.  Dates are December 1st through the 8th, 2012, and what would normally cost $5,200 is only $3,500 per angler!  This is really a heck of a deal, and a heck of a trip; anybody interested let me now right away so we can get it set up for you and start booking flights!

Lago Strobel (aka Jurassic Lake) has become famous the world over in recent years for its incredible rainbow fishery, sporting perhaps the greatest abundance of trout over ten pounds per acre of water anywhere on Earth. Patagonia Unlimited offers both week and half-week itineraries to fish this incredible system including the Rio Barrancoso, Lago Strobel’s only tributary and a beautiful river-fishery in and of itself, as well as fifteen smaller but equally productive inner estancia lakes open every year from November 1st through May 1st.

Sight fishing with dry flies is a commonly adopted and effective approach to these waters, and guests choose daily between wading and fishing from a driftboat or raft. Lodging for our Lago Strobel itineraries is provided in an extremely comfortable shoreline estancia, complete with 24 hour windgenerated electricity and hot water, satellite internet and telephone , a full bar, and executive chef prepared meals, allowing for an exceptional level of comfort in this remote region of Santa Cruz. Flights for this itinerary arrive in and depart from Calafate daily (4 hours drive from the estancia), and the rates are all inclusive from the time of your pickup at the airport to the time of your drop off for the flight home.

2012 Season Finale (and worthy of its title)

Wow… to be honest I don’t even know where to begin.  The last three weeks of the season flew by in a classic example of the true relativity of time.  It felt like months’ worth of fishing, wading, and rowing while it happened; yet now that it’s over the whole of it seems like it all got used up in a flash.

So I started out just after my last post exploring some new (to me) lakes with a really special client who had shown up in Esquel just the day before.  This turned out to be hugely successful, both in terms of experiencing some un-known scenery and in terms of the fishing itself, and I think our experience there has cemented these locations into a special place for next year’s plans as well.  (See photos for an answer to the question “why?”)

We then picked up the rest of that week’s group and headed back down to Rio Pico, where the fishing was absolutely on fire.  Every piece of water we hit was lit up like a Christmas tree, and the combination of big bright fish and awesome orange fall light made for some spectacular experiences both from the perspective of the net man (that would be me) and those with the rods in their hands (those would be the sports). These turned out to be a really great bunch of folks too, and we all had about as good a time while they were here as we could have asked for without feeling guilty in the process.  Ok, I guess I do feel a little bit guilty, but that’s only because all of you up at your desks in the states won’t just get your butts in gear and come down here!

Predictably, the weather became a bit more challenging right about the time I dropped the last group of clients off in Esquel and headed back south to, get this, shoot a video.  You see I had been contacted earlier in the year by a fellow named Alex Miller, an associate of Leland Fly Fishing Outfitters in San Francisco, about the possibility of doing a week or so’s worth of “Trout Bumming” around at the end of the season with the objective of putting together a nice little video that would show folks what our April un-wind is like down here, and maybe drum up some interest in trips for next season along the way.

I must say, after having been involved in video production as a sort-of-paying job for the last decade or so in my position at Syzygy Productions, the idea of getting behind a camera (or in front of one, for that matter) during my end of the season wind-down time did not exactly at the onset make me jump and shout with joy.  Alex seemed like a really nice guy though; and basically the plan was mostly just to go fishing; so in the end I picked him up on my way south and we headed straight out to Lago Vintter and the Madrugon II, where Paulino was holding high court over an extremely low-flowing river.  Lack of snowfall last winter and an exceptionally warm summer have the Corcovado running at a level it hasn’t seen since 1985.  It is still fishing well enough, as the photos of what we caught there this last week will attest, but it was a strange experience to stand on rocks that in previous years we’d have been swept off of and carried away downstream without the river’s having to give it a second thought.  I talked with Paulino about this extensively while we were there, and although there’s no direct relationship (last year the river was higher than normal), it led to a larger discussion about the cycles and trends in the weather here around Rio Pico over the decades he has been in the area (going on eight of them now), which touched on some interesting points.   I’m certainly not one to stick my foot too far into the seemingly mostly political debate over climate change or its causes, but sometimes it does seem to me that something sure is happening, and happening fast.  According to Paulino, when he was a child growing up in Rio Pico the snow stayed on the mountains all around town throughout the whole of summer, and that the lakes in the area used to freeze over – even Lago 3!  This probably won’t surprise any of you up in the states (I mean who hangs out on Lago 3 in the winter?), but to a relative newbie like myself who is down here year round just these past few years, that’s big-time news.  Paulino says they used to walk across it!  Oh well, perhaps it’s just a short-cycle of temperature change and about to reverse itself with a vengeance.  Sure seemed like that this last week!  Which brings me back to my story.

