Thursday, May 10, 2012

Fly Fishing The Malleo River

While staying in Junin de Los Andes I came across a fly fishing store call Fly Patagonia. The owner was kind enough to share some knowledge with me about the most effective flies for the local rivers and a few locations. He directed me toward the Rio Malleo.
In the seven lakes districts the leaves of the Aspen trees had already turned to gold...and they were starting to blanket the ground.
I found a camping area on the outskirts of Junin and set up camp.
I had a little company... these two horses kept grazing near my campsite.

In the morning I wanted to get an early start, so I woke up at 7am. I wasn't certain, but it sure felt like the temperature was below freezing. It was nice and warm inside my sleeping bag, but as soon as got outside on my bag I could definitely feel the cold. I was moving slowly. It would take another 30 minutes for the sun to rise. I wasn't looking forward to riding in the cold and dark.

I decided to take the advice of the store owner of Fly Patagonia and fish the Rio Malleo.

There was a road that ran alongside the Rio Malleo for about 70km. I headed in that direction. It was cold, definitely below freezing with the wind chill of riding a motorcycle. The sun started to rise.

I came to a fork in the road, but there were not any signs. I took what appeared to be the main road. I rode on for about 10 km. For some reason it just didn't feel right. I could tell that I was heading east when I should have been heading west. Also, I could no longer see the river. I stopped to check my map... and to let my hands thaw out. I was heading in the wrong direction. Shucks!

I turned around and headed back to the fork in the road. I eventually found my way.

I was a little upset. I had lost some valuable time, about 20 minutes. More so, I had subjected my body and hands to 20 minutes of otherwise unnecessary cold.

I rode on and entered the Parque Nacional Lanin. In the distance I could see the Volcano Lanin. The asphalt road turned to gravel.

I eventually found a nice place to set in along the river.
This unusual tree was growing in the area. I believe the colloquial name for it is the monkey puzzle tree.
I hiked upstream maybe 200 yards. I tied on a Royal Coachman fly and started to fish.
After some time... catch one...a small brown trout.
Catch two...another small brown trout.

I spotted this hole and I just felt like there would be a good fish in it. There was a rock that was creating a ripple. Then there was a calm area. Fish sometimes like to sit behind these rocks because the ripple stirs up food. And they sometimes hang out in the calm area to wait for the food or to rest.

I made a cast.

I made a second cast.

I made a third cast...and bang!

About six inches below the surface a fish struck my fly. I could tell that this fish had some weight. It jumped out of the water and I was able to catch a glance at it...beautiful. Then it started swimming straight towards me. I was worried that it would created too much slack in my line and escape off my hook. I tried my best to keep the line taut. The fish ran right under a big rock. I couldn't see it or feel in on my line. My heart was pumping because I wanted to land this fish.

I eventually got all of the slack out of the line and coerced the fish out from under the rock. In the open water I was able to reel in the fish.
Yeah baby! A nice brown trout.

I took the photo and released her back into the water.

I would camp and fish for three days around Junin. I think the weather started to get the best of me. I was feeling a little worn out and could feel a cold coming on.

I retreated to the comfort of a hostel in San Martin de Los Andes and rested for a few days.
It was time for my favorite cold remedy... chicken and vegetable soup with a glass of orange juice.

1 comment:

  1. All 3 were brown trout (note the yellow belly and red and black spots)....not rainbow (which have flashes of pink and silver.) Nice pix


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