Big Bad Brown Trout

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Big Bad Brown Trout in Tierra del Fuego

It was the morning of January 17th and I awoke after a restless night to realize that my life long dream was about to begin.  For years I had read about the monster Sea-run Brown Trout (Sea Trout) of Southern Argentina on an Island called Tierra del Fuego (Land of Fire).  I had promised my son David this trip for a number of years, now it was finally to materialize.
   We arrived after two days of flying via Washington D.C. to Buenos Aires, a switch to another cross-city smaller airport then a connecting flight at 2:30am to Rio Grande on the Island of Tierra del Fuego. This piece of wind swept real estate is located South of the Straits of Magellan and is split between Argentina and Chile.
   The lead guide Alejandro Aloras eagerly met us with a contagious smile in his Isuzu Trooper diesel 4x4, which would be needed to get to the lodge and river access.   We were to fish two lodges on the mighty Rio Grande River, Argentina’s premier Sea-Trout River.  The Rio Grande is all privately owned by large Estanias (Sheep ranches).  There are several riverside lodges that are leased by Nervous Waters. Villa Maria on the lower river and Toon Ken on the middle stretch,

were the lodges we would be fishing. The country is flat, treeless for the most part, and is battered by constant wind.
   Upon arrival at Villa Maria, and 54 hours without sleep, we were offered a little breakfast and then zipped off to get a few zees before being awakened at 9 am to begin our fishing. Our lead guide had informed us that the wind was from the East, the water was low and gin-clear, and that the tides were not the best to bring in a fresh flush of fish. The notorious winds had gusted to 128 kilometers an hour for two of

the days the previous week.  The group that preceded us the week before had caught a few fish, but not the numbers for which the river is famous.  Nonetheless, we were here and containing the excitement was impossible.
   Sabastian, our guide for the first beat, brought us to a pool called Segunda Barranca (Second Hill).  After a fly selection of small rubber legged nymphs tied on #6 heavy wire Scud hooks, I made my first cast into that legendary pool awaiting a jolt that was not long in coming.  Fresh from salt fish were showing on top the water, surfacing and leaping like early run Silvers in our Northwest streams.  Unlike traditional swing fishing, the guide instructed us to cast straight across the river and let the current pull a down stream mend into the line then twitch the line with irregular

movements as it swung.  After only a few casts, I felt the powerful surge of a take from a chrome hen.  The average fish on the Rio Grande is 12 pounds and she was just that.  My son and I were both amazed at the girth of these fish.   We were equally shocked to be taking fish with the sun on the water in mid-day on floating lines, unheard of in NW Steelheading.
   My fly was destroyed after her extra ordinary hard fight, so I tied on a fly that my 4-year-old grandson and I tied just before the trip.  It was tied on a stout #4 turn down eye hook, with

braided purple thorax, spun tan pheasant rump, and few black ostrich feathers scattered around the chain eye head.  I had tied but one of these special creations under his watchful eye.  I waded a bit deeper on the smooth gravel bottom and used a snap tee cast to reach a fish that I saw surface near the far bank.  The fly hit the water about two feet in front of the dissipating rings and I stripped the fly immediately to feel a heavy fish throbbing and tossing its head.  The large buck did not leap like the smaller fish but held in the main current with the characteristic pulsing of a large fish.   Sabastian saw the fish roll and called my son who was at the end of the run.  “Come here David , you have got to see this one”, he yelped in excitement.  Seeing the guide amped up made me a bit excited as well.  Ten minutes later, and after two good runs he was netted, measured, scale  samples taken, photographed, and released.  The fish measured 37 ˝ by 22 ˝ inched long.  Unfortunately, the guide did not have his scale (boga-grip) along, but he estimated the fish at over 25 pounds!  David, my son, told me before the trip that this was probably the best place in the world with chances of catching a fish on a surface line over twenty pounds and he was proven

