Fishing in Argentina February/March 2018

This is Steve’s narrative of our trip to Argentina. You can tell he writes to a different audience than I do. I will add pictures to the post.

Our next trip was to Argentina where I fished the Chimehuin out of Tipiliuke Lodge near San Martin de los Andes on Feb 26, 27, 28 and then after a stay in Villa Angostura, the Traful and Limay out of Estancia Arroyo Verde near Bariloche, March 3-7.

Tipiliuke (tipiliuke.com) is a beautiful old lodge in a very large estancia, with the Lanin volcano, over 11,000 feet and snow capped, visible in the distance.

There are 2 rivers, plus a constructed spring creek, but I fished the main draw, the Chimehuin, all 3 days. My guide was Adrain, a very experienced and knowledgeable guide and fisherman, who is captain of the Argentine national team. The Chimehuin is a good sized river with deep pools, fast runs,and broad riffles, crossable at this low water season. The water temperature was 60-62 and the river was very clear. It is populated with wild rainbows and browns, with some huge browns taken, especially in April. the weather was beautiful every day-cool mornings that warmed to around 60 by the time we hit the water around 10 am, and peaking around 75-80 in late afternoon. It was breezy, but nothing like Chile. The fishing day was 10 am until around 2 pm, then a great lunch back at the lodge and a siesta, followed by an evening session from around 6 pm until dark, which was close to 9 pm even this late in the season. Dinner was at 10 pm. On February 26 I fished the El Cardinal beat and caught 12 rainbows and 2 browns in the first session, with the best a 17 ” rainbow . Most came on Adrian’s fullinguista nymph, a spartan Spanish perigon nymph of thread and UV cement with a copper bead. For the pm session, I fished the Whitestone beat and caught 13 rainbows and 3 browns, none over 13″. Fishing was fast and furious during the last half hour of daylight swinging a yellow mayfly nymph in a fast riffle.

On February 27, I fished the Anquendo beat for the am session and caught 14 rainbows and 1 brown. I caught 2 on the PMX, one on a fly I tied, and most of the rest on another Euro nymph, the blue and orange. (Linda’s comment is “the blue and orange, not to be confused with the orange and blue”) Three fish were 16-17.75″ and three others were 13-14″. For the pm, I fished Andres’ pool and Cormorant Island, and caught 9 rainbows and 2 browns. One rainbow was 18″. Again the yellow mayfly nymph was hot, but I also caught 3 on the dun, a size 8. The hatch lasts only 20 minutes but it’s great fun.

On February 28 I fished the same beat as the prior pm, just a lower section. I caught 18 rainbows and 2 browns in the am session, most on another Euro nymph called the Superman because of its red and blue colors. I also caught 5 on small dries. Again, my largest was an 18′ rainbow. For the evening I convinced Linda to go out for the yellow fly hatch. She caught 3 swinging the nymph in fast waster, one a hard fighting 16 incher, and she was briefly attached to a really big fish. This time we have both photo and video evidence, thanks to Adrian. Adrian had me use his Euro nymphing outfit, a 10 foot, 3 weight rod with a tiny reel spooled with monofilament. I quickly caught 8, none large, in a nice run, then one more on the yellow fly nymph,giving me 30 for the day and 86 for the 3 days on the Chimehuin. I loved both the river and Tipiliuke Lodge, and would like to return some day. Adrian was a superb guide, both enthusiastic and knowledgeable.

Starting on the evening of March 3, I fished the Traful on the property of Estancia Arroyo Verde. estanciaarroyoverde.com.ar. Both the river and lodge are justly famous for their beauty and ambiance.

Fernando Gonzalez was my guide for the entire stay. Like Adrian, he is very experienced and knowledgeable. On this first evening, I caught 2 7 inchers on a PMX. The next morning, March 4, was cool and windy and we fished the upper 2 pools where landlocked salmon are often found. We sighted 5, which I cast to hundreds of times, with no action. In the pm session, I fished some gorgeous water downstream and caught only 3 small fish on the PMX. The water was slow and extremely clear, and a bit too warm, which could explain the lack of good fish showing . I asked Fernando what he thought and he said, “I have many excuses. I just don’t know which one is right”. But I knew going in that the Traful is moody and difficult, with few fish but also some really big ones. March 5 started well. It was a beautiful sunny toning, cool and calm. I caught a 19″ brown on my first cast at the head of a small side channel on a PMX and caught 6 small rainbows on dries. We also saw 3 very nice browns in a willow lined side channel, and marked their lies for the evening session. In the evening I caught only 1 15″ brown on a Fat Albert . The others we saw in the morning did not show.

