Our second trip of the year started out as usual at the always windy Balmaceda airport. The group of five arrived a day early to ease into the 10 day trip ahead. This group consisted of Jr. and Diane Stelzer, Marvin and Gloria Fishman, and Doc Thompson a guide from New Mexico who was hosting the trip. The drive north started out with clouds and rain on the first day of the trip – but the rest of the trip would be the exact opposite.
The first day of the trip was spent on a small river in Palena where the Fishmans went after brook trout while the Selzers targeted some rainbow trout down lower. It’s February and dry fly action is at its peak this time of year. Both groups worked out the kinks with casting and wading and all brought fish to hand. On the second day of the trip Gloria and Marvin tried their hand at streamer fishing with guide Chris Price on a small lake out in hills. Both landed some nice fish and Gloria had a big brown come unbuttoned next to the boat. Doc was also with the group – he lost a sinking line when a fish took him deep into some snags with no hope of coaxing the fish out. Bummer!
On day 3 the Fishmans floated a river outside Palena with Trevor as their guide. The weather just seemed to be getting hotter. We just couldn’t have enough water on hand! After some casting practice the group pulled into a spot the guides call “rock wall”. Trevor changed flies to a large Chubby Chernobyl with a small nymph on one rod and the other with a small Caddis emerger. A large foam line that ended in a back eddy was in front of them, with the light blue backs of the rainbows standing out in the emerald green river. Marvin and Gloria took turns targeting fish. They hooked 7 out of 9 fish, with most eating the nymph.
At our second destination Chris took the Stelzers and Doc on a walk and wade. With gin-clear water and the mountains surrounding them, stopping to look at the view wasn’t hard. Diane had good action on the dry with Jr. getting chances as well.
On day 5 The Stelzers floated a small river with Trevor. Fishing was great all day and the weather was too. It just got hotter and without any wind it felt like a suana. Jr. threw his Chernobyl behind some rocks at the far bank, and a Rainbow answered with a crushing take followed by some good jumps. Stopping half way through the day to eat lunch in the shade, they watched as a fish rose seven times. Diane, after eating her sandwich, provided the group with some lunch time entertainment, landing the fish on a small dry. Late in the day as Trevor pushed for the takeout, Diane placed her big dry behind some trees. A large brown hit so hard it knocked the fly 3 feet down stream and missed it completely. Before Diane could recast Trevor yelled “Leave it!” as the fish did a U turn, heading right back for another shot. This time he engulfed the fly spitting the hook after a few seconds – intense! Later that night, Paella was specially ordered for the group containing fresh seafood bursting with flavor.
Day 6 Doc and Jr. paired up as Diane stayed back to get some rest. Trevor took them on a walk and wade where Jr. learned the art of bow and arrow casting in a spot where the trees were hanging low and the brush was thick. Jr. hooked 4 rainbows using this new method, all of them falling for a small Comparadun. Doc worked a longer run up above with a Chernobyl. All Trevor and Jr. saw was the aftermath as Doc said a large mouth came up and took down his dry, snapping him off.
Day 7 took the group to the last leg of the trip. Chris took the Stelzers and Trevor took the Fishmans. The Stelzers had great action casting a small beetle pattern in the low water conditions, landing some nice rainbows. The Fishmans also did well on dries, getting all their action on a stone fly dry called the “El Camino”, a low rider that’s perfect for low, clear water.
On the last day of the trip the Stelzers fished with Trevor on a small spring creek. Diane landed the largest brown of the trip on her third cast, the brown aggressively taking a purple Chubby Chernobyl. Gloria decided to sit the last day out so Chris took Marvin and Doc to a small river for a walk and wade. This was relatively close to where Trevor’s group was fishing.
Today’s weather had changed and the wind was the typical Patagonia form, blowing hard. This complicated matters for Marvin who was just learning to fly fish. He had had a great week so far with little wind until now. Chris worked with him on some roll casting techniques and his casting improved despite the wind. Doc had been sent down stream to see about a fish that Chris had hooked on a previous day only to break him off. While Marvin fished, Chris went down to Check on Doc. Arriving to Doc Chris asked “Well?” Doc replied “Holy smokes. You were right!”
Chris said “Well?” Doc said “All I saw was this huge mouth come up and engulf the fly and then porpoise. He snapped me off in seconds. Probably the biggest brown I’ve seen.” Sorry Doc maybe that fish just can’t be caught.
We fished into the afternoon and the wind got tougher but Marvins’ casting stayed strong. We scratched out a few more fish and called it a day. Driving back we passed where Trevor’s group was parked and they too had wrapped it up.
We finished off the day with another great time at Café Ricer!