right.   We fished both Villa Maria and Toon Ken lodges during the week.  Every fish we caught was different in shape, color, size, and spot patterns-- both males and females.  David and I ended up with 77 fish hooked and 60 landed.  I landed the first fish of the trip and he the last (his biggest on his last cast—18 lbs.)  I landed the biggest and he the most (33).  It was the best that any angler group (6 rods) did on any of the lodges on the Rio Grande that week, according to Alejandro our lead guide.  All of the lodges run on a VHF channel so they can check  fishing conditions on the entire length of the river.   One of our Scottish friends hooked 20 fish in one day and landed 12! David’s best day was 19 fish hooked and 14 landed and my best day was 7 for 7.
   For those interested: floating lines and double-handed rods are the best, but also an assortment of sinking lines should be taken for rising or high water conditions.  We had Type 3, 6,and 8 Rio tips, Teeny T-200/300 lines, and T-14 (Tungsten) in various looped lengths.  We also had an assortment of weighted flies of all sizes and colors.  Wooly Buggers/Leeches should be taken for stripping close to dark (dark colors, black are best).  Our rod selections included an 11’6, 13’, and 14’ Double hand rods and one Single-hand (9 ˝ 8-weight) rod.  Our lines of preference were 450 Skagit and 650 Skagit lines with the short cheater, and the Floating Section of a Rio Wind Cutter along with a 10 foot leader….10-12 lb. (straight line not tapered).  On the only bright sunny day we switched to 8 lb. Ultra-green Maxima tippet to get fish in clear water and changed to even smaller nymphs (size 12).  Prince nymphs, bead head rubber legs, and small black barbell griddle bugs with white/yellow legs were the flies of choice.  For those who do not come with flies, the guides tie and give you flies on the river and the on-site Fly Shop has a selection for purchase.
   Overall the experience was unbelievable and far exceeded my expectations.  The facilities,  hosts, and guides were, without question, the finest.  The food was provincial, exquisite, and 5 Star.  The Argentine people are attractive, beautiful, gregarious and alive.  Their wines are smooth, flavorful, and unsurpassed. I have already determined that my pocket change and extras are going in the piggy bank for the next trip in two years, and our newly acquired Scottish friends are planning a return trip as well.
Larry and David Williams
Newberg, Oregon


Have you put it on the calendar & booked your motel/hotel room for:
The Greatest Spey Rod Party On Earth !!!
The Sandy River Spey Clave, May 5-6, at Oxbow Park on the Sandy River
Free on-the-water demonstrations, free lessons, free food, and the largest collection of spey fishing tackle ever assembled in one place next to running water.  You can touch & try all of it.   Meet all the pros up-close and personal.  Such as:
Brian Silvey, on-the-water May 5, 1:00-1:30pm


 
Brian Silvey is one of Oregon's most sought after fly fishing guides.  With more than twenty years experience guiding fly anglers for trout and both summer and winter steelhead, he ranks as one of the most experienced professional fly fishing guides in the region.  He has helped literally hundreds of anglers develop their casting and angling skills.  Back by popular demand, this will be Brian's sixth consecutive appearance at the Sandy River Spey Clave.  This year's program;  "Which Rod, When" will take the mystery out of why Spey rods come in so many lengths, actions & line-weights. Because of his vast experience on the water, and his intimate connection to the best fly rod makers, Brian is well able to advise you on how to pick rods for changing conditions.  Since Brian has purposely refused to join nearly every rod company pro staff in the region, he is able to approach the subject of picking rods with little company bias.  This presentation won't be about picking a certain brand name.  It will be about selecting a rod for a certain fishing condition, then changing rods as the conditions change; to have the optimum advantage under all conditions.

There Are Only Two Spots Left Open for our Loreto, MX Trip

Dates are: June 24 through July 1.
This is for a pair of anglers fishing together.
Stay At: Deluxe beach front Hotel.
6 days fishing - 7 nights 
Includes: all ground transfers, bait for chum, licenses, lunches with beers and water in each boat. Not included in the price are: on-shore meals, tips to guides or airfare.
Fishing: days are 8-hours on the water.
Boats are large & modern.

Price: $1795 per person.  More info.


Deschutes Steelhead Calendar Fills
Mark Bachmann's August and September Deschutes Trips Are Booked Solid
Room is available in July & October for private party trips.
There is also room left in the Andy Murray Steelhead PhD School.
Steelhead PhD School with Andy Murray
Andy Murray is Director of Outside Operations for House of Hardy and may be the best known spey casting instructor in Europe. This 4-day school intends that you will graduate with extensive proprietary knowledge 
of steelhead fishing and spey rod casting.

Dates: August 28, 29, 30, 31, 2007
The last week in August is prime time for the stretch of river we will be fishing.
More info
About July
Prime trout month. Caddis Mania,  PMD's, Midges and Aquatic Moths; a lot of action all day.  Best action will be a O-dark-thirty.  The days are getting hotter, but the water is still cool.  Trout are active all day in the shady spots.  The first steelhead start to show and they are fresh, grabby and smokin' hot. Human traffic in my part of the canyon is low and our privacy is not effected.  First come, first served.
Dates open: July 19-25  More info
About October
Our dates are scheduled to avoid hunting season.  Steelhead still available in good numbers.  Weather and water are cooling.  Fall hatches of caddis, midges and mayflies are making the trout more active.  Good chance to fish trout during the day and steelhead early and late.  Steelhead are often hooked while trout fishing.
Open Dates: October 11-18, may fish to end of the month if conditions are good. More info

The Fly Fishing Shop HOME. The Fly Fishing Shop, Welches, OR

1(800) 266-3971

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Fish long & prosper,
Mark Bachmann, Patty Barnes


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