“It’s one of the best small pieces of water in the world for high densities of giant fish. Very little compares to it.” My eyes were probably the size of dinner plates when John Hudgens, longtime fly fishing guide and Yellow Dog’s in-house expert on Argentina, said that to me. For a guy who has fished across the globe, such a strong statement seemed a little over the top. But as I came to find, it was spot on. The reward for anyone who’s up for an adventure to the end of the world is some phenomenal fishing.
The Barrancoso river is, literally, at the end of the world. Anglers must travel to Buenos Aires, take a regional jet to El Calafate (it’s almost a three-and-a-half-hour flight), and finally board a four-hour shuttle to reach the estancia on which the river’s located. You’re really down there. But don’t let that deter you, the fishing and accomodations from our partner lodges are incredible.
The Barrancoso’s a tributary to the world-famous Jurassic Lake, or Lago Strobel. Strobel regularly produces rainbow trout in the 20-pound range, and with places on the lake aptly named “Monster Bay,” anglers can let their imaginations run wild. And those same “monsters” can be found in the river.
Hopping over boulders and fast-moving water, anglers are wading and sight fishing miles of world-class river. The landscape is barren and littered with rocks. In such an extreme place weather can be somewhat unpredictable with high winds and occasional rainstorms. But that's not to say it can also be gorgeous. The estancia also does a superb job, dividing the miles of river into beats, to ensure not to overfish and keep pressure low on the trout. And often, anglers will take ATV’s to the beats, all in fashion with the adventure of fly fishing at the end of the world.
When I asked John about the largest rainbow he landed on the river, he responded nonchalantly, “17 pounds.”
“What!? That’s incredible! What were you casting?”
Maybe the better question, would have been, “When were you fishing?” The key is making sure you’re fishing the river during the right time of the season. Early season, November and December are the best, then the late season in April can yield those monsters as well. Use a six, seven or eight weight rod with a floating line – and the trout will eat just about everything: nymphs, streamers, big dries, and even mice.
And if you don’t want to fish the Barrancoso, for whatever reason, be sure not to overlook Moro Creek, which is located on the estancia. The creek also fishes extremely well during November and December and anglers can expect to pull out three to eight-pound rainbow trout. Since the creek meanders through a grassy part of the ranch, and with slower water, it fishes more like a spring creek would. All of this great fishing in one place?
As I sat listening, I was already thinking about what book to bring on the plane – Bozeman, Buenos Aires, El Calafate. And with John’s words echoing through my head, “it’s the best small piece of water in the world,” it was almost impossible not to get up and go on my next adventure.
Those anglers seeking an adventure and are able to weather a few of the storms, can find giant trout and make memories to last a lifetime. Kyle Kolodziejski is the director for all South American adventures at Yellow Dog Flyfishing and is a treasure trove of knowledge when it comes to planning your next trip.