On March 6 I floated the Limay from 12 Miles upstream of the reservoir down to its entrance. The Limay is big water, even this late in the season. Wading is not really an option. It has a mixture of small to medium sized rainbows and browns that can exceed 10 pounds. The rainbows take insect imitations but the browns eat meat, especially a crab called a Pancora, which is very common. It is 1-2 inches long and very dark. We used a PMX or chubby Chernobyl on a 6 weight and pancora imitations on a 7 weight with a fast sinking tip. The fish were widely scattered, with the best fishing in the shallowest, fastest water. Deep runs and pools simply did not produce, although they do at times produce big browns. I caught 5 browns and 7 rainbows for the day. The rainbows were 10-15″, and only one came to a dry, although I missed 2 nice browns on the PMX. All of the other fish took the pancora or an articulated leech. One of these was a very thick brown, over 21″ that Fernando guesstimated at 2.5 kg, or about 5.5 pounds. But the star of the day was a very fat 18 inch brown that was as beautiful as any I’ve caught. All of the fish that took the pancora or leech crushed it. On March 7, we again tried for salmon in the 2 uppermost pools below the lake outlet. The first had no fish visible, but 3 were sitting on a shallow gravel bar in the second pool. After many casts, I was able to hook and land a very nice 24 incher on an ugly bug nymph. I was very disappointed with the fight, mostly head shaking and a few short runs. Later, I caught a small brown and a small rainbow, giving me the grand slam for the Traful. In the evening, we again went hunting for big browns, but I caught only 4 smallish rainbows on the PMX. However, that evening another guest, Dennis Hall of Calgary, who has fished the Traful for years, caught an incredible 29.5″ brown on a big streamer, besting the 28″ brown he’d caught a few years back. The prior evening, in response to my commenting that the fishing was slow, Dennis remarked “Yes, but always remember that on this river your next cast can produce the fish of a lifetime”. This is why I want to return to the Traful. Fernando emphasized that April is best, when the water cools and the browns begin their spawning run, both from the lake above and reservoir below. Likewise the Limay gives up its best fish then.

Overall, I caught 32 during my 4.5 days of fishing at Arroyo Verde, and 118 for the trip.

I hope that you enjoyed Steve’s trip report and my inserted pictures!

Thursday March 1, 2018 Goodbye Tipiliuke!

It is our last morning at Tipiliuke and I thought it might be interesting for you to see the aerial view from Google Maps. Tipiliuke Lodge is also known as Estancia Los Pinos. I believe there are over 1000 trees from around the world here! The Estancia is still family owned, but Kevin and Mary Jo are in charge of the guest lodge. We did not meet any of the family on our trip, maybe next time! Yes, the weather was sunny and delightful. Back home they were expecting a terrible snow storm. This view is from a little higher up, you an see the meandering stream quite well. If you drive further to the right down 49, you will end up at River House. Now from farther up in the sky, you see Junin de los Andes at the top of the picture. San Martin de los Andes is just south and to the west. It’s on a lake, you can’t quite see the lake as the name is in the way.

Our trip to our next stop Villa La Angostura, is on Route 40, also known as Seven Lakes Road. Can you guess how many lakes we will pass today?

After two nights at Villa la Angostura we will continue on 40 towards Bariloche (just under San Carlos on the bottom of the map), then head north to Villa Traful to stay at Arroyo Verde.

You can see Volcano Orsono on the lower left of the map. Last year when we were in Chile we stayed near Osorno!

Here are some lovely pictures from the Tipiliuke website. This is the map of the Estancia. It is almost 50,000 acres! The Larminat Brothers came to Tipiliuike in 1909 from France. They fell in love with the area, as does everyone who visits here! The Larminat family still owns the Estancia.

An aerial view of the lodge where we stayed. You can see the pergola where we had lunch on the left of the picture.

There is a beautiful view of Tipiliuke from the back garden. This phot was taken in the fall.

This was the bar, where everyone would gather at all times of the day. This is where I would sit and work on my blog. I would often show Maru or Monica a picture and ask them what it was, for my posts. Here is the living room. We didn’t have any fires as it was summer. Here we see the afternoon tea and coffee set up.

After a day of fishing, Steve would return to this sight. How welcoming! Life doesn’t get much better than this, does it? Here is a picture of Adrian, who was Steve’s guide. Maru and Monica, comprise the rest of the trio. This picture was taken earlier in the week. Maru left on Tuesday to fly to Buenos Aries to attend her sister’s wedding. There were going to be 400 guests, I told her to keep her eyes open there for a special someone. In my romance novels, weddings are often a great place to meet your future spouse! Here is another picture of the interns. Aren’t they handsome? I didn’t inquire if they needed girlfriends back home! Send me your email if interested, and I will try to forward it to the guys!