 Alex and I pitched our tents and set up shop, still sort of divided down the middle of the group as to what was our main objective.  Mine was to catch fish; his was to make video.  I actually thought that first night to put one of the three-liter bottles of water in my tent so we could still make coffee in case the temperature dropped below freezing, but the next morning it was frozen solid anyway right there at my feet.  That’s cold.  The weather seemed to wake the fish up even more though, and within an hour of our shivering pre-dawn wader-up we were into them.  And that’s how the week flowed on – frost on the tents, steam from the coffee, fish from the rivers, ice in the guides, rocks actually frozen to our boot-soles mid-step, more fish from the lakes, more frost, more coffee, and then finally, Eureka!  I was inspired.  Mid-shower one morning at Nikita’s an idea hit me for how to stitch together all our footage into something that would play, and I was back on my game with the camera in an instant.  But by that time we only had a few days left!

Luckily, my rod-wielding replacement appeared in the form of Hernan, an exceedingly fishy kid from Junin, stuck in a motor-home with four adult cucharero/cuchillero’s and looking for an out.  Hernan had Serious Fish-Mojo, and just sort of appeared in our campsite one night, probably due to some sort of yet to be discovered magnetism that exists between similar fly-fishy types.  This became a symbiotic relationship our first day out with the camera though; you couldn’t keep huge fish off his line if you tried!  I would love to show everyone a preview of what we shot that day, but out of respect for the finished product I shall demur.  It’s going to be even better once it’s scored.

So the shoot raged on, over what seemed like about a million enjoyable miles and a thousand or so gate openings and closings, punctuated by lots of fly line being carried out through the guides and against the drags by running monsters with flies in their big, toothy mouths; and now it’s all been stored on hard-drives in the form of billions of ones and zeros, and carried North in the capable hands of our man Alex (by this time an old friend), who will turn it into a bright little gem of some sort for all the fish-loving world to enjoy.  Stay tuned for that post soon!

When it was all over and we had crunched through enough shore-ice to feel like it might be time to go on home, we first helped Paulino and the gang break down bridge-camp and load it all into the trucks and trailers that would take it back to town, then made a few last casts with the Spey rods at the boca.  Having discovered the magic of Skagit, I proceeded to catch my last boca brook trout of the year on the thirteen foot nine weight, and with that called it a season till November.  A good season, that is.

Super-Cheap Short Term Special on Lago Strobel Trip (Jurassic Lake)

Hey Folks – I just got a cancellation on one-week itinerary down at Lago Strobel, leaving an opening for four anglers now available at very special pricing.  Dates are April 7th through 14th, and what would normally cost $5,200 is only $3,500 per angler!  This is really a heck of a deal, and a heck of a trip; anybody interested let me now right away so we can get it set up for you and start booking flights!

Lago Strobel (aka Jurassic Lake) has become famous the world over in recent years for its incredible rainbow fishery, sporting perhaps the greatest abundance of trout over ten pounds per acre of water anywhere on Earth. Patagonia Unlimited offers both week and half-week itineraries to fish this incredible system including the Rio Barrancoso, Lago Strobel‟s only tributary and a beautiful river-fishery in and of itself, as well as fifteen smaller but equally productive inner estancia lakes open every year from November 1st through May 1st.

Sight fishing with dry flies is a commonly adopted and effective approach to these waters, and guests choose daily between wading and fishing from a driftboat or raft. Lodging for our Lago Strobel itineraries is provided in an extremely comfortable shoreline estancia, complete with 24 hour windgenerated electricity and hot water, satellite internet and telephone , a full bar, and executive chef prepared meals, allowing for an exceptional level of comfort in this remote region of Santa Cruz. Flights for this itinerary arrive in and depart from Calafate daily (4 hours drive from the estancia), and the rates are all inclusive from the time of your pickup at the airport to the time of your drop off for the flight home.

