“What an awesome fish!” Kevin Eddy, my fishing buddy, yelled to me as he ran down the rocky bank. Both of us knew it was big; now it was a matter of landing it. As Kevin ran down the sides of the river, he looked minute in the middle of such a vast place. The jagged Andes mountains surrounded us, and the gin-clear river meandered like an Anaconda stretching across the harsh landscape - slow, tactful, powerful. Nowhere have I felt smaller than fishing in Patagonia, Argentina. “Keep your rod tip up!” Kevin yelled as he neared me, “let him run!” We both looked at each other and knew that there were no browns this high on the river - I was using a large heavy streamer making a rainbow unlikely, which meant it could only be that one big brook trout we both so desperately wanted.
When people think of trout fishing Argentina, brook trout are not the first species that come to mind. However, that perception is slowly changing as anglers find more superb brook trout fisheries. This river is fed by glacial run-off from the neighboring peaks, and with the abundance of scuds, small freshwater shrimp, it offers the perfect environment for large trout. In the Rio Pico and Esquel region of Southern Argentina, brook trout have the chance to grow to sizes unheard of in the States - the average is around six pounds, but some get to be as large as ten to twelve pounds. These were the ones we were after.
We were working a deep pool named after a five star, high-end hotel in Bariloche, Argentina – however, the dilapidated, crumbling sheep barn standing sentry on the bank, couldn’t have been farther from five stars. It was the laughs between the guides over jokes like this that kept smiles on everyone’s faces. But the thought of big trout kept smiles on our faces. The pools in front of the one we were fishing offered brook trout protection from other fish. Thinking that a big streamer was an imposter, the trout would strike it – hopefully.
Sometimes I think witnessing someone fish is more nerve racking than actually being the one fishing - I’m pretty sure that was the case for Kevin. He knows from experience I’ve missed setting the hook on more than one occasion – but in this case, we made it past that first obstacle. Now all remained was to not let the fish escape, or even worse break the line. Again, with the not so gentle reminder, I heard, “rod tip up!” After a few more repetitions of Kevin instructing me, begging, pleading with me not to lose it, the trout eventually was close enough that I could identify it. There was no mistaking the vibrant red fins, speckled blue and red spots on the body that I finally had the fish we were looking for.
I’ve never seen a brook trout of that size. It could eat any of the small fries I caught on streams back home. It wasn’t the size of brook trout the guides told me all about, but it was my first, and I was happy.
Feeling minuscule was something I'd grown accustomed to, when you find yourself in the shadows of towering peaks, staring across endless expanses of rippling crystalline waters, it’s impossible not to feel tiny. But in that moment of victory, pulling in a beautifully colored fish, it’s impossible not to be on top of the world.
Yellow Dog has a team of experts assisting you in all your travel logistics every part of the way. With numerous lodges across Argentina, Yellow Dog can find your best fit. To start chasing your own Patagonia brook trout be sure to contact John Hudgens. Remember that no one ever regretted an adventure!
Topics: Freshwater Fly Fishing