Here I am saying good bye to Monica! My hat is at a jaunty angle, isn’t it? Monica and I both have our chins placed correctly, our guts are sucked in and our shoulders back. We are picture posing pros!

Okay, good bye Tipiliuke, our driver awaits and we are off to our next Excellent Adventure!

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Wednesday February 28, 2018 Afternoon and Evening, Tipiliuke

After my road trip to Junin de los Andes with Kevin, we returned to the lodge and had another lovely lunch under the pergola. We started with a lovely salad of fresh greens, cheese, some Parma ham and then a light drizzle of Balsamic vinegar.

Next course was a bit of beef, with carrots and potatoes.

Dessert was a delightful mint mousse with a topping of dark chocolate. Very refreshing. I should have switched my dessert with the guest next to me, as her dessert didn’t have a bumpy top!

We had some new guests join us, a couple from Washington State, and a beautiful blonde with great posture who was a travel advisor. The previous day we had a lovely couple arrive from Atlanta. It is always easier to remember new names of guests when they arrive only two at a time! I have learned to use my Notes function on my iPhone. I write the names of the guests down right away and where they are fun. Otherwise the names go flying right back out of my mind.

We relaxed the rest of the day until evening.

Steve had found that the fishing was best the last hour of the day. He is always trying to get me to go fishing with him. When everyone asks me if I fish, I say that “I never want to come between Steve and a fish!”. I don’t want that big fish to take my fly instead of Steve’s.

We found some waders and shoes in the correct size for me and I geared up!

Adrian could help with my casting, and then we would hit the may fly hatch just before dark. Sunset is quite late here, that’s why dinner isn’t until 9:30. Often guests miss out on the best fishing as their guides are in a hurry to come back in. Steve is always “One more cast!”

Here I am in the Chimehuin. Adrian is next to me, explaining the technique and where I should cast. He left me after awhile and went to where Steve was as Steve was catching fish. Adrian wanted to make sure that Steve had the European nymphing technique down pat also! I did catch a little one, and also had a fish jump near me. I lost another fish just after I set the hook. Don’t I look happy? I think I really look like I know what I am doing!Here are Steve and Adrian. The sun has still not set, there is lots of time left to fish.

Fishing slowed down, and my back was starting to hurt. My casting technique was for shit, I would jerk, and hurl my body causing an terrible twist to my body. I am sure it looked atrocious and Steve was probably biting his lip in laughter. I wisely decided to stop fishing until the may flies started to hatch. Adrian had brought a camp chair along, and I plopped down in it and watched Steve catch fish. I must admit that I read a little bit of one of my romance novels on my Kindle app on my phone, I am a multi task type of gal! This picture was taken at 8:29, you can see how light out it is still! Steve has always wanted to fish under a full moon, I think that would be quite exciting!

The sun soon set, and after no action at one spot, we drove to where Adrain hoped the action would be. Steve had been pretty successful the night before, during the last hour before darkness and we hoped for a good yellow may fly hatch.

The water at this next section was pretty deep and hard to wade. I would hold on to Adrian’s arm when we moved and then released my hold, settled my stance and would begin to cast. The fish were on! I caught this beautiful medium size rainbow. He sure was squiggly! I caught a much larger fish also, Adrain thought he was 16 inches, a nice size fish. Of all the fish that day, my 16 incher was the largest. Steve of course had the most fish for the evening.

Steve did catch some bigger fish during the week. We will have to wait for the total numbers for Steve’s fishing at Tipiliuke, in my wrap up posting for the trip. I think he caught over 75 in total! None that were trophy size, but he had a lot of action. The goal was for him to catch a fish in February and one in March, so we were halfway to the goal! All the meals at Tipiliuke were posted on the blackboard. Here is the menu for our final night. The spinach with egg was piping hot, and delicious! Next up was the homemade spaghetti. Final course was the fruit crisp with vanilla ice cream.

Steve and I wished everyone a good night and it was off to bed. Unfortunately I forgot that it was our last night and I did not get a chance to say good bye to Mary Jo.

Kevin and Mary Jo split their coverage at the Estancia. Kevin is there all day long, eating lunch with the guests and guides. Mary Jo has the late afternoon and evening shift, eating dinner with the guests. They are never sick, and never tire of meeting the guests and being with them. They have run lodges for over 25 years, and been at Tipiluke for over 20! During the off season Kevin is a ski instructor at Chapelco in St. Martin de los Andes.

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