Ben Bortner and Spencer Johnson

Trout Bum Rio Pico

December 11th-18th 2017

 

Ben Bortner:  

I first contacted Justin to learn about his experiences traveling across Patagonia as I was planning to do something similar. He recommended that I do their Rio Pico Trout Bum trip to accelerate my learning curve in learning some of the various nuances and access points of the area. I can now say with the benefit of hindsight that this was indeed a good idea. There is no way I would have discovered, or been able to access on my own, many of the unbelievable places that we fished.

Justin partnered me with another young and like-minded fly fisher, Spencer, for my trip. Our trip was guided by Guille, who is by far the hardest-working guide I have ever met. He worked hard from 6 am to 10-11 pm every day to make our trip the best possible experience it could be. Every morning Guille awoke before us to have coffee and a hot breakfast prepared by the time we awoke. He prepared elaborate and generously portioned hot lunch for us on the water. At night he cooked us hearty meals and prepared for the next day's lunch. His intimate knowledge of the region and various land owners/gauchos was impressive. On the lakes he rowed relentlessly against strong winds, rain/sleet, and big waves to put us on the fish. He was always willing to keep fishing if we were willing to keep casting. And he did all the above with a smile on his face! One of his most impressive feats was his gaucho-style bush fix of Spencer’s broken rod.

The fishing during the trip was excellent. During the trip we fished a variety of lakes, rivers, spring creeks, and remote hike-in locations. Fishing the lakes was a bit grueling (think long casts, big flies, heavy wind) but also some of the most exciting fishing I’ve experienced. It’s hard to describe the experience of watching a >20” brown rising up off the bottom to absolutely destroy your streamer pattern. Each day we fished the lakes we were rewarded with a number of fish over 20” – including one day where I caught 2-27” browns (pictured below). Having a guide with a boat, who was willing to row into the 20-40mph winds for 8-10 hours straight, and who knew the most productive regions of the lakes was absolutely essential to our success. For some more fishing highlights feel free to check out some of my blog posts (here, here, and here).

One of the non-fishing highlights of the trip was the traditional Argentine Cordero Asado hosted by Paulino and his son, Goyo.

If you're considering a trip to Patagonia I highly recommend Hemispheres Unlimited's Trout Bum Rio Pico trip. You will not find a better value out there, especially when you consider the quality of the fishing and guiding!

 

Spencer Johnson: 

 

After a month backpacking in Southern Patagonia it was a wonderful surprise to arrive to the warm, aired landscape of Esquel in the North of Argentinian Patagonia. From a comfy stay at La Planeta Hostel, Ben (my fishing partner for the week), Guille our wonderful local guide and I set out for a week of fishing in the Rio Pico area. A windy first day with a few high jumping rainbows was just the warm up we needed for day two. Floating clear blue waters with 7 meters visibility translated to a day full of big browns on streamers and a healthy amount of hard-fighting rainbows on dragonflies. Many personal records were broken on day two, but little did we know that weather would force us to revisit this pristine location and reset those records within the week.

            High winds forced us to move to small rivers until day 7, but the fishing quality did not change. A long rain filled day of walking never got old as we fought hard hitting rainbows and beautifully colored browns in every hole. Guille’s warm meals kept us full of energy and ready to fish no matter what weather we faced and his passion for getting us on the fish was astounding. I couldn’t be more appreciative for his hard work, positive attitude and help throughout the week and the trip wouldn’t have been the same without him.

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