Our trip to Jurassic Lake Lodge was pretty good this year despite the lower water levels of the Barroncoso river. Last winter the Santa Cruz province in Argentina didn’t receive as much snow pack as it has in recent years, creating drought like conditions for many areas in Patagonia. After adjusting our tippet and flies to the conditions we had a great time catching fat 10-16 pound fish on small caddis dries, purple haze, scuds, beetles, hoppers, chubbies, salmonflies, mice, and a variety of different nymphs and buggers. We only landed two 20+ pounders during our week, but had two more on (reel failure and no net) and we saw a few more cruising that we didn’t hook. While it would have been nice to catch more of the 20 pound “cochinos,” no one was complaining about catching multiple 8-10 ten pound fish everyday, especially the fish caught on tiny dries! I was blown away witnessing such large, hot fish being landed on 3, 4, and even 5X fluorocarbon. A 9′#5 weight rod was the perfect weapon for this task, as it helped to protect the lighter tippet much better than a 9′#8 or 9-weight would. The true 20 pounders in the bays however, required 0X or heavier to stand a chance of landing one. These huge chromers were as hot as they’ve always been and fought hard into the backing, making spectacular jumps and tailwalks. Jeff landed his 20 pounder on 02x and had one of similar proportions bust him off while fishing 03x.
This year we did a little more exploring, fishing two new bays a smaller “lagoon” and the upper river. The lagoon was a slam-dunk for “smaller” 16-20 inch fish and the upper river was stacked with juvenile 6-12 inch fish with the occasional eight-ten pounder. There was a lot less fishing pressure on the upper river, and it was nice to see a big fish look at a fly and turn around down stream to eat it. The other two bays we fished were well worth the 45 min drive. One was called “Titi’s” bay and was shaped a lot like the bay of pigs with the same wind angle, so a spey rod was key to getting your fly out as far as possible. The other bay named “Secret Bay” (aka “Diego’s” Bay) had a huge weed bed far out there with some monster fish feeding around it. The sandy bottom was easy to wade and the wind was at our back here, making us feel like casting kings. The week before we arrived, a female angler had landed a 26 pounder there. John caught his 20+ pounder there and Jeff saw one so large he didn’t want to leave. All and all we had a great trip and while fingers are crossed for the area to get more rain and snow in the Andes next year, we are looking forward to going a bit earlier when the river is higher. The trip will be $1000 more next year, but that is during Jurassic Lake Lodge’s prime time dates.