Fishing fishing fishing fishing fishing fishing all day long…

Hello everyone;  I know it’s only been a few weeks, but when you’re at the oars and running the net all day every day it seems like longer.  This actually works out to be kind of a bargain though, if you think about it, as a way for me to stretch more life out of my meager allowance of time as a human being here on Earth.  As for the fishing itself, things have been pretty darn good.  Several days with sun and very little wind have produced great catches on dragonfly dries out on the lakes at the junco lines, and the hopper action in the spring creeks around Rio Pico has been just unbelievable for the clients.

It’s always a bit strange though coming back up to Esquel after being out on the water for so long down around Rio Pico, and this time was no different.  On my first trip to the grocery store last night I found some fascinating uses of marketing print that I thought I might share here.  “Barfy”, believe it or not, is actually a brand of frozen hamburgers here in Argentina, and although I have not actually tried them, they seem to be quite popular with the locals.  “Bimbo” makes dough for empanadas, and as for the Seven Color Crystal Boll – well, all I can say is that I was tempted to buy it just to see what the heck it actually was, or maybe even as potential fly tying material, but in the end instead of helping me “too much”, it freaked me out a little too much, so decided to leave it lay.

I’ve got about a week off now before heading out with the next group, and as such started out in the office splitting my time between taking care of business at the laptop, and taking care of business at the tying bench.  In the interest of efficiency I am looking into building some sort of physical bridge between the two; I’ll let you know how that works out.  But after a few days of this I needed a break and a little fishing seemed to be in order as well, so Trey Scharp, Rio the black lab, and I took the day off together and hit a little seldom-fished stream somewhere outside Trevelin, forgetting all about the laptops and the tying benches for a whole entire day.  And a day filled with hoppers and rainbows to boot!  We walked a long ways, but the fish (all rainbows) were bigger than average for that kind of water, and spread out at just the right intervals to keep the action going all day long, and all three of us had a really good time (Rio even got into a big covey of quail).  The weather was just right for wet-wading too.  I’ll admit, I didn’t even think about all the stuff waiting for me in the office even one single time till I got home.

Hope you’re all doing well wherever you are and whatever you’re up to.  Don’t forget to drop me a line every now and then; I look forward to receiving it soon!

Another Fishing Season Begins

Hi Folks!  I hope you are all doing well up/down/around wherever you are when you receive this.  The only question is – Why aren’t you here?  Come on down!

Our fishing season has finally gotten under way in Patagonia, and not one moment too soon.  So my good friend and colleague Emiliano Luro and I celebrated the first day of it after a long Halloween walk-in on a remote pacific drainage we had not previously explored.  For all that I had been pining for autumn since the month of October began, the absolutely beautiful springtime weather and amazing array of budding and flowering plants all around me have finally won me over, and I am into it at last!  We spent the whole first week of season in the back-country with a bit higher water levels and a bit lower water temperatures than we would have liked, but considering the alternatives (like, the office) I really can’t complain.  When we finally walked back out after six days of eating mostly noodles and rice, poor Paulino and the gang at the Boca of the Corcovado had to suffer our Mongol-like invasion, as we set upon their kitchen devouring every leftover scrap of meat in sight.  Luckily, they had cooked up a big asado just the day before, and there was plenty left.  We fished the boca some then, and the bite was pretty good with post-spawn rainbows coming out and big fat lake rainbows cruising their usual circuit, and although I didn’t have my spey rod along with me it sure felt good to get back on top of that rock and swing some flies.  One of the most valuable things that came out of this trip though, to me, is the photography from Emi’s camera.  He shoots with a Nikon he bought a few years ago from none other than one of the most famous fly fishing photographers in the world (a client of his), and since that time I’ve been watching his talent and his mastery of the thing take shape.  I must say now, that process has come along nicely.  Almost all of the photos below in this post are his, and all of these from just the one week out.  Shots from his overall bank of photography are already in use on several websites and in a variety of print medias, and by all indications I think I will be watching his career as a photographer continue to grow.  Anyone interested in seeing more of his work or inquiring about licensing just shoot me an email and I’ll get you in touch right away.  With the season under way now I am back to being on the water most of the time now, but will of course be posting more updates as the weeks progress.  This month we have the editor of the biggest fly fishing magazine in Russia coming in to do a profile on the Rio Pico area and our agency/operation there, and my rowing arms are just getting warmed up nicely for the task.  Yesterday I was out on Laguna Larga, just above Parque Nacional Los Alerces chasing big browns around in the boat, and the tube flies I’ve been tying all winter have been working their magic even better than I had expected them to.  All of you drop me a line when you get a chance; I look forward to hearing from you soon!