Argentina Equipment and Flies
In the last 5 years I've spent approximately 14 weeks fishing in Argentine Patagonia. We've logged in about 100 client angling weeks. During these trips I've fished rivers and lakes big and small, waded and fished from a raft. Dries, nymphs, wets, and streamers have all been employed and met with success. I've stayed at famous Estancias, Lodges and lived in a tent. During all of this I've developed a very thorough list of fly tackle and flies that I think belong with every angler bound for Argentina's fabulous Patagonia trout fishing.
Rods are a matter of opinion, but at a minimum, I would have a fast action 6 weight for dries and a 7 or 8 weight for streamers. Unless you are an exceptional caster slow action rods make it difficult to cast in the winds that are prevalent in Patagonia. I'm a huge fan of both the new H2 Helios and the less expensive but equally powerful and lightweight Access from Orvis. These rods in 9 foot tip flex in the sizes mentioned above are perfect for most situations. In addition, rods that add enjoyment to your fishing if you have them and the room to bring them are a 9 1/2 or 10 foot 4-6 weight to nymph with. Also a 7 or 8 weight switch rod for fishing some of the big waters. They can help you deliver a big streamer effectively.
Reels for Patagonia do not have to be expensive, tippet protectors for the most part. Except for a few spring creeks or a glassy lake, Patagonia trout are not very leader shy, 2-5X tippets, corresponding leaders, and 10-20 fluorocarbon for streamers is adequate. As long as you have a large arbor with enough backing capacity and a drag system that won't give out, you are good to go.
Lines are a matter of personal preference. I'm a big fan of the new textured lines which are a subject for another Favorite's Article coming soon. I will say that I always carry a back up line for my favorite method of fishing. Some places you might fish will have rock outcroppings capable of cutting a line. It's happened to me twice, so I pass on this info.
Flies get more complicated because they can be hard to find in Patagonia and if you find them, expensive is the first term that comes to mind. Like guides everywhere in the world, different guides have different favorites, and they usually carry some with them. However if you have this selection you have something to replace their fly with when you lose it. Many rivers in Patagonia lend themselves to the "hopper/dropper" program. It can be deadly! Fat Albert's in tan and black are very popular. Carry them in 6 and 10 size. Big sizes, hoppers and foam bugs in black, yellow, peacock, tan and olive will get picked out of your box. The nymphs to hang under them or to use Czech nymphing would include Prince, Pheasant Tail, Copper Johns and lighting bugs. Have a good selection from size 12 to 18. You will use them and catch fish on them. In concert with the big attractor stuff you should have at your disposal some Royal Wullfs, Adams, Elk Hair Caddis and other smaller (12 to 18) bugs. Sometimes it takes those flies to get the fish to eat if there are naturals on the water. Also don't forget a half dozen smalls wet flies in natural colors, swinging them can be deadly at times.
In many waters in northern, Argentina Patagonia, Pancora crabs are a major food source. That's why you see a lot of streamer patterns that include a combination of olive and orange. When the molt they turn orange. I have two patterns of mine, the Triple Double and the Nutcracker tied in these colors, the can be deadly. Conehead buggers in these color combinations are all over the place and can be easily tied. We always carry and use often, black or olive crystal buggers with white rubber legs. They get bitten a lot!
Nutcrackers have been deadly the last few years. The guides looked askance at them not really believing in the bug. This year you could have sold yellow or ginger Nutcrackers from Orvis for $20 each. Those that had them caught some big fish and good numbers when others were going through the box trying to find bug that would produce. We carry them in size 4, olive and white, yellow, ginger, pancora, spawning sculpin and next year in black. If you need the colors I've mentioned here call or email and I'll arrange to get you some.
Bright colored Hat Tricks, white and yellow should have a presence in your streamer box, I've had days when the trout chose one of those over all others.
Rounding out your streamer selection should be Lapdancers in gold and silver. A minimum of a dozen each and in my opinion more should be tied for your trip.
Most of your streamers should be 2-6 sizes but make a dozen in much smaller sizes, say 10's. Some situations require smaller stuff. Not common but when they occur that's all that will move fish.
Having all of the above should have you properly equipped for whatever conditions and/or waters you fish, whether with a guide or on your own.
Argentine Patagonia has, in my opinion, the finest trout fishing in the world. If you love wild rainbow, browns and brook trout, scenic vistas, great people, food and wine it should be on your bucket list. We will be returning in January, 2014, join us