Trout Bum Rio Pico
I wanted to take a spectacular fishing trip to dream location and contacted 5 different outfitters and guides with connections in Patagonia so I could compare the various options. I chose Hemispheres Unlimited because they were responsive, professional in communication, and accommodating. Plus, they offered the best value trip to Patagonia that I could find anywhere. I told Justin what I wanted and what was important to me, and he recommended the Trout Bum trip based out of Rio Pico.
I settled on the 9-day trip to make the most out of the travel required to get to Patagonia. With connections through Buenos Aires, travel took a little more than 24 hours to get into the heart of Patagonia and the little crossroads of Rio Pico. My guide for the entire trip was Gustavo, a long-time guide in the Rio Pico region. He met me at the airport in Esquel, and after a stop for beer and snacks, we drove 2 ½ hours to our base camp for the expedition in Rio Pico.
Gustavo was an excellent guide and good friend during the 9 days of fishing. Not only did he manage all the fishing aspects of the trip, he also cooked our meals. We even had a traditional barbeque one evening with neighbors where I met Paulino Arias, Rio Pico’s resident fishing legend and historian.
In keeping with the Trout Bum theme, our base camp cabin was simple, clean, and comfortable with two bedrooms, a common area with kitchen, and a common bath. Compared to higher end lodges, our cabin was rustic yet functional. There was plenty of room to spread out gear and prepare for a day’s fishing. Gustavo came prepared to cook meals (breakfast and dinner, he packed boxed lunches for mid-day on the boat or shore) and we sometimes supplemented our food with a trip to the local market for meat or beer. The food was always good and filling and kept us going during long days of fishing.
We usually had breakfast and left the cabin each day by 8 o’clock. We fished a spring creek and several rivers and several lakes of varying sizes. All were within a 30-45 minute drive from our cabin over a combination of rocky roads and drivable trails. Gustavo had a broad selection of flies that he tied and knew well, and he would tie on what we needed to catch fish. He also had extensive experience of where fish would be in the different settings and with the day’s weather. He taught me the tricks of casting in the fierce Patagonia winds, and he taught me how to fish sink-tip lines in a lake. Most importantly, Gustavo knew when I should reel in my line and have a hot cup of mate and regroup when the winds or fish weren’t cooperating.
In summary, the Trout Bum trip was more than I expected. Excellent remote fishing, good food, and sleep before waking up and doing it all over the next day on another pristine body of water in the shadows of the